Connect with us

Fill The Void



Sarah Palin got it right.

Well, just one thing: Palin knows how to fill a void. Who else was able to upstage two solid weeks of 24/7 Michael Jackson media coverage? From the moment she announced she was resigning as Governor of Alaska, she started making new headlines all over again, giving more interviews, releasing more statements, turning the weeks after Fourth of July into Palinpalooza.

From the moment John McCain introduced Sarah Palin as his running mate last year, she worked hard to dominate headlines every day. Lord knows every “You betcha” hit YouTube – and every mistake and mis-characterization hit Mainstream America. Palin’s antics polarized the nation, but we knew everything she said and did. For better or for worse, Palin was the story. And for better or for worse, Palin remains a story. Like the Michael Jackson story on Larry King, it seems Palin will be forever with us.

The year is more than half over. Summer is half over. Legislatures are winding down, or are done. The fun flurry of whack-a-mole marriage equality news is gone. And with it, our ability to move our agenda forward, at least in the hearts and minds of average, ordinary citizens. There’s a void in the media and only a crisis – or leadership – will grab it.

It’s time for us to take the lead and run with it.

We know that with heightened awareness of our issues comes heightened support for our issues. The American people are good people, many of whom simply don’t know us, and don’t know enough about us to care about us. That’s why we need to stay in the headlines: to keep our message clear and consistent.

Have no doubt: The Religious Right will take over the conversation through Labor Day, if we let them.

Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, in an apparent Vulcan mind-meld with GOP Chair Michael Steele, just announced the creation of the “Faith and Freedom Coalition,” that claims to be “younger, hipper, less strident and more inclusive.” Maggie Gallagher’s National Organization for Marriage is working hard with a new PAC in New York, and there’s an extended effort that’s making headway to repeal gay marriage in Maine. And the Values Voters Summit – an annual bigot fest, exactly two months away – is gearing up with a promise of a new assault on same-sex marriage.

In short, it’s the infamous “kinder, gentler bigotry” we’ve come to expect from the Religious Right and our opponents.

Despite a torrent of lies from Republican Congress members who labeled the Mathew Shepard Act, the “Thought Crimes Act,” and from groups like “Faith 2 Action,” which labeled it, “The Pedophile Protection Act,” the Senate late last night approved the bill. But the Religious Right may still get their way, as a threat looms by President Obama to veto the Military Appropriations bill the Shepard bill is attached to.

So let’s be honest: There will be little else happening in the LGBTQ rights arena until fall, and without a plan of action the chances of us keeping Mainstream America’s focus on gay rights through the summer are slim.

Let us not be deterred. We must take advantage of the opportunity this hazy lull provides!

Let’s look at some events that dominated headlines last August:

* The actor David Duchovny went into rehab for sex-addiction.
* Madonna and Michael Jackson celebrated their 50th birthdays.
* Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination for President.
* Some Hallmark stores refused to sell same-sex greeting cards. The American Family Association also protested the free-market selling of those same-sex greeting cards.
* Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi wed in California – before Prop 8 passed in November.

Surely we can do more to get our message out this time around? The challenge is simple: Fill this media void with positive LGBTQ stories between now and Labor Day, until the regular political and legislative cycle resumes its natural course and we can move our message forward through political actions. Let’s keep the importance of our struggle in the eyes of our neighbors and fellow citizens. Let’s continue our national conversation on gay rights. Let’s help all Americans realize that we are their neighbors, their co-workers, their friends.

Politicians and pundits may take August off (remember George W. Bush’s extended August vacations?) but the American people – especially given this year’s economy – can’t afford to. Those who still have jobs can’t afford to go away. And we can’t afford to let our message slide – or our guard down.

The opportunity is ripe! Let’s fill the void of summer with positive messages that resonate with America. Let’s look to the Prop 8 lessons we learned too late. Let’s make it our mission to show America who we are. Lord knows Palin’s legacy of innanity will out-live her. And Lord knows we have a better message, a more honest message, a more important message than Sarah Palin did. Let’s spend the rest of summer working as hard as she did to help show America that the “real America” includes LGBTQ Americans, too.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Pelosi Delivers Brutal Response After McCarthy’s Acting Replacement Orders Her to Vacate Her Office Immediately



Within hours of Kevin McCarthy being ousted as Speaker of the House late Tuesday afternoon, his hand-picked acting successor, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ordered Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol Hill offices “by tomorrow.”

