Saw a phenomenal film this weekend: Gus Van Sant’s “Milk.” Not only was it another career-defining performance by Sean Penn, one of the great actors and filmmakers of our time, but it was incredible how a film can be so spot on in relating so pointedly to the times during which it is released. Although the focus of “Milk” is the country’s first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, one cannot help being moved by how much it relates to the election and impending inauguration of our nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama.

Harvey Milk was a crusader. A man who would not lie down in the face of prejudice, oppression and seemingly insurmountable odds. He became a hero of the gay movement not only in his own city of San Francisco, but nationwide because he encouraged gays to “come out, come out, wherever you are!” and show the general population that gay people were all around them and were very often people that they already loved and cared about. Despite numerous defeats in his attempt to become a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and amidst police intimidation and death threats, Harvey Milk would not let what seemed like an impossible dream keep him down in his relentless efforts to gain equal rights for his gay brothers and sisters.  He finally and triumphantly won his seat on the Board, and with that victory, was able to show those people who felt that gay men and women were not worthy of equal rights that they were dead wrong. And then in perhaps an even bigger victory, he was able to defeat Proposition 6, a California initiative put on the state ballot in 1978 that would have banned gays from working in that state’s public schools. These victories also resonated within other minority communities, and empowered them to feel that they too could fight for equality and even win. Unfortunately, Harvey Milk’s fight eventually cost him his life, at the hands of  bitter and disturbed fellow supervisor Dan White, who shot and killed Milk months after he was elected, moments after also fatally shooting San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, a supporter of Milk’s efforts.  But Harvey Milk’s tireless fight was not for naught, he paved the way for a better understanding of gay rights, and tolerance for those who face oppression every day.


It is not hard to look at the parallels of Milk’s story and that of our next President. Faced with prejudice since the day he was born, and then as he became the longest shot of nearly any Presidential candidate in history, Barack Obama faced the daunting uphill battle of being the first black candidate to have a shot at the White House. He consistently fought back against all odds, and with intelligence, eloquence and a keen understanding of the struggle blacks face every day, he turned his drive to the Presidency into a crusade not only for blacks, but for all minorities and those who feel forgotten. In showing that “even a black man” could be President of the United States, he has given hope to all who have felt their dreams were impossible to achieve. Kinda like that guy named Milk, huh?


When Barack Obama takes the oath of office on January 20th, he will be taking a stand for all of those who have felt downtrodden and oppressed. And Harvey Milk will undoubtedly be smiling down on the steps of the Capitol that day, feeling like once again, thankfully, and with great courage, someone else has fought for those whose voices could not be heard. And WON.


3 Responses to “GOT MILK”

  1. Now I REALLY want to see this film. I checked out VALKRYE.. ummmm wait for the DVD! Thanks for this in depth look at the flick!

  2. Milk is AMAZING.
    So is Grand Turino… WATCH THAT.
    ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. I’m there.
    Thanks for reminding me to see this!
    Weather Kim
    in DC and on TV

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