It’s no small honor to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, like the one President Barack Obama gave Harvey Milk today, along with 15 others, including Billie Jean King. The medal recognizes those who make “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” But the medal was delivered by a man who does not believe gay men and women are equal enough to be afford the same marriage rights as straight Americans. The irony, then, is that the gay male recipient of today’s medal is more deserving than the man who bestowed it. Argues former radio host Charles Karel Bouley: “At this point in American’s history, I’m not sure Milk would even accept. I truly am not.”
Said Obama of Milk: “His name was Harvey Milk. And he was here to recruit us, all of us, to join a movement and change a nation. For much of his early life he had silenced himself. In the prime of his life he was silenced by the act of another. But in the brief time in which he spoke and ran and led, his voice stirred the aspirations of millions of people. He would become, after several attempts, one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office. And his message of hope, hope unashamed, hope unafraid, could not ever be silenced. It was Harvey who said it best: You gotta give ’em hope.”
And of King: “Through her example and advocacy, Billie Jean Moffitt King has advanced the struggle for greater gender equality around the world. In an age of male-dominated sports, her pioneering journey took her from Long Beach, Calif., to the lawns of the All England Club and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Her athletic acumen is matched only by her unwavering defense of equal rights. With Billie Jean King pushing us, the road ahead will be smoother for women, the future will be brighter for LGBT Americans, and our nation’s commitment to equality will be stronger for all.”
This is an honor to Milk’s life and memory, and to BJK’s courage in being visible, to being an out athlete when it was basically unheard of, and an advocate for our community.
To those who say Milk ‘would have boycotted’ this…I say bullshit. Milk was a politcal pragmatist and a smart strategist, and knew you had to play “the game” of political tit-for-tat for progress IN ADDITION TO to playing hardball when you can) and making public noise when you have to, and also knew how to give a speech that raises enthusiasm…
The only way to secure our rights is a to apply continued pressure on ALL our so-called democratic allies, and not single out Obama as the magic hero who must singlehandedly solve our problems. And to continue exposing the lies our opponents tell about us…and as in Milk’s example, to live our lives as openly and powerfully as we can.
Even your typical ‘bama bashing bullshit can’t dim the honor of this recognition, Queerty.
I suppose he had to do something. After all Obama’s spent the last year and a half insulting us, torpedoing our chances for same sex marriage and cynically cementing his ties to the christian right.
For some odd reason Obama forgot to honor Emma Goldman, Cochise, Malcolm X, Big Bill Heywood, Mother Jones and the soldiers who refuse to aid genocide in Obama’s wars to steal oil in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Or maybe that’s not so odd at all.
Obama, the perfect Clinton clone, imitates Clinton in this as well. In 2000 Bill Clinton, who like Obama is a bigoted pigheaded, religious cult opponent of same sex marriage, proclaimed that:
I suppose only a Democrat could look at DADT and DOMA as ‘progress’. Look at it this way, if they weren’t constantly trying out lame excuses for their bigotry to fool those willing to be fooled we wouldn’t call them Democrats.
Democrats are Republicans in drag.
With Democrats like these who needs Republicans.
I appreciate the President honoring Harvey Milk and Billy Jean King, he could have passed them up so this is a good thing. But, I cannot help but wonder if the award for Milk would have happened if the movie wasn’t such a success. Awards are nice but they do not convey rights to anyone. Was this a way to do something and nothing at the same time again? Or worse yet was it done just because it was the “in” thing to do in light of the movie?
The talk is good but we have nothing to show for the words.
@Bill Perdue: Hey Bill, how about “The Clintons” securing the release of the girls from North Korea? There is an old saying “if you need a job done” hire a Clinton!
@InExile: Hi, InExile. Are you sure you want to say that? It’s a good point, but not for a Clintonista.
I suppose that’s exactly what the predatory rich assholes said before they hired him to deregulate the banks and cut jobs with NAFTA. “Hire a Clinton.” Just the way Wal-Mart, the dark side of the US economy hired Hillary Clinton. even putting her on their Board of Directors. It explains, along with pardoning drug lords, how Clinton became a gazillionaire in office. Neat for him, bad for working people.
Nobody had to pay him to champion the two most homohating federal laws passed in US history, DADT and DOMA. That was a freebie because of his bigotry.
I’m believe President Obama secretly supports gay marriage. Politics can be a bitch…
@MuffinMan: That nice. What do you think about Santa?
