UPDATE: SF Vet Group Calls for SF Pride Prez, Lisa Williams, to Resign

American Legion Logo

American Legion Logo

The brouhaha around SF Prides hasty withdrawal of Bradley Manning’s invite as Hon. Grand Marshall at Pride continues to mount.

The chorus of community voices calling for Bradley Manning to be reinstated as Honorary Grand Marshall of the 2013 SF Pride Parade on June 30th pitch just had another layer added as the Bay Area Reporter came out for reinstatement in an editorial and American Legion Post 315 has pressed for not only Manning’s reinstatement but Pride Committee President, Lisa L. Williams, to resign immediately.

The decision came at an emergency meeting on April 28th arranged by Commander John Caldera to address the issue with other members of SF’s Bob Basker Post 315 where the Vets voted Pro Manning and Anti Williams.

John Caldera

John Caldera

“The call for resignation is not a personal attack against Ms. Williams but rather a swift and appropriate response to the disappointing and discrediting actions of the President of San Francisco Pride against the LGBT community.” said Commander John Caldera who also has served as president of SF’s Veterans Affairs Commission since March of 2012.

For the past five years, Post 315 has served as a “Community Partner” of SF Pride. After a lengthy discussion, the Post Officers and Members unanimously voted, according to their press release; “for the resignation of Ms. Williams for conduct which has brought shame and disgrace to membership of SF Pride as well as the LGBT community of the City of San Francisco.”

SF Pride Board President Lisa Williams

SF Pride Board President Lisa Williams

On April 26th Ms. Williams penned and posted a statement to Pride’s Facebook page where she claims that Bradley Manning’s nomination, “was a mistake and should never have been allowed to happen.”

Members of the post believe that by taking this action, Ms. Williams has negated and belittled all the voices of our community leaders and local celebrities who nominated Manning in the first place and then voted for his inclusion.
Furthermore members of Post 315 were immensely rankled by the part of Ms. Williams statement that read: “even the hint of support for (Manning’s) actions which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform-and countless others, military and civilian alike-will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country.”

The Post does not agree and instead cites the number of corporate Pride Parade sponsors whose actions they say have put Vets and non-Vets, “in harm’s way”.

Bradley Manning mask that was recently distributed via Internet for SF protest.

Bradley Manning mask that was recently distributed via Internet for SF protest.

They charge that Wells Fargo and Bank of America, two of America’s largest loan mortgagors, and Pride funding partners, each has foreclosed on over 200 military members whose homes were wrongfully taken during 2009 and 2010. These foreclosures violate the Service Members Civil Relief Act, a federal law requiring banks to obtain court orders before foreclosing on active-duty service members. Bank of America, now being sued for $1 billion by the US government for engaging in a systematic mortgage fraud which the US Attorney called “spectacularly brazen in scope.”

The Post believes Pride parade doesn’t see the hypocrisy or conflict of interest in how these illegal practices pose a greater and ongoing risk of life and well-being of Vets and serving soldiers alike-nor do they care-as the money the banks and corporations provide allows the Parade run far outweighing these mitigating issues.

The members of the Post believe and reaffirm that SF Pride needs to be more, “people first and corporations second” and not the other way around.

The American Legion Post summed up their position saying; Bradley Manning might not represent the ideal as a Grand Marshal to everybody but he does represent as a symbol for the continuing struggle for human rights, doing the right thing and telling the truth. The San Francisco Queer community has the right to be heard and honor whom they chose.

Waiyde Palmer

Waiyde Palmer loves San Francisco, social activism and punk rock(ers). His work has appeared in Handbook Magazine. SF Bay Times, The Advocate, Diseased Pariah News and American Music Press . He also has an extensive and repeatedly redacted FBI file.

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3 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Good work, Queen!

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  2. Peter says:

    What is it about SF Pride that seems to make it unable to attract quality leadership? First the criminally inept Amy Andre, now this.

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  3. Glenn Stehle says:

    I’ve been trying to ferret out where this strange neoconservative curse that has suddently come over us came from. It takes everything the LGBT liberation movement has ever stood for and turns it on its head.

    I searched the internet and read as much of the commentary emanating from LGBT neoconservatives that I could find. And what one finds is a solitary focus on “our community”. It’s like the endless repetition of “we, we, we, we.” It represents a complete turning away from the universal morality of the Civil Rights Movement, and the turning towards a parvenu-morality.

    “Moral values must be universal; if they are to be real,” Reinhold Niebuhr told us. “Evil is always the assertion of self-interest without regard to the whole.” And the whole, according to the teachings of Martin Luther King, is “the Brotherhood of Man.” “All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from, the State,” he counseled.

    The subversion of the Brotherhood of man in favor of nationalism is one of the five “fundamental propositions” of neoliberalism which Andrew J. Bacevich identifies in The New American Militarism. As Bacevich explains, Norman Podhoretz, the godfather of neoconservatism, believed the 1960s had been a disaster. In the magazine he founded in 1960 and which became the lifeblood of early neoconservatism, Commentary, Podhoretz promoted what he called “a new nationalism.” As Bacevich explains:

    “Thus, part of the task that Podhoretz set for himself was to discredit what he saw as the various forms of nonsense to which the sixties had given rise — prominent among them multiculturalism, affirmative action, radical feminism, and the gay rights movement.”

    Podhoretz and other prominent neoconservatives who came in his wake — Irving Kristol, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Kagan, Michael Ledeen, Frederick W. Kagan, Max Boot, David Brooks, Lawrence Kaplan, David Frum, Richard Perle, etc. — thus resorted to an age-old method to legitimize nationalism. “The best means of harmonizing the claim to universality with the unique and relative life of the nation,” Niebuhr explains in Moral Man & Immoral Society, “is to claim general and universally valid objectives for the nation. It is alleged to be fighting for civilization and for culture; and the whole enterprise of humanity is supposedly involved in its struggles.” Thus, in neocon lore, everything becomes subordinate to national objectives, the essence of which, according to Bacevich, was “to fuse American power with American principles and subsequently their propagation to the benefit of all humankind.” Perhaps no one has ever summed up the method pursued by the neoconservative faithful more succinctly than Hernán Cortés’ devoted companion, the historian Bernal Díaz del Castillo: “We came here to serve God and the king, and also to get rich.”

    King excoriated “the new nationalism” as a “superficial patriotism.” He deemed it “a cruel manipulation of the poor” and “an enemy of the poor” that was “devastating the poor at home.” He called for a more transcendent and universal morality which went “beyond the calling of race or nation.” As Bacevich notes, the neoliberal polemicists deployed a “take no prisoners,” “give no quarter” rhetorical style that portrayed its version of truth as “self-evident and beyond dispute.” King recoiled to this pugnacious immorality which he said sought to “equate dissent with disloyalty”:

    “It’s a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced. The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war in Vietnam is a fool or traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.”

    King’s entire sermon from which the above quotes came can be heard here:

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