Labor Day is typically the kick off, not only of the football season, but intense campaigns for political office.
In Florida this year, the gay community has an important choice to make in selecting its new governor. Our real champion, Nan Rich, was defeated in her quest for the Democratic nomination. But Charlie Crist has found a new home in the Democratic Party is clearly now supportive of our causes. We should work towards his election.
The second most important issue for the gay community is to muster support to remove Pam Bondi as attorney general. We don’t have a star-studded candidate, but at least George Sheldon is an admirable and credible opponent. We should do what we can, where we can, to overturn Bondi and her Neanderthal postures.
A third issue is Amendment 2, which will provide that citizens of Florida can acquire marijuana medicinally. To pass constitutional muster, we will need to garner 60 percent of the vote. Statewide polls are suggesting the numbers are there, and support in the gay community is at nearly 80 percent. It should be.
More so than many populations, the gay community has seen all too closely how marijuana has rescued those living with HIV. We have also witnessed how it relaxes and redeems our soul after a long day. We have watched for decades as those in power lied to us about how dangerous pot was, making it a villain worse than even homosexuals.
On a national scale, the courts are methodically redeeming our rights in ways we could only have imagined a few short years ago. The U.S. Supreme Court will inevitably soon take a federal appeals case that will insure your rights to marry a same sex partner. Then all the domestic union lawyers in our newspaper can start advertising how they handle gay divorces. Equal love equals equal pain.
On an international level, the world candidate Barack Obama aspired to has not come to pass. President Obama seems weathered and wearied, beaten and bullied. He looks like he is more comfortable working on his golf stroke than world affairs. Sure, Republicans in the House have frustrated his goals, and this November they can take over the U.S. Senate, setting back even further the bold social and domestic plans we all had hoped would come to pass. But Barack, the Martha’s Vineyard vacation, just did not cut it this summer.
It is looking more and more likely that the next Democratic candidate will be Hillary Clinton, and the gay community could not hope for someone more supportive of our aspirations. Her speech to the United Nations a few years ago on the importance of worldwide LGBT acceptance and tolerance will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time. It is a crapshoot whom the Republicans will nominate at this time, but since it is nothing but crap they are offering up, so it should be.
In our own community, Stuart Milk has led the charge for LGBT rights internationally, carrying his campaign to the European Union, South Africa, and even hostile Baltic states in Eastern Europe. It is quite a struggle. Islam states and emerging Arab emirates from Qatar to Iran still treat women as second-class citizens and homosexuals as criminals. It will be interesting to see how they confront Hillary Clinton as the leader of the free world.
The future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not beyond our control. We can still tame the beasts of mankind, and fight for decency and dignity, humanity and hope. The cause is as pressing as it has ever been.