Obama Really, Really Wants Some Gay Best Friends, Ideally Registered Voters

On a scale of 1 to 10, how are you feeling about Obama this week? Here’s the thing: he wants you to feel really good about him. I mean really, get ready for some rainbows. Here’s the opening banner to the thing which the White House sent out via email and is apparently termed an “e-blast:”

Well! Sure, Mr. President, that sounds great. I would like for us to be together in this fight too! Slightly misleadingly, however, this email is not precisely about fighting but about a dinner party situation called, puzzlingly, the “High Tea Party Express train to the Obama Gala.” Which is a thing you pay to go to. Which is a thing that by paying to go to, you contribute fairly large sums of money to Obama’s 2012 campaign.

The White House’s party invitation also contained this:

(The color scheme is nice, no?)

And the “e-blast” also said this:

I used to get so fed up with people who said “We have made progress. Just look — they let us visit the White House!” or “Holy smokes, can you believe we get to be in this room?” That kind of measure of progress is ancient. It is important but it is a given, not a gift. A million smiles and handshakes do not equal progress.

That sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? It kind of sounds exactly like a lot of the criticism Obama has received from the queer community over the past few years. It sends the message that he knows what our concerns are, and he knows how we’ve been feeling. He’s saying that he may not be a perfect president as far as queer issues go, but he does know what’s up. And he’s not out of office yet.

The truth is, although some will surely disagree, that’s a fairly impressive list of accomplishments. The ones not in bold are almost more worth noting – although they tend to be less sweeping and symbolic, they seem like they might be more meaningful in terms of the real issues. A National Resource Center for gay and lesbian elders. Ensuring that trans people can have accurate passports. An Institute of Medicine study on LGBT health. Clarified that the Family and Medical Leave Act includes LGBT families. Ended the ban on people with HIV/AIDS entering the country, and proposed more funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and education, as well as bullying and suicide prevention. Put millions of dollars of federal funds towards supporting homeless LGBT youth. That’s not everything we could ask for, but it’s far from nothing.

The email from the White House says that “In just two years he has done more than all Presidents combined in our history AND he has done something no other President has done: passed laws. Not talk, not platitudes, not nice intentions: laws.” Those are strong words of praise. But they’re also a warning: even if you don’t think what President Obama has done is enough, it’s a pretty sure bet that no other presidential candidate that is running against him will take up the torch if he’s not re-elected. So, while we’re asked to imagine what could be accomplished in the next six years, the flip side of the same question is left unspoken – what could we lose in the next six years? It’s a complicated intersection of politics and the ideals behind it, the refusal to compromise that has made the queer activist movement so successful in the past and the necessity of compromise that permeates the arena of national politics. Right now, Obama is asking for your money – and while almost none of us have much to give, the question of our votes still remains.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

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34 Comments

  1. “It’s a pretty sure bet that no other presidential candidate that is running against him will take up the torch if he’s not re-elected… what could we lose in the next six years?”

    And THAT, my friends, is precisely why I stand for and will vote for, President Obama.

    Not voting for him just because he hasn’t magically given us 100% equal rights in 3 years, looking at the Republican opposition, sounds just like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  2. I have a friend who is a lesbian staunch republican. It thoroughly confuses me. Although when questioned why she votes that way, she never really has an answer of any sort…

    • she really wants to say “it’s just how I grew up,” or she’s at least thinking it. all of my republican friends have said it at one time or another. just another way of staying in a familiar and safe environment.

    • If she’s anything like my LGBT ally friend it’s because she is fond of her own money and she buys into the idea that welfare moms and criminals (people of color) are stealing her hard earned tax dollars. The rest of it is a side issue for her.

      • omg my “i’m not political but my parents are staunch rep.” friends were telling me one day how good ayn rand was and how I should def. read her books. sadly i started atlas shrugged and was too caught up in the love affair to realize it was all crazy bs. (actually it took me untill part 3 chapter 2) to be fair I pictured all the politicians being republican, so I was beyond confused when I wikied her.

        • it didn’t help that i was walking around like “yeah i read, look at the size of this book. about as thick as a dictionary,i’m looking pretty smart” ayn rand and my ignorance ruined a possible sleepover with cute library assistant

  3. I’m not voting Republican because I feel Obama has done a bad job with the GLBT community, that’s another argument entirely. I’m voting Republican/Independent/Libertarian/ANYTHING EXCEPT DEMOCRAT because I feel he has done a bad job with the economy and foreign policy and a multitude of other things that a president SHOULD be concentrating on.