McHenry, whose title technically now is “Speaker Pro Tempore,” is a staunch McCarthy ally who worked diligently behind the scenes in January to help the now-former Speaker get elected on the fifteenth attempt, had an aide issue the order.

“‘Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,’ wrote a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee,” Politico reported Tuesday night. “The room was being reassigned by the acting speaker ‘for speaker office use,’ the email said.”

Politico adds that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”

Pelosi, who was honored with the title “Speaker Emerita” in 2022 by the House Steering and Policy Committee in an effort to help unite the House, did not vote for or against McCarthy’s ouster. She remained in California to attend the funeral of her friend and colleague, the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

READ MORE: ‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order

But Pelosi, the first and only woman Speaker of the House, who served from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2023, did not take McHenry’s order lying down.

“With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to Politico’s Nicholas Wu. “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”

“This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition. As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished,” She noted.

“Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems important to them,” Pelosi added. “Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”

READ MORE: ‘Terrorist Attacks’: Murphy and Cornyn Slam House GOPers Over McCarthy Ouster


Continue Reading


‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order



Just hours after New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order and directed Donald Trump to remove his social media post targeting and attacking, by name, the judge’s law clerk, the ex-president Tuesday evening issued an attack targeting the legal system, and apparently, by extension, Attorney General Letitia James.

Judge Engoron’s Tuesday order barred Trump from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” as Politico reported. The judge’s gag order did not extend to any officer of the court, witnesses, or anyone else involved in Attorney General James’ $250 million civil fraud case against Trump.

“Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said Tuesday afternoon. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”

Judge Engoron had announced in court: “This morning one of the defendants posted to his social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.”

“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron added.

Politico described Trump’s social media post as “a message alleging [the law clerk] ‘is running this case against me.’ The message was pulled from an account on X with fewer than 200 followers. Trump then linked to an Instagram account for Greenfield’s campaign for a judgeship in Manhattan civil court.”

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

“’How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!’ Trump added. He also posted a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and referred to her as ‘Schumer’s girlfriend.'”

And while the judge ordered the social media post taken down, there’s nothing that can be done about the email blast Trump sent to “millions” of his supporters that included the post, as The New York Times reported.

Tuesday evening, despite having already been given one gag order, Trump appeared to tear into the legal system and Attorney General Letitia James in a series of false claims.

After claiming James’ civil lawsuit against him was unconstitutional and election interference, Trump wrote the decision to apply that statute to him “was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know.”

“It is so unfair that I am being tried under Section 63(12), which is unconstitutionally being used to punish me because I am substantially leading Crooked Joe Biden in the polls,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “It is a Consumer Protection Statute, and not meant, at all, for Election Interference purposes, which is what this is all about! Under this Section of the law, I am not even entitled to a JURY (there is no checking of a box alternative!).This was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

As The New Yorker reported last week, the law Trump is referring to was “passed at the behest of one of” James’ “Republican predecessors, Jacob Javits.”

Continue Reading


‘Terrorist Attacks’: Murphy and Cornyn Slam House GOPers Over McCarthy Ouster



After U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and seven of fellow far-right House Republicans voted to oust their own Speaker of the House for supporting a bipartisan vote to keep the federal government of the United States from a shutdown, a powerful Senate Republican and Democrat are both strongly denouncing the work of the few GOP extremists who toppled Kevin McCarthy.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a hard-core Republican of Texas and a former member of the Senate Republican leadership team, blasted the eight House Republicans for their “terrorist attack,” and warned it will happen again.

“We saw a similar thing happen to Boehner, Ryan, and now McCarthy. I’m sure the next speaker is going to be subjected to the same terrorist attacks,” Senator Cornyn said, according to HuffPost’s Igor Bobic.

Responding to a Texas radio talk show host from his official social media account, Sen. Cornyn added, “A handful [of] House members just want to blow up the institution and themselves in the process. Sad.”

READ MORE: McCarthy Ousted as Speaker in Historic First as Republicans Vow Vengeance Against Gaetz: ‘Kiss My A–’

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) called the ouster “a deeply embarrassing moment for America. A consequence of a Republican Party that has become so radicalized that it can no longer function as an organized political party.”

“Nobody should be rooting for this circus,” added Sen. Murphy in video recorded as he watched the House voting to remove McCarthy as Speaker. He warned that the ouster of McCarthy will now take the House away from the critical work of keeping the government open after November 17, “instead of working on a budget.” And he warned that no new funds to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war have been authorized.

“These are life and death stakes,” Murphy said, lamenting this “makes us look so weak and foolish around the world.”

Watch Sen. Murphy’s remarks above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.