Audacious, But Not Particularly Hopeful
It was bad enough when he decided to tour with anti-gay entertainer Donnie McClurkin. Dog whistle to Southern conservatives he feels he needs to enfranchise? Who knows. But rather than cut McClurkin from the show when it became a controversy, Obama — much like his mentor Slummy Joe Lieberman before him — went running to the HRC for the Gay Housekeeping Seal of Approval and thought he could have it both ways.
“The Obama campaign is trying to bridge real divides and bring people together. Two things are certain: We will never be able to bridge those divides if we are unwilling to listen to voices we don’t agree with, and we will never change anyone’s mind if we refuse to talk to him,” Griffs said in a statement.
Cute. No one said you couldn’t talk to him. But putting him up on stage as your mascot in a bald bid for money and votes, that’s pretty gross. And pretending that it’s not what you’re doing, that you somehow decided to showcase a bigot in order to prove how pro-gay you really are, is simply perverse.
And then — who could have imagined? — Obama made things even worse.
It boggles the mind that the Obama campaign would select a white pastor to deal with a situation that is awash in black homophobia. Politics 101.
Rev. Sidden is supposed to counter the presence of the recloseted/now-decloseted anti-gay Grammy winning gospel singer Donnie McClurkin at the “Embrace the Change” concerts in South Carolina, sponsored by the Obama campaign. Sadly, Sidden is now an unfortunate victim in this debate. I’m sure that whatever message he would deliver would be sensitive and entirely appropriate in many ways, but part of the message has to be that you can be black and gay, and black and gay-affirming. Barack Obama is clearly showing he doesn’t understand the need of the religious black community to see one of their own deliver that message.
Gotta give it up for Aravosis and the GLBT blogosphere. They have really hammered this thing, and the narrative has taken root in the traditional media — at a time when Obama can least afford to have this kind of backlash.
I once said that Obama and Hillary didn’t need the netroots, they just needed us not to hate them. Throwing your arms around someone who thinks being gay is a “sickness” is such hypocrisy from someone purporting to put forward a message of “hope” and “unity” it’s hard to even wrap your head around. Obama has rightly earned the enmity of liberal bloggers and those who value GLBT rights and his unwillingness to cut McClurkin loose is either a sign of his true colors or his desperation, and it almost doesn’t matter which.
It’s just plain ugly regardless of how you slice it.