Thursday, May 14, 2009

Politics as Usual

First of all, a big H/T to Andrew Sullivan. I may not always agree with you but you hit this one on the head.

As we await the sixth state in our union to grant same-sex marriage, it's time to reflect on the promises made and seemingly forgotten by Obama.  One of the reasons I voted for Obama last November had to do with the change he represented for the LGBT community.

If you recall, he supported a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. While he favored civil unions over civil marriage for same-sex couples, he at least admitted the importance of their struggle.

Now, these issues are pushed aside and handled with the non-answers that beg the question: Was Obama only giving lip service to the LGBT family and their allies?

To paraphrase Andrew Sullivan, many politicians have used gay rights as something that seem fine to give the illusion of supporting (they make for great fundraising in certain locales) but always something far too explosive to actually deal with once elected. Of course, I suppose that's better than the opposition who use the bugaboo of the homosexual agenda to stir up the base (also good for fundraising).

I hoped that Obama was different.  I believed him when he said he would support equal rights for same-sex couples. I believed him when he said we were needlessly wasting American talent by enforcing DADT and discharging LGBT service members.  Now, those promises have been watered down, at best, and ignored at worst.

Yes, there is the economy looming over all our collective heads.  There are the wars and the torture issue and Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh flapping their gums.  Yes, it will take time to legislatively deal with DADT and DOMA. But there are things that can be done now without Congress that could stem the tide of dishonorable discharges and show the LGBT community that he still cares, that he still remembers his promises.

An executive order calling for a moratorium on further discharges under DADT until such time as Congress can take up the issue would be a first step in the right direction.

When someone like Lt. Dan Choi, an Arabic linguist, officer in the Army National Guard and West Point graduate is dismissed simply because he is gay, we all lose.  That Obama refuses to take the simple step of signing an executive order to stop his dismissal and that of other service members calls into question his sincerity.

I say to you Mr President that the tide is turning.  Standing up for the rights of LGBT people is not the political death sentence that it is once was.  Remember the promises that you made and avoid the political expediency that so many around you are no doubt encouraging.  Do the right thing.

I leave you with this reminder as well. The electorate is awake, we're pissed off and we're paying attention.


ZIRGAR said...

Amen! In this day and age there is no reason any gay person should be excluded just for that reason. It's reprehensible and wrong. I know I'm not taking any big stand by saying any of that, but I've never understood homophobia. I remember right after high school when my best friend got outted, I never for once thought any less of him and in fact was the only person who defended him among his friends, or I should say his former friends, the rest of them turned tail and ran when they found out about him. I was hurt by that, and I know it hurt him more so. I hate all of the excuses people make for the bigotry also. It just makes me sick. Sorry for my ranting and rambling. I need to do a blog on this subject, I've been meaning to.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, but like you I feel that Obama is steering far wide of this subject so that it doe snot derail his presidency and his agenda.

We just cannot let the far right set the tone anymore and dictate policy.