There Is No Bus To Crawl Out From Under

“Consider the hour-glass; there is nothing to be accomplished by rattling or shaking; you have to wait patiently until the sand, grain by grain, has run from one funnel into the other.”

John Christian Morgenstern~

In the past few weeks, I have watched with growing alarm as the LGBT community has suddenly decided that the Obama administration has thrown us under the bus because of decisions that are being made that we don’t particularly agree with.  Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been pleased with the lack of effort coming out of the White House, but I am doing something that the rest of the community has seemed to have forgotten….I am practicing patience.

We were forced, as a community, to be patient for the 8 years of the Bush administration, but it seems that once President Obama took office in January, we seemed to have thrown that out the window and expected instantaneous change on the federal level.  And this was probably not helped by the sudden changes at the state level in Iowa, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.    The point that I’m trying to make is this….it’s only been 5 months.  We need to all chill out a little.  After living in fear under the Bush years, this guy is still better.  But think about it….Lincoln didn’t even free the slaves this fast.  It wasn’t until 1863 that he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation (which only freed slaves in the states that were revolting) and 1865 when the 13th amendment to the Constitution was ratified outlawing slavery altogether.  And it wasn’t until 1963, when President Kennedy sent his first civil rights bill to Congress though he had run on a pro-civil rights platform.  Kennedy’s 1963 bill became known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was signed by President Johnson (Kennedy having been assassinated the year before).

So my fellow citizens, remember that things like this take time.  The current administration is friendlier to us than the last one.  We should keep a dialogue open with the administration to let them know how we feel.  Today, President Obama is signing a Memorandum that will extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, though it won’t include full health-care coverage.  A Memorandum is different than an Executive Order.  A Memorandum automatically expires when Obama is no longer President.  An Executive Order can only be overturned with another Executive Order.  Already there is grumbling saying that this isn’t good enough and doesn’t go far enough.  And yes, I do agree.  However, again, I am keeping to a level-headed mindset.  Though it doesn’t go far enough in my opinion, it’s better than what we had before….which was nothing, and it’s a step in the right direction.  Even though we might not completely like it or agree with it, even the smallest of steps in our favor are important.  We must not forget that.

Now concerning the administration’s statement on the “Defense of Marriage Act” case after the Department of Justice dismissed it….I will say that I was a bit caught of guard by how they were comparing us.  It definitely sounded like something out of the right-wing anti-gay handbook.  However, with my own judgment, I have decided to go with that it was just poorly worded and came out completely wrong.  I mean, come on…how many of us have had arguments with friends because of something that we said that came out wrong?  It happens to us all.  We need to remember that.  And we need to remember that the President is human, as his the people of his administration, and that they are going to flubs just like the rest of us.  “To err is human.”  And if you look back through our history, you will notice that administrations tend to side with the law….even laws they don’t agree with and want to overturn.  Why?  Because it’s their job to uphold the laws and the Constitution.  If there is something that is wrong, then they need to work the proper way to get it corrected….but in the meantime, they must still follow and uphold the laws.  It is their job and their responsibility.  They are not above the law….and therefore, they don’t get to pick and choose which laws to obey and which ones they don’t.

The Obama admininstration has had a lot on its plate since it first took office in January.  We were having an economic meltdown that was global in scale.  All efforts needed to be focused there to attempt to get things to stabilize first.  Yes, my rights are important….don’t get me wrong with that.  They are top of the list.  But I also want to make sure that I still my job tomorrow.  A friend of mine has been unemployed since late last year.  And I know that his rights as a gay man are very important to him, but I also know that getting a new job and getting back to work is also important to him.  Our quest for our rights will still be continuing tomorrow and the day after that.  So let’s get the economy to stabilize and get the unemployed back to work.

Today’s Memorandum for federal employees, though it doesn’t go far enough in my opinion, is at least a step in the right direction.  This is the first action taken by the administration into the uncharted and stormy waters of our quest for equal rights.  I do not  believe for one instant that this will be all that is yet to come.  I do believe that we have a friend in the White House, and that if we’d all stop shouting long enough, then maybe we could listen to each other and work up a common dialogue.  The Senate is expected to pass the Matthew Shepard Act (hate crimes), which President Obama has said that he will sign.  And though we’d like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be overturned, plans need to be in place and ready to go for when that happens, and that takes time.  Yes, I agree with all of you, that he should at least put an immediate stop to the discharges under it, at least.

“There are times when God asks nothing of His children except silence, patience and tears.”

