Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Vote or Not To Vote? Do we punish the Dems at our own peril?

Well, folks, here we are again with one week left to decide who we're going to support in the mid-term elections and a lot of us queers find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma: How do we express our anger and frustration at the Democrats, but keep the Republicans from regaining control of both houses of congress?

Over the last year and a half I've been telling readers not to support politicians that don't support LGBT equality and that if you don't vote, it's all your fault. I still feel that way. I believe that voting is a civic duty. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to take the time every Election Day to go to our local polling place and cast our vote for the man or woman that best represents our views, then hope for the best.

Like most of us in the LGBT community, I am thoroughly disgusted with the Democrats, but the thought of returning to the failed policies, abuse of power, blatant disregard for the constitution and general ass-hattery of the Bush years is unacceptable.

The Associated Press reported on Sunday that an angry gay electorate could cost the Dems dearly this time around. AP's Tammy Webber writes, "If Democratic candidates are counting on long-standing support from gay voters to help stave off big losses on Nov. 2, they could be in for a surprise."

Webber continues, "Across the country, activists say gay voters are angry - at the lack of progress on issues from eliminating employment discrimination to uncertainty over serving in the military to the economy - and some are choosing to sit out this election or look for other candidates."

Okay, we've finally gotten their attention, after two years of yelling and screaming and marching and letter writing and lobbying and boycotting and chaining ourselves to fences and sit-ins. Now that they need us again to keep their jobs, the Democrats are hard pressed to come up with a single reason why we should support them this time. They know they've let us down and they know we're not going to let them get away with it. At issue here is whether we let ourselves be guided by our anger or step back and look at the big picture.

Bilerico's Joe Mirabella sums it up this way, "While I understand the anger, and am extraordinarily disappointed by the lack of movement on our issues during the last two years, are we really prepared for two or more years of Republican control at the federal level and, perhaps worse, the loss of Democratic majorities at the state level?"

A recent Newsweek poll of likely voters shows that the Democrats' approval rating is up slightly at 48%, with the Republicans at 42%. Given the margin of error of 3-4%, that makes this a tight election year. Our votes could make the difference between having a House and Senate that might still help us get closer to reaching our goals or a return to being ruled by right wing obstructionists.

In a half-assed attempt to pacify an angry LGBT community and perhaps pick up some support next week, President Obama released his own "It Gets Better" video last week and followed up this week by releasing a set of recommendations to schools about how bullying should be handled. The UK's Pink News Reports:
"The new advice for schools and colleges comes shortly after President Obama recorded a video for the It Gets Better project, which aims to encouraged bullied gay teenagers.
Officials said that the new advice does not break legal ground. Instead, it is a comprehensive guide to how civil rights law applies to schools, colleges and university campuses.
It also tells teachers and university officials how federal law regards situations of harassment and discrimination, and how institutions should deal with cases."
My first response to this overture is that every step forward counts, but the cynical part of me says that this is just one more case of the president appearing to do something for us, while actually doing nothing. Obama knows he has let us down. He knows we're pissed off. That's why he sent his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to the annual HRC Dinner a few weeks back and sends her out to face the music for him in the press.

I'm not going to tell you how to vote. Frankly, I haven't quite made up my mind about how I'm going to vote this year, but I will go to the polls, as I always do, and cast my vote. I don't want to be a single-issue voter, but if I was, my choice would be clear. Instead, I'll weigh all of the issues, and consider the possible outcomes. The economy is a big issue for all of us this year and will play a big part in my decision-making process. I hate to reward the democrats for throwing the LGBT community under the bus in order to save their own sorry asses. I have given serious thought to changing my party affiliation from Democrat to Independent, which I'll most likely do after the election.

One thing is certain, I will vote this year and I ask you to do the same.
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  1. I agree with your points Steven. We cannot generalize that all democrats have turned away from us either,there are some (a few..)very supportive ones, and there are other candidates out there (independents..) who are sometimes more on our side than anyone else running. Simply because we can or cannot have a fully-full equality minded candidate should not dictate if we vote or not. Staying home and whining or trying to get revenge by doing so is ludicrous and should never be an option for our community. That wreaks of apathy and laziness.I to say...GET OUT AND VOTE Queer Roanoke!!

  2. While I think it's important to vote I don't feel it's a duty, more like a right one we have to choice of using or not. I feel I must remind both Frank and Steve that a vote cast for any candidate is our way of giving our support that candidate based on what they've promised to do for us to make our lives better.... That being the case it's them that decide what to promise us. Delivering on those promises is whats expected from them.. I feel we've been sold a bill of goods for year after year now promise after promise and all have gone unfulfilled and and yet we continue to keep voting for the Democratic candidates year after year after they fill us full of the same ole promises each election cycle, that has lead to us being taken for granted and thus they Democrats knows they can promise us anything whatever it is we wanta hear that year and without any intention by them of fulfilling said promises and guess what we'll keep voting for them again year after year. This has been the situation for years now and it's time for it to STOP. We have become the abused wife who keeps believing he won't hit me again he promised well it's time we stand up for our selfs.....and if that means the Democrats losing the house this year then so be it...believe me nothing is going to be any different then it is now..I mean come on we haven't gotten shit done with them having control so them not having control should look about the same. I bet you once the midterms are done and they lose the house. If it turns out it's because we didn't show up to vote they'll stop taking us for granted. I also bet you the next time they promise us something to get our vote they'll known they better damn well deliver. This is a lesson for the Democrats that need to be taught. With that said I'd say don't vote just to be voting, just to help a Democratic keep his office/cushy Gov job. If theres a candidate that speaks to you then vote for them.

  3. Good points, Brandi. We have no reason to believe the Dems are going to come thru for us this time, any more than they have in the past. Maybe we need to teach them a lesson this time and make them come crawling back begging in 2012, when Obama is up for re-election.


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