It was initially announced that Bradley Manning would be one of the honorary Grand Marshalls at San Francisco’s annual LGBT Pride parade on June 29-30, with Daniel Ellsberg standing in for him since Manning is still in jail. But there were protests and The Guardian has an article that says that the parade leadership summarily reversed course.
Glenn Greenwald says that what was disturbing was the authoritarian language and reasoning used by the head of the SF Gay Pride group in explaining the reversal, which showed that it was more interested in not offending Obama supporters and the many corporate sponsors of the event, even though many of them have been engaged in repeated and massive wrong doing, from illegal wiretapping to fraudulent foreclosures.
Even at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, once an iconic symbol of cultural dissent and disregard for stifling peities, nothing can happen that might offend AT&T and the Bank of America. The minute something even a bit deviant takes place (as defined by standards imposed by America’s political and corporate class), even the SF Gay Pride Parade must scamper, capitulate, apologize, and take an oath of fealty to their orthodoxies (we adore the military, the state, and your laws). And, as usual, the largest corporate factions are completely exempt from the strictures and standards applied to the marginalized and powerless. Thus, while Bradley Manning is persona non grata at SF Pride, illegal eavesdropping telecoms, scheming banks, and hedge-fund purveryors of the nation’s worst right-wing agitprop are more than welcome.
What we see here is how even many of the most liberal precincts in America are now the leading spokespeople for and loyalists to state power as a result of their loyalty to President Obama. Thus do we have the President of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade sounding exactly like the Chairman of the Joints Chief, or Sarah Palin, or gay war-loving neocons, in depicting any meaningful opposition to the National Security State as the supreme sin. I’d be willing to bet large amounts of money that Williams has never condemned the Obama administration’s abuse of Manning in detention or its dangerously radical prosecution of him for “aiding the enemy”. I have no doubt that the people who did all of that would be showered with gratitude by Parade officials if they attended. In so many liberal precincts in the Age of Obama – even now including the SF Gay Pride parade – the federal government, its military, and its federal prosecutors are to be revered and celebrated but not criticized; only those who oppose them are villains.
One of the depressing features of political life is that when formerly marginalized, excluded, and even victimized groups start to gain mainstream acceptance, they have a tendency to start identifying with the authoritarian leadership that once was considered their adversary. And when that leadership is perceived as ‘liberal’, the temptation to ignore its underlying authoritarian nature becomes even stronger.