HuffPo’s David Kaufman Needs To Learn How To Play In The Civil Rights Sandbox
Let me make a few things perfectly clear:
- No one, and I mean no one, owns the patent, trademark, or copyright on civil rights. Not blacks, not gays, not anyone.
- No one, and I mean no one, owns the patent, trademark, or copyright on civil marriage. Not the Catholics, not the Jews, not the Christians, not the Muslims, not anyone.
- It is unacceptable that an oppressed minority would turn tables on another oppressed minority. For blacks to not support the LGBTQ community (and vice-versa,) for the LGB community to not support trans people (and vice-versa,)Â is unacceptable as we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century.
Now, having laid that groundwork, let me respond to David Kaufman’s ill-considered Huffington Post piece, “Co-Opted: Marriage Equality’s Civil Rights Rip-Off.”
The very title exemplifies my three bullet points above.
You may consider the remainder an open letter to Mr. Kaufman.
* * *
Mr. Kaufman, your statement, and the basis of your piece, that “LGBT Inc. demands the right to appropriate the Civil Rights struggle wherever and whenever possible” is incorrect and offensive.
Civil rights are not owned by African-Americans. In fact, just last week, as she cast her vote for marriage equality, New Jersey Senator Nia Gill (who, herself, is African-American) had this to say on same-sex marriage:
â€œIt is a civil rights issue â€“ not because African-Americans own the copyright to civil rights, it is a civil rights issue in the analysis of the equal protection of the fourteenth amendment in the constitution. And maybe some in my community want to hold on to it, because itâ€™s ours. Because our blood has been shed for the right to vote, and we jealously guard that as a re-affirmation of being American. And so we hold it, because no one can do civil rights and have civil rights better than we do. Thatâ€™s emotional, but it is certainly not an analysis of the constitutional imperatives that face us. Itâ€™s a civil rights issue.”
(Senator Gill’s speech, which I recorded, was historic and beautiful, and wise. You can read it, and listen to it in its entirety, here.)
You go on to accuse “LGBTQ Inc.” (which, let me state, you neglect to define as our leadership organizations or the community as a whole — which is so fractured that getting even a plurality of us to agree on much of anything would be a strong achievement,) of “constantly blaming Black folks for every same-sex marriage set back.”
Um, in a word, “no.”
Not New York, not New Jersey, and no, not even Maine.
I don’t believe the majority of, as you so disparagingly put it, “LGBT Inc.” – be it HRC, or David Mixner (whom you quote) or the larger LGBTQ community – is blaming “Black folks for every same-sex marriage set back.” That’s just plain false.
“…somehow a mere 13.5 percent of theÂ population is responsible for 100 percent of the problems.
Elections (and that anyone is actually voting on our rights is an abomination, but a conversation for another day,) aren’t won or lost on 13.5 percentage points; they’re generally won or lost on two or three or five, maybe eight percentage points. Prop 8 passed by a 4.48 percentage point margin. So yes, while no one is “blaming” African-Americans for Prop 8, 13.5 percent of theÂ population can have an adverse – or positive – affect on a vote. But it could be any 13.5 percent of the population. Or eight percent of the population. Or, yes, 4.48 percent of the population.
That 4.48 percentage margin didn’t just come from the African-American community. And after the media dropped that slant, so did the American public.
If you have an issue with the numbers, talk to the people who designate the all-to-simplistic categories to which we are assigned.
By the way, who can we “blame” for Prop 8 passing? Aside from ourselves, here’s what I wrote the day after the election,
â€œLooking at exit poll data, a composite of the person who voted â€œyesâ€ to ban same-sex marriage in California is someone who is married (60%), and has children (68%), attends church weekly (84%), does not work full-time (57%), is an Independent or Republican (66%), and voted for Bush in 2004 (80%). This person also is likely to live in the suburbs (59%), and is very worried about another terrorist attack (65%).
“None of these results should be surprising. Nor should these, given what we know about voting groups overall.Â 75% of black women, 54% of latin men, and 51% of white men voted to ban same-sex marriage.Â Overall, 70% of blacks supported the ban.”
Numbers don’t lie, Mr. Kaufman. BUT – and this is extremely important: How we, as journalists, explain them, how we present them, how we shape them, IS important. Equally important is doing the work to make those numbers change, in our favor.
Yes, immediately after California’s Prop 8 vote, the media unfairly focused on the narrative that black voters who came out to vote for Obama, voted for Prop 8 as well. That said, and despite your attempt to ignore the facts, thereÂ is a larger percentage of the overall Black community that is against marriage equality than is the average American. That is a fact that is undeniable, as polls show.
And that itÂ is a fact merely means the LGBTQ community hasn’t succeeded in reaching out the the black community – just as we did not succeed in California in reaching out to the faith-based community. Yes, we all have work to do.
I’m sure, sir, you are doing your part in that regard. And I am doing mine. It’s a pity you’ve chosen to lash out at such a wide swath of the very support, the very community we both have to improve our chances of winning our common battle.
I appreciate your attempt to liberate the overlapping groups that comprise what we so easily refer to as the African-American community. Yes, as we all work to achieve equality for everyone, we see how deep centuries of oppression and inequality go.
I’ll leave you with yet another response to your own misguided missive. You write, “The most tragic element of Marriage Equality’s Civil Rights rip-off is that it’s simply so unnecessary.”