    That is all.

    • You also have to remember that the president isn’t the only one who has the power to pass or hold up bills. If anything I would blame the slowing down of equality to those in the house and senate that we voted in. if you really want to change policy you also have to vote the policy you want into the places where numbers matter.

      Obama can’t pass his agenda as easily if he doesn’t have the number in the house or senate. Pay attention to your governors, senators, and representatives. these are the people you are sending in to make policy changes for better or for worse.

      • p.s. not trying to be an ass, just honest but no one is going to run for gay rights in the republican party or in the liberal tea party either, just forgetabouit. The only hope you have is if a third more centralized party springs up here pretty soon, but i don’t really see it coming. other than that the democrats are the only party running on it.

        well see what changes happen in the next few weeks, but i’m pretty sure the g.o.p. is going to stick to the traditional anti-gay legislature

        • You basically said what I was going to say. I think too many people forget that it’s not just him, it’s the entire structure. If it were just him, it’d be a dictatorship! Heh! That being said, I am amazed when I hear American friends say Obama has done nothing for the economy or foreign policy, considering the economy is the way it is because of mainly Republican-driven interests and that most of the known world quite literally hated associating with the US pre-Obama. Here in The Netherlands, they protested Balkenende’s breakfast meeting with Bush but are a bit more relaxed with Obama. He’s tried to NOT make the US look like the enemy, which is more than I can say the likes of Palin etc will do.

          It also particularly confuses me when I hear about gay/lesbian Republican supporters. Really? No offense to anyone, but that’s like the idea of a Jewish Nazi for me. It does not compute that someone would support a party that would literally arrest them for their sexual orientation and send them to “homo-recovery” camp if given the option and right to do so. Baffles my mind really.

          • I know, it makes my head spin when people start with their fox news ramblings. Honestly it’s just a race issue. Sad but true, and most people seem to forget that he’s a mixed baby. They just see the color of his skin. He’s tough, he gets insulted day by day and still gets the job done.

            I mean he’s caught bin laden, the economy has actually been on the rise, dadt repeal passed, he’s retrieving dangerous nuclear material and locking it up, and there’s a lot more. The only thing that was an utter disappointment was the g-20 summit and the lack of anything being done with alternative energy. But he’s also running on that this year so I’m sure he has a plan.

            well here’s the thing, the republicans who are in the spotlight now are to the most extreme of the right. while there are many people in the party who have more centralized views and do want to help out with equal rights, they are being shut out by the extreme. these would be the people who could possibly make up that third party, but no one has stepped up.

          • I think if they had to hold up his report card next to W’s, like a complete list of his accomplishments, it would shut more people up. Who would have thought he’d make good on DADT? Damn near impossible in that political climate.

            But you’re right, the loudest mouth is usually the only one anyone pays attention to. We have the same issue in The Netherlands now with Geert Wilders; I’m pretty sure everyone thinks the entire country thinks like he does. But the Dutch have perfected ignoring screaming mouthpieces to the point where it’s an art-form, so they’re very “Eh.” But I believe just the attitude of Europe for one towards Obama should be an indication that the man has done well.

            I do hope that in the end, voters are able to wade through the shouters and actually hear the talkers. It’s the biggest issue any country faces with elections. Pity, really.

          • agreed completely, voter misinformation biggest killer of democratic votes. It’s sad that missinformation and fear lead people like wilders to climb so far up in the political ladder. We need more progressive candidates,

  4. WIN!!! Obama knows the only way to win this election is to fight for LGBT rights. Ive seen the progression in his public support for it, and it’s becoming more and more obvious that this “gay agenda” will go all the way to capitol hill. It gonna be a rat race closer to 2012 to support this movement. HA!!!! take that tea party

  5. An e-blast is a common marketing term for an email you send out to your whole mailing list to announce something…usually a sale.

    I will likely vote Democratic because when comparing Democrats with Republicans, Republicans are worse at everything. Republicans are worse on foreign policy, the economy, and obviously civil rights.

    If I thought someone else could do better, I’d vote for them. But there is no one that can do better.