@Bill Perdue: We wouldn’t be waiting for something, anything to happen for gays with Hillary and you know that. Pushing for Obama like you did was like inviting the religious right in for tea to discuss gay issues.
@InExile: What you refuse to recognize is that Hillary is every bit the bigot that McCain and Obama are.
@Bill Perdue: The fact is, she was interested in gays and would have had the strength to keep her promises. now we have to wait until there is a bi-partisan consensus for anything to happen. I feel for the man though, it’s not easy to appease the religious right and the gays at the same time. With Hillary the religious right would have been removed from the equation as well as the bi-partisan BS.
@InExile: She opposses same sex marriage. She’s a bigot.
Shes also a pandering cultist nut. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/09/hillarys-prayer-hillary-clintons-religion-and-politics
But, as one of her sky pixie mentors said about you, “None are so blind as those who will not see.”
@Bill Perdue: I do not believe any of it! Just more smears and gossip from both the religious right and the republicans because they fear her. They have been creating this BS for 10 years, people working full time to make this stuff up. You asked for the Obus, you got it.
@InExile: You and bedwell are the only ones in the world who still idolize her.
I don’t know how to break this you but Mother Jones is a highly respect journal of leftists and trade unionists. It has nothing to do with the Republicans. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was often described as Repbulican light.
She, like Obama, is just a Republican in drag.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
No. 1 · Dennis, you’re right, it gets really tiresome, they ‘ll stop at nothing to dump shit whereit doesn’t belong.
“Even your typical ‘bama bashing bullshit can’t dim the honor of this recognition, Queerty”
I moved to San Francisco shortly after Milk, and I frankly don’t know if he would know what to say about marriage.If he couldn’t go to the baths al the time and see his friends and chase boys down Polk street, he would probably think it was silly.” People who aquire him for the marriage cause are creating a profoundly abusive anachonism. Harvey backed popular causes: Even if he was in favor of mariage, you would find almost no one at that time who would be interested. I recall 3 couples, amongst hundreds of aquaintances who I ever met who might have given the idea any thought. people today don’t realize in he least that before the assimilationist movement, Gay liberation was the
cause to support, and that had acompletely different flavor and feeling, and had more to do with newfound gay identity and exploration of a variety of relationships, than with something so reactionary as marriage. People were about community and finding themselves.
So why would he associate Harvey as a gay liberationist and at the same time a reactionary seeking something that no one in his constituancy gave thought to.
Disregard “Milk” the movie, it was politically motivated and not representative of the times.
Thanks for the daily mess, Queerty
I have a beachfront condo in North Dakota I’d like to talk to you about…
Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
This is one of those times when a single thing has two, conflicting meanings at once.
It’s a wonderful thing, for in recognizing the achievements of a gay man it works against the demonization of gays generally.
But it is ALSO transparently another cynical “get off my back” play by Obama by definition of the fact that he chose to give it to Milk whose accomplishments, as great as they were, pale next to those of militant movement patriarch Frank Kameny, who among many other contrasts, was picketing outside the White House for gay rights in 1965 when Harvey was still entirely publicly closeted and disappointed that the guy living inside the White House wasn’t then Right Wing extremist Barry Goldwater.
Some of you may never have heard of Kameny, but Obama has hosted him, along with other gays, twice at the White House already, so there’s no, “Ooops, I didn’t know” excuse.
At the White House gay tea, Obama called him a “civil rights pioneer” and said, “he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage.”
So, why the “came later” choice with no national achievements like Kameny’s having been one of those who forced the American Psychiatric Assocation to remove gays from their manual of mental illnesses the same year Harvey decided to get into politics over nothing gay-related but simply because he was pissed off about a business tax on his camera store?
Because Kameny didn’t get killed so he didn’t have a movie made about him that got a lot of buzz and some Oscars, and most gays are too ignorant of our history, too lazy to know any better. Giving the medal to Milk over Kameny is like trying to be seen with the most popular kids in school; the equivalent of trying to be more popular by wearing designer jeans labeled Calvin er Harvey Milk.
Yet it’s not simply about Barry trying to be more cool. It’s 99% about his ongoing need to try to tranquilize the gays still rightfully outraged because the most he’s done since taking office is work against our rights rather than for them.
Class, can you say, “defending DOMA and DADT in court while continuing to discharge gays day after day after day”?
