compiled by Howard Israel
“The world as it is should be one that rejects discrimination of all kinds. A world that recognizes that equality in relationship, family and adoption rights is not some abstract principle. It’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom. It’s not just about the positions you take, it’s also about the leadership you provide. Nothing we have to do over the next four or eight years is going to be easy. There will be powerful forces who believe that things should stay just as they are, that everything is fine, and that’s where you all come in. Your voices of truth and hope and of possibility have got to drown out the skeptics and the cynics.”
– Michelle Obama, in a passionate speech to the Democratic National Committee’s Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, http://www.HuffingtonPost.com, June 27.
“There’s about twice as many ‘millennials’ – Americans born 1982 to 2003 – than the generation that preceded it. Their diversity is reflected in the fact that they do not recognize or care about racial and ethnic differences. They’re also the most gender-neutral generation we have seen in American history. Females and males work together without thinking about who is the traditional role. This generation will lead a realignment in which people will get together to come up with win-win solutions that essentially can be used to benefit all of society. Their politics will reflect this. We will see less emphasis on social issues like abortion and gay rights. It’s a generation with two-thirds of its members have no problems with gay marriage. It just is a non-issue with them. They will move on to other, more basic economic and foreign policy concerns.”
– Michael Hais and Morley Winograd, co-authors of “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future Of American Politics”, in an interview titled “Role of Young Voters in Politics Continues to Grow”, NewsHour, http://www.PBS.org, May 8.
“Polls show that young Americans prefer Democrat Barack Obama for president by a pretty solid margin over Republican John McCain. But if Obama expects to be carried into the White House on the strength of the youth vote, he’ll need more than polls. Millions of young people don’t vote. In Michigan, voters age 18-24 accounted for just 8 percent of the ballots cast in 2004, and only 6.6 percent in ’06, well under their share of the voting-age population. Voters 55 and over cast 40 percent-plus of the votes. So who’s making the decisions? And who’s going to live with them the longest?
– Ron Dzwonkowski, editorial page editor, in an opinion column titled “The young don’t vote – why should 2008 be different?”, about the large number of young people who are eligible to vote, but don’t vote, http://www.freep.com, July 13.
“(This) has the potential to truly re-create and re-imagine what a grassroots political movement can do. And, for LGBT Americans who have often just been given lip service in the formation of platforms past, it also holds the promise of real, substantial commitments on issues that matter. It is imperative that gay and transgender Americans, and our allies, participate in this new platform process, and encourage the party to assemble a vision that includes us all.”
– Steve Ralls, commenting on the announcement from the Democratic National Committee and Senator Barack Obama that the 2008 party platform will be put together through public forums, held across all 50 states, to give the people opportunities to voice their ideas about what the party should stand for, in his column titled “A Platform We Can Believe In, Too”, Huffington Post, July 8.
“OK, so I won’t attack the rights of those people (voters who, no matter what, would not consider voting for a man with a black father and a white mother). However, let’s look at it this way. Four years ago, gay marriage was thought to be the issue that would put the cherry on the Republican sundae. The more gay people came out, spoke up, claimed their rights and acted like perfectly equal citizens, it was said, the more the issue would inflame the Republican base. You could practically hear Karl Rove cracking his simian knuckles in delight at the prospect. But hey. Where’s that issue now? Not even on the horizon. Old people cling to homophobia, young people not so much. Same with racism.”
– Jane Smiley, commenting angrily about the racism involved in this election, in her column titled “American Psycho”, Huffington Post, July 10.
“Just think about it – homosexuals, lesbians – disgusting people – marching in our streets, demanding all sorts of things including the right to marry each other and the right to adopt children. How do you like that?”
– Jesse Helms, arch-conservative former North Carolina senator, dies at 86, “rampaged against what he believed were the evils of abortion, affirmative action and homosexuality”, as quoted in The Independent UK, July 5.