Saturday, October 10, 2009

Greetings from Our Nation's Capital

I haven't been writing in the blog much this year — I've been busy with other projects, and, quite honestly, I kind of lost steam after Barack Obama's inauguration instantaneously solved all the world's problems: Mission Accomplished! However, there's just something about the autumn that rekindles the political spirit. Maybe it's the approaching High Holy Day, the day after the first Monday of November, although the biggest issue I'll be voting on next month is whether to add city-owned billboards to a two-block stretch of downtown San Francisco. In any case, I find myself in Our Nation's Suburb due East of the Capital. I'm in the 'burbs 'cause it's way cheaper, but I'm in metro Washington to attend tomorrow's National Equality March for LGBT rights.

A number of my friends decided not to attend the March this year, in part from concern that the focus may be overly centered on the issues of marriage equality and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." They point out — quite rightly — that universal health care is an issue with far greater direct impact on the substantial majority of LGBT people than marriage and DADT combined. However, the March tomorrow is not just about marriage and military service. It also includes health care (and specifically the fact that it remains illegal for men who have sex with men to donate blood), employment discrimination, housing discrimination, hate crimes, and more generally the relegation of LGBT people to second-class citizenship. We are created equal, and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, but the political establishment, and especially the Republican Party of the last three decades, have been loath to acknowledge that equality and those rights. For the first time in half a generation, the Democratic Party controls the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Sure, there are other important issues in our country, but our President has shown the ability to multitask — I'd be willing to bet that he could even walk and chew gum at the same time, if he put his mind to it — and also there are strong tie-ins of specific LGBT issues with broader national issues. For example, facing two wars and the unending threat of further terrorist attacks, can we really afford to toss out qualified military personnel (including, for example, Arabic translators), just because they stand up and say, "I'm gay"? In an economic crisis worse than any in two generations, employment security is a key issue that every American can relate to.

I'll post more about the March, and maybe some photos, in the next few days. Until then, I'll see you on the National Mall.

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