Thursday, August 31, 2006

The "Gay Marriage" Dilemma for Progressives

Like many people, I am struggling with the issue of "gay marriage" and whether to support or vote for Democratic candidates who either oppose gay marriage or support amending the U.S. or TN Constitution to prohibit gays and lesbians from being able to marry. First, I don't think marriage should be the focus of the gay rights movement at this time, when we still do not have basic rights like protection from job discrimination when the majority of the public support that issue and a majority OPPOSE "gay marriage." Forces within and outside the gay community have forced the issue into our political and public discourse.

We are forced to choose between (a) supporting Democrats regardless of their position on marriage rights to end the Republican control of all branches of government or (b) not voting for Democrats or supporting third party candidates who DO support full equal rights for gays and lesbians but who cannot win and thus taking votes away from the Democrats. In this case, we are accused of helping to elect Republicans and we are always forced to answer the question "Would you prefer that the Republican or the Democrat wins?"

The argument that we must vote for the Democratic candidates regardless of the position on gay marriage to stop the Republicans has some persuasive power, until you consider the following questions.

How can a gay person, or any progressive who believes in equal civil rights for all people, support a "Democrat" who campaigns AGAINST the rights of gays and lesbians to have the same civil rights as straight people?

The CONSERVATIVE argument is that in "Red" states like Tennessee Democrats have to be against gay rights in order to win. If we vote for these conservative Democrats, aren't we rewarding these conservatives for OPPOSING our civil rights and aren't we confirming their position that that is the only way for Democrats to win?

By voting for anti-gay conservative Democrats, aren't we helping to push the Democratic Party further to the right? How will our continued support (vote) for these conservative Democrats make the Demcratic Party more progressive???

Aren't Democrats in Tennessee and other conservative states taking the votes of gays (and progressive Democrats) for granted, and as long as they do not feel threatened by the loss of those progressive votes won't they continue to move to the Right?

I do not think a single issue like "gay marriage" (politicallly a very difficult issue in the South) should determine whether we support a candidate, but we have some very different situations:

Steve Cohen was one of only a few Tennesse legislatures to vote AGAINT the TN anti-gay marriage amendment. This does not mean he SUPPORTS gay marriage. I have not heard or read where he has said he supports gay marriage. He may be forced to say he supports "civil unions" instead, but he can oppose the amendment as unnecessary and unjust. This was the same position John Kerry and other Democrats took on the national level. It seems like the best way to "diffuse" the issue, although the anti-gay Republican Right would still accuse them of supporting gay marriage, but I think the majority of voters would not mind a candidate who supports something like "civil unions." It's not full equality, but it gets pretty close. It's moving in the right direction. (Personally I would prefer "civil unions" for gays and straights, with the same civil rights, and drop the issue of "marriage" altogether.

Then there is Harold Ford Jr. HFJr went futher than just opposing "gay marriage," he voted for, supports, and is campaigning on his support for the Republican anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. He voted for the FMA in 2004, while the Democratic Party and it's Presidential candidate John Kerry were opposing the Republican amendment, correctly, as an attempt to write prejudice and discrimination into the Constitution. HFJr didn't mind, as long as it would help him win his race for the U.S. Senate. He continues to emphasize his opposition to gay marriage, as well as the leadership of the Democratic Party, on social issues like gay marriage.

Now I can support a candidate like Cohen who may not publicly support "gay marriage" but who does not campain AGAINST it or support constitutional amendments.

There is no way really to rationalize Harold Ford Jr's campaign against gay marriage other than a blatant use of homophobia and preducice against gays to win a political race. That I cannot support. That is why I will NOT vote for Harold Ford Jr.
Does that mean I "prefer" the Republican candidate win? No, it means that I prefer to support a candidate who is not running against progressive democratic values and who supports equality for all americans. That candidate may not be Democrat. Who is to blame if the Republican wins because many progressives did not vote for the Democratic candiate? I blame the Democrat who did not stand up for progressive values. Blame HIM, not those of use who used our vote to support a candidate who did not run a campaign bashing gays and lesbians (or Nancy Pelosi and "liberal" Democrats).

