Friday, March 28, 2008

Back to the crossroads

PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Hellebrand of Rotterdam

I jumped on my wayback machine this morning to remember the moment long before Super Tuesday that crystalized my strident opposition to Obama, the No. 1 reason Barry never made my short list and never will: Donnie McClurkin.

As I flew through the liberal blogosphere in reverse, I found from October of 2007, like-mindedness from bloggers, some of whom have since flipped:

All might have been forgotten or forgiven between Barack Obama and the netroots over gospel singer/'gay-basher' Donnie McClurkin's appearance at an Obama Columbia, SC, gospel concert 10/28, but the fact that McClurkin emceed the event and reportedly "turned the final half hour of the three-hour concert into a revival meeting" became the last straw for many in the community. Reactions include:

* AMERICAblog's John Aravosis: "Obama's anti-gay religious right activist used the opportunity Obama gave him last night to preach his hate to thousands of African-Americans. That's just great. And the white preacher who Obama picked to help explain to the audience that gays aren't minions of Satan? CNN reports that he said nothing at all -- just a short little prayer, then he left. ... So, in the end, Obama let his "best" and "favorite" artist slam gays to thousands of African-Americans, in his name, and neither he nor his hand-chosen white gay preacher said anything in response. Class act, that Obama campaign."

* DailyKos' founder Markos Moulitsas: "It's an all-out implosion by the Obama campaign. This truly is indefensible."

* Open Left's Matt Stoller: "Obama's not a homophobe, he is probably more comfortable around gay people than any presidential candidate and he has a great record on LGBT rights. It is a significant incident though, because it's about priorities. ... This looks like Obama is giving a wink and a nod to bigots. ... It's not about positions and it never has been about positions, it's about constituencies and identity, and prioritizing your values. And it's not an accident, it's a choice."

* Atrios: "A fascinating thing about Democratic politics is that progressive activists, especially those in marginalized groups, are expected sit down and shut up and take it because they're supposed to be smart enough to know that nods and winks to bigots are just crass political maneuvers that candidates make to court votes."

* Fire Dog Lake's Jane Hamsher: "Obama's message of hope and bipartisanship stays positive by letting proxies do his dirty work for him. Sorry, no sale here."

* Pastor Dan at Daily Kos: "I tried to defend -- or at least recontextualize -- Barack Obama's association with Donnie McClurkin the other day, but the latest revelations are just too much. Clearly, Obama has thrown his lot in with defending a bigoted fathead. I kept hoping that he would take the appropriate steps to distance himself from said bigoted fathead, without much luck. If anything, he's even more tightly wrapped up in McClurkin now."

Obama's campaign did not help their cause by giving MSMers a three-page memo which included the following in all caps: "MCCLURKIN DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE GAYS AND LESBIANS WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR LIVES AND HAS CRITICIZED CHURCH LEADERS WHO DEMONIZE HOMOSEXUALS." AMERICAblog's John Aravosis responds: "So David Duke's only problem, per the Obama campaign, is that he vilifies the happy Jews and the happy blacks? Keep digging, guys. Obama keeps making clear that he hasn't learned his lesson, he doesn't understand what he did wrong, and he will continue to coddle those who attack our community so long as it wins him votes and money."

The memo even led Open Left's Chris Bowers to stop defending Obama: "This isn't simply a mistake, despite what I first wrote. If the Obama campaign is not only keeping McClurkin as the headliner of the concert, but also issuing memos defending his views, producing videos endorsing McClurkin before the event, and then allowing McClurkin to emcee the event, it is pre-meditated, not a mistake."

I guess Hillary-hatred trumps everything. Amazing.

I can forgive missteps and overlook past errors, but I will not vote for anyone who panders to homophobes. That's a deal-breaker. I've heard the excuses and how Obama has allegedly redeemed himself by reaffirming gay/lesbian-friendly policies. But I don't trust his 'homophobic mishaps' compounded by the sexist crap that's rolled out of his mouth and through his campaign minions' teeth.

I solidly support Hillary who has marched in Gay Pride parades and openly declared her support for equal rights including a repeal of sections two and three of DOMA [cached text if the site won't load]. She's not a perfect candidate, but on LGBT rights coupled with women's issues among other positions, she eclipses Obama. Go read reporter Eric Resnick's experience with the BO's campaign. I'm sure others would argue for Barack but do us both a favor... Save it. I'm done arguing.

If Sen. Hillary Clinton does not win the Democratic nomination, which means I'll vote for a non-Democratic, alternative progressive candidate, then so be it. I will not vote for Obama.

I have sacrificed my vote for the greater good, a practice I've had to undertake with a pinched nose in the polling booth time after time. I've served my country long enough.