Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production

Vol.66.7: HAPPY PRIDE?

See also, Archives 64. 1: Don’t Ask; Don’t Drop the Soap

V066-07_ObamaprideI hate parades. To me they harken back to the Roman triumphals bringing back loot and slaves from their conquests, to Hitler saluting from his staff car on a parade through Nuremburg. I don’t even care for astronauts or sports figures being ticker-taped in New York. And I have a special contempt for the Rose Parade, a unique excessive blend of corporatism, religion and militarism. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall,” the Bible gets it fairly right for once [Proverbs 16:18]

Nevertheless, they will be out in full force and regalia this weekend in San Diego, rainbow flags a flying, pink feather boas fluttering, leather boys gyrating on floats and dykes on bikes roaring by, some bare-breasted, on their Harleys, some local pols in cars donated by gay friendly dealers. It’s Gay Pride weekend again, its centerpiece a parade that culminates in Balboa Park just a block and a half from where I live.

I’ll pass on being in attendance again this year. I’ve been to a few, but its their day, not mine and, more and more, this party-time acting out seems even less than ever, relevant to what “gay pride” is (or should be) all about, although I am (or should not be) certain what it should be about.

Years ago the homophobic religious groups used to show up with signs wishing the gays contract AIDS. They don’t show up any more, maybe because of all those gay guys buffing up in the gyms. Or maybe because anti retro-virus drugs have made their curse less ominous. These days more parents show up with signs declaring they are proud of, or even proud that, their children are gay. There will be a lot of high-fiving, hugging, and exchanges of the curious salutation: “Happy Pride.” They will be doing their best to put gaiety in Gay.

The Gay Pride Parade is, of course, a political act, as well as a good deal of acting out. But I think it is high time that gays (that includes lesbians and trans-genders) took their political act to another level. I think they should take it right to Barack Obama’s door. After all, it is Obama that sold them out; he’s the guy who was going to do something about DADT and is still dragging it out. He’s the guy they supported financially and with their votes, a guy who is not approving of same-sex marriage. He is the guy who might be our national homophobe-in-chief.

So, would it not be interesting if all the Gay Pride parades in all American cities decided to conjoin for one big parade (protest) through the streets of the nation’s capitol? The gay population has been estimated a ten percent (maybe more, now that Ricky Martin has come out). So that’s about 30 million! If only a sixth can get to Washington that’s still five million marchers (leaving plenty back home to do your hair or re-decorate your apartment, ha-ha).

The Five-Million LGBT March on Washington could ask Mr. Obama to be its “Grand Marshall.” What better way for the Prez to show his support social equality. Can’t you just see him marching along wearing a pink feather boa and waving a rainbow flag.

No? Neither can I. Mr. Obama is much more likely to stonewall such an invitation the way he has stonewalled the repealed of DADT by requiring a DOD study and the completion of a survey to all the troops. What bullshit! No, Mr. Obama retains his conservative consistency of being Barack Herbert Walker Obama, deceiving and betraying gays the way he has progressives and other social liberals. None of those constituencies, of course, have anywhere else to go, and Mr. Obama and his advisors know that very well. When the DNC fundraiser who called me a few nights ago said “you will only be helping the right wing” if you don’t contribute to the Democrats I could only reply that the Democrats and especially Mr. Obama are the right wing.

But maybe a big march on Washington would force the President out of his homophobic closet, if only because the gay community contributes a lot of money and they have been turning out in greater number to vote. They need to assemble in front of the White House and let Mr. Obama know that they know. They need to let him know that it is well past the time for complete equality. And they need to let him know that next time they will keep their money, and on election night stay home, put on those Barbra Streisand records, and party-up.
© 2010, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 7.16.2010)