Tag Archives: Election 2012

Hero of the Week Award: November 9, American Voters

9 Nov

Hero of the Week

Despite the billions of (often anonymous–thank you Citizens United) dollars poured into this year’s elections, democracy prevailed. It did so largely because millions of people participated in the democratic process, voting their hearts and consciences despite the bleating ads and cynical lies.

The racist and oppressive attempts to intimidate voters and suppress turnout had a splendidly ironic effect. Turnout — especially for early voting — was high and the minority communities targeted specifically refuted the attempts. Many exit polls indicated that Latino and African American voters specifically made the effort to vote — even when disenchanted by their choices — to reinforce their constitutional right to vote in the face of efforts to disenfranchise them. Almost without exception, these voters repudiated the Tea Party right and supported the President. While the final outcome might not have changed, results in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida (at least) were helped enormously by this turnout.

And what a result! Not only did the Tea Party suffer major defeats (Goodbye, Reps. Walsh and West!) but the overall results were progressive. The new Senators are almost universally to the left of the people they replace, including wonderful people-powered winners like Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren. Women repudiated the Republican attacks on their minds and bodies, demonstrating a gender gap and voting power never seen before. Thanks in part to the President’s bold leadership, gay rights — which should never be put to a vote but sadly still are — saw unprecedented victories with marriage equality ruling the day.

Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and Citizens United poured huge sums of money into this election. They lost the top of the ticket, failed to take the Senate, and lost ground in the House. Ballot measures around the county routinely favored the people over corporate power and greed. We have a long way to go, and the President — despite his mandate — has a hostile House to contend with, but the message is clear and the direction is sound.  I am enormously relieved to see that a platform of hate and marginalization of so many people failed!

Elections and Celebrations: Inclusion beats Division

7 Nov

The hug felt round the world.

I have to confess, I was more nervous yesterday evening than I realized. When the media began to call the election for President Obama, I felt so relieved. A message of hope still resonated enough to bring victory. The President coasted to a solid electoral victory and is winding up with a comfortable popular vote edge. Now he has a chance to build on the past four years, continuing to move us past the mess he inherited and pushing real reforms.

The message was broader that just the Presidency. Numerous votes last night sent the same message. Inclusion beats division.

Despite defending more than twice as many seats, the Democrats stand to gain strength in the Senate. Not just in numbers, but in quality, as people like Joe Lieberman were replaced by quality Senators like Chris Murphy. The 19 (maybe 20) women in the next Senate sets a record. One of those women, Tammy Baldwin, will be the first openly gay senator.

Gay rights also ruled the ballot box. For the first time ever states began to put inclusion on the books as Maryland and Maine comfortably passed marriage equality measures. Washington looks poised to do the same. Minnesota is on the brink of being the first state to shoot down a one-man-one-woman constitutional amendment. Despite the same tired old lies, inclusion beat division.

The pundits (especially on the right) will point to the margins of victory and say the President does not have a mandate. The electoral landscape disagrees. The cynical right lost and lost big. Tea party candidates cost the Republicans two Senate seats (Indiana and Missouri). Strong messages of inclusion allowed people-powered candidates like Elizabeth Warren to emerge victorious. Even though the Republicans held the House — and Michele (I spent 18 million dollars to barely win) Bachmann clung onto her seat by the tips of her claws — two of the nastiest members — Joe Walsh (IL) and Allen West (FL) — were defeated. The victors weren’t blue dogs or DINOs, either; they are strong Democrats who believe in the President and his message of hope and reform.

The demographics are also encouraging. As Democratic pundit Van Jones remarked, “the coalition held.” Younger voters, voters of color, women, and other minorities showed up in strength despite all the predictions and helped drive the results. Despite all the efforts on the right to make people vote against their own best interests, inclusion beat division.

Elections have consequences. The message of this election is clear. Bipartisanship does not mean giving in to the far right at every turn. Coalitions must be built and progress must come more quickly. The President’s policies were given a mandate. Congress needs to work with him to enact them and forge a stronger nation with greater opportunities for all.

Bigot of the Week Award: November 2, Rev. John McTernan

2 Nov

Bigot of the Week

Curses! Another practitioner of far-right religious rituals has gleaned insight into the power of the Gay Agenda! Thank you to my friend and LGBT ally CJ Hurley for inspiring me to write this story. This week the Not-So-Rev. John McTernan, host of the website Defend and Proclaim the Faith, discovered that the mere hint of marriage equality was sufficient to create SuperStorm Sandy. While watching the news (one shudders to think what network he prefers), this nasty KKKristian saw a story on the impending hurricane in the Northeast followed by what he took to be a sign from God. President Obama, following up on his party’s platform and his personal statements, endorsed the three marriage equality initiatives in next week’s elections. Clearly, the two must be related. Sound the warning! Jesus is weeping, and his tears will flood the Sodom known as Manhattan!

Ordinarily, a penny ante preacher like McTernan wouldn’t merit elevation to BWA. Sadly, he is media savvy enough to blend the election, the storm, and the threat of the Gays — a perfect media moment. He’s received huge amounts of attention by being the latest in a sad series to blame death and destruction on the LGBT community. With a nice twist, he managed to blame the President, too. Racist much?

The hypocrisy of the so-called community of faith around civil rights is palpable. All three state marriage initiatives have been receiving strong support. In the last week, huge ad campaigns opposing equality have suddenly appeared. They play the fear card (Gays are coming for your kids! Teachers will have to talk about gay sex!) which has worked so well in the past. And they are largely funded by fundamentalists and out-of-state Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus. Let’s show McTernan and his ilk that America is tired of their ballot box bullying and get a pro-marriage sweep on Tuesday.