C. S. Robinson~

We have shed many tears together over the years and we have been forced to be patient during some of them, as well.  So I’m asking you not to give up on our current administration yet.  Don’t think that we are being thrown under a bus.  Things take time.  The wheels for the LGBT community are just now beginning to turn on the federal level after having been dormant for the past 8-years.  Yes, we’d like them to turn faster, but in the grand scheme of things, we should know that’s not the way history usually plays out.  As we used to sit in our History classes and learn about the Civil Rights Movement, it always seemed that everything kind of happened in a progressive order at a good pace.  But if you were to ask those that had to live through it, they would tell you that we are only at the very beginning of our journey.  The one thing that I do know for sure is that we will not be silent.  We have found our voice, and we are on the move.  But in that process we must remember that every little step in our direction should be celebrated….even if we don’t think it went far enough or agree with it entirely, we must look to history and precedence that has been set forth, and, most importantly, we must remember patience.

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

Edmund Burke~


8 Responses to There Is No Bus To Crawl Out From Under

  1. Allison says:

    Well said. I totally agree with you.

  2. Misanthrope1 says:

    Sorry, we’ve waited too long. This President promised the world. Maybe he should start delivering. I’m not willing to wait. If Obama can go to fundraisers, banter with ten year olds, and jet set with his wife, he can pay attention to the GLBT community. He has a Democratic house and senate. He has everything he needs except the will. And his DOJ compared same sex marriage to pedophila and incest. No more money to candidates unless they support us whole heartedly. And we can elect another President. You may be satisfied with a crumb from the Master’s table. Many of us , unemployed or not, poor or not, are not. And I fit the unemployed, poor category.

    • James S. says:

      I never said I was happy with just a “crumb”…I’m far from it. However, I also look at things realistically and realize that things aren’t going to change overnight. The chance of a candidate that fully supported LGBT rights getting elected would be fairly slim. Yes, he promised the world, but many candidates do that (not usually on our issues) and other things kept getting worse while we waited.

      Yes the DOJ comment was bad….as I stated. It was badly worded and I’m hoping that they just misspoke with those words. I know I’ve misspoken before…and I’m sure you have, too. None of us are perfect in that regard.

      And yes, he does have a Democrat-controlled House and Senate; however, you are forgetting something important. You need 60 votes in the Senate to block a filibuster from the Republicans…and the Democrats don’t have that. We only have 59 right now…until Al Franken gets seated from Minnesota. And even then things are iffy…since there are conservative Democrats (like Sen. Nelson of Nebraska). And also Sen. Kennedy is still out most of the time as he recovers from his brain tumor. The House wouldn’t be so much of a problem…it’s the Senate where things would get bogged down. So why do something now when the votes aren’t there when you can possibly wait a few more months to a year when the votes are, and then you can shove it down the opposition’s throat.

      I’m never happy with a small crumb. If you read me enough, you’ll see that. But I’m choosing to look at something with a logical and rational mind and sound judgment. I’m smart enough to realize things like this don’t change overnight, but we are making progress. And every small step turns into a bigger step. I’m not satisfied with a crumb, but I do know that with that crumb, if done right, we can turn it into the full meal deal. Time is firmly on our side…as opinions are now starting to finally shift in our favor.

  3. Richard Bosler says:

    My partner of 31 years and I are not in our 20’s, or 30’s, we don’t have time to wait anymore. The president made promises during the campaign giving the impression that it was on HIS PLATE. DOMA consists of what, one or two sentences? How long does it take to write a couple of sentences that will invalidate DOMA?

    If you have experienced gay life beginning in the 50’s then you do NOT have too much time left to play patty cake.

    We need another Harvye Milk, not a bunch of apologists as leaders.

  4. John says:

    I understand where our blogger is coming from. And I think that it is important that we have seen much friendlier treatment in this first five months than we have in 8 years.

    I think that this country is not really ready for quick change. Obama will eventually do more for the LGBT Community. And I understand that things can be frustrating but if let’s see in a year from now how things are. If DADT is overturned and DOMA is overturned, then won’t you all be surprised.

  5. jud says:

    How is legally comparing marriage to incest better than bush? I’m sorry, I disagree with you.

  6. Elizabeth Beier says:


    Ah yes, I remember this one — your deliciously controversial post.

    There are places where I agree and places where I disagree with you. I definitely agree that we should NOT give up on President Obama yet. As he said in the White House on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots, we should not judge his dedication to our community by the promises he makes, but by looking back on his term. I believe he does support our community (in spite of some jaw-wrenchingly awful comparisons in that brief he signed), and that RIGHT NOW is the best moment we’ve had to fight for our rights in years.

    I must admit that “patient” does not describe how I feel right now… perhaps because to me, the word “patient” sounds passive. But I don’t think we should be histrionic or say all is lost. I think we are right to be angry at offenses to our community, no matter who makes them — and to continue fighting for our rights, same as we always have been. And we know it will take time, but rather than “patient”, I aspire to be “persistent”.

    I am looking forward to the President taking action to defend the rights of LGBT Americans, especially signing the Matthew S Act. Because as my boss from work says, it’s not acceptable for a man to ride on the backs of LGBT Americans by promising them rights on his way to the white house, and then turn around and compare gay marriage to bestiality when he is there. So, I will be persistent and look forward to better up ahead.

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