I got up this morning to hear Howard Dean address the YearlyKos conference this morning. It occured to me I might have the chance to ask him a question related to the discussion from the LGBT caucus earlier. So I popped my microphone on my iPod to record the exchange. Unfortunately, I was one of the people still lined up to ask questions when time ran out.
But, I’d recorded Dean’s speech earlier, so I decided to borrow a page from Andrew Sullivan and did a little podfisking.
It’s a little rough, so please be kind. I tried to add an audio player, but for some reason every plugin that I tried sped up the audio speed so that I sounded like a chipmunk on helium. Other than that, enjoy.
Am I wrong about this? Someone asked me today what kind of answer I’d have wanted to hear if I’d gotten to ask Dean my question.
Honestly, what it comes down to for me is this. I’m not asking the Democrats or anyone to make same-sex marriage their top priority. I’ve got it through my head that it’s just not going to matter that much to most people. What I want is to hear that Democrats aren’t going to run from the issue, that they aren’t going to dismiss it as “not important,” and that they’re going to equivocate when it comes to equality. When and where it comes up, I want to hear that they’re going to to say plainly that discrimination is wrong, period, and has no place in our laws or constitution.
What I hear from the progressive netroots is pretty much that if Democrats have to put our issues on the back burner, and reach out to more conservative voters, in order to get back into power, we should understand that, and help them win so that they can move those issues forward later. I keep asking how they’re going to do that and stay in power if they have a new, more conservative, conservative constituency that won’t let them do that and stay in power. I keep asking how this doesn’t add up to a more conservative Democratic party.
The answer that I get from the netrootsy types is that it’s “our job” to shift public opinion so that it’s “safe” for Democratic leaders to stand up on those issues. Well, if we’re out and we’re educating our friends, family, and communities about our issues and how they affect our lives, we’re already doing our job. It took me this long to figure out what the netrootsy types were saying: from now on progress on our issues is our job and nobody else’s.
Fine. So let’s take our job up a notch. Let’s start an organized effort to support and reward those candidates (leaving parties out of it for now) who have the courage of their convictions — or who even have convictions — when it comes to our issues.
That’s the kind of gay netroots I’m talking about.