Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.”

A lot of attention has been paid to a list published in 2003 purporting to identify 14 common traits among fascist governments (think Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Pinochet’s Chile, etc.). Well that list, published in the article “Facism Anyone” by Dr. Lawrence Britt, was actually an updated version of a similar 14 point list published by Umberto Eco in “Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt
“.

It came up again recently in a Market Watch article “Wall Street Disaster Capitalism for Dummies,” by Paul Ferrell. The byline on Ferrell’s article was “14 reasons Main Street loses big while Wall Street sabotages democracy.”

In Britt’s  list, antigay attitudes make the list in items 3 and 5–identifying a scapegoat and rampant sexism, respectively. On Eco’s list, queerfolk are identified in number 12, and in Ferrell’s list we make number 11.

I am not saying that antigay attitudes make for a fascist country. The lists cover much more than sexual politics; I suggest you read them and see what you think about their merits. However, I couldn’t help but notice that antigay sentiment was the one unifying issue between this year’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates. They all agreed: gay people should not be allowed to get married.

Obama has said, however, that he supports ending other forms of discrimination against LGBT people. The Obama/Biden plan for LGBT equality and civil rights is as follows:

  • Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.
  • Fight Workplace Discrimination: Barack Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. Obama also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
  • Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
  • Repeal Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell: Barack Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
  • Expand Adoption Rights: Barack Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
  • Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Obama will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. Obama also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma — too often tied to homophobia — that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. He will continue to speak out on this issue as president.
  • Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Barack Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

This is my America, your America, our America.

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