Self-respect and voting

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commentary 

As you read this, I’ll be preparing for my trip to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. For me, this is an emotional trip since I’ll be joined by 12 other out LGBT delegates in the Pennsylvania delegation, and we’ll be joining up with more than 530 out delegates representing every state. We’ll also be voting on the most LGBT-inclusive platform ever endorsed by the Democratic Party.

My first DNC was in 1984, where there were “some” gay and lesbian delegates. If memory serves me well, we had one meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Caucus: San Francisco’s gay and lesbian community held a welcoming reception in a small restaurant, and acting as hosts were Valerie Harper and Judith Light. That year, the DNC’s gay and lesbian platform read “Gay Plank” under “Chapter II, Justice, Dignity, Opportunity — Introduction.” It stated, “Government has a special responsibility to those whom society has historically prevented from enjoying the benefits of full citizenship for reasons of race, religion, sex, age, national origin and ethnic heritage, sexual orientation or disability.”

So, 28 years later, the changes are dramatic, to say the least. Just read the proposed LGBT platform for this year and you’ll note support for marriage equality and nondiscrimination legislation.

Compare that with the Republican Party’s platform this year, which literally has a plank that supports the antigay missions to Africa: “Marriage is between a man and woman” with nothing regarding nondiscrimination or anything pro-civil rights. They’re not in 1984: They literally are stuck in the days of Father Knows Best—the 1950s.

If you have any self-respect, you know for whom you’re voting.

There’s a guessing game in town now: Will the Log Cabin Republicans hold their heads high or show a lack of self-respect by endorsing the Romney/Ryan ticket? And now that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has escaped the confines of the GOP right-wing base in Tampa, will he even attempt to move toward the middle? Or run a base campaign?

What’s a “base campaign,” you ask? It’s a campaign where you play to your most ardent supporters, trying to maximize and get out the vote in your traditional base. In the case of Republicans, and especially today’s Republicans, that has become a base of the conservative, religious right wing and working-class white men. For Democrats, it’s liberals, unions and minorities.

This is the last kind of race that Romney wanted to wage. Note the way the Romney commercials have turned to welfare and food stamps, and then his “No one asked to see my birth certificate” remark last Friday. Will he turn toward the center after RNC Tampa has faded? It just might be a tough turn to make.

There will be so much more to talk about next week. Follow me at the DNC, Sept. 3-6, on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN,  and on Twitter.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com

commentary 

As you read this, I’ll be preparing for my trip to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. For me, this is an emotional trip since I’ll be joined by 12 other out LGBT delegates in the Pennsylvania delegation, and we’ll be joining up with more than 530 out delegates representing every state. We’ll also be voting on the most LGBT-inclusive platform ever endorsed by the Democratic Party.