I was starting to shift my position to support HFJr to help the Democrats take control of the Senate, but after hearing more and more of his anti-gay, anti-Nancy Pelosi, anti-Democratic Party campaign speeches, his blatant attempt to pander to conservative bigots across the state, there is NO WAY I will vote for that S.O.B. He can go to hell!

Yes I will be voting for Green Party candidate Chris Lugo, a REAL progressive who supports my rights. He will not win.
Don't lay a guilt trip on me for helping Corker to win. My vote is not going to make the differnce between Ford or Corker, and if it does, blame Harold Ford Jr., not me. He could have had my vote easily. He blew it.

Stop Harold Ford Jr.

P.S. I am sick of the B.S. on DailyKos that we ahve to support Democrats regardless of their political positions: liberal, conservative, it doesn't matter, all that matters is that Democrats "win." This argument makes me sick. Throw progressive values out the door. Gay rights, women's rights, workers rights, etc... fuck them all. All that matters is that the Democratic party "wins." I don't consider having a spineless Republican ass-licker like Harold Ford Jr. representing us in Congress to be "winning." What do I win by having him in the Senate? Another anti-gay theocratic demagogue, who happens to have a "D" instead of an "R" after his name. If Harold Ford Jr. doesn't seem to care about supporting the Democratic Party, why do the dailykos ditto heads bash progressive like ME for not supporting the Democratic Party??? What fucking hypocrisy. The DailyKos and the support Democrats regardless of political ideology crowd can all go to hell. I want the Democratic Party to stand for something (more than political expediancy), and grow into an opposition party against corporate power and the coprorate rich and their takeover of the media and the government. I WANT to support the Democratic Party...and I will support progressive Democrats, I willl NOT support anti-gay, homophobic, racist, pro-corporate, militaristic Democrats. I don't think electing pro-corporate, anti-gay, theocratic Democrats is "winning," it is LOSING!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Democrats Who Support Anti-Gay Amendment 1

Someone sent me this link to the list of candidates who endorse the anti-gay "Amendment 1" which will write discrimination against gays and lesbians into the TN Constitution, and I was shocked to find one of the candidates Stonewall Democrats endorsed and wanted to support, Bill Morrison, Candidate for U.S. House Dist. 7
I'm sad that one of the candidates I wanted to support has signed on to this unjust and unneccessary amendment, and I withdraw my endorsement and support for him.
Amendment 1 Candidate Pledge
The list is mostly Republicans, but there are a few Memphis Demcrats in there, including Bill Morrison, Julian Bolton and Ulysses Jones Jr.

Vote No On 1 TN

Patricia Todd Declared Winner in AL Dem. Primary

Following up on the story about Patricia Todd, the lesbian candidae for the Alabama legislature, has finally been declared the winner by an AL Democratic Party committee, after being challenged by some in the AL Democratic Party who wanted the seat to be held by an African-American. And it looks like DNC chair Howard Dean even made a few phone calls and expressed concern over the attempt to oust Patricia Todd, who is likely now to be the first open gay person elected to a state position in Alabama.

Patricia Todd is Victor in Alabama

Thursday, August 24, 2006

AL Democratic Party Oust Gay Candidate

Patricia Todd, who was to be the first openly gay legislator in Alabama was disqualified by a committee thursday over some obscure rule that no one has been following... but was it because she was a lesbian, or because she was WHITE?
Hmm.. does this sound familiar:

‘If I was black I don't think they would have contested’
Todd said she believes the challenge has nothing to do with the fact she is gay, but is about the fact that she is white and won in a majority black district.
"Of course if I was black I don't think they would have contested the election," Todd said. She blamed the contest on Joe Reed, longtime chairman of the black Democratic caucus, who wrote a letter before the election urging black leaders to support Hendricks because of her race and stressing the need for keeping the seat in black hands.
Segall also alluded to Reed's influence in his closing statement to the committee.
"This is about race. Folks are upset that a white woman won in a black district. There are some times you just have to say 'this isn't right,'" Segal said.