  6. This …

    “So, while we’re asked to imagine what could be accomplished in the next six years, the flip side of the same question is left unspoken – what could we lose in the next six years?”

    This is the question I keep asking myself.
    That and also, “How far and long is this right-wing, tea party, take away my women’s rights and give me no more lgbt* ones movement going to go?”
    I feel like so many people want to move backwards that sometimes it feels like a fight just to retain ground.
    I still kinda wish Clinton was prez sometimes, but I’m with Obama on this one, all the way.

  7. okay everyone seems to forget that things usually get tied up in the house and senate (house now that the r.p. took over). The most important votes are the local votes. The people that vote to pass these laws come from somewhere. If people cared about who their representatives, governors, and senators were, and got to know their policies as much as we do with our president, then we would have less of a f^ck load to deal with than what we have now.

    Don’t forget to vote in you’re general elections, local election,etc.

  8. I’ve been trying for ages to read that graph but all I can see is how the colors in the third row don’t sync up to the others. I mean, it’s great that Obama was busy being all pro-gay on the 22nd of June, but it’s just messing up the whole look of the timeline. Also, I appreciate the White House’s commitment to having the colors in their proper ROYGBIV lineup, but why does no one ever remember indigo? :(

    #deepthoughts

  9. For me it’s a question of which party is least oppressive. Right now that would be the Dems IMO. (does anyone say IMO?)

    but I am not fooled by any of this, and I’m not taking this conveniently timed “eblast” seriously

  10. I am waiting for the Obama campaign to point out that pretty much everything that has been accomplished by the Obama adminsitration is executive branch stuff, all of which a Republican Pres will reverse the first day he is in office, second day at the latest. Nothing permanent has really been accomplished, even overturning DADT.

    It’s the typical throwing of crumbs to important but ‘awkward’ constituencies, and reminding them that even those will go away if their patron is not re-elected. That way, the incumbent doesn’t have to actually do anything controverial or use up their favors in Congress.

  11. I’m currently a Summer Organizer for Organizing for America and therefore pretty much doing the grassroots aspect of the 2012 campaign. I’m also doing a lot of the Pride month outreach (yes, I’m one of the people who asks you to fill out a card with the rainbow chart on it). I try to recruit volunteers to help us outreach to voters in our local areas. Now, I can say that I didn’t start out as an Obama supporter and that I have not agreed with him on a lot of issues, including LGBTQ issues. DADT took longer that it should have and I wish the challenge to DOMA had happened a lot sooner.

    But, I still support him and will continue to support him for 2012. A bit of lingo that Summer Organizers use is “Protect our Progress” and I feel that this is especially relevant to the LGBTQ community. Has he done everything for us? No. At the same time, he has done a lot of work that other presidents haven’t, and that other candidates won’t. Even though DADT has been repealed, it is still being enforced and could very quickly get back on the books. We’ve seen so much change in two years that could disappear overnight if a conservative candidate took presidential office.

    As far as foreign policy and the economy are concerned, while things are still very troubling, they took eight years to happen – problems that big cannot be solved in only 2 years. And even after two years, there has been substantially more effort towards progressively fixing these issues there has been.

    For those of you who are interested in helping Obama get re-elected, of course funds are appreciated but we also need volunteer resources. We need phonebankers, etc. people who want to donate a little bit of time to helping out and it really does make a difference. And also by volunteering, those of us organizing for the campaign get to her your ideas, concerns, and input to improve our efforts.

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  13. I met the President at a few OFA events. We need more time to ‘change’ the repubs have been getting in his way for too long. I really do love him. I donated all the money I could and knocked on doors and placed flyers. I spoke to people who opened the door, and asked them to help. It worked. We can do it again.

  14. We can’t let him lose, because they will gloat and overturn all the good he has done. He’s got a lot more to do, he’s gonna accomplish it before he’s done. Trust me. He has got to take it easy, but once he’s elected again, look out. Like what George W. did when he won (stole) his last term. He did everything he wanted, and set the clock back on progress. He let the republicans get away with tax cuts to the rich, and put us in the worst debt ever. When President Clinton left office we had billions in surplus. When George W. Bush left, we were in devastating debt. It’s gonna take time, and that’s all there is to it. We have the most level headed, intelligent, and dignified President we’ve had in a long time.
    I’ve got one thing left to say: Obama -Biden 2012 ;) lol

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