THE BLOG
06/01/2006 12:36 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Lieberman - Why I've Cancelled My HRC Membership

Last week I sent an upset email to the Human Rights Campaign, the gay rights organization, telling them to cancel my modest monthly donation to them. I did this because I was furious that they had come out and endorsed Senator Joseph Lieberman. The HRC finds him friendly on gay issues.

Senator Lieberman is a firm supporter of President Bush's dangerous folly in Iraq. Lieberman also comes from a very liberal state, Connecticut, and he's not in synch with the majority of his constituents on the war. A Democrat named Ned Lamont is challenging Lieberman in the primaries. Lamont is liberal and against the war. When the HRC endorses Lieberman, they are taking a stand against a person who wishes to stand up against Bush.

If we were not all stuck living in Bush World, I might have chosen not to worry about an endorsement I didn't like.

But I truly think Bush has pushed the PLANET - forget about gay marriage, it's the planet that's in danger - I think he's pushed the planet several degrees toward extinction: in his ignoring of global warming; in his misguided "war on terror" which has made us less safe; in his alarming rhetoric about Iran, and who knows what dangerous actions he may still take on that topic, etc. etc.

I debated about posting about this. But today on the Huffington Post I see that others are upset about the HRC's endorsements.

Also on the Post, inside an article called "US Senate Wants No Part of Bush-Rove Push for Gay Marriage Ban," there was a most intriguing link to an article saying that there is gay backlash in California due to the Human Rights Campaign's endorsement of Republican Mary Bono for re-election. Apparently, to quote the article: "One gay man is reportedly so angry he is writing HRC out of his will, an action that will see the organization lose an estimated $1-million." (Here is the link to that article: http://365gay.com/Newscon06/05/052606bono.htm )

My monthly amount was paltry compared to that.

But I decided I wanted to express my upset about their Lieberman endorsement.

I am gay, and I am very committed to gay rights. But I rather think the planet coming to an end is more important and more immediate than when gays can marry - and Lieberman is on the wrong side of this very wrong-headed war.

Yes, I'm speaking in hyperbole, "the planet coming to an end"... but I've lived through Nixon, Reagan, and Bush Sr., and it hasn't been until Bush the Second that I have felt the constitution was actually being dismantled (the grab for Executive Power is truly dangerous), and the planet was changing maybe irrevocably.

And meanwhile Mr. Bush, enchanted by the voice of God he hears and enthralled by the sound bytes spoon-fed him by the neo-cons, unleashes his bellicose impulses on the world, making us all less safe.

In Bush World, it's like having the Cuban Missile Crisis every other week.

(Side issue: the media on last week's Blair-Bush press conference mostly covered Bush's Chekhovian moments of FINALLY admitting a mistake or two. They were mild little admissions that he shouldn't have said "Bring 'em on," and he shouldn't have said he'd get Osama "dead or alive". And he also said how damaging the Abu Ghraib scandal was, though he pronounced it "Abu guh-reb", kind of like my relatives who always said Veet-nam, seemingly oblivious to the three syllable pronunciation they heard on television for 5 years straight. But I see why the media covered his "I made two mistakes" story.

However, there was another aspect to the press conference I didn't hear anyone mention: when Bush talked about his belief that it was his destiny to spread freedom through the world, he was downright scary. He seemed defensive and upset that everyone didn't just agree with him, and see the obvious, that "spreading" freedom is what had to be done, it was his calling.

This scary energy happened twice, once when he talked about the UN and once when he defended the war, and he got that irritated tone in his voice - a real Bush poppa and Bush baby bear similarity, that awful irritated sound they get. And he seemed down right messianic with his obsession about "spreading freedom" - which I would normally think was fine except he does it by invading countries, and threatening tactical nuclear weapons. Gosh, who knew getting freedom rammed into your country could be so dangerous.)

Anyway, I seem to be free associating today, sorry.

Back to the topic, Connecticut has a good candidate in Ned Lamont, who is challenging Lieberman in the August Democratic primary. As Lamont was quoted as saying in the New York Times, "Connecticut's a progressive state... You're not going to lose a senator. You're going to gain a Democrat." (The link to NYTimes article is http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=FB0F15FF385A0C7A8DDDAC0894DE404482)

The article also indicated that "the state's best-known independent, former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker, has announced his support for Mr. Lamont because of Mr. Lieberman's support of the war." The article went on to say: "the National Organization for Women's political action committee endorsed Mr. Lamont, in part because he said, unlike Senator Lieberman, that he would have supported a filibuster to prevent confirmation hearings for Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court."

It was in this same article that I read to my total surprise that the Human Rights Campaign had come out and endorsed Lieberman - and thus taken a stand AGAINST a good and viable challenge to him from another Democrat.

Here's what I wrote to HRC: "I wish to cancel my [monthly] donation to you... My reason is your support of Senator Joseph Lieberman.

I wish to support gay rights organizations that also recognize the seriousness of fighting against Bush's immoral war, started on false premises.

You do not seem to be such an organization, so I ask you to stop my membership immediately; and to halt your monthly charge to my account."

They wrote me back, saying they would cancel my membership. And then listed the many helpful things Lieberman has done for gay rights.

Yes, I'm sure he has. But I consider this war and this president to be truly dangerous, and Lieberman has offered Bush Democratic cover for his wrong-headed, dangerous invasion of Iraq. See, "sensible" Democrats agree with Bush, the media used to say, pointing to Lieberman.

The country and the world are less safe because of Bush. And Lieberman helps and enables Bush and his positions.

And I'm sorry the Human Rights Campaign doesn't worry about things like that.

I think they've probably been a player in Washington too long, like most of the people in Congress; they've lost sense of what's important.

Sure, Lieberman is fairly good on gay rights, but the HRC shouldn't work AGAINST someone else who would be good on gay rights AND good on the war and standing up to Bush. That's making your "issues" more important than the country at large. (Unless they all think Bush is dandy. But I doubt they do.)

For those of you who donate to gay organizations, I heartily recommend the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal Defense Fund, both of which work in the legal system and have done invaluable work fighting in the courts for gay civil rights.

But I don't recommend the Human Rights Campaign any more.