All the social networks have been on fire since word leaked that Obama was doing an interview with Good Morning America, and the topic was most likely Marriage Equality. Take that Old Testament curmudgeons: proof that evolution is real, as illustrated by the President’s evolved position! There is already way too much stuff out there parading as news and commentary on this, so I will be brief in my commentary, and I want to focus mostly on the more important question, what comes next?
I have to admit I was completely surprised by the timing of this. I’ve been of the opinion, that the President had really completed his evolution some time ago, but was looking for the right time to spring it on all of America to accomplish the most good at the least cost. If that sounds calculating, well it most likely is, but that is the world of politics, so I don’t fault him for that even if I may not have agreed with his failure to come out for Marriage Equality sooner. However, I don’t believe the media suggestion that he was forced into this because of Biden’s comments a week prior. I think it is the reverse actually. The White House has seen for some time that a fight was brewing over a Marriage Equality plank in the Democratic Party platform, and to avoid that, the President would be required to come out for Marriage Equality before the convention. If it had just been Biden’s comments, I could be persuaded, but when Arne Duncan also came out for Equality, I saw these are preliminary comments leading up to the big announcement.
2010 was a bad election for progressives for a few reasons, but one reason was that so many progressives were turned off big time because the POTUS had failed to come through on many of his progressive promises. GITMO was not closed; no one was held accountable for The Bush/Cheney torture errors; no public option to Health Care Reform; there is a list.and POTUS was perceived to have made more promises to the LGBTQ community than he had brought into being at that time. their disgruntled posture, allowed many to stay away from the polls, and the GOP which was promising job swept to power. Now, with two years of turning back the clock on any progressive issue, Democrats need to turn out in huge numbers and keep any further erosion of civil rights. Obama’s decision to speak out at this time will be great fuel to push progressives and social progressive moderates into the polls and help re-elect the President
All those LGBTQ activists who have been clamping for Obama’s evolution, have got exactly what they have been calling for. And as the old adage goes, be careful what you ask for. Because now, the hard work really begins. Obama’s change in position accomplishes absolutely nothing for Marriage Equality. Marriage law is created at the state level, and he acts only as a symbolic head of a party with this decision. What it did do in practical terms however, is give the far right ammunition (or a rationalization) to push their far right social agenda even further. Obama’s decision will ignite many on the far right to fight even harder, with more hateful lies and misinformation. Not that they really needed any fuel. They were pushing that already, but the battle will be more brutal now than before.
So, we have more work ahead of us. We, LGBTQ community members are now more responsible than before, to make sure that Obama’s re-election happens. If we screw that up, we have no one to blame but ourselves. I’m not really sure I want that on my head, but I’m up for the task I think. How about you? We will need to , more than ever before seek to build strong bonds between our community and other progressive communities. We especially need to reach out in unprecedented ways to build bonds with the larger African-American community- a community which may not be as inboard with same-sex marriage as we might wish.
Activists who, had the luxury of ranting ( I’m talking about you Dan Savage) will now have to be more thoughtful and careful with your words, so that they exact precisely what you mean for them. Fine, go after Christian hypocrisy, but make sure you do it in ways identify hypocrisy instead of attacking all those of Faith. Direct action groups, like GetEqual will need to find ways to be direct without retreating to the victim posture. Obama can not be the enemy, when the Tony Perkins and Brian Fischers are out there seeking as much havoc as they can.
The biggest issues facing Obama are not moderate voters in swing states who may be socially conservative. One repercussion of the devastating loses in 2010 helped the GOP redistrict to favor conservatives, and enact across the country, various legislation which oppresses the vote by traditionally democrat voters. Indeed, numbers are way down, especially within the African American community. LGBTQ activists need to lend all their time, talent and funds to GOTV efforts within all traditional Dem voter blocks, even where some of those voters will need to be educated about the need to support LGBTQ issues. We asked for him to evolve,he did, and now it is our turn to do our part. Are we ready? Are you ready?