As we gear up for nationwide pride celebrations that claim to celebrate our diverse community, I hope I'm allowed to express an opinion that seems different from most. Bitter Bunny held off to let you celebrate before weighing in with her cup of bitterness. But as a card-carrying atheist, a slut with no desire to wed, and a dyed-in-the-wool pacifist with no desire to fight anyone unless absolutely necessary, I don't comprehend the jubilance that most felt when Obama threw us a bone yesterday.
It's a soft bone that doesn't translate into any real policy, and I can't help but think that Obama is using a pro-gay-marriage stance as a smokescreen to A) seem more liberal, because he's lost his base, and most of them support same-sex marriage; and B) seem to have made a bold decision when we know he religiously studies the polls before making any move. The whole Biden "slip" on Sunday seemed clearly orchestrated to me. Obama hasn't made bold decisions on anything from protecting Social Security/Medicaid/Medicare to leaving insane, unpopular wars to going to bat for single-payer health-insurance reform to supporting the unions for which he claimed he'd put on his walking shoes and march. His withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has majority support, ends in 2024! And he just appointed Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto vice president, as a senior advisor to the FDA commissioner while Michelle Obama spouts a platform of healthier eating. I wonder if the first family eats those genetically modified Franken-foods. But to Obama's credit, he did make a bold move in extending the executive branch's power to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without trials. This move was so bold that he had to sign it with an apology and swore that he'd never use the new, disturbing power he'd just given himself.
I think we should have taken civil unions when Bush offered them. In my mind, desiring any religious institution, from marriage to circumcision, validates the church, our most vigorous foe! Why not defang the dusty old nonsense that is Christianity and its contradictory teachings? Whatever your beliefs, you can't deny that Christianity is often interpreted in the opposite way it was intended.
Or has my bitterness clouded my judgment? Obama was pro-gay-marriage in 1996, but since no one could then win the White House with such a stance, he devolved away from his support to get elected. Then he evolved -- or claims to have had. So maybe he's just playing the game well, and gays stand to win something important to most of us. Or maybe he's just playing to donors: The Washington Post reports that one in six of Obama's top campaign "bundlers" is gay. And he needs those pink dollars, because Wall Street contributions are moving toward Romney.
You may have rejoiced, but I cringed to hear him say that his neighbors, staffers, and friends who were gay helped him arrive at his "new" outlook on our matrimony. It's as sad as hearing him say that he and Michelle have reconciled gay marriage with their faith. I would hope that the decisions of the most powerful man on Earth (besides Rip Taylor) would be based on more than who his friends, neighbors, and staffers currently are. Just imagine: "Oh! An anti-Iran family just moved in next door, so I'm going to attack Iran." And as far as the faith, he's too old for imaginary friends, especially when he's supposed to respect the separation of church and state.
Is candidate Obama just seductively stringing us along for votes? In the 2010 mid-term elections, the fickle gays were so angry with him for not repealing "don't ask, don't tell" that many voted Republican. This makes no sense to me, denouncing bullying gay teens while clamoring to sign up to bully people in other countries. Why is that kind of military bullying OK? Because those victims' skin is brown, or because they're Muslims? Or because we're wearing an American uniform while committing atrocities that make us less safe, by creating generations of new terrorists for decades to come? So now that he's given us a new smokescreen with this "heartwarming" (if meaningless, policy-wise) message of support, we should all vote for him and pray that he'll do the right thing when reelected?
He clearly hasn't done the right thing on so many issues. So my trust in him, which started when he bravely voted against going to war in Iraq, is gone. Of course, I'll vote for him over Romney or any other Republican, for his Supreme Court justice choices alone. But why do gays only focus on policies that affect them? As with the bullying/joining-the-military-to-attack-innocents-overseas contradiction, why can't gays put two and two together and comprehend that as a minority, we must look out for civil rights and equality for all, and therefore be just as concerned about liberal causes that are never trumpeted by gay-rights organizations? Even if we do only care about advancing gay issues and about no one else, liberals are the only group that has consistently supported equal rights for gays. So if they have our backs, we'd better have theirs. Yet gays feel no compulsion to cry out against forcing women to listen to their unborn fetus' heartbeat before getting an abortion; voter ID laws that yank away votes from millions of seniors, youth, and minorities; Obama's blatant failure to support union rights, as he promised; and so many other issues that affect civil rights for all, not just gay people. And Obama thinks that this declaration of support for gays will attract the youth vote? If I were young, I'd rather have affordable tuition! The only way we'll ever advance a gay agenda is to ally ourselves with -- duh! -- our liberal allies! But for some reason, we can't see that far!
I wish I hadn't heard this darkly incisive analysis from Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks: According to Uygur, repealing DADT was a safe way for Obama to avoid bucking popular opinion. And it made this centrist war president seem more liberal without taking any skin off the noses of the financial giants who make up the White House posse. Many are Bush leftovers, so we shouldn't expect too many improvements on the economic policies that crashed the land. Uygur says he'd rather have a fairer, more prosperous country for all and begin to resurrect the American Dream that Obama claims got him elected than appeal to the fraction of the population that is gay, and the even smaller fraction within that group that wants to get hitched.
And the big organizations that dictate our gay agenda, which we mindlessly accept, don't have clean hands. This year GLAAD's president stepped down after being exposed as a shill for AT&T. And HRC granted a corporate equality award to Goldman Sachs, which had a major hand in causing this country's financial crash. And yesterday, gay families rang the closing bell at the NYSE stock exchange. I think it's time to ignore this hogwash perpetuated by our leading gay organizations, which appear to have been bought to ensure that the country as a whole never achieves economic equality. To me, that's more urgent than a vague smoke signal from Obama on same-sex marriage.