Dems use ignored rule to oust gay candidate
Alabama party committee disqualifies winner, loser in primary runoff
The Associated Press

Updated: 5:58 p.m. MT Aug 24, 2006
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A Democratic Party committee Thursday night disqualified an openly gay candidate for the Alabama Legislature and the woman she defeated in the primary runoff because both women violated a party rule that party officials said no other candidate has obeyed since 1988.
The committee voted 5-0 to disqualify Patricia Todd, who was attempting to become the state's first openly gay legislator, and Gaynell Hendricks.
Committee chairwoman Amy Burks said earlier Thursday the party's executive committee would make the final decision and select a nominee for the seat from Birmingham's House District 54 at a meeting in Montgomery Saturday.
Committee members said they would issue a formal order Friday morning.
Must disqualify goveror, lieutenant governor candidates?
Attorney Bobby Segall told the committee earlier Thursday that if the party disqualified Todd for not filing a financial disclosure form with the party chairman it would also have to disqualify the party's nominee for governor, Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley, and for lieutenant governor, former Gov. Jim Folsom Jr.
"Lucy Baxley is out of here. Just let the Republicans take over the state Senate and the House. Jim Folsom is out of here," Segall said in an emotional presentation to the committee. Committee members announced their decision about two hours after the hearing ended.
Committee members and party officials said the committee's decision would not affect any other Democratic Party nominees — like Baxley — because the results of other races have already been certified.
Todd defeated Hendricks by 59 votes in the July 18 runoff election in District 54, a diverse district that includes some of Birmingham's richest and poorest neighborhoods. There is no Republican opposition in the race and the Democratic candidate will likely be the district's next House member, replacing retiring Rep. George Perdue, D-Birmingham.
A challenge filed by Hendricks' mother-in-law, Mattie Childress, claimed that Todd filed her campaign financial disclosure form with the Alabama secretary of state's office late to hide a $25,000 contribution from a national gay rights group.
‘Unfair, undemocratic, un-American and unwise’
Dennis Dison, a spokesman for that group, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, issued a statement Thursday night decrying the committee's decision.
"Patricia got the most votes in two separate elections — the primary and the runoff — but party bosses didn't like the outcome, so now they want to simply handpick a candidate. What happened today in Montgomery was unfair, undemocratic, un-American and unwise," Dison said.
Another Todd attorney, Ed Still, told the committee that Todd filed her form on July 17, the day before the July 18 runoff. While the filing was in violation of a requirement that the forms be filed five days before the election, Still said the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that candidates can't be disqualified if they file before the election.

But the attorney for Childress, Raymond Johnson, said Todd should instead be disqualified for violating a 1974 Democratic Party rule that requires Democratic candidates to file financial disclosure statements with the party chairman five days before the election. Democratic Party executive director Jim Spearman testified that as far as he knew, no Democratic candidate had filed a disclosure statement with the chairman since 1988, when the state law requiring financial disclosure was passed.
Spearman said no candidate this year, including Todd or Hendricks, had filed the disclosure form with the chairman.
But Johnson said Todd should be disqualified for violating the rule because the challenge was filed against her and not against Hendricks.
"No direction has been given to candidates telling them not to file that report," Johnson said.
Hendricks said after the hearing that she believes the outcome of the election would have been different if voters had known the source of some of Todd's campaign funds.
"If her disclosure form had been filed on time the public would have had that information to make a decision on," Hendricks said.
‘If I was black I don't think they would have contested’
Todd said she believes the challenge has nothing to do with the fact she is gay, but is about the fact that she is white and won in a majority black district.
"Of course if I was black I don't think they would have contested the election," Todd said. She blamed the contest on Joe Reed, longtime chairman of the black Democratic caucus, who wrote a letter before the election urging black leaders to support Hendricks because of her race and stressing the need for keeping the seat in black hands.
Segall also alluded to Reed's influence in his closing statement to the committee.
"This is about race. Folks are upset that a white woman won in a black district. There are some times you just have to say 'this isn't right,'" Segal said.

