Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Political Operative and an Activist walk into a bar...

...except it wasn't a bar; it was a gala dinner aaaannnnnddd the Activist wasn't there in person but his words were, co-opted by the Political Operative.

As you might expect, the P.O.'s words rang hollow, everyone has noticed and proffered a big Bronx cheer, and the quoted activist is p.o.'d.

Welcome to the aftermath of the 2010 Human Rights Campaign's 14th Annual National Dinner!

As written about on this very page -- and countless others, thank god -- Dan Savage, activist and writer-extraordinaire, and his partner Terry have been busy reacting to the very real tragedy of young gay suicides with more than just words; they actually went into action by starting the It Gets Better Project (brand new website here).  It's a place where people, famous and un-, can upload short movies of themselves where they share their personal and inspirational survival stories for an audience who needs some encouragement and hope that things will eventually get better.

Dan and Terry -- and all who have supported and participated in this literally life-saving and -ennobling project -- didn't just talk about it or make promises to be later unkept; they acted.

Cue Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett's speech to the A-list crowd at the Washington dinner, entitled (wait for it...) "It Gets Better".  Towards the latter part of her speech, she said:

We have to keep fighting together.  We must not lose hope.  We cannot allow people to sow division among us – not when the stakes are so high for our country.
After all, as President Obama said when he spoke here last year, the people in this room are a testament to the progress we have already made as a nation.  You are a testament to the capacity of our American ideals to help us overcome old prejudices.  To allow us to see in each other, our common humanity.  In short, you are living proof of what has become a powerful message in recent days.  Simply put: “It gets better.”

At least she/they put quotes around the phrase in the printed text. Maybe she used air-quotes at the dinner...?

I think under normal circumstances, if this President and his White House had been the kind of "fierce advocate" he promised he and his would be on the campaign trail, Dan Savage would be only too happy to take the free publicity (though would mentioning the website's address have killed them?)  However, considering they have not lived up to their promises...not even come close...not even broken a sweat, Dan was a tad annoyed yesterday:

Confidential to the White House

Fuck you, you pack of co-opting cowards.
Seriously. You can do a more than offer hope. You have the power to make it better. Right now. Suspend enforcement of DADT. Don't appeal the decision by a federal judge that declared DADT unconstitutional. Stop defending DOMA in court. Keep your promises. Make it better. And if you're not going to keep your promises or do what you can to make it better, White House, then you could at least have the simple human decency to shut the fuck up.
State-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people legitimizes the kind of anti-gay attitudes and beliefs that lead directly to anti-gay bullying at the ballot box and anti-gay bullying in schools. You can do more. Enough with the speeches. Enough with the pretty words—particularly lifted ones.
Fuck you.

[Bold text and hyperlink, Mr. Savage's.]

The It Gets Better Project doesn't just promise that, given enough time, things will get better; it helps make things better now.

The proof's in the pudding, Ms. Jarrett et al.:  if you're going to borrow the talk, you should be willing to adopt the walk.



[Big tip o' the hat:  Daily Dish; image via Queerty.]