Does United We Stand Mean the End of Identity Politics?
Think Tank Launches National Ad Campaign to Debate New Direction in Politics After 9/11
(WASHINGTON, DC) – A new Washington-based gay-issues think tank will launch a four-week national print ad campaign tomorrow that has wider implications for minority communities throughout America in the aftermath of September 11 -- does "UNITED WE STAND" herald the end of "identity politics" as we know it?
The ad campaign, which begins in tomorrow's Washington Post, excerpts a commentary published by Liberty Education Forum president Rich Tafel entitled "United We Stand: Gay Politics After September 11" on the think tank's website [http://www.libertyeducationforum.org] This provocative commentary argues that the gay political movement, like many minority movements, has worked off a paradigm of "virtual victimization" – emphasizing differences and alienation.
But with the unprecedented unity of American society after September 11, political leaders who continue to use the language of victimization are losing their audience. Some gay activists are writing commentaries that label the war on terrorism as "racist, sexist and homophobic." Their arguments are falling on deaf ears in the community.
Could this be the end of identity politics? What does the unity of today mean for the minority politics of tomorrow?
"We are launching this ad campaign to focus on a real phenomenon all across the country, and it isn't just among gay people," Tafel said. "In communities everywhere, people are joining together to support the war against terrorism. Though the struggle for equality is never over in our own country, there is a growing realization that what unites us as Americans is much greater than what divides us. We have a common enemy, much more dangerous than any perceived enemies here at home. Minority communities have the opportunity now to stop viewing ourselves as victims, and other Americans have the chance to better understand how, in a united America against our enemies, we are equals. Both discoveries will have profound social and political ramifications going forward."
"Our greatest hope is to provoke discussion in our own community about the strength we can draw from unity rather than division, and to encourage a wider debate in other communities around the nation," Tafel said.
The ad campaign will expand into the leading gay news publications beginning Friday, November 30, in New York, Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and will continue through the end of the year.
The Liberty Education Forum (LEF) is a Washington-based think tank dedicated to new insights on gay and lesbian issues from a centrist perspective.
Liberty Education Forum