My Comments to the SF Pride Board Community Meeting regarding the Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal Kerfuffle

My name is Martin MacKerel and I am a straight ally. [some remarks about the anger in the room and remembering the pastor’s words about respecting each others’ humanity]

When I say I’m an ally, I don’t just mean that I think gay rights are cool and I have some friends who are LGBT. I have played for several years in a pool league that “just happens to be gay” and met many people and that’s when these issues became important to me. I campaigned against Prop 8, and after it passed I joined a local grassroots group called “One Struggle One Fight” to fight against it, and as part of that I went to DC for the 2009 National Equality March.

I’m also a Bradley Manning supporter since I learned about his situation two and a half years ago. You may ask why? Is there a link? And, yes, there is a simple link in that these are both about justice.

Picture of speakers in line to speak at the meeting

But I think there is a deeper link. Both the process of coming out and Bradley’s actions involve speaking truths that might make people uncomfortable. Many people might initially not want to know that a family member or friend is queer. But hopefully in coming out, attitudes are shifted, and both the speaker and the listener are transformed.

I know that lots of people would prefer to believe that the government is on their side, that its military doesn’t commit war crimes, and that its foreign policy comes from good intentions.

Bradley showed us, as Daniel Ellsberg did, that these comforting notions are not true. I see the reaction to Bradley Manning’s selection as Grand Marshal as part of a prolonged attempt not to face the truth. But sooner or later, and the sooner the better, we must face the truth.

To deny Bradley – to shove him and his uncomfortable truths back in the closet – is to fail in our responsibility as a community.

7 thoughts on “My Comments to the SF Pride Board Community Meeting regarding the Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal Kerfuffle

  1. Thank you for your support of both the LGBT community and also for your support of Bradley Manning.

    The overly-narrow focus on solely LGBT rights has blinded many to the sage advice of Martin Luther King, and that is that our position “depends upon our position to marshall moral power as well. As soon as we lose the moral offensive, we are left with only our ten percent of the power of the nation.”


  2. Question?

    What was the proportion of people who showed up against Bradley Manning vs. those who showed up in favor of Bradley Manning?


  3. There were I believe three speakers in support of the Board’s decision to rescind his election and perhaps one other supporter in the audience who did not give comment. There were I would guess 70 or so speakers against the Board’s decision and dozens in the audience against who did not speak.


  4. Thanks for the heads up, Martin.

    The reason I ask is that it has been alleged that the anti-Manning brigade is made up of nothing more than astroturfers: folks with lots of hat but no cattle.

    This seems to confirm that allegation.

    Again, thanks for your efforts.


  5. Yes, I was surprised. I expected at least 10-20 in opposition to our opposition. It was a Log Cabin Republican, a retired officer (I think of the Navy), and the person who writes the GOP Tranny blog.

    There’s definitely some opposition to Manning, but for instance the calls and emails Pride received after his election was announced in the BAR came from all over the country, whereas we’re able to field 100+ people locally to each event.

    Glad to make your ecquiantance!


  6. This Never-Never Land of US full spectrum dominance, pursued just as fanatically by Obama as by Bush, is well beyond the capabilities of any military, much less our tiny all-volunteer army.

    The military is exhibiting all sorts of signs of cracking, as the Kansas City Star recently reported:

    After these soldiers come home, the plutocrats just take a dump on them. The words of Plutarch to Tiberius Gracchus reveal the hollownes of the pretensions by which the powerful classes enlist their slaves in the defense of their dominions:

    The wild beasts in Italy had at least their lairs, dens and caves whereto they might retreat; whereas the men who fought and died for that land had nothing in it save air and light, but were forced to wander to and fro with their wives and children, without resting place or house wherein they might lodge… The poor folk go to war, to fight and die for the delights, riches and superfluities of others.

    Obama wants invisible government behind which he can hide his administrative massacres and other executive misdeeds. And in order to achieve secret government, he must wage war on whistleblowers, such as Bradley Manning, John Kiriakou and Jeremy Hammond, as well as reporters.

    The latest target, but certainly not the first, of Obama’s war on visible government is James Rosen.

    According to the theology of Martin Luther King, we would be just as guilty as Obama if we didn’s speak out against this.

    I see NBC covered the meeting:

    Do you think their coverage was fair?


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