And it’s not the first time O has exploited the achievements, the suffering of others. During the primary campaign, he eloquently spoke of how he’d been conceived in the passions stirred up within his parents by the famous March on Selma. Only problem was: he was born four years BEFORE the march.
That’s why even if it had been given to Kameny, the honor would have been all HIS, just as it today is entirely MILK’s….NOT Obama’s for an action which is no more admirable than had Lincoln given an award to Frederick Douglas or Harriet Tubman for fighting slavery while still enforcing slavery.
That he could also try to score some points off of Billie Jean’s having come out makes no difference. She was primarily there for the obligatory sports category and for well-deserved recognition for fighting for gender equality.
Bottomline: what both Milk and King actually received today was “Massa’s Medal of NONfreedom.”
Finally, more coexisting thoughts: Milk may well have graciously accepted the medal were he still living, but he damn sure would have followed it up somewhere, sometime today with a blistering condemnation of the “separate but equal” two-faced man who gave it to him.
@Bill Perdue: All the left wing blogs supported Obama, no surprise there. The part of the equation they did not get was that Hillary was the physical conservative/socially liberal and Obama was the physically liberal/socially conservative. This is where the problem for gay rights comes in. It is too late now, we need to work with what we have now, not what could have been. I am not getting my wish, how about you? What we are seeing now is what I expected 2 years ago, nothing.
Have you noticed that nearly everything Obama has done on gay rights is symbolic. A medal here, an egg roll there. It’s all inoffensive and lacks substance.
I reckon he’s scared of us and is a phony.
Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
Another irony today.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established by President Harry Truman.
No. 18 · InExile: I’m thinking that you mean a distinction between economic/social (?). Hillary’s husband went the distance in making this country economically conservative by signing NAFTA. In fact he fucked american labor for good with selling out. There is some worry that Cbama may still be that way. Without a doubt this whole country is Right Wing economically. The crazy part about that is that most thinkers about the issue think that the two go together.
Take Hillaries position on helth care. Are we to believe her integrity when she took more Healthcare Industry money in 2006 than any but one other Senator.. We know that Obama was truthful about healthcare. He has run into problems with the fucked Congress we have. Obama has given all the indications of supporting gay interests, only how do you think that theyare going to fare in this legislature? The major Family Values group just reported that they have 100% support from 30% of each house. I really believe that Obama’s heart is in the right place but I know for a fact that both legislatures are bought off by Big Business and Big Money(religious) lobbies. We don’t see any motion toward removing money from the equation, being too dense to see the source of all our problems now and in the future.
It just amazes me that people keep blaming Obama when it isn’t up to him to do any more than he has.
Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
“It just amazes me that people keep blaming Obama when it isn’t up to him to do any more than he has.”
For a long time, I thought you were just in denial. But the more you write, the more you demonstrate that you are, shall we say, “mentally challenged” because you keep repeating the same delusions no matter how often the incontrovertible facts are presented to you. And, Raymond, it IS your underwear!
Let’s recap what Obama HIMSELF declared was “up to him,” what HE could DO:
STILL WAITING …unless you consider a limp press release and a smile-and-run photo op with Judy Shepard placing “the weight of [his] administration behind” the bill.
Except for that little ole RAGING homophobic court brief DEFENDING DOMA…
Except for that little ole RAGING homophobic court brief DEFENDING DADT…
AND continuing to discharge gays day after day after day…347 since he took office…and counting.
AND refusing to use his legal authority to freeze discharges NOW. Something he does NOT need the approval of one person in Congress to do.
SOURCES [all either from official Obama campaign releases or the White House]:
I am so sick of everything Obama associated leading back to Obama vs Clinton…she lost, she got over it, and now she works for him…some of you should do the same.
@Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com: The notion that Harry Truman desegregated the Armed Forces with the simple stroke of a pen is nothing but a myth.
The political preparations for Executive Order 9981 began in September 1945.
The order itself was not signed until July 26, 1948, and it took the army five more years to be 95% in compliance.
It is also worth remembering that Truman was merely overturning military codes which he was unquestionably entitled to do as Commander-in-Chief.
Overturning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is not at all the same given it is the law of the land as passed by the Congress of the United States.
Yes, it is ironic.
Ironic that after six months you’re criticizing Obama for not accomplishing what took Truman three years.
Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
In addition to misusing the word ironic, you’re trying to distract from and obscure simple basic facts by muddying the water with information irrelevant to my points.
