Why Michelle Obama got heckled

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 LZ_granderson.jpgby LZ Granderson

 

(CNN) — I’m a big fan of Michelle Obama’s, but if she’s going to be hitting the circuit to raise money for Democrats, she has to be prepared for heckling. Especially heckling from gay rights activists like the one who interrupted her speech Tuesday night.

“Lesbian looking for federal equality before I die.” That’s how Ellen Sturtz, the woman identified as the heckler, identified herself.

Apparently the first lady’s husband said something about signing an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sturtz had the nerve to ask the president to keep his word.

And it’s not like signing an order will rock Washington’s world — as The Washington Post pointed out, of the “employees of federal contractors that are in the Fortune 1000, 92% are already protected by a company-wide sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy, and 58% are already protected by a gender identity nondiscrimination policy.”

Still President Barack Obama made a promise: It’s not unreasonable to expect him to keep it.

Especially when one out of every 16 of his “bundlers” — those who organize super fund-raisers — during the 2012 election was openly gay. The Washington Post says of his top 2012 bundlers, one is six was gay. And that more than 75% of voters who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voted for him. And yet the changes Obama has wrought since he was first elected often feel as if they’re being handed out like doggie treats, and not championed with the same urgency that Democrats showed on the campaign trail.

Heckling the first lady wasn’t fair because she isn’t responsible for policy. But the incident sent a message to those who are responsible: We are people, not pawns.

But this is what happens when a bloc of voters — be it the LGBT community, Latinos, women — surrenders its voting power to a political party as opposed to a principle. Not all Republicans are anti-gay, not all Democrats are pro, and it’s the rare politician who will do something “bold” that isn’t politically expedient.

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