I’m voting for Roseanne Barr for President in California.
The Huffington Post election map shows 271 votes as “strong Obama.” Unless something dramatically changes, even if Romney takes every state that is strong Romney, leans Romney, tossup (only North Carolina at this point where Obama is shown ahead by 2%) and every state leaning Obama (61 electoral votes) and Obama simply maintains his lead in his strong Obama states, Obama wins, because it takes 270 electoral votes. In California, Obama leads Romney 58%-36%. THIS MEANS I’M VOTING FOR ROSEANNE BARR IN CALIFORNIA. I’M VOTING MY CONSCIENCE!
Why is a Vote for Roseanne a Vote for Conscience?
Monday in West Hollywood, I heard Roseanne on stage in public (at The Abbey) come out of the closet as a Lesbian. The crowd went wild….given that we were in WeHo probably 90% of the audience was LGBTI and young….Gen X, Y, and Z types. On election night 2008 I was in Compton at Assembly Member Isadore Hall’s victory party watching with lots of African American folks watching the national election results. Imagine being in Compton when they called Virginia and North Carolina for Barack Obama…imagine being in that room when Obama got his 270th electoral vote and was called the winner!
Well that’s the same kind of energy that I witnessed and participated in with the crowd gathered there to hear Roseanne Barr talk about why she’s running for President on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket. Young people need heroes and heroines. They need role models to be motivated to be politically active. Roseanne gives them that kind of energy and hope.
LGBTI Issues are NOT Trivial
In 1970, the California Peace & Freedom Party made history by calling for an end to discrimination against LGBT people, well before any other political party even recognized the categories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people as being oppressed and discriminated against. At its 1970 Long Beach State Convention, PFP went on record for:
abolishing all laws against consenting adult sex (young people may not realize that until 1974 California had criminal laws against consenting adult same-sex couples)
eliminating all political and social discrimination against LGBT people
requiring that LGBT lifestyles be taught in schools in mandatory sex-education classes as legitimate alternative lifestyles.
At that time, PFP and the Gay Liberation Front shared an office and GLF West Coast founder Morris Kight pledged in his notorious campaign to take over Alpine County that it would have been a victory for PFP along with the GLF (the inside story of that campaign is one to be told over drinks…).
I still stand by the ideals expressed in that platform to this day, but I didn’t wait for decades – as many liberal Democrats did – to get around to publicly espousing or implementing those precepts. As a young junior high school student activist at Pacoima Junior High, we organized a debate club. I espoused getting rid of the oppressive laws against LGBT people and their social stigmatization.
When a girl wanted to join our then all-male debate club, I insisted that she be allowed in and defended her when other boys in the club Lesbian-baited her. I made clear that I couldn’t care less if she was or was not a Lesbian (she wasn’t out of the closet at that point and was denying it), she had a right to be a member (this was before laws were implemented banning discrimination in campus clubs). Years later, when I was campaigning for Lieutenant Governor in 1978 I ran into her at U.C. San Diego. She was now out of the closet and reminded me of the incident where I stood up for her all those years ago. It’s one of the things I’ve done of which I am proudest.
In 1998, I was endorsed for State Treasurer by the Northern California based Lesbian Voter Action Caucus. They called to quiz me on the issues they were concerned with and when they asked me about how I stood on same sex marriage, I replied, “Are you kidding? My running mate for Lieutenant Governor is a Lesbian.”
The person questioning me wasn’t satisfied. She insisted, “But you still have to answer the question.” So I continued, “Okay, let me put it this way. Our slate held it’s major fundraiser in a Lesbian bar.”
She still wanted to know specifically where I stood on the issue, so finally I said, “Let me put it this way: I am the only candidate who has ever PERFORMED a same sex marriage. I performed the ceremony for Lisa and Paula, the co-presidents of the West Hollywood NOW Chapter, in front of the Federal Building in Van Nuys to protest DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]. Does that answer the question?”
She was satisfied with that answer.
During that campaign, our slate also produced a leaflet which explained why, with the Democrats as friends, LGBT people might not need enemies. The Democratic Party was extolling the virtues of their having made discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace unlawful. The problem was that discrimination against them was already deemed illegal by a State Supreme Court decision which had actually criminalized discrimination against LGBT people (Gay Law Students vs Pacific Bell). The Democrats in the legislature codified but decriminalized discrimination when they passed their law. Previously, employers who discriminated against LGBT people could have gotten six months in jail.
With all due respect to my friends in the Stonewall Club, if it wasn’t for organized LGBTI activity in the Democratic Party precisely of the kind that Stonewall promotes, the Democratic Party would never have given the movement the time of day. If PFP and the GLF hadn’t pressured from the outside, could Morris Kight have later gone on to switch tactics and pressure from the inside?
The solution to codifying a law against on-the-job discrimination against LGBTI people should have been to extend the criminalization of discrimination in the workplace to protect all people on the basis of race, creed, color, political belief, national origin, sex, gender orientation, and all other arbitrary bases. By doing what they did, the Democrats left the only kind of discrimination that is punishable by jail as discrimination by an employer on the basis of political belief, activity, and affiliation. We need to re-criminalize intentional discrimination on a state basis and extend that protection on a national basis.
Aside from my record in fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have more than average experience at combating discrimination on the basis of gender orientation, i.e., Transgender issues. As a private investigator, I have worked on:
- An insurance discrimination case involving bad-faith failure to pay a death claim on a transvestite who listed herself as female
The gang rape of a transsexual (MTF) intentionally placed in a male-only cell by a Wackenhut security guard at a privatized San Diego County jail in violation of policy
The harassment of and physical attack on an L.A. County Mental Health worker (MTF) by her co-workers after a fellow employee illegally accessed her medical file and out-ed her at work.
My work on these kinds of issues and cases has convinced me over and over again of the need to both criminalize intentional workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation. We must also legislate the Model Policy on Workplace Harassment which I authored and which has been nationally adopted as policy by the Latino Civil Rights organizations. That policy was originated by SFV/NELA NOW and introduced by then-Assembly Member Cindy Montanez in the 2002-3 California legislative term as AB 1617.
If for no other issue…
Soon I’ll be blogging about other issues I have with President Obama and why I think the proper thing to do in California is to vote for Roseanne Barr…..but if for no other issue I’m voting for Roseanne because of Obama’s record of dragging his feet on LGBTI issues. What could he have done differently as President:
- Not waiting until Vice President Joe Biden forced his hand on deciding that ‘oh yeah, I’ve thought about it long enough and I finally realize that marriage equality is the right thing to do,’ as if I believe that he wasn’t just a coward before and simply afraid to tell the American people what he really thought.
- He should have forced the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell issue from day one in the White House by publicly announcing that he would pardon any service member who was found guilty in a court martial of being LGBTI so that the military would realize it was useless to try throwing people out of the service.
So please join me in voting for Roseanne Barr for President, and registering to vote as a member of the Peace & Freedom Party.
Jan B. Tucker