1. You claim that the racial desegregation order had been discussed for three years. In fact, it went back to at least 1941 when blacks threatened to march on Washington if FDR did not integrate the military and defense industries. Doing the latter was enough to get them to compromise on the military issue. [Though integration had happened by then, the 1963 “I Have A Dream” March on Washington was the fruit of the original idea 20+ years before.]
The idea of a President ending the ban on gays was first seriously discussed EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO…when candidate for the party nomination Clinton answered affirmatively to a question about it on October 28, 1991, during a Harvard forum.
Obama is probably unaware of that, but he ACKNOWLEDGED that it is not a new idea when he released a statement on November 29, 2007, saying:
Therefore, why are you attacking me? Ask HIM why he no longer agrees with HIMSELF.
2. How long racial integration took after the Executive Order [which WAS “the stroke of a pen”] is irrelevant…even given that it took much longer that you think, Sparky.
The point is integration would never have begun without someone ordering it.
3. Unless you just awoke from a coma that you’ve been in for the last several months there is NO justification for you’re playing the long ago discredited “military racial segregation was not a law” excuse.
For at least since March the fact that Obama has the option of issuing an executive order to stop any or all discharges, based upon the LAW passed in 1983 BY CONGRESS, has been widely discussed in the media.
For you and your fellow coma victims, that law is 10 United States Code § 12305 — “Authority of the President to Suspend Certain Laws Relating to Promotion, Retirement, and Separation.”
Colloquially known as the “stop-loss” authority, it’s the statutory expression of a practice that goes back all the way to World War II, INCLUDING keeping gays in when they needed more bodies…then discharging them when they weren’t needed.
And, yes, for those still foggy from their coma, that means it trumps DADT and it means NOW.
If Congress had wanted to exempt discharges of gays, which was done by policy then, they would have put that in the statute.
And, it was upheld as constitutional in Santiago v. Rumsfeld, 425 F.3d 549 (9th Cir. 2005).
4. As I was clearly referring to something other than, in your words, “overturning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” when I wrote “refusing to use his legal authority to freeze discharges NOW. Something he does NOT need the approval of one person in Congress to do.”…either you didn’t bother to read it, read it but didn’t understand it, or, like the President himself has done, simply thought by ignoring it you could fool others into thinking he has no such choice.
But, of course, he does. In fact, despite the weeks of bullshit claims by the Secretary of Defense that, “Gosh darn it, we’ve been trying to find flexibility in DADT but we just cain’t,” there are further options GRANTED BY CONGRESS.
DADT is 10 United States Code § 654. As the experts at the Palm Center pointed out in March, under the section, “Enlisted Administrative Separations,” it states at Enclosure 3, paragraph 8.d (7)(c), page 21:
PALM: “Military commanders have significant discretion to decide whether they should initiate investigations or separation proceedings, or whether no action should be taken at all:
These facts have been recognized not just by gays, but mainstream media, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 77 members of Congress.
Bottomline: Barack Obama is now the one bowing “to fear and prejudice,” and, “rather than embracing leadership and principle” is embracing NOT keeping his promise to fight for repeal of DADT the moment he took office, DEFENDING it in court and continuing discharges, and CHOOSING to ignore his PASSED BY CONGRESS legal authorities to stop the discharges that he, himself, has declared, “weaken national security.”
And only someone STILL in a coma could not understand that.
UM…OBAMA JUST DID THAT TO SHUT YOU GUYS UP.
@Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com: “you’re trying to distract from and obscure simple basic facts by muddying the water with information irrelevant to my points.”
Dealing with the military is not as simple as lifting a ban on stem cell research or restoring integrity to the National Academy of Science.
Shifting our war-focus from Iraq to Pakistan and Afghanistan required that Obama show respect to and win over the military.
Bill Clinton didn’t – he was ready to overturn the ban on day one of his presidency, but introducing it at the beginning of his presidency triggered a near mutiny by Colin Powell and Southern Democrats that resulted in the disastrous DADT.
Again, Truman did not sign his executive order until after three years of committees, backroom wheeling-and-dealing, and preparations by the military for implementation.
Obama has been in office for only six months.
@M Shane: I read recently that Obama collected over 18 million from the health care industry for his campaign, I will try to find the article and post it. Sure he said he accepted no special interest cash but do you really believe that? Maybe his lack of taking a leadership role on health care is because he owes them?
