There is so much to mull over after the powerful and moving opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, Tuesday, Sept. 4. Stars were born, base voters were energized, the world saw a sea of people who might look like them. But lest we forget in all the excitement, it is worthwhile for LGBT people to remember that the convention actually kicked off with a strong and moving message from Andrew Tobias, the longtime Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, who has been talking about money and equality for a very long time. (Full disclosure: I shared a stage with Andy and Rep. Barney Frank in 1999 when we were honored by LA’s Stonewall Democratic Club.)
Here are Andy’s remarks:
This is the fourth time I’ve had the honor to address you as your treasurer. And each time, I speak about the same two things: money and equality.
First: Money. The Democratic Party is the party of Social Security, federally insured bank accounts, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, workers’ rights, the minimum wage, Pell grants—and so much more that’s helped lift the American middle class.
The economy does significantly better under Democrats and so do investors. The stock market is up 58 percent since Barack Obama took office. And listen to this: If you had started in 1925 with $10,000 and invested it in the market only in the 44 years that Republicans held the White House, it would have grown—not counting dividends—to less than $30,000. But to more than $300,000 in the 44 years Democrats held the White House!
I favor the party that invests in the future and boosts the middle class and those aspiring to join it. I favor the party under whose leadership $10,000 grows to $300,000 instead of $30,000.
Second: Equality. The Democratic Party under the leadership of Barack Obama has dramatically improved the lives of millions of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual Americans and at no cost to anyone else.
In college, I thought I was the only guy in the world who liked other guys. Later I found there was someone else like me, our 26-year-old resident tutor. He and I never talked about it at the time. No one talked about being gay back then. People killed themselves over being gay. Tragically, some kids still do. But, the progress we have made. Eight weeks ago, I attended that young tutor’s wedding! To a guy! He and I never talked about it at the time. Love that had been unspeakable 46 years ago was celebrated by hundreds of people—straight and gay, surfers and senators.
In a way, it was a wedding that married my two topics—money and equality—because that young tutor had grown up to become the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Barney Frank.
Vote for equality, my friends. Vote for prosperity. Vote for Barack Obama. Vote Democrat.