Contacted after the hearing, Reed said he was not responsible for filing the election challenge, but he said he believes Todd should be disqualified for violating the party rule.
"The rule requires everybody to file it. The rule doesn't exclude anyone from filing it," Reed said.
He said Todd should be punished for not following the rule, because the challenge was filed against her and not against other candidates.

The Alabama Democratic Party's Executive Committee is scheduled to make a final ruling on this matter Saturday.
Why have an election if the Party will not recognize the candidate who won the most votes??

What the *uck! (Media Rant!)

What the *uck is going on with the media in this country?! I'm sick, sick sick of hearing all the details about that nut John Mark Karr. Every cable "news" channel is covering every detail of his plane trip here and there, what he ate and drunk, blah blah blah.. and a federal judge ruled that THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS A CRIMINAL! Bush has violated the law and the Constitution he swore with an oath to protect.. but not a word on any of these "news" channels!!

Where is the political discussion about the illegal war, the criminal in the white house, IMPEACHMENT! We impeached a President for getting a blow job with a bimbo and had 24 hour news coverage of every detail of that, but nothing on this criminal administration and its crimes!

I think i'm going to pluck my eyeballs out with a spoon if I see one more image of that crazy wacko or see JonBenet Ramsey dancing on my TV again...

Why do ALL of the cable talk shows have CONSERVATIVE hosts??? Not ONE liberal progressive, or even a MODERATE, on ANY cable news/talk show! O'Reilly, Fox, the "beltway boys", Scarborough, Tucker, now CNN has added another right-winger, Glenn Beck! Where are the progressives and liberals??? All we have are blogs on the internet??

What is wrong with this country??? Am I going crazy???

OK... I'm collecting what is left of my sanity to ask, what is wrong with "Progressive Talk 680"?? Who is programing that radio station?? First they put a CONSERVATIVE local talk show host who preached religious nonsense against evolution and gay rights, then they took him off (finally) and do not replace him with a REAL progressive talker (hello???), and now we get long gaps of SILENCE between repeats of the "history of Memphis" and "history of food" and that crazy RANDY THE REPUBLICAN caller. Is there ANYONE in charge of the programming over there? Surely there are plenty of INFORMED PROGRESSIVE talkers, inlcuding many on this and similar blogs, who could fill some of that wasted air space with some meaningful and entertaining POLITICAL COMMENTARY. (Maybe we should start calling their "blue hotline" and leaving daily messages and hope they will air them insead of RANDY or the history of twinkies...)

Ok I am going to go try to relax and watch TV without seeing or hearing anything about Jonbenet or John Karr...

Oh no, Harold Ford Jr. is on MSNBC AGAIN! He talks about his grandma and how mean his Republican opponents were to him, but his grandma taught him to just say "bless you" to your enemies, and he is going to grow corn in Tennessee and lower gas prices...and the conservative hosts and guests say how good Jr is and how he is their favorite Democrat. (If you campaign as a "pro-life", "pro-family" democrat who will fight to ban gay marriage you can win in Tennessee!)
Chris Matthews likes Jr.! Imus Loves him too! And Ann Coutler.. oh I'm geting sick.

(Sorry I had to let all that out... think I'm going to cry now..)

Wake me when this nightmare is over...

Jim M.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Gay Rights=Civil Rights

Following up on the prior post about Black Leaders who support lgbt civil rights...Some African-Americans still do not accept the equation of "gay rights" and "civil rights." They assume that "civil rights" = BLACK civil rights. But as MLK made clear, "injustice against anyone is an injustice against all of us." MLK understood that civil rights are HUMAN rights, for everyone, not just one particular group or race.

Civil rights are not just based on racial or biological characteristics. That are based on social characteristics. Sociologically, social minorities have certain things in common: (a) there are singled out from a more powerul majority based on some distinguishing characteristic (e.g. race, religion, etc.) (b) based on this distinguishing characteristic, the group is the target of prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice against the group is used to justify unequal treatment (discrimination).

The debate over "gay rights" usually becomes a debate about WHY people are gay and whether people CHOOSE to be gay, etc. This whole debate is irrelevant. It doesn't matter WHY people are gay or if sexual orientation/preference is innate or learned (or both!)

Like other sociali minorities, gays and lesbians are oppressed by a powerful majority (heterosexuals) who use prejudice (homophobia and heterosexism) to disccriminae agasint them (treat them unequally).

The reason why CIVIL RIGHTS leaders support the CIVIL RIGHTS of gays and lesbians is because they understand this common theme of prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination and like MLK, they oppose the unequal treatment of people baed on prejudice. It's that simple.

Gay Rights=Civil Rights=Human Rights.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Black Leaders Support Equality For Gays and Lesbians

While there is a lot of homophbia and anti-gay bigotry in the black community (and even more in the white community!), civil rights leaders are unanimous in their support of EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS for gays and lesbians:

Julian Bond, Civil Rights Leader
"I see this as a civil rights issue.
That means I support gay civil marriage."
(News Release, NBJC, 2/2/04)

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA, Civil Rights Hero)
"It is time to say forthrightly that the government's exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families. This discrimination is wrong...I've heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry." (Boston Globe, 11/25/03)

Rev. Joseh Lowery, Civil Rights Leader
"When you talk about the law discriminating, the law granting a privilege here, and a denying it there, that's a civil rights issue. And I can't take it away from anybody." (ABC News, 3/13/04)

Carol Moseley Braun
"I believe this is a civil rights issue...It seems to me that if people want to marry a person of a different race that's no diffferent than somebody wanting to marry someone of the same sex." (Democratic Debates, Des Moines 11/24/03)

Rev. Peter Gomes, Havard University Chaplain
"To extend the civil right of marrriage to homosexuals will neither solve nor complicate the problems already inherent in marriage, but what it will do is permit a whole class of persons, our fellow citizens under the law heretofore irrationally deprived of a civil right, both to benefit from and participate in a valuable, yet vulnerable institution which in our changing society needs all the help it can get." (Boston Globe, 2/4/04)

Coretta Scott King, Civil Rights Leader
"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the civil rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother-and sisterhod for lesbian and gay people." (Reuters, 3/3/98)

National Black Justice Coalition

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Why Harold Ford Is A Threat to the Democratic Party

Check out this post on the DailyKos, making a similar argument to mine about why Harold Ford Jr. is bad for the Democratic Party, and must be stopped now!
Why Harold Ford Is A Threat to the Democratic Party

Compare to my argument
Stop Harold Ford Jr.!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Freedonian nails the Republican Ass-licker Harold Ford Jr.!

Freedonian: Meet The New Ford, Same As the Old Ford...
Will Harold Ford Jr. Support the Democratic Candidate or Betray the Democrats Like Lieberman?

Harold Ford Jr. should not expect the support of progressive Democrats, or urge "party unity" to elect him, if HE supports his brother Jake who is running as an "Independent" against Steve Cohen.

See The Cue:
The 'Cue: Liberal helpings of slow-smoked Memphis Politics: Make a Decision, Harold Jr.

Thaddeus Matthews:
If the Ford Family Are Real Democrats..

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Harold Ford Jr: The Most Dangerous Democrat

Now that Joseph Lieberman is out of the picture, I think we should focus on The Most Dangerous Democratic Candidate for the U.S.. Senate--Harold Ford jr.

Here is an excerpt from a TIME magazine article, sent out on the Harold Ford Jr. campaign email list:
Why Harold Ford Has a Shot


The Congressman who is running to replace retiring Bill Frist as Senator from Tennessee has voted to outlaw gay marriage and to repeal the estate tax, and wants to amend the Constitution to ban flag burning. He supports getting rid of the handgun ban in the nation's capital and says the Ten Commandments should be posted in courtrooms around his state. He favors school prayer, argues that more troops should have been sent to Iraq and wants to seal the border with Mexico. He likes to tell a story about the time he campaigned at a bar called the Little Rebel, which had a Confederate flag and a parking lot full of pickup trucks adorned with National Rifle Association bumper stickers. When he went inside, as he tells it, a woman at the bar greeted him with a hug and exclaimed,

"Baby, we've been waiting to see you!" ...

