Thursday, June 25, 2009

Life’s Little Dilemmas

Man, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.

First I get into an argument with a good friend over whether to express my anger at Obama for turning his back on gays. (If you don’t know the story, Wayne Besen has a good summary on the Huffington Post.)

My friend wants me to see the glass half full, see Obama as by far the lesser evil, etc. Obama’s got too much on his plate. Give him time. Let him call the shots. Trust him to support you in the long run, yada yada. Give up on Obama and you’re giving the Republicans a foot in the door.

A head vs. heart dilemma. Should we reason that putting gay rights on the table only furthers the interests of the anti-Obama forces? Or should we take the damn-the-torpedoes approach? Should pure reason always prevail? Is this pure reason? Are you sure it’s not faulty reasoning? Is one never to listen to the heart? What are the larger consequences here to giving up the battle so one doesn’t lose the war? How is giving up justified? Does it not encourage others to give up and if everybody gives up doesn’t that make losing all the more certain? You’re making me dizzy, girl.

Then I got into an argument with another friend over whether to hold out and demand single-payer be put back on the table in the health care debate. Obama finking out again. No, says my friend, you’ve got to trust Obama. He knows politics. He’s a pragmatist. You would insist on something undoable; he’s going for the doable.

OK. I’m convinced. Obama is screwing gays, yes. But he’s not really screwing gays. He’s just not keeping his promises and allowing others to screw gays while he’s busy with more important things. He’s screwing the American public on health care, yes. But he’s not really screwing the American public on health care. He’s just allowing others (like Congressmen bought and paid for by the insurance companies) to screw the American public on health care because he’s choosing the least of many evils that he can get through Congress. Can’t fight big money.

Why is that not going down the gullet?

Just got a call from the Democratic Party. The guy went on, as they do, with the "we need to do all we can to support the health care initiatives, and..."

"Stop right there," I said. "I'm convinced you're going to fail. Health care reform is not going to work because you're still prioritizing corporate profits over individual care by taking single-payer off the table. Now you're asking for money from people who need every penny to pay for health care the government won’t provide. You want them to send it to you so you can give it to the insurance companies.

What kind of idiot do you take me for?

And now that I’ve got your attention…

I might be persuaded to help support Obama's health care plan because it's the lesser of two evils. Might be. Not sure yet.

But you are not getting another nickel out of my pocket until Obama stops screwing his most loyal supporters, the gays. The man has broken promise after promise. I know he's got a lot on his plate. I'm not turning Republican. I'm just not sending any more money to the democratic party. It's going to gay organizations to fight the fights Obama won't fight for us.

Sorry. Just the way it is."

The guy on the phone was very friendly. "At least you won't turn against us."

"No, I won't," I said. "It's not 'me' vs. 'you.' The 'us,' I think, still includes me. And I'd rather be raped by a handsome distant cousin who kisses me once in a while than an ugly stranger from out of town who calls me a slut when he's done."

A bit over the top, of course.

But what the hell. He called me. I didn't call him.


jchai said...

I think the problem with the thinking you and others have expressed is that everyone seems to be waiting for Obama to act. I know that politics is the art of the possible; but I also remember him saying "make me ____; push me." We need to stop wating for him to do things; to get off our duffs and build the coalitions and the mass support for the changes we want. We will have more reason to be terminally disappointed if we've done a good job in showing we have enough support and he turns the other way than we do now. It's going to take all of us to make changes. And I'm not certain that I'll see all the changes I want in my lifetime (like single-payer heth coverage), but I'll be damned if I don't keep working at it. Joan

Alan McCornick said...

I had forgotten he said "Push me." Thanks for reminding me.

And don't be damned. Keep working at it.


Kathy Riley said...

I agree with Joan! Three things are needed for change always: a crisis, a leader, and a social movement. We've got the first two. The social movement always needs to continue, not only to help Obama become the president he wants to be (we know the lobbyists never give up), but because that's how things work.

Coincidentally, before I read this post, I found this article through my "skeptical buddhist" list. It's about anger. I think, Alan, that yours gets channeled so well. A lesson to teach others.