I am trying to remember back four years to the morning after Obama’s first inauguration. Was I this excited and expectant? I don’t think so. In fact this morning isn’t like any other- even the mornings after his elections. Today is the best morning ever to wake up gay. Yesterday marks the moment in history when gay rights became truly mainstream America. Sure, gay rights had been a political party platform item; progress continued on legislative efforts; and presidents had used then”G” word in positive ways. Even this president had evolved personally, and supported Marriage Equality. But this morning is the first morning ever, when our rights to life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness, became inseparable from a liberal view of the American Dream.
On Sunday evening my partner Brad, and I went and saw the movie Lincoln. It wasn’t intentional going the night before the inauguration- it just happened that way. The movie is amazing, and a must see for anyone especially activists of any stripe. But especially in relation to Obama and this morning in 2013, one scene stands out so clearly. Lincoln is talking, and asks if people know about the triangle: the mathematical equation that if one thing equals another and that equals something other, then the first equals the latter. I remember it well:
If A = B, and B = C, then A= C.
These laws of mathematics are not theory or opinion, but proven out. Perhaps Obama had seen the movie too, and this had struck him as well, for he used the same thinking to name the love of a committed gay couple as equal too. I suppose this could be called merely semantics, but for me, what Obama did was call gay men and women equal rather than merely say we deserved to be treated as equal. I do not only deserve Equality, but I am equal. I am one of “we the people.” I don’t believe it is just semantics. Obama gave us, gay and lesbian people, a place within the whole of the American Dream in a way that had never been articulated so clearly before.
Do I feel any different? Not really. I have always believed that I belong- that I was part of we the people. However this was the very first time I heard the Leader of the Free World, say it so clearly.
Profound is the word that comes to mind. As the tea baggers, obstructionists, second amen dentists, and secessionists portray Liberal ideas as anti -American, Obama placed these ideas within the pre-constitutional beginnings of our country. Not so unlike the other President from Illinois. While jurists may argue about the interpretation of the Constitution, Obama linked gay rights and other rights directly to the thinking of our founding fathers. We hold these truths to be self evident.
Now is when the truly hard work begins. Words are only words unless we become willing to go the distance to bring them to fruition. Democracy is difficult and messy and perfecting democracy is a challenging task. Equal or not, we have not experienced the end of our frustrations and ill treatment. In fact, the most hard work ay be ahead of us still. But we are not on this journey alone, nor are we outside of the mainstream any longer. My gay brothers and sisters are we the people in a new way; a self evident way, and we can never be put outside the whole again. .