P.S. – a related thank you to my friend Madeleine for sending me this lovely link that shows how Gay Power can be harnessed for good!

Romney, Man of Mittstery!

1 Nov

Presto! Changeo! Pay no attention to the candidate in front of the curtain…

With less than a week to go before Election Day, you would think that the challenger would be doing everything he could to clarify and push his positions. Not the mysterious Mr. Romney! In the past month he has given precisely one interview (a five-minute puff piece with Newsmax); he has answered exactly ZERO questions from the press pool that travels with him. All his statements are carefully prepared and scripted. The situation became so absurd during this week’s FEMA questions that a frustrated reporter exclaimed:

Governor, you’ve been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?

Of course, in that case silence probably made more sense than admitting that he would gut the Agency that was actually helping millions of people…

Another reasonable explanation is that he simply isn’t able to remember what he’s supposed to say anymore without a script. Romney (destroyer of civil rights and social justice) has changed his positions on so many things so many times during his campaign that keeping track of what he’s pandering this week must be a real struggle. And imagine if he told folks in Ohio the lies he was saving for Florida. How embarrassing would that be? Bless his little heart.

Romney’s reticence coupled with his debate duplicity has journalists (finally) calling him out on a regular basis. His lies about Chrysler’s plans to offshore Jeep production brought howls of derision from reporters and flat, substantiated denials from the company. Even on script he’s still getting into trouble.

Sadly, even his spokespeople can’t be counted on. When former Sen. Norm Coleman (R – MN) stumped for Romney at the Republican Jewish Coalition, he tried to reassure them that a Romney administration wouldn’t be ruled by GOP right-wing fundamentalists. His example? Romney’s stand on abortion, you know, the one that he only expresses when another Republican says something insane about rape. Poor ol’ Norm, however, got caught in the standard speaking for Romney trap and had to walk back his vague comments, reminding reporters that he was “speaking for Norm Coleman” while he campaigned…(wait for it)…for Mitt Romney.

The only way we will ever know what a President Romney would actually do is if by some misfortune we get stuck with one. I think I can live with the mystery.

Hero of the Week Award: September 7, Michelle Obama

7 Sep

Hero of the Week

First Lady Michelle Obama has been celebrated before on TSM and it is such sheer pleasure to celebrate her again.  Her opening night speech at the DNC was nothing less than phenomenal!  She is amazingly candid and authentic.  This is not a Stepford Wife.  Our First Lady is her own woman who loves her family and loves her country.  Her candor allows us to see how human she is and that she is a spitfire,which I love. Her speech leaves us all inspired and hopeful.  Michelle Obama’s speech is being hailed as one of the best convention speeches delivered in the Modern Era.

While, yes, I did cry while hearing her speech (she actually made me proud to be an American), I was also in awe of her ability to really reach all Americans and all families — the poor, the middle class, black, white, multi-racial, gay, straight, Jews, Latino, veterans — she spoke to America and the very rich and complicated fabric of people who make up this country.  At no time did she “other” (marginalize) any population.  Her inclusion of speaking to all Americans speaks to making the entire country feeling safe — that no one will be scapegoated.  Her simply mentioning decency, dignity, and integrity and “how we need to value everyone’s contributions,” easily starts the water works for me.

I need to add that she wrote her own speech and declined to accept the speech written for her.  Yes, she wrote:

Being President does not change who you are; it reveals who you are.

For me the choice is quite easy. I will vote for President Obama because he is truly working for and representing ALL Americans. He has not vowed to take away my rights as a gay man, nor will he repeal the rights of women, or protect only the wealthiest of Americans.  President Obama is truly working for all of us.

If you have not seen First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech, click here to see it.

Election 2012: Compare the Candidates with Your Own Positions

3 Jan

Let the voter beware!

As the nation prepares to have the Republican slate of Presidential candidates become even more confusing with today’s Iowa Caucuses, TSM has found a useful tool for understanding where all the hopefuls stand on eleven key issues. This very useful matching tool presents a simple question (as it might be framed in a debate) and then gives a number of possible answers. After selecting the best match for each topic, the user is presented with a top three match. The candidates included are the seven active Republicans (Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Romney, Santorum) and President Obama. This provides one with the opportunity not just to see where the Republicans stand, but to see just how different our President is than those who would compete with him.

As with any tool, this one has its flaws, but they are minor given how clearly it illustrates the intentions of the candidates. TSM’s biggest objection is the heavy focus on things that have cropped up in recent budget battles (taxes, Medicare, Social Security, Defense) at the expense of any mention of job creation and the limited presentation of civil rights (marriage equality, but nothing on reproductive choice (talk about misogyny) or freedom of speech and assembly). Based on the way the tool works, this is probably a result of needing clear statements from all the candidates on any issue presented, but it still leaves some big questions about all eight included hopefuls. The other challenge  also arises from the way the answers are provided. In at least three cases, we were unable to pick a single answer that matched our preferred position and had to select “None of the above” (For example, the question on immigration I checked “none of the above” because all of the options were blatantly racist, as none of the options regarding marriage equality were acceptable). This is because the options given are real answers from the candidates. If your answer isn’t there, none of them would be a perfect match. It is easy, however, to highlight each candidate’s stand on each issue for more information.

Come November, we’ll have to choose between President Obama and one of the sailors on the Republican ship of fools. There will be a lot of noise and confusion between now and then. Let’s be careful to remember where the candidates really stand on the important issues.

Click here to take the quiz yourself.

%d bloggers like this: