After Anita Bryant successfully lead the effort on a referendum that repealed a law in Dade County, Florida that made it illegal to discriminate against people based upon their sexual orientation, there was a crowd of people on Castro Street in San Francisco were about ready to riot. Harvey Milk came out and addressed the crowd by saying “I know you’re angry. I’m angry!”
32 years later, I can’t help but think of Harvey Milk’s comments because I’m angry too. I’m angry that hate won up in Maine and people were stripped of their basic right to be with someone they love. I’m angry that there were some candidates that ran away from Democratic values, which not only caused them to lose their race but depressed the Democratic base so much that we ended up losing 5 (and potentially 6) seats in the House of Delegates. And I’m angry that some people claimed progressive activists shouldn’t publicly express our frustration until the election was over.
So now the question becomes; What should be done with that anger. The answer lies in what Harvey Milk told the angry crowd a little later after they had marched on City Hall. Milk told the crowd that “Anita Bryant did not win tonight. Anita Bryant brought us together.” In other words, the anger that the group was experiencing should be directed at working on a productive cause. So as I’m now among one of so many progressive activists who are disappointed with yesterday’s results and the attitude of many people that lead to those results, I strongly believe that we must join together in order to work towards an important cause.
We can no longer put forward candidates who will simply run away from Democratic values and assume that they’ll win just because they have a D beside their name. Creigh Deeds proved that. We cannot have national leadership that refuses to stand up for equality just because we have a great campaign on the ground. The results in Maine prove that. And we cannot simply remain silent like some people advised because that obviously didn’t help in this week’s elections.
As we move forward, I want to hear from everyone about what they believe must be addressed. So feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment here if you have something to say or want to help make sure that Democratic principles aren’t completely abandoned again by our candidates in the future and that hatred isn’t allowed to succeed in stripping people of their basic rights.