Lincoln’s Legacy for GLBT Rights
Lincoln’s Legacy for GLBT Rights
Sparked by a debate with a Log Cabin Republican friend of mine, I began reviewing information surrounding the Civil Rights movement in the United States. It’s part of our history that stands very relevant to every member of the GLBT community. I was struck by the overwhelming realization that the Democratic Party is today what it is thanks largely to the efforts of moderate/liberal Democrats and the “Lincoln Republicans”. I know that before I even make these statements there are Republicans out there ready to pounce on the very thought that they are any different than they were in the 60’s. But, from what I see, it is the truth.
In 1960, when the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was put on the floor, 18 Southern Democrats tried hard to keep it from coming to a vote. After the longest filibuster in history it finally passed. Then, when Kennedy put forth Civil Rights legislation in 1963 it was not received well by Southern Democrats and by conservative Republicans. After Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson pushed the major bill through in 1964 along with high level of public support; we began to see those very conservative Southern Democrats migrate to the Republican party. As the Republican Party became more conservative, those who once would have been “Lincoln Republicans” were now more aligned with the ideals of the more socially conscious and liberal (by comparison) Democratic Party.
For me, this is when we began to truly see the Democratic and Republican parties we know today. Of course, we have seen minor fluctuations within each party to try to conform to cultural changes. But, the Democrats stand as the more liberal and the Republicans the most conservative. So, today as the GLBT community looks out to the political battle field hoping for a champion to help us win our equality, we typically find that our greatest allies are within the Democratic Party.
Are we misguided for putting our faith in a small select group of people? That is open for debate. But, as history has shown us, nothing happens without the outcry of public support. Lincoln knew that he would never win over everyone when it came to acknowledging the rights of the slaves, but he was willing to take our country to war to secure those liberties. His legacy lives on currently in the Democratic Party. Although there are Republicans who will quietly support GLBT rights, it’s definitely not a platform item that they hold up to the spotlight.
Our mission as the GLBT community is to raise the level of public outcry that will enable bi-partisan support of GLBT equality. President Obama and the members of Congress will be able to act only when they have confidence in overall public support. We as the GLBT community shouldn’t be standing around and waiting for someone to just make it happen. We all need to be Martin Luther King Jr. to our communities. We need to work together as Democrats, Log Cabin Republicans, Republicans, Independents or whatever party to which you feel allied. We need to be active in building VISIBLE support for GLBT equality. It’s one thing to have someone tell you they support it, it’s another to have them contact their congressman or stand up for GLBT rights at your work place, group or organization.
Lincoln’s legacy lives on currently with the Democratic Party. In many ways, it is our civil war to win equality. Support those who support you with their words and actions. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA are still very real. What have you done to help get them repealed? Take time to take action. Contact your congressman and tell him/her that the time for GLBT equality is NOW and that they have your support!
It’s Never That Bad
Reading today that Alexander McQueen had committed suicide, really made me truly sad. It is just a tragedy that anyone would reach the point to where they no longer feel like living. I’ll admit I’ve been really down at times where I felt that life was really pissing me off. I have felt that my world was just closing in on me. But, I’ve never been so low that I wanted to end my life.
Even now, as I sit here in the Midwest, with no job, no apartment and only hopes to keep me going, I’m no where near that point. Alexander had the world at his fingertips. His designs were loved and well received by the fashion world. He seemingly was doing well financially and had a new line about to be premiere. He had so much to live for! Apparently, his mother had passed away just a few days ago. I know how hard losing your mother can be. I lost my mother when she was only 42 years old from lung cancer. Losing her was and still is a process of getting through those feelings. Was that enough to push him to the brink of hopelessness?
I guess I’m thankful for being mentally stable enough to handle of my my current and previous life trials. I will persevere. I will come through all of this with a new sense of hope and inspiration. I admit I’m pretty anxious to get to that point. I’m looking forward to taking this experience and making myself stronger and wiser. That’s the key. Always remember that life is just a series of tests. There is always hope at the end of the tunnel.
Never give up. Never surrender. Smile like it’s the best day you have ever had and it soon will be!
