As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hey Barack, Where's The Leadership?

I haven't been paying too much attention to this Barack Obama/Donnie McClurkin flare-up, but from what I know Obama is just digging his own grave. McClurkin, a black preacher who is viciously anti-gay, is part of a gospel concert organized by the Obama folks in South Carolina (I guess with little vetting). Outrage began on the blogs and then the Human Rights Campaign condemned his campaign. Obama's people were reluctant to drop McClurkin from the event, tried to build grassroots support to shut the HRC up, and finally decided to have an openly gay minister open the gospel sessions. Thing is, the minister is white, which is making many unhappy.

This move is sure to piss off almost everybody, except HRC [the Human Rights Campaign], who apparently brokered the deal. Obama won't win any new black votes by getting a white gay guy to speak at a black event. Especially when there are plenty of black straight people, black gay people, families of black gay people, and friends of black gay people who could have been chosen to speak.

I have been following the reaction in the black gay community, and many but not all of the commenters are outraged by the decision. It was bad enough that McClurkin was invited in the first place, but it only adds insult to injury to ignore the longstanding concerns of the black gay community by not talking to people in the black gay community themselves. And if someone had to be invited, why not invite someone in the black gay community? Or why not invite a black mother of a gay or lesbian child? Or a local black pastor who supports the full inclusion of gays and lesbians?

The worst of it was this letter explaining his position, written by supporters.

Pastor McClurkin believes and has stated things about sexual orientation that are deeply hurtful and offensive to many Americans, most especially to gay Americans. This cannot and should not be denied.

At the same time, a great many African Americans share Pastor McClurkin's beliefs. This also cannot be ignored.

I see, the new purpose of a leader is to acknowledge injustice and allow it to fester instead of fighting it.

This is indicative of the entire Obama campaign. He has a good speechwriter, but he is hardly a leader. Martin Luther King wouldn't have said "Hey, you can't ignore that black people hate gay people, that's just how things are." He would have worked to change it, not through accomodation.

Those of us who don't want to re-run the 90s for various reasons by keeping the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton dynasty intact need to find a way to merge Obama's campaign dollars, Edwards' rhetoric, Richardson's view on residual forces and Dodd's courage into some uber-candidate as we head into Iowa. But really, all Obama is good for right now is his cash. This is just deplorable.

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