Saturday, June 01, 2013

Illinois cowards

Rank, vile cowards: That’s what’s in the Illinois House of Representatives. The Illinois Senate passed marriage equality on Valentine’s Day, but the Illinois House is too cowardly to do the same. I have contempt for them.

Apologists will say that there are many members of the House—mostly Democrats, of course, but Republicans, too—who would do the right thing (if they ever get to vote on the bill…). That’s true, there are. Those people should be applauded and supported as heroes of democracy. But what about the rest—especially the rest of the Democrats? Where the hell are they?

Today (May 31 in the USA), the Illinois House of Representatives adjourned its session without voting on the state’s marriage equality bill.

Chief sponsor of the bill, Rep. Greg Harris, speaking though apparently choked up, told the House that some of his colleagues wanted more time to go back to their districts to “consult”. We’re really supposed to believe that the three-and-a-half months since the Senate vote was not “enough” time? It is alleged that Harris acted alone, without ever consulting any members of the coalition—who, in fact, wanted a vote.

Clearly, the obstacles are crass and craven politicians who care only about their paychecks or “power”, political scum who see LGBT people as nothing more than a cash machine; they don’t think they need to do anything more than speak the right words and we’ll all loyally fall in line to give them money and votes because, well, they’re NOT Republicans! The truth is, Republicans hate us and tell us to our face while Democrats say they’re with us, but as soon as we turn our back they plunge the knife in. It’s what Illinois Democrats do, because it’s who they are.

Obviously anti-equality legislators should all be primaried, Democrats included, but apart from those who have publicly declared their opposition to equality, how can we know who our enemies are?

When the legislature reconvenes in autumn, the House will vote on the bill, or it won’t. If it passes, then the state will have marriage equality and all this rage will go away. If it fails, supporters of freedom and equality will know who to target for defeat. But if they still don’t vote, it’s the situation same as right now. This cannot be allowed to happen.

Whatever happens in the autumn “veto session”, there will be politicians to target for defeat, and that must happen. However, that should include at least the most craven of those who refused to commit their support. Illinois voters should never tolerate legislators who persist in being cowards, and neither should political contributors.

My personal view is that those who would ordinarily donate to the Illinois Democratic Party (or any of its sub-units) should tell them that they're putting all donations on hold until the marriage equality bill passes. If it doesn't, apart from Democrats willing to challenge the incumbent cowards, there are plenty of REAL friends who would welcome the contributions so we can punish our faux-friends.

This is important, too, because there will be some supporters of equality who will be targeted by the theocratic extreme right, and those politicians need to be supported. Our side must raise funds for them and help provide support on the campaign trail. Most of those who do the right thing should be rewarded, but they absolutely should be defended against the forces of bigotry and intolerance.

The only people who won today are, in fact, from the theocratic extreme right, who are already gloating about finally winning a victory after a string of major defeats (Hey! Thanks, Illinois Democrats!!). Their lies, threats and bigotry have prevented equality from arriving in Illinois—for now. But good eventually triumphs over evil, and this is no different: The freedom to marry will come to Illinois, not today, obviously, but soon.

The important thing is to begin organising primary challenges in case they’re needed, to withhold all contributions from all Illinois Democratic legislators until/unless they deliver, and to make it clear that delivering the freedom to marry is a prerequisite to receiving any donations in the future.

Our enemies on the theocratic radical right routinely threaten politicians with retribution if they resist the imposition of a radical right theocracy. Our side must be at least as bold. Just as we can no longer tolerate cowards among our “friends” in the Democratic party, neither can we afford to be afraid of walking away and letting Democrats sink. Republicans hate us and tell us; Democrats pretend to be our friends and then betray us. To get our money, they need to prove they’re real Democrats and real friends—words are NOT enough.

No more cowards on our side—anywhere.

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...

I wrote what I wrote today before the Illinois vote. But I think that maybe the defeat will help prod some folks from their 'it's inevitavble' mode. That's a good thing.