Rip-off? No. Categorized differently, perhaps as “shared commonality,” then, unnecessary? Still no. Listen to the words of none other than NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, who, like Senator Gill, spoke at the New Jersey State Senateâ€™s Judiciary Committee to support the same sex marriage bill. His words, as well as Senator Gill’s, were historic and beautiful, and wise.
A few quotes:
“I believe gay rights are civil rights.”
“As my late neighbor and friend Coretta Scott King said in 1998, ‘homophobia is like racism and anti-semitism, and other forms of bigotry…'”
(I recorded Mr. Bond’s words also. You can listen to them here. I hope everyone does. They are inspirational.)
Bottom line, Mr. Kaufman, the LGBTQ community and our supporters are not proffering that there was a “Civil RightsÂ movement [that] battled to allow Blacks to marry Whites.” We’re saying (if I may be so bold as to convey what I see as the feelings of many in our community) that our struggles for civil rights share an inherent commonality with the African-American struggle for civil rights. Yes, our battles are different. Yes, the injustices our communities have endured are different. But, there is commonality. And it is that commonality we need to focus on, if both our communities are to grow and grow away from our injustices.
You begin by attacking Andrew Sullivan; I’ll end by offering this: If Mr. Sullivan, for whom I have great respect, claims, as you write, “the Civil RightsÂ movement battled to allow Blacks to marry Whites,”Â (and did you, Mr. Kaufman, challenge him on that point?) then your issue is with Mr. Sullivan’s understanding of American history, not with the LGBTQ community. I hope in the future, you will pick your fights where they belong.
If, as you write, “everyone loses in the battle for ‘most-oppressed’ status,” I welcome you to work with all the oppressed, not against us.
I welcome your – and everyone’s – thoughts.
Pam Spaulding has her own take on Kaufman’s piece. Here’s a taste:
Who’s the Homo-Tom? (Personally, I think that’s a bit harsh.)
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GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.
“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”
NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.
The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.
One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.
Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.
“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”
Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.
Allow me to introduce you to Congresswoman Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who is currently running for office unopposed in her district.
She would like America to know she loves her grandchildren so much she would shoot them if necessary. 😳
But liberals are the problem, right? 😏 pic.twitter.com/qk5BT9FDLw
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) July 5, 2022
Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:
Anybody check on Debbie Lesko’s grandkids?
— Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) July 6, 2022
Or maybe one of Debbie Lesko’s grandchildren gets rabies and she has to put it down before it attacks the other four! All sorts of things can happen.
— Ron Hogan (@RonHogan) July 6, 2022
The most probable interpretation is that @DebbieLesko meant she would shoot someone to PROTECT her grandchildren and garbled it. However, it’s the GOP, and it’s 2022. So . . . /1 https://t.co/KVWir9t8te
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
/3 Anyway, bottom line, good luck and best wishes to Debbie Lesko’s (for now) five grandchildren.
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
/4 But seriously it’s VERY unlikely that a GOP member of Congress was casually advocating shooting her grandchildren. I mean they’re white.
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
Since Debbie Lesko is trending for threatening to ::checks notes:: shoot her grandkids, now is the perfect time to revisit this recent thread/story on her very shady past. https://t.co/90xkhzrWny
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) July 6, 2022
Lauren Boebert is crazy and unqualified
Louie Gohmert is an idiot and unqualified
Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerous and unqualified
Trump is mentally ill and unqualified
Debbie Lesko = hold my beer
— Jimmy (@JimmyStreich) July 6, 2022
This is the same Debbie Lesko who would shoot her grandchildren to own the libs. 😬
Arizona has better to offer. 💯 https://t.co/oXd9o3ucbo
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) July 6, 2022
I don’t think she meant the thing she said. I think she’s just dumb. She was trying to make some overblown dramatic point and she screwed up the script. https://t.co/aKzzocabim
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) July 7, 2022
Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.
Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’
Far-right religious activist, conspiracy theorist, and founder of the right-wing organization Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk has falsely declared that separation of church and state, a bedrock principle on which American society is based, is a “fabrication” not in the Constitution.
Kirk is a member of the secretive theocratic Council for National Policy., a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and spent years promoting President Trump – even interviewing him at one point. Turning Point USA has had repeated challenges. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in 2017 write a piece about TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”
Former TPUSA communications director Candace Owens has praised Hitler, saying “the problem” with him was that he wanted to “globalize.”
On Wednesday Kirk declared, “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists.”
The claim separation of church and state is not in the Constitution is a religious right belief that has been debunked by countless legal experts.
“Of course we should have church and state mixed together,” Kirk continued. “Our Founding Fathers believed in that. We can go through the detail of that. They established – literally – a church in Congress.”
That too is false.
“It’s a good thing Charlie Kirk doesn’t go to Wheaton because he would fail my Constitutional Law class,” writes Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD, a Wheaton College professor.
As most public school students know, Kirk’s claims are belied by the First Amendment to the U.S., Constitution, which states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It’s the Establishment Clause, legal experts say, that debunks Kirk’s falsehood.
In reviewing the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Reuters last month noted: “It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.”
Jefferson is also considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
Watch Charlie Kirk below or at this link.
Charlie Kirk: “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists” pic.twitter.com/R4dkUSxGwI
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 6, 2022
Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert
Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.
Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.
“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”
“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”
As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”
See the discussion below.
Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.
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