Posted on 7.17.2012 by Chantal
I don't know about yours but my Newsfeed was abuzz last week with news of the recently created, first-of-its-kind, Lesbian Super PAC. What's a super PAC, you ask? Well, PAC stands for Political Action Committee.
According to Wikipedia, a PAC is "any organization in the United States that campaigns for or against political candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation." A super PAC, as I understand it, is unique in that it is allowed to raise and spend an unlimited amount of money on a particular cause or piece of legislation, but not on any individual candidate or political party. Super PACs are allowed to raise money from individual donors as well as corporations.
So what's all the fuss about a lesbian super PAC? I've been asking myself the same thing.
LPAC certainly has the novelty of being the first of its kind. And it's already gotten some fairly hefty celeb backing from the likes of tennis star Billie Jean King and actress Jane Lynch.
The LPAC website describes its commitment to:
Ending discriminatory treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and their families; Sexual and reproductive freedom and women’s access to quality healthcare; And furthering social, racial, and economic justice for all Americans.
And all of these things sound good in theory. But let's not forget that political candidates make the same promises roughly every four years and yet we continue to be confronted with unprecedented economic inequality, racism, structural violence, and a nearly nationwide backlash against reproductive rights. Why should we expect anyone involved in the current political system to behave any differently? There is nothing inherently radical, politically or otherwise, about being a woman or a lesbian. This is why the idea of a female president holds very little appeal for me. The reality of the system that we have is it that it is designed to function in the best interest of the few, at the expense of the many. In 2012, "the few" (call them the 1%, the ruling elite, your boss, whatever) may look a little different than what we're used to. After all, we do have a black president. But we can't let this distract us from the truth. The wealthy rule the world. They always have and, within the current system, they always will.
An article from The Washington Post ironically captures most of my misgivings about LPAC. The article says of LPAC co-founder Laura Ricketts: "it has not escaped her notice that lesbians such as her are in the minority at political events for gay donors, whether it’s a White House reception or a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who hopes to become the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. Senate."
Is this what LPAC is really all about? Increasing the number of lesbians at White House dinners and political fundraisers? Seriously? I can't think of anything less relevant to the average American, gay or straight.
Which brings me to my next concern, LPAC seems to be rallying around some mythical, unified goal that magically encompasses the needs and wants of all lesbians. On their website, they're quick to mention race and economic status as issues that they're eager fight. Yet these distinctions, which actually shape what communities need and want, conveniently disappear in the name of "all lesbians."
At the end of the day, LPAC may not be a bad thing. But to be honest, I just can't imagine it as a force for real change. For one, real, meaningful change isn't going to come from the top. It's going to come from communities who are working together to fight for the causes that are close to them. My fear is the LPAC will amount to nothing more than a lesbian spin on the status quo liberal agenda.