Saturday, October 25, 2008

McCain's Concession Speech

John McCain has spent last Saturday complaining that Barack Obama commissioned a draft of an inaugural address. It turns out that it is yet another tempest in a teapot...a kerfuffle without substance. The speech in question was a draft published six months ago in a book titled "The Power of Progress" by John Podesta. It was written before Obama had become the nominee, and was intended as a study rather than as an actual draft for an Obama Inaugural.

Be that as it may, it seems to me that if Obama has a draft of an inaugural address, then McCain should have a draft of a concession speech. I humbly submit the following for his consideration:

My Friends...

The people have spoken. It is the strength of the great democratic experiment that is America that the people vote, and power is handed over in a peaceful transition. I have asked Dick Cheney to come out from his undisclosed location and prepare to hand over the keys of power to President-Elect Obama.

No, my friends...I know you are disappointed. But this is the American way, and we shall respect the decision of the electorate. I am afraid that when you lose by a landslide the Supreme Court cannot save you.

We can only ask ourselves where we went wrong. I could look back as far as eight years ago. When I lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush in 2000 I decided that my fate was in the hands of the most radical right wing parts of the party. I kowtowed to them and to President Bush shamelessly. Apparently obsequious subservience does not look very presidential.

Perhaps we went awry more recently when we selected Sarah Palin as our running mate. My friends, I really have no idea what I was thinking. I had wanted my friend Joe Lieberman to run on the ticket with me. I knew that Joe-mentum was what my campaign needed. But the party advisers made it clear that the choice of Lieberman would lose the right-wing base of the Republican Party. I agreed with them, and we threw a dart at a map of the United States. Improbably, that dart landed on Alaska.

I guess it was inevitable that my campaign would falter. I was no longer true to my ideals, but rather had become a machine that would do anything for the role that had been denied me in 2000. My friends, I had become a caricature of my former self. I would preach Bush Doctrine one day, and bash Bush the next. I would claim environmental credentials in one speech, and cry drill, baby, drill the next. I claimed the mantel of champion of the middle class, yet backed policies that destroyed unions, pension plans, health care benefits, and equal pay for equal work.

And my friends, its true, I became a rabid campaigner on whatever issue of the moment came along that I thought would knock down my opponent rather than put forward my qualifications. I used Reverend Wright, William Ayers, and most regrettably Joe the Plumber. I thought Joe was an icon for my campaign. Like all of my erratic political decisions of the last year the process was not pursued with intellectual vigor. Joe was not who we thought he was. We put forward an icon with one hand to represent us, while on the other hand our Vice Presidential pick was becoming an icon that destroyed us.

We thought she would represent us and carry the working women of America. She would bolster our standing with the right wing of the party.

Instead, she represented the worst of personal political power. It came out that she had abused the powers of her office as Governor of Alaska. Far from representing Hockey Moms and Joe Six-Packs, she represented spending sprees at Saks Fifth Avenue. Her stylist became a higher-paid, and more important employee of the campaign than my foreign policy adviser.

She became a loose cannon. Every interview and speech bolstered the suspicion that she did not have the background, experience or gravitas to take over as President should that be required. She was better fodder for Saturday Night Live than potential commander-in-chief.

Her inexperience destroyed my assertion that Barack Obama was not experienced enough for the job of President. More importantly, her obvious lack of qualifications called into question my qualifications for the presidency. After all, her selection was my first presidential decision.

And finally, at its heart, my campaign's problem was that I did not address the hopes and dreams of the American people, but rather played on their fears. Ultimately my campaign tried to be about Barack Obama's past instead of America's future.

For that, the American people have spoken, and though their words hurt me and us this morning, we cannot be true to ourselves if we do not acknowledge that their message is clear, "The dreams of the American People are more important than the political aspirations of one old soldier".

I have had a lifetime of service to America. I do not regret the service, I only regret that in the end, my ambition became more important than the duty that had been my lifetime commitment. This old soldier thanks you for all you have done, and may God Bless America, and God Bless Barack Obama.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Fight for Marriage Equality

In 2004 Michigan passed the hateful and discriminatory Proposition 2. This proposal enacted a constitutional amendment to outlaw marriage equality (among other things)

Martin and I have been together 22 years. The fact that our home state would build discrimination against us into our constitution was hurtful. We know people who moved away from the state because of Prop 2.

Over the last several years many states have enacted similar amendments. However, we have had a few victories in the courts, most notably Massachusetts, California, and now Connecticut. We have only had one victory at the ballot box. In 2006 Arizona (of all places) became the first state to explicitly turn down an anti-marriage amendment.

And now California is being put to the test.

This one is different than the others. If this passes it would take away rights already earned. A loss in California on their proposition 8 would be devastating to this civil rights movement.

California (and especially San Francisco) has always been something of an 'Atlantis' for the gay community. It is our lost homeland. Their fight is our fight. We must do what we can to support our queer brothers and sisters in the city-by-the-bay.

Martin and I will be dedicating the week of October 20 - October 27 to helping them. And what they need now is money. The religious right is flooding California with money to run the campaign to take away marriage rights (Yes on 8). Money is coming in on our side (No on 8) as well, but the stakes are high, and I want the folks playing for us at the table to have the bank to not have to fold when the heat is on in the last week.

Here's how you can help:

  • Donate online at our Equality California webpage. We will match the first $100 in donations!
  • Donate at the \aut\ BAR or Common Language Bookstore. We have donation forms available.
  • Buy Wedding/Marriage books and cards at Common Language. 10% of sales will be donated to Equality California
  • Show up on Monday, October 27th for our Marriage Equality Night. This will be the culmination of our week-long pledge drive. We will have laptops available for you to make online donations that evening, so that the funds will be immediately available for Equality California for the final week of the campaign.
  • Have your picture taken with your spouse / significant other / boyfriend / girlfriend / date / friend / bartender / or just by yourself. Proceeds benefit Equality California
  • Send this link to as many people as you can that you think will want to help prevent California from sliding backwards into discrimination.