When DOMA was passed, years back, I was present when a small group of GLBTs protested outside the Brooklyn home of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). He said at the time something that I think is wise, if perhaps painful: Gay people are not going to win the right to marry in this country (he said that he too was not in favor of gay marriage). Making this an issue is only strengthening those who oppose gay rights in general. It is far more important to work toward the goals that we CAN accomplish.
That’s what politics is all about. (and Sen. Schumer is a career politician. If I am not mistaken, he has never had a job outside of politics.)
If I were the absolute monarch of America, gays would be allowed to marry and I would have a husband. But I’m not the Czar.
The problem many have with Obama is that because of his skills at oratory, we dare to dream that we really have a leader who cares about us. Obama is lightyears beyond most politicians, perhaps – but first, last, and always, he is a politician.
The bulk of the gay constituency will vote for the Democrats no matter what – so why should they feel they have to do anything for us? Nevertheless, they do – incrementally, but they do.
This Medal of Freedom donation is a symbol that we should appreciate. Obama’s opponents will certainly use it against him.
And now, how about honoring Harvey Milk with a commemorative postage stamp!
Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
Raymond, Raymond, Raymond! Congratulations! You have won This Week’s Obambot Stupidest Liar Award. Just one question: what’s the Kool Aid Flavor of the Day in the Obama Borg cube cafeteria? Danger: it must have mercury in it because your retardation is getting worse.
You see, Raymond, when you use a reference to attempt to justify your claims, as you did the online Truman Library, you must, first, have read for COMPREHENSION.
Not only does it NOT say what you claim it does, but, in fact, there are more parallels to where Obama now finds himself in history than differences.
You claim that Truman only signed his desegregation Executive Order “after three years of … preparations by the military for implementation.”
Here is all YOUR own reference says related to that claim:
In fact, as documented by the Truman Library at the link below, the Secretary of War used the Gillem report as an excuse not just to continue to segregate but to limit the enlistments of blacks entirely.
The actions of other committees between then and his signing the Order were all essentially moral statements, NOT “preparations by the military for implementation.” NOT over three years, but TWELVE DAYS BEFORE the Executive Order:
These committee parallel Clinton’s establishing a “Military Working Committee” during the “six month cooling off period” to come up with a plan for implementation of gay integration [though, emboldened by Clinton having back down on an immediate Order, they did the opposite: they created a report OPPOSING gay integration.]
In between his assuming the Presidency and signing the Order, various military-related racist events intensified Truman’s growing support for desegregation of the services.
In his own words, “My stomach turned over when I learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of army trucks in Mississippi and beaten. Whatever my inclinations as a native of Missouri might have been, as President I know this is bad. I shall fight to end evils like this.”
In February 1946, decorated African-AmericanWW II veteran, Isaac Woodard was on his way home, in uniform, after being discharged, when he was pulled off a Greyhound bus by policemen in Batesburg, South Carolina, repeatedly, severely beaten and a billy club jammed into his eyes until he was left blind. Music legend Woody Guthrie even recorded a song about it.
The Truman Library timeline includes his reaction to the murder in July 1946 of two African-American veterans and their wives near Monroe, Georgia.
Collectively, these parallel the brutal murder of gay sailor Allen Schindler a week before the 1992 election which amplified Clinton’s desire to end the military’s gay ban.
You claim: Clinton’s effort “triggered a near mutiny by Colin Powell and Southern Democrats that resulted in the disastrous DADT”
It was no “near mutiny”…it was a mutiny, though one in which Powell talked out of both sides of his homophobic mouth. Clinton should have had the balls to fire him the way Truman did Gen. MacArthur when he publicly opposed the President.
Your implication that DADT was functionally worse than the policy that preceded it is moronic Obambot Speak nonsense. Gays were discharged before. They’re discharged now.
You claim: “Dealing with the military is not as simple as lifting a ban on stem cell …Shifting our war-focus from Iraq to Pakistan and Afghanistan required that Obama show respect to and win over the military.”
BULLSHIT! Even the two-faced, homophobic Powell said in 1993 that if Clinton ordered them to gay integrate they would.
And when asked during the campaign what he would do if his generals resisted withdrawal from Iraq, Obama said he would remind them who their boss was.
Yet, he told gay Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach at the White House tea that a “generational problem” was preventing him from ending discharges such as Fehrenbach’s. WHY?
Does the Obama White House think this will make us cancel our march on D.C. in October?
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