Monday, March 31, 2008

No Backsliding On This Campaign Promise

Sen. Barack Obama:

I will also place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sen. Hillary Clinton:

We’re going to expand our federal hate crimes legislation and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and assure that they are both fully inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Autumn has a February 11 post on her The View From (Ab)Normal Heights blog talking about this, and I concur with her assessment.

After January 20, 2009, if either Sen Obama or Sen Clinton wins the Democratic party nomination and goes on to be inaugurated as our next president, I and my fellow transgender Americans will expect nothing less in exchange for our votes than a fully-inclusive ENDA.

We expect the presidential bully pulpit in an Obama or a second Clinton administration to be used to not only help get a fully inclusive ENDA passed, but signed by you in the Rose Garden with TV cameras recording the scene for posterity.

There will be zero tolerance of excuses, triangulation, cutting us out of the legislation citing bogus whip counts, rigged polls, false assumptions the law won't pass with transgender people in it, whatever future excuse for non-inclusion I don't have covered in this post or claiming you misspoke on the campaign trail.

I will allow for delay of it in order to take care of more pressing national matters and for the maintenance of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate during the 2010 midterm elections and the 2012 campaign, but I'm not sure how patient my transgender brothers and sisters will be.

If you have wavering DINO's, we expect you to lean on them to get the inclusive ENDA passed. If there are any GOP amendments proposed to water it down, defeat them. If HRC starts spouting that incrementalist crap, tell the incrementalists that it hasn't passed with transgender people cut out of it, so what do you have to lose by including them? If the Sacrilegious Right starts squawking, tell 'em that you do not have a right to hate on, discriminate or demonize fellow Americans or claim that your 'religion' allows you to do so. If that doesn't work, tell 'em go to Hades.

And if some peeps have a problem with that, tough. We transpeople have waited far too long, shed too much blood, and taken too much abuse to NOT have our constitutional rights respected and protected.

A democracy is judged based on how it treats the least of its citizens, not how it treats the powerful and privileged. It's also past time for America to lead on civil rights issues instead of follow.

That message needs to be sent loud and clear to the nation and the world after January 20, 2009.

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