Lifestyles of the Unemployed
It’s been 14 months since I was employed. My quest for new employment has been relentless. I have been utilizing every resource I can get my hands on but nothing ever seems to get anywhere. I’m not even being picky about the companies or the specific position I’m applying for anymore. I’m feeling extremely frustrated. With over 16 years of experience, you would think that it would be easy to get a new position - not so much.
I know that companies want to attempt to take advantage of the current economy and try to get the most highly credentialed people and pay them next to nothing. So, when I send in my resume for positions that I typically could have nailed, I’m getting no response. In one particular situation, the mid-level position I applied for was filled by someone with a PhD and 20 years of experience. That is absolutely insane!
So, in the shambles of my unemployed life, I’ve lost so much of my independence. That alone is enough to make me want ANY job to just get back to having my own life again. As I can no longer afford to have my own place, I’ve been staying with family while continuing to look for work. I’m grateful but it is definitely not the way I want to be living.
As for relationships, this has been a nightmare. For months after losing my job, my world was in such turmoil I didn’t know which end was up. After getting myself grounded once again, I guarded myself against getting too close to anyone so I didn’t have to make excuses or lie about my financial situation. I’ve been doing odd-jobs like pet sitting to get grocery and gas money. Who wants to tell someone they might be interested that “Yes, I’m a very experience and qualified professional marketing/PR guy who is walking dogs to buy food”? So, what do you do when you meet someone who you actually enjoy being with and who seems to enjoy being with you? I’ve been racking my brain over the whole thing for days. Point one: I want him to know that I’m not a loser. Point two: I can’t even speak to him face to face since I’m 500 miles away, so does it even matter? Point three: My attempts to get a new job and a new place to live have fallen flat so far. Is there any point in even worrying about the potential? Should I just back up and forget about any prospects of a happy personal life until I have a job and a place to live?
So, my world keeps spinning around. I sit her applying to almost every job posting in the DC area that I am in any way qualified for. I sit here
wondering, thinking, pondering, hoping…
Gay day on Capitol Hill
The National Equality March was here! Signs, flags, buttons, body paint and wild attire highlighted the landscape of people. There were members of the LGBT community and our allies as far as I could see. I looked to my right and saw actor Chad Allen pointing up to the sky. He was pointing at what some were calling a sign of our just purpose - a rainbow appearing in the clouds. I started snapping photos so I could document that it actually happened. In that moment, surrounded by thousands of other like-minded people, I felt so proud to be an out gay man. I felt proud to be standing up and demanding equal rights for myself and my gay brothers and sisters.
The overflowing energy of the crowd made me anxious to get the march started. I was even eager to smile happily at any protesters popping up along the way. But instead of protesters, the route was filled with supporters and well wishers. It was amazing. We did come across three men who were attempting to save our souls, but the large crowd diminished their shouts.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, we soon began to get a greater perspective on how many people were marching. The lawn in front of the Capitol was nearly filled, and we heard that the line of marchers stretched back about 15 blocks. We listened eagerly to speaker after speaker demanding equality for the LGBT community. It was emotionally uplifting and physically energizing. The sound of the massive crowd responding to remarks echoed across Capitol Hill. I had to wonder, though, what all of these people would do once they returned home.
Yes, we marched and rallied. We demonstrated that even though we sometimes disagree about how best to accomplish our goals, we can come together collectively to demand our equality. But what are all of my fellow marchers going to do to help in that fight? Yes, many of them are already actively involved. But what about those sitting back waiting for President Obama to just do it all for them? It’s my hope that many will realize that our equality won’t come if we sit back and yell for the President to just wave his pen and make it happen. It’s hard for me to respect the comments about President Obama not taking enough action when they are made by people who are doing nothing themselves. Standing up for your rights can’t stop just because the march is over. Barney Frank’s comments regarding the march have some validity. The real chance to gain our equality depends on what we all do in our own communities. Before you challenge President Obama, have a conversation with your representatives in Congress. President Obama is making it a matter of conversation. Are you? Take personal responsibility and keep demanding your rights.