Lost in all the online coverage of President Obama's speech at the DNC LGBT Gala this week in New York -- with his powerful words on the AIDS crisis and his announcement that he would sign an executive order barring federal contractors from firing us -- was a challenge to our community that few noticed.
No politician these days gets any traction from the exploitation of bad news, unless he/she is currently out of power and, like the GOP, trying to work their way back in. Democratic presidents concerned with their legacy are not in that position; which is why all we can legitimately expect of any State of the Union Address these days is some sort of claim for progress in the immediate past, plus an equivalent case for more progress in the year to come. That, in truth, is most of what we heard from President Obama on Tuesday evening. Fine rhetoric well delivered, mildly progressive goals modestly pursued, and a strong statement of the continuing importance of American exceptionalism and American power. But just because a president cannot do a full and honest stock-taking of our overall condition, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't.
Activists trying to help the uninsured should also bring to the public arena a conversation about the lousy care that's offered to people with insurance -- not simply the costs or deductibles but also the ways we're diminished in so many of our everyday interactions with a system that too often treats us with indifference.