This is the conclusion to a long post over at AmericaBlog. Basically, Washington State was set to pass a gay rights bill, and it was to be quite close but it should have made it through. Among other support, it had Microsoft’s. Microsoft being such a big employer in Washington, obviously this meant something. One single radical right anti-gay activist complained to Microsoft, according to reports, and Microsoft backed off from supporting the bill. One.
Now, what’s most distressing about this is the fact that Microsoft has previously been very supportive of gay rights. So supportive that they’ve won awards, supported a non-discrimination bill at the federal level, and bragged about how pro-gay they are on their own website.
I’ve never been a Microsoft fan to begin with–but that’s not really the point here. John suggests that it’s beginning to be safe to be gay, or even liberal, in America. In an earlier post he had suggested this and said that he’d felt the same way right after the election. He probably knows better than I would, actually being in the States and all.
But I’ll be there soon enough. In a little over a month, I’ll be returning to the U.S. of A. If I wanted to stay in Canada, I’m sure I could fairly easily. But, as I’ve said before, I feel like I have to go back because if all of the good people abandon the States, then there’s really no hope for anyone. And as Harvey Milk once said, ‘You cannot live on hope alone, but without hope, life is not worth living.’
I still have hope. It’s easy to have hope from a distance. I’ve been on the sidelines for the past five years and have often wondered how I might be different if I’d stay in the States for university. Hard to say, of course. I’d like to think that the only real difference is that I’d be far more politically active. I’ve followed Canadian politics since I’ve been here, but they’re not my politics, I don’t have a say in them, so I’ve never been heavily interested in things that are going on.
During the first Bush administration, I only half paid attention to things south of the border. It seemed far enough away not really to matter. I paid enough attention to be a bit worried about the agenda he laid out and the path he seemed to be pursuing, but I always assumed that Americans would have more sense than to elect him again.
I closely followed the election and on election night I silently gave into what I had worried might happen all along. I spent the next few weeks listening to a lot of Bruce Springsteen, for what that’s worth.
In a little more than a month, I’ll be heading back to a country that seems every closer to the eye of the storm. Politically, it seems more and more of the country is beginning to distrust the Republicans. But, culturally, I’m not entirely sure how many of them trust those evil liberals. There is no third way, of course. 2006 is going to be a big year in American political life. Hell, it’s going to be a big year in American life in general. The Congressional elections are going to be hugely important to bringing some semblance of balance and sanity back into American political life. And I don’t intend to be on the sidelines this time.
Gang, this is a big deal. There is no other way to cut it than Microsoft has decided to back off of its previously staunch defense of gay rights. NO other way to cut it.
Sure, they’ve been great on gay stuff in the past, and they’re now signaling that those days are over. They’re more concerned now with focusing on their business. Well what we’re they doing before? Supporting gays just for the hell of it?
And the bigger impact, which remains to be seen, is whether Microsoft now chucks us overboard at the national level and if other companies start to follow suit, following the corporate leader, as it were.
Microsoft should be ashamed of itself. And we should consider this a warning. It is no longer safe in America to be gay – or liberal for that matter. We’ve taken our rights for granted. And now they’re being taken away, and our friends are being taken away by an ever-growing climate of hostility fed by an extremist administration and their Sieg Heil friends in America’s Taliban.
It’s time we started fighting back, and fighting back hard. It’s time we took the gloves off and stopped playing nice. You’re either with us or you’re against us, as our enemies like to say.
Microsoft has chosen its side.