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July 19, 2011

Choi slams DOMA hearing witnesses as ‘exclusively white and privileged’

Chris Johnson reports at the Blade. Craig Howell comments, "When life deals out lemonade, Dan Choi turns it into lemons."

It would certainly have been better if the witness list for Wednesday's hearing included people of color. But Choi is problematic as a messenger. The worst thing about his histrionics and refusal to give due credit is the amount of media attention he gets for it. His public advocacy is entirely too much about himself. How is a perpetual pose of indignation either smart or useful? Some of the comments below the Blade article went a bit overboard, but I can understand how people feel. Dan's attitude toward President Obama seems to be that anything short of perfection requires blanket condemnation. But Obama has done a number of good things; would the world end if Dan admitted that fact, even if only in passing? Also, Obama election as the first African American President is one of the great milestones of this country’s history. That does not immunize him from criticism, of course; but showing him some respect–especially since he is an ally, however imperfect–would make Dan’s criticisms of him a lot easier for some people to swallow. As for HRC, the attacks on it from the gay left are so relentless that they’ve lost their impact.

An historic hearing is being held Wednesday on a pro-gay bill that the President has just endorsed. Can’t we all applaud that much at least? Incidentally, I am part of a binational and biracial couple with a big personal stake in this bill. As one who helped map the successful strategy for marriage equality in D.C., I am proud of how good a job our broad-based coalition did in showing the racial diversity of our families, a task whose importance I stressed. Some marriage equality activists need to do a better job on that score; but Dan’s relentless negativity is not the best way to get the message across. Also, he only came out a couple of years ago; couldn’t he show a little more respect for those of us who have been fighting in the trenches for years or decades? Sing it to him, Aretha.

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