No more time for split political personalities


Being an African American, gay, woman activist can certainly have its ups and downs. When it comes to politics it can be almost schizophrenic.
The African American Michelle wanted to feel good about the appointment of an African American male to the Supreme Court, but the activist woman was appalled and sickened by the picture of Clarence Thomas painted during his confirmation.
The African American Michelle wanted to feel good about the appointment of Condeleeza Rice as Secretary of State but for reasons too many to list (but neatly summarized by saying George W. Bush,) had my activist soul quaking.
Consequently when Senator Barak Obama announced his presidential candidacy all of me cautiously hoped for the best. Obama came from a big Midwest city, Chicago, and had faced many of the same challenges I had growing up in Detroit. He was of my generation, not my dad's. He had a good track record on issues affecting the LGBT community. He was willing to take the lead on HIV/AIDS. And his wife, a woman with her own opinions and views, was his chief confidant and critic.
Most significantly, all Americans – Black, White, Gay, Straight, young and old-were judging his candidacy not on the color of his skin but on the content of his character. Whether he wins the nomination or not, his candidacy is a major step in the evolution of democracy.
But then information about his "Embrace the Change" tour began to surface and reality set in – the political reality that "politics makes strange bedfellows." Here was Senator Barak Obama in league with Rev. Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary and Hezekiah Walker – three gospel artists who have spoken aggressively against the LGBT community.
Staffing mistake, political strategy, or just plain poor judgment I could only think "Oh Obama, I expected better from you."
Obama first met the "Terrible Trio" at a fundraiser hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Now I agree Oprah does many good things but like my auntie would say "Her words ain't gospel even though her mouth opens and shuts like a prayer book." Being on her guest list was no stamp of approval releasing the Obama campaign from doing a little investigation before hooking up with these three.
It was just basic common sense to me but then perhaps no one in his camp had ever heard "if you lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas." And this pack of pups has a severe infestation of homophobia and hatred.
Mclurkin a "former" homosexual has preached from the pulpit for years crusading against the LGBT community – fighting against the "curse of homosexuality".
The singing group Mary, Mary have gone on record as saying that gays "have issues …just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute.
As the outrage from LGBT activists grew, Obama issued a statement saying he strongly believes "that African American and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights." Although he said he strongly disagreed with McClurkin's views and had spoken to religious leaders about the need to overcome homophobia, the show went on with the addition of a gay performer to pacify the outcries from gay activists.
This gaff gave me cause to re-evaluate my thinking on Obama from the perspective of all my personas and remarkably we all felt the same. I still want to believe in the promise of Obama, but as Aretha would say "You better think Obama, think about what you're tryin' to do to me. Think (think – think) let your mind go let yourself be free."
It's not all about the win. Haven't we had enough of that in recent years – Swift Boat Ads, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Mission accomplished, even the recent ENDA controversy where our transgender community was left by the wayside for the sake of political expediency. It's not all about the win. It is about vision, integrity and commitment to one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Using religion, whether from the pulpit or in a gospel concert, to influence votes, shape policy and win at the expense of others is WRONG.
Marx said "Religion is the opium of the people." In recent years we have seen the fervor of religious congregations fanned by the Karl Roves, Gary Glenns, Keith Butlers, and yes Donnie McClurkins to create an atmosphere of hate and homophobia across the country. Amendments opposing gay marriage, attacks on affirmative action and adoption rights and opposition to protection for LGBT Americans from hate crimes and discrimination in the work place are but a few manifestations manipulation of religion.
African American voters in South Carolina and across the country don't need another fix, a concert or admonitions from the pulpit to get out there, vote and support the best candidate including brother Obama.
What we need is the TRUTH – A wake up call that the democratic process is not a spectator sport. The consequences are not abstract. They are real and affect all of us – you, me our children, black, white, young, old – all of us, Americans.
Instead of another dose of amen and hallelujah, what about a jolt of tough love – the harsh real facts that complacency is the real terrorist threat to this country leaving it exposed to the whims of extremists. Not being engaged, not voting will result in the continuation of the hell so many people live everyday.
So you better think Obama! Think that is not all about your winning. You said it yourself that you would "… continue to fight for these rights … to ensure America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division." I can not separate the gay Michelle from the African American Michelle and like your supporters I deserve, want and demand more than politics as usual.
We are living in a period of great change where people and events that can change the way we live, think and survive in the future are before us. Don't get caught up in the game. I don't want to have to keep track of the three faces of Obama, keeping up with my own multiple lives is enough.

Topics: Opinions

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