“Truthiness,” the Presidential Election, and LGBT Rights

Our LGBT community, just like the broader Democratic community, is split on supporting Obama or Clinton. We’re a substantial minority group too–at least 10%–and we vote and donate money. Not surprising that candidates are courting us with promises of equality.

Clinton’s most recent appearance on Ellen (see my post of April 10th and listen to Clinton’s story) made me reflect on what Stephen Colbert would call her “truthiness” in her recollection of a story about her parents and their gay neighbors. In turn, I am now trying to get a reading on Obama’s “truthiness.” No, I don’t have a “truthiness-meter” but wouldn’t it be a great device to have?

Yesterday I pondered why I had never heard before Clinton’s story about her ageing parents and their gay male neighbors who befriended them. After all, it related to gay people and to her parents at a particularly vulnerable period in their lives. Isn’t it the kind of story that a politician would trot out early and often in interviews with the LGBT media? But it appears just this week as we bear down on the Pennsylvania primary. The great part about the story is that it tugs at all the right heart-strings: death of a parent and the good gays to the rescue. How could a government deny civil rights to the guy who held Clinton’s father’s hand as he died? Indeed.

I want to believe the story but . . . echoes of Bosnia run through my head.

In contrast, Obama’s April 10th interview with The Advocate has a brief personal story about a gay person who influenced him, a professor of his at Occidental:

“Somebody else who influenced me, I actually had a professor at Occidental — now, this is embarrassing because I might screw up his last name — Lawrence Golden, I think it was. He was a wonderful guy. He was the first openly gay professor that I had ever come in contact with, or openly gay person of authority that I had come in contact with. And he was just a terrific guy. He wasn’t proselytizing all the time, but just his comfort in his own skin and the friendship we developed helped to educate me on a number of these issues.” 

I can’t quite figure out why this has more of a ring of “truthiness” to it than Clinton’s story. Perhaps it’s because in the same interview Obama says flat out:

1. “I reasonably can see ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ eliminated.”

2. “I think that I can help usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law.”

3.  “The third thing I believe I can get done is in dealing with federal employees, making sure that their benefits, that their ability to transfer health or pension benefits the same way that opposite-sex couples do, is something that I’m interested in making happen and I think can be done with some opposition, some turbulence, but I think we can get that done.”

4. “And finally, an area that I’m very interested in is making sure that federal benefits are available to same-sex couples who have a civil union. I think as more states sign civil union bills into law the federal government should be helping to usher in a time when there’s full equality in terms of what that means for federal benefits.”

Read the whole article in The Advocate.

In the interest of full disclosure and “truthiness,” I voted for Clinton. Stay tuned.

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One response to ““Truthiness,” the Presidential Election, and LGBT Rights

  1. Thank you for your truthiness.
    Early in her campaign, I donated money to Hillary. Now I’m sorry that I did. I was excited that a liberal woman was running for President. Now I don’t think that it makes any difference that she is a woman. Yesterday she jumped on Obama for saying that some working class voters are "bitter". She called Obama’s remarks elitist. This from a woman who has over $100 million networth. Give me a break. Those voters are bitter and Hillary knows it, but she doesn’t believe in speaking the truth when she can take a cheap shot at Obama.
    Now her big thing is fighting crime. She’s going to pass new laws to protect our children from internet predators. This is classic old school campaigning. This is how we ended up with more people in prison than any country in history. The politics of fear. Sure there are internet predators but how many victims do they really have? Is it an epidemic? Are thousands of children being molested by internet predators? Are these crimes increasing? Why isn’t she talking about domestic violence? Because domestic violence isn’t a new thing, so it’s hard to get people riled up about it. And some of those thousands of new cops she wants to put on the street are actually comitting domestic violence in their own homes. As are some of those returning soldiers that she sent to Iraq. But if Hillary talks about domestic violence it will look like she is standing up for women’s rights…and you won’t find her doing that in this campaign.

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