BY Advocate Contributors

February 06 2010 9:55 AM ET

It has been more than 30 years since the gay community lost Harvey Milk to an assassin’s bullet, but it has found no one to replace him. They don’t make gay leaders like Harvey Milk anymore, someone whose name all gay people recognize.

While it’s true that we have made great progress in some states, on the national level, we are stalled. This is particularly embarrassing considering that Democrats—our supposed friends—are in control of both Houses of Congress and the White House. With all these Democrats running around Washington, I don’t understand how we’re unable to achieve the rights we’ve been fighting for in the 18 years since Bill Clinton was elected, namely, overruling “don’t ask, don’t tell” and gaining the right to marry. I thought gay activists told us that putting Democrats in power would solve all of our problems.

Now that Democrats lost the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy, they have lost their momentum and fear that their majority will shrink even further. They are figuring out how to pass as much legislation as they can—with gay rights at the end of their list —before Republicans gain more power. Yet if Democrats once cared about us, today we are further from their minds. Will we finally begin to realize that they’re not our friends?

Our so-called leaders won’t acknowledge this. They’re not really leaders but extremely wealthy fundraisers whose desires have nothing to do with fighting for our rights. They use their status and fundraising campaigns for their own personal agendas. It seems that their goal is to be invited to the White House and have pictures taken with the Obamas and the Clintons. But these “leaders” are not interested in demanding action from the powerful people with whom they’re partying. They’re afraid to upset the powerful. We raise money to fight, not to kiss ass. The purpose of giving money to political campaigns is to get results, not to host lavish fundraisers and parties. Remember the Human Rights Campaign dinner last year where Obama spoke and received multiple standing ovations from a room full of wealthy gay donors? Yes, his speech was full of beautiful words. But where’s the action to match the rhetoric? The HRC is a very easy-going crowd that will applaud any glamorous personality. But they’re always intimidated. We need leaders and organizations that are not intimidated by anyone, not even by our most eloquent president. (Continued on following page.)







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