Monday, August 24, 2009

Why I Am Marching on Washington

I have talked about the idea of a march on Washington since the day after the election, as I explain in this Advocate column. But I didn't initially support this march, the National Equality March to take place October 10-11. That all changed, particularly after the DOMA brief, but also after listening to Cleve Jones when he came on the show for a full hour in which he took calls from across the country. The clincher though was the cocktail party commemorating Stonewall 40, put together to do damage control, as I note in the column:

Last June, amid growing criticism of President Obama’s foot-dragging on LGBT rights and after the despicably homophobic Defense of Marriage Act brief, the White House hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. It was nice for us to see a president commemorating the Stonewall riots for the first time. But it was an even better event for Obama himself, a great photo op, in the midst of the outcry, showing gay people -- dubbed by the media as LGBT “leaders” -- applauding him.

Leaders? The crowd included an overwhelming number of Democratic Party hacks and donors, Beltway social climbers, careerists (specifically, former gay group heads now looking for jobs), PR flacks, lobbyists, sycophants, and assorted sellouts. The fabulously superficial -- including a fashion editor who sits front and center at every New York fashion show -- were there too. And everyone was enthralled by the event, clapping uproariously for the president. Many of those present had raised lots of money for Obama and for the Democratic Party—or gave generously themselves -- and probably worked for 20 years to see the day when they could have cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the White House, using the good china no less!

That really had me realizing we all needed to go, but as I said, I'd been thinking about a march early on:

It’s not that I was ever really opposed to the idea of a march. To the contrary, as listeners to my Sirius/XM radio show know, I’ve been talking about marching on Washington ever since the morning after Election Day. For me, it’s been a matter of historical precedent: The black civil rights movement wisely took advantage of a window of opportunity in 1963, when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress. Republicans could no longer be blamed for the lack of civil rights protections, and marchers knew that media attention would put pressure on the Democrats and shame them into action.

We have that same window of opportunity today.

But that’s not to say I was immediately sold on this march.

Read the whole column to see my reasoning, and let me know your thoughts. Hope you'll be there!