Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith
jesus_h_biscuit

Not So Knee-jerk Thoughts On DOMA, & An Apology From Me

Having now had a few days to look over some of the information that has come in and been pored over by personal friends of mine who are lawyers and ivy league professors, I have come to accept that my reaction (as the case has been with many) was very knee-jerk in my previous post. I was angry and upset, and as a result I posted my rage without really scrutinizing what actually took place. I have since deleted that post as it serves no purpose. I know now what I didn't then and until or unless you take the time to read and process what others have simplified so generously, own that your righteous anger may be rooted in the wrong things. I'll own my ignorance and the fact that I'm neither proud of it nor happy with myself for giving in to it so quickly. I've accepted it and I'm moving on as I hope we all will, with a renewed sense of purpose and a plan to act - because there is work to be done and we all have a fair share.

If you're interested to know what has happened in regard to the Obama DOJ's brief that has effectively turned us all into hysterics (I'm just as guilty and I admit it) then I recommend reading two things. The first is a post written by my friend Joe at his blog: Everyone Calm Down On Obama DOJ’s DOMA Brief!, which offers a breakdown compare/contrast of John Aravoisis' post that whipped the masses up into an unecessary lather. In retrospect the AmericaBlog post seems way out of context when you assess the situation reasonably and with logic, scrutiny, and without personal bias.
The blogosphere is on fire because of the recent brief submitted by Obama’s DOJ in response to a lawsuit, Smelt v. United States, seeking to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act that states marriage to be only between a man and a woman. The fires are being stoked by Americablog, which in my opinion twists what’s going on in the brief out of context for people who are not well-versed in the legal arguments being made. I’m not happy that Obama is defending DoMA, but let’s have a rational discussion about what’s really going on.

The other thing to read after the Centerblue post from Joe is my friend Ian's post here: Don't Moan, Organize:
I can't help wonder if some folks expected Obama's victory to solve all our problems. The campaign to win last year was critical and wonderful -- but it was the pre-game show; now the work really begins. I'm reminded of Frederick Douglass' stirring admonition: power never concedes anything without a struggle -- it never has, and it never will.

Let us all offer our collective gratitude to Joe and Ian for taking the time and care to weigh in on these issues and sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

I want to explain a bit more about my initial reaction. I for one felt like a lit fuse and I take full responsibility for my own part in creating and/or fueling any anti-Obama hysteria. I was wrong to have done that and I take no pride in my actions. I will not offer excuses, but I will explain why I went from 0 to 80 so fast, because I think it is similarly felt and the point is that there is now a lot more work that has to be done and we cannot afford to be lazy - this affects us all and in order to remain vigilant and bring about change, we have to be that change. It's not coming to us, we must work and fight for it, and we must stop fooling ourselves and each other with the kind of arrogant thinking that replaces effective action.

I got the news of the DOMA brief on the very day that marked the anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision, which was a the civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court declared Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924", unconstitutional, thereby overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. This past May was the 1 year anniversary of the death of Mildred Loving, a woman I admire deeply, and I had only a few days earlier brought the case up in a discussion with a friend of mine about marriage equality as a civil rights issue. She was weighing heavily on my mind that day in particular and when this news came floating into my inbox with all the subtlety of a flying brick I had the reaction anyone without the facts of the situation might have given the gravity of the state I was in. Add to that the multitude of conversations I've had in recent months with others about how good it feels to have hope again with someone like Barack Obama in office in the current political climate, which I haven't felt in many years now. In light of the Cairo speech, I am of the opinion that a similar opportunity could not have been pulled off as effectively with Hillary Clinton as President, and the opportunity would never have happened with John McCain. It mattered and it meant something.

As someone who has blogged about civil rights and equality for years, as someone who has studied the legislature and worked with countless organizations, I've had to accept that I'm a human being and there are times when it all just gets to be too big, too much, too fast. I crack under pressure sometimes. I felt two days ago as if the wind had been let out of my sails, but that was all self delusion on my part for following the mob mentality that was angry and wanted a pound of flesh. I get it now. I'll take care not to do that again.

My apologies to anyone who was upset, offended, or mislead by my words and actions. I'm a very passionate man about my activism, but I'm still a man with faults like anyone else. All I can do is admit when I'm wrong and use the opportunity to learn something, in this case how not to make the same mistake again.

I am sorry for anyone who has felt let down by me, and I will make amends by digging in my heels a little bit deeper and continuing to open doors for others wherever I can because that is what I do.
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