There you have it...Harold Ford Jr. is actually campaigning as a conservative Republican. I'm astonished at the number of gay and progressive Democrats who say they are going to reward this bastard with their vote in November. It should be imperative for progressives who seek to move the Democratic Party back to the left to stop this dangerous politician now. He will do or say anything for political power. It would be a major setback for the struggle for social justice, separation of church and state, economic justice and equal rights to reward this kind of politician with a place in the U.S. Senate.


Ann Coulter: "Harold Ford Jr. is one of my favorite Democrats.."
CNBC's Kudlow & Co

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMDs

Unbelievable! The American people are so stupid, no wonder Bush was elected TWICE:

Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMDs
Gay Iraqi's Target by Shia Death Squads

Here is an example of Bush's "Democratic" Iraq
Gay Iraqi's Targeted by Shia Death Squads

And Iraq law protects the executioners, not the victims!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Harold Ford Jr. is now the official Demcratic Party candidate for U.S. Senate in November, but I willl not support him and neither should any "progressive" democrat. I've heard the excuses for supporting him: the Democrats need to take back the Senate, if they do take back Congress the Democrats will impeach Bush, we shouldn't vote for a third party candidate and help the Republicans win, etc..

Bullshit! Do people really think that conservative/centrist Democrats like Harold Ford Jr. will IMPEACH Bush/Cheney?? These "democrats" SUPPORTED the illegal invasion of Iraq! They SUPPORTED every dime of military spending to support the illegal invasion and occupation! They have supported almost every major piece of the Republican Agenda! (OK, EXCEPT stem cell research..)

Just look at the past few months:
Harold ford Jr. voted with 34 Democrats for the Republican ant-gay Federal Marriage Amendment
Harold Ford Jr. voted with 30 or so Democrats for the Republican "flag burning" amendment
Harold Ford Jr. voted with the same 39 Demcrats for the Republican bill to "protect" the theocratic "Under God" Pledge of Allegiance from Federal Courts.
Just last week, Harold Ford Jr. voted with the same 34 Democrats to support the REPUBLICAN legislation to raise the minimum wage ONLY BY CUTTING THE ESTATE TAXES FOR THE RICH! The wet dream of the Republican Party!

Why should we reward Democrats who vote like Republicans? Why should we reward anti-gay politics? Why should we verify their arguments that the only way for them to win is to support conservative positions on these issues? If we vote for him aren't we rewarding this kind of spineless DLC politics?

Nope, I'm not falling for this! I'm supporting the Green Party candidate Chris Lugo for Senate becuase he has a PROGRESSIVE PLATFORM, I'm not going to vote for a centrist/conservative Democrat again!

I'm updating my Stop Harold Ford Web Page and will continue my campaign against Harold Ford Jr. and the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Election Thoughts

Thanks to everyone who took the extra step of writing my name in for U.S. Senate Aug. 3. Assuming most of the write In votes were for me in this race, I think I got about 200 votes in Shelby County, not sure about the rest of the state. Have to wait until the final election results are published. (200 votes ain't bad for a write-in campaign with no money spent on advertising...last time I ran against Jr. in 2004 I got about 160 votes..)

As much as I would love to see the Democrats take back the Senate (it ain't gonna happen), I am supporting the REAL 'democratic' candidate for Senate in November, Green Party candidate Chris Lugo Look at his platform and ask why doesn't Harold Ford Jr. support these democratic principles?

Congrats to Steve Cohen and Steve Mulroy for their victories! There are still some progressive democrats in this state, and they can win elections!

Question, if Cohen wins the Senate in November, what happens to his TN Senate seat?

Who will be filling his shoes in Nashville?

Let's get Cohen elected to the Senate and Stop Amendment 1 in November!

I'm having a political identity crisis!
I'm going to be doing some serious thinking about whether to keep trying to work in the Democratic Party, or join the Socialist Party and support a party that shares my goals--Democratic Socialism.