2012: Taking the blue pill - Re-booting the dream

By Michelle E. Brown

Let me be clear, the race for the 2012 presidency did not just begin. It began the day after Barack Obama was elected in November 2008.

At the prospect of electing not just the first African American President, but a candidate campaigning on the platform of change, we all, myself included, drank several glasses of a heavily sugar-laced kool-aid and worked our butts off to get him elected. But after all the inaugural celebrating was over our sugar high wore off while we complacently sat back and waited for our Super Obama to make it all happen. Our mantra went from "Yes we can" to "Yes we did" to "Yes we're done".

There was a brief honeymoon period, after his inauguration, when we hoped, dared dream, that there would be a return to sanity in the country after ten years of the Bush/Cheney regime. But sadly, rather than seize the moment, the Democratic Party failed to rally behind their standard bearer and missed the opportunity to get some significant work done.

Instead, in a very pathetic example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the then Democratic majority sat back and did nothing in hopes of protecting seats that were lost anyway during the 2010 mid-term elections.

And look what we got. A republican led house committed more to working to make Barack Obama a one-term President than attending to the crisis facing the American people and our country. And so the games began with a series of actions including investigations and defunding and stalling parts of Obama's legislative agenda.

What happened to that "Yes We Can" momentum? Perhaps on that jubilant November evening when Barack Obama won the presidency someone needed to remind us the work was not done. Channeling our best Bette Davis, we needed to hear a new message - "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride!"

And it has been just that, a very bumpy ride. Promises were made that have not been fulfilled and yet achievements affecting the lives of all Americans - especially LGBTQ Americans were also realized. These achievements affected every aspect of our lives including recognition of our families - ensuring that hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors; Under the Family and Medical Leave Act clarifying the definition of "son and daughter" to ensure that an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship; and issuing a memorandum requiring Executive Branch agencies to provide an extensive package of benefits to the same gender domestic partners of federal LGBT employees.

Although many in the LGBTQ community have expressed disappointment that Obama didn't immediately strike down DOMA, in 2011 he announced that he would no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in court because he believes it to be unconstitutional.

LGBT people, who can still be fired in many states simply for being gay, looked for federal action on employment non-discrimination. The President implemented a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in hiring practices across the entire Executive branch of government; has been proactively trying to fill federal positions with LGBT appointments; and is working with Congress to help pass an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act that will provide basic protections against discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

I'm not trying to make this an Obama Campaign speech, but come on - $132 million in grants to help state and local governments fight violence and bullying in schools; signing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) Repeal Act; signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA); a $900,000 grant to establish the first National Resource Center for LBGT Elders; and announcing a new policy to issue passports that reflect a person's current gender when either a previous passport or other personal documentation presented by an applicant reflects a different gender - let's give the president his due!

2012 looms ahead and our choices are becoming abundantly and terrifyingly clear. The Republican's have given us a cast of characters whose collective intellect could not spell equality if they had a clue. Front-runners are clear - Bachman who in her own words says "Gays are a part of Satan;" Perry who feels the Lawrence vs. Texas decision was inappropriate; and Romney who battled legislatively against gay marriage.

Opposition to a second Obama term is not just coming from the right. Progressives, including African Americans Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are also calling for an alternative candidate to Obama. So you see it has been and is a very, very bumpy ride.

Time and the depth of the challenges facing our communities do not allow us the luxury of vacillation. Really!

We are talking about change, real change and change, well "it don't come easy." At the Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner President Obama summed it up best when he said "Each and every time we've made epic change - from this country's founding to emancipation, to women's suffrage, to workers' rights - it has not come from a man. It has come from a plan."

So what's our plan? What are we going to do? Are we going to start all over again with flawed GOP clay. Are we going to start all over again with new untested clay? Or are we going to continue to mold the clay of promise we sent to Washington in 2008.

The clock is ticking and we're behind in the game. If this new "Tea Party" influenced government at the federal and state level hasn't been a wake-up call to us then it's time for us to wake up and smell the coffee. Take a look around. It's not getting better.

There is no time to casually sip the kool-aid. Let's not wake up in November 2012 and wish we had done more. Take a stand. Get involved. Register to vote. VOTE!

Forget the kool-aid, it's time to take the "blue pill" and get busy.

Get more news from Michelle E. Brown at http://www.mychangeiam.com

MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+