arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

High Five for the President (Part Two)


I think same sex-couples should be able to get married.”

Eleven words which have been spoken by thousands of people over the last few decades, but few paid any attention. Okay, great, so you think gay people should not be second class citizens anymore. Fine, but there’s still not enough people who share this sentiment that it will affect change. True, a majority of Americans are slowly adopting this position, but apparently not enough in any one place to make state legislators pay attention.

Ah, but last week those words were spoken with all sincerity and honesty by the President of the United States. Now people are paying attention.

I don’t want to minimize the significance of this historic moment of American history, but I do want to put it into perspective. It’s wonderful that Obama’s personal opinion on the subject has finally evolved. Many people of the same mindset saw his admission as a great step forward, and in many respects it is a giant step in the name of civil rights. Now will Barack Obama lead the charge up the steps of the Capitol with an equal marriage rights bill clutched to his chest? Well, um…probably not. 
 
Obama is letting the movement ride state-to-state. So far, a handful of states have seen the light of a progressive society and enacted same-sex marriage statutes. However, many other states (like mine) prefer to remain in the dark ages, wrapping a cloak of rigid, religious morality around their ignorance and fear. The movement hasn’t caught fire yet, but truth be told it’s farther along in a handful of states than I would have thought possible at this point in my lifetime.

Like many great moments in history, the actual event happened so fast — as in blink of an eye fast — that many of us had to stop what we were doing and say “What just happened here?” Actually, everybody has been asking that question since the President uttered these eleven words in the presence of ABC news anchor Robin Roberts and a news crew on Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

Some commentators weren’t so surprised; they saw all the signs of how Obama’s thoughts on the subject were evolving, and felt deep inside the President would come around to their way of thinking. They point to his ordering of his administration's Justice Department to discontinue defending the Defense of Marriage Act. They pointed to his administration's repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military. They knew that he would endorse same-sex marriage as a civil right, but the question was when.

Reports have come out — after the fact — that the President would make his true feelings known before the convention. According to these observations, that timetable had to be moved up when Vice President Joe Biden voiced that he was comfortable with same-sex marriage on “Meet The Press” (May 6). Some cynical observers (full disclosure: including me) thought that Biden’s statement was not a gaffe, but the administration's way of testing the waters for this controversial stance. The White House has made some noise since then that this was not the case.

Sure enough, press accounts surfaced later in the week stating that Biden was called to the Oval Office, where he personally apologized to the President. Believe it or not! Actually, that meeting could have gone one of two ways:

THE WHITE HOUSE VERSION

Obama: “Okay Joe, let’s go to the woodshed.”

Biden: “You are right, Mr. President. I was wrong. Please accept my heartfelt apology for my transgression.”

OR A VERSION WHICH WE’LL CALL THE FOX NEWS VERSION

Obama: (laughing.)  “Ha, Joe! We did it! Our carefully choreographed sound bites worked like a charm!”

Biden: “Yes, Mr. President! It went beautifully!”

Obama: “Let’s celebrate! I’ll have a Bud Light. You want your usual, Joe? A low alcoholic beer?”

Biden: “Sounds great!”

Obama: “But before we do that, let’s celebrate with a victory fist bump! (They bump clenched fists.)  Woo-hoo!”

As I said, believe it or not, or something like that.

So who benefitted from the President’s admission? Certainly the Democrats, as they raised millions more for their election coffers after the Obama interview, even though they weren’t having trouble raising money before. The liberals are energized, knowing that they have their President back. Conversely, the religious right is also energized to further support their platform of fear and ignorance.  

The media have paid some attention to a group who may now feel betrayed: evangelical African-Americans, who supported Obama in 2008, now don’t know what to do since the concept of gay marriage violates their sense of morality. What can one say to them, except to remind them that not too long ago they were riding in the back of the bus without voting rights, and everybody telling them where they could and could not get a drink of water. Let’s face it, the gay community wants to ride upfront, and frankly, it’s about time somebody said that their time has come.

Thank you, Mr. President, for standing up for justice. Still, we shouldn’t kid ourselves: the struggle for justice has a long way to go.

(Thank you for reading. Everyone, let’s do a fist bump!  Woo-hoo!)

1 Comments:

Anonymous Janey said...

I too now have hope that same-sex marriage will receive federal recognition in my lifetime. And when it does, we queers are going to bump more than just our fists! :-)

May 14, 2012 at 7:34 AM  

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