Yesterday evening, about 2 dozen lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, along with their allies, stood in front of the Granada Homes building where the “Proud Democrats” were hosting a fund raiser for the Bexar County Democratic Party (“BCDP”). Dan Ramos has previously announced that he would attend the event; however, he did not show up and organizers claim he was not invited. It seems though, that in Bexar County, there is no reason to be proud of being a democrat under Ramos’ leadership.
The Chair of the BCDP, Dan Ramos, recently made numerous disparaging remarks about LGBT people, disabled people and the plight of the African American Community in their quest to obtain equal representation under the law. Since that time, a vast majority of the BCDP’s Executive Committee and Steering Committee have been demanding his resignation as Chair claiming his comments violated the rules of the party and were outside the scope of the Democratic Platform, which states:
We believe in and support the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
But Dan Ramos isn’t listening to the Board or the people of Bexar County and beyond. In a press conference early yesterday morning, he refused to resign and reiterated his position that gay people are like, “white termites who have infiltrated the party much like termites infiltrate your house.”
Last night’s protestors were met mostly with support by those attending the fund raiser; however, a few people stood up against our plea for Dan Ramos’ resignation. In fact, the President of the organization, Jose “Joe” Gallagos, came out to tell the protestors that it was our fault so few people showed up at the fund raiser – (Hey Joe, it couldn’t possibly be because the people don’t want to give money to homophobia and racism, though, could it?
Perhaps most surprising was an accusation from an African American attendee. She was furious with the protestors as she walked up claiming that those that want Dan Ramos removed are “the whites.” Yet one of Dan Ramos’ choice comments in his tirade was, “I go back to an old very well-used slogan: blacks wanted to get their way because they were black.” While I find the comment terribly offensive and degrading to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin, Rosa Parks, and many more heroes of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, the sentiment wasn’t echoed by this objector as one would expect.
Another objector was a resident of Granada Homes (which serves as a retirement community and Banquet Hall). She wasn’t upset that we were calling for Dan Ramos’ resignation, but instead felt we were blocking the doorway (which we were not). However, we started talking with the lady a bit about Mr. Ramos’ disparaging remarks against the disabled people – particularly kids born with Polio legs and not being able to kill them or sweep them under the rug. This struck a chord with the lady and she told us her own story of being taunted for being Hispanic by a fellow resident who claimed, “You Hispanics are nothing but the dirt under my feet.” We explained that we felt as angry as she does about the comments made by Dan Ramos and she departed with a bit more understanding of us.
One supporter immediately made me think of Will Phillips, who once said, “My generation is the change they fear the most.” Bobby, who appeared to be no more than 14 years old, and his friend were walking by the protest and noted our signs. They stopped, inquired and joined us for a short time. Bobby, a resident of Ft. Worth, Texas, was in town with family and was offended when he learned of Dan Ramos’ comments. I asked Bobby what made him stop and join us. In his social studies class in school, Bobby had wanted to take a poll of students about how they felt about Gay Rights. His teacher felt the subject would meet with parental disapproval and refused to allow Bobby to do the project. Bobby noted how “upset” he was that he couldn’t even ask questions of his peers about the issue, and decided he should stand with us to denounce Dan Ramos.
Dan Ramos’ comments don’t just reflect on Dan Ramos (although that’s the message the BCDP is desperately trying to relay to the public). Rather, they reflect on the BCDP as a whole. The BCDP is desperately seeking money to pay off the near $200,000 debt owed to the county after a nasty embezzlement charge, yet their only official spokesperson is making horrible accusations and disparaging remarks against a large part of the democratic base. So I ask you dear readers – would you give money to an organization that is spewing hate? I believe the answer is no – and neither will I.