Sunday, August 16, 2009

The guy who yelled at Clinton

From his article, Lane Hudson tells us why he did it: became clear there would be no questions. As I sat in the audience thinking about how Netroots Nation is about celebrating the most open forum of discussion ever to exist, it occurred to me that we were nothing more than a captive audience being talked to... He talked about a new progressive era and how America has changed. Yet, there was no reflection on how that change could undo some big mistakes form his Presidency. So, at the point that he said, "We need an honest, principled debate", I knew I had to try to stimulate the discussion. So, I stood and said, "Mr. President, will you call for a repeal of DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Right now?"
I don't know. I think I'd want to interrupt someone lying through his teeth when he actually criticizes there being a lack of debate, when in fact these people aren't listening to a word we say. I have to agree then:
The immediate response shocked me at the time and still does. Those surrounding me yelled at me, booed, and told me to sit down. One elderly lady even told me to leave. While I was among the supposed most progressive audience in the country, they sought to silence someone asking a former President to speak out on behalf of repealing two laws that TOOK AWAY RIGHTS OF A MINORITY. I was shocked.
So in fact, I was misinformed about what he'd said. He wasn't speaking Bill's words, but asking out loud what needed to be asked, in what's usually an open forum but was closed for Bill's convenience. And he doesn't even speak against Bill Clinton at all in this article:
I love Bill Clinton, but we all make mistakes.. What happened that was really important, however, is that President Clinton did address the issues that I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have without my forcing the conversation. Of course, he started with a strident defense of how DOMA and DADT went down on his watch. But, I already knew that story. It was the present that I cared about, not the past. Thankfully, he got around to the present. He made the strongest objection to DADT he has ever made to the best of my knowledge. He clearly called for the policy being changed. On DOMA, he spent much less time, but lamented its passage and doing a half-hearted kind of call for repeal, "I don't like the DOMA".
I agree when Lane says, "It's not spectacular, but it's progress." Well, I half-agree. It's only progress if you mean we got the guy to finally admit the wrong long after he stopped being in a position to do anything about it. If anything, it's still typical politican speak, so it's no real progress in the real world at all.