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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The LGBT Community, Obama and McCain

By David Mixner -

Over the holidays there was plenty of time to look back on the debate that took place on the successful effort to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in Congress. Reflecting upon the debate the one thought that kept recurring over and over was, "Oh my God, John McCain could have been President of the United States!" Watching his anger-driven bigotry on the floor of the United States Senate against any movement for justice for gays and lesbians in the military should remind us all of the importance of our vote.
Clearly there was a dramatic difference between President Obama being elected over Senator McCain. While over the last two years there have been strong differences over such issues as strategy, priorities, response to court cases and hanging on to the last minute, we wouldn't have even been in the ball game if McCain had been elected. Instead our battle over the last two years most likely would have been defensive including fighting repressive laws and proposed Constitutional Amendments under a McCain presidency.
Much is being made of a 'leaked poll' on The Huffington Post that is being heralded as how strong President Obama was in the LGBT community before the DADT vote. In actuality what the poll shows is that he had dropped over 20% from his vote in the community in 2010. A drop of that size is significant and could have ramifications in a Presidential election in 2012. Members of the LGBT community were not happy with the lack of progress. The recent unscientific poll on showed that the President has made a complete turn around from a similar poll taken just two months ago. He went from a 70% plus disapproval to a current 54% approval and only 20% disapproval. Clearly the passage of the DADT legislation has made a difference.
Looking forward to 2012 we should keep the image of the difference between McCain and Obama in December firmly in our minds. However that does not mean we relax the pressure on the administration to do the right thing over the next two years. There are a number of issues the President must come to terms with before the next election. He must end his shameful "marriage is between a man and a woman" stance, increase our high level appointments, exert more control and review in the Justice Department, fight for Transgender rights and add his voice clearly and strongly in individuals local and state battles for full equality.
Freedom blossoms in a good environment including having someone who will at least listen. There is no question that the election of President Obama was light-years better than that of Senator McCain. We should be working hard over the next two years to create an environment where the President not only listens but is compelled to take action.

for more from David visit Live from Hell's Kitchen.


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