Some of you are aware that I do some ghostwriting and editing for another blog. The downside of this is that sometimes I write things I really want to post here – and I can’t.
I just finished a post about Sen. Barack Obama’s now well-known interview with Jake Tapper on ABC World News this last Monday. For those that didn’t see it, the gist of his comments on the California marriage ruling taking effect were a mix of typical federalism and one seemingly gratuitous clarification that marriage is “between one man and one woman”.
Why, Obama, did you have to say that? Couldn’t you have just stopped with the “state’s rights” jabber? Federalism seems to be the in vogue way to give to slip to both the gays, the anti-gays, the ex-gays, and anyone else who’s listening to the marriage equality debate these days. McCain can’t weasel his way out that simply because he has the neocons and the Christian Right to pander to, but you’re supposed to be different. You represent change. What’s so wrong with keeping your mouth shut every once and awhile?
As you can see, the betrayal his comments left me with is quickly slipping back. Since I was posting for a 501(c)(3), however, I had to retain the “political distance” that I find humorously referred to as “editorial balance”. Usually this just leaves me embittered. When I think Hillary Clinton has done something horrific, I want to say so. Likewise, I really wanted to tell Obama where to shove it this time.
Forced to get beyond my initial STFU response to the senator, I was surprised to find something extremely positive embedded within the debate that’s surfaced around this interview. Opinions on his slip up fall all over the map within the LGBT blogosphere and press. Praise, criticism, anger, sudden high-level endorsements – it’s all there and has been throughout this election cycle. But the space for this kind of dialogue wouldn’t have existed, couldn’t have existed, before.
Election ’08 has been like no other in terms of LGBT visibility, both as voters and in the issues. Especially on the Democratic side where conversation has been particularly robust, we know the candidates stances on DOMA, DADT, inclusive vs. HRC-dictated ENDA, on and on. When have we known so much before as a community prior to going to the voting booth? When have these stances been stated out in the open, support given in mainstream addresses instead of behind closed doors to the LGBT press and movement leaders? And did everyone catch Obama’s statement in support of 2008 pride season? Really?
Don’t get me wrong. I still share Sara Whitman’s feelings toward Obama and those that would question my upset at the use and abuse of the “gay vote”:
I am sick of people telling me I should be more concerned with other issues- as if I’m not. Please. I can hold more than one thought in my head at a time. I care about the war. I care deeply that we get a Democrat in office- McCain is a nightmare. The list goes on and on.
And I want equality.
And I want it now.
Well said. I couldn’t agree more. However –
This is all so different than in the past. Although I’m still angry with Obama’s statements (and although I still don’t believe a single candidate has my back on this or any other issue that matters most to me, from gender identity to global warming), it truly is a measure of how far the community has come toward inclusion this campaign season that these conversations are even happening at all. I’m not saying it’s done or that we’ve won. The difference, however, between 11 anti-gay ballot initiatives four years agoand Obama coming out with a statement in support of 2008 pride season is remarkable. What a difference four years makes.