Mr. Solomonese, this is ridiculous and embarrassing. Let Mike Gravel have his two minutes on stage with the rest of the candidates. As a lesbian, an activist and most importantly to you, someone who donates money, I have to say there is not a single reason to keep Gravel from the debate.
He raised his 100K and you said, well, not in time. Stop it. That's like listening to my kids say, you wanted me to take my laundry upstairs and put it away? If you are only going for electability, then best scratch Richardson, Biden, Dodd, and Kucinich.
Let's take it one step further. You are having a forum, not debate, with all the heavyweight political seriousness MTV and Melissa Etheridge bring.
Don't get me wrong, I love Melissa. I want to be Melissa, sing growly songs with my guitar slung over my bare back. But asking Melissa Etheridge to moderate a serious political discussion is like asking me to sing "Yes I Am" in concert.
Unless she is willing to grill each and every candidate about gay marriage. She survived cancer and probably went through amazing legal hoops to guarantee her partner's rights. I hope she isn't so far removed from everyday life to realize the privilege her partner had to sleep on the chair next to her bed isn't granted to everyone.
Mr. Solomonese, Joe, let's not take this too seriously as groundbreaking political discussion in the gay and lesbian community. Especially if you are going to exclude the one uncluttered voice of support for our community. I don't know about you but all the pandering about civil unions maybe someday but I'm for exclusive heterosexual marriage crap coming from Clinton, Obama and Edwards makes me ill. Maybe, for once, the gay and lesbian community can hear someone roar about his support of gay marriage.
Gosh, I can imagine onstage Gravel will make Clinton and Obama look downright Republican. Or is that what you're afraid of?
It strikes me the wrong way that a community of people so excluded from so many basic rights in this country would exclude a supportive voice. It's unfair and it stinks of... well... politics.
If you want to have a real groundbreaking event, change the format and have a real debate. If deals have been made, hands shaked, and no format changes are possible, at least be respectful of the community you represent and let the man speak.
Because otherwise, we look just a little bit ridiculous.