Recently, in an article entitled “My Kinky Relationship with Barack”, David Schmader beautifully summed up his feelings about President Obama’s failure to take some very simple steps toward finally making the gay community an equal part of American society. I still think he was the best available candidate for the job of cleaning of the mess left by the Bush administration. But I no longer think he was just downplaying his support of gay rights. It’s really seems like he doesn’t see it as the civil rights issue that it clearly is.
Of course, putting your trust in anyone involves banking on his or her motives, and with Obama, I’d consistently taken him at his word and filled in the blanks with stupid romantic hope.
I was slapped back to my senses this month, when the DOMA brief came out—the second punch to the face. The first had been easy to explain away. But with that brief, Obama was officially becoming the Chris Brown to my Rihanna. I tried to understand, but there’s only so much explaining away and narrative spinning you can do before you start looking like a deluded lovelorn masochist.
And yet, what am I supposed to do? He knows I’m not going anywhere. It’s not like I’m going to become a Republican or something. Like any abused boyfriend, I find myself equivocating. He’s not all bad. He’s doing nice things for the environment, the economy, abortion rights, and “America’s image in the world,” right? And really, he only shoves me when he needs to.
I’m starting to understand why my friend who is a lesbian, and also one of the “lucky” couples who’s marriage is still legal in spite of prop 8, wrote in a vote for Ralph Nader in 2008. I know he’s busy fixing the economy but how hard is it to pick up a pen and sign a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? How hard is it to just stop letting bigots tell people who they can and cannot love? And what the hell was up with that support of DOMA? I didn’t expect gay marriage to become legal on November 4th. But I did expect Barack Obama to prioritize. And as far as I’m concerned, getting people to stop smoking cloves is not nearly as fucking important as giving a large portion of your voters equal rights. Smoking, unlike homosexuality, is a choice. And being gay is only dangerous because political leaders support bullshit like DOMA, thus giving credence to hate.
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