Thursday, January 08, 2009

Enough of going to the streets - let's go to the library

I am currently reading an excellent book, Perfect Enemies: the religious right, the gay movement and the politics of the 1990s.

Perfect Enemies breaks down the culture war between the lgbt community and the religious right by zeroing in on key battles such as the argument about gays in the military that nearly screwed up Clinton's presidency and statewide anti-gay initiatives that took place in Oregon, Colorado, and Maine.

The authors, Chris Bell and John Gallagher, are very thorough and make several points that I agree with. Probably my favorite is:

At heart of the gay movement's lack of success in American politics is its failure to understand its opposition. By the start of the 1996 presidential campaign, the gay groups still lacked a research arm that would allow them to monitor the religious right's anti-gay activities.

To this day, I still don't see that comprehensive research arm. Certainly there are efforts in pockets (i.e. Truth Wins Out, Box Turtle Bulletin, myself , and probably a few others) but there doesn't seem to be a concerted effort by the lgbt community at large to educate themselves about the religious right.

Some of us instead paint people of faith with a broad intolerant brush and that's not only incorrect but it is damaging to our spirits. When we do this, we forget that lgbts are also people of faith.

We also forget that people of faith are not the enemies of lgbts. Our enemies are the spokespeople and organizations who exploit the beliefs, egos, and anxieties of some people of faith.

It's been my experience that there is some resistance to the idea that maybe lgbts should learn the language and methods of the religious right. Some view it as beneath the community and others view the idea as wasting time with compiling "gotcha" moments.

Seems to me that planning and anticipation would do us a lot more than waiting until the inevitable happens and then making speeches about protesting in the streets.

Everybody seems to want to be the firebrand or the fiery activist.

I say what is wrong with being the pragmatic manipulator whose quiet studies allow him or her to not only anticipate the actions of the religious right but also the ways to counter the skillful way they argue.

Can we devote as much attention to that as we do to "trying to get attention."

It's like what one of my favorite book, The Art of War, says:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

News briefs

Gay Man to Be Tapped As Deputy Director of Obama's Public Liaison Office - It's not a cabinet position but I'm partly satisfied . . . for now

Lesbian couple invited on Inaugural Whistle Stop Tour - Girlfriends, when you get a chance, pull Obama aside and give him a nice earful.

Rick Warren sidekick demanded that all gays be arrested, published names of gays in Uganda - Perhaps when no one should be near Warren when he says the inaugural prayer. Lightning has a way of hitting more than one thing when it strikes.

Milwaukee OKs 'gay'-affirming school - In the spirit of researching the enemy, read this article. Feel free to comment on it - BUT BE NICE AND ACCURATE!!