A Man of the People
Barack Speaks out on Marriage Equality
When the Republican’s speak with horror about the consequences of a second Obama term, hysterically warning that this President is changing American society, I say Damned right! But that fact does not alarm me; it makes my spirit dance! For I have no doubt the changes that President Obama has wrought in the way we do things in America, are changes that are great for the majority of Americans and long overdue!
Speaking out in heart-felt testimony of support for the right of homosexual citizens to have the same rights to marriage – and all the economic and legal benefits it confers – as hetero-sexual citizens, is both highly moral and courageous. For those gay Americans who seek domestic bliss within the bond of marriage… this is a great moment.
Alas, it remains to be seen if the president’s support of marriage equality will prove an asset or a liability politically. In which case it raises the question why now? Surely this declaration of presidential support would carry more weight politically if it were offered by a newly elected President with nothing to lose, because he cannot run for the office again. But it will mean very little in terms of actually advancing the policy agenda of the Gay community if Mitt Romney wins the election and the Republicans keep the house and take the Senate too.
Those who speak confidently that the President’s declaration of support is a wise political decision, and that it won’t hurt his reelection chances, may be building their castles on sand. This is a very emotional issue for millions of Americans – especially the deeply religious who, in the nature of things, can be swayed by irrational appeals.
The numbers that reflect where the electorate stands on this question are ambiguous. While the polls show public opinion evenly divided, when put to an actual vote Marriage Equality measures have lost in all 32 attempts. Hence I am not as confident as those who urged the president to come out of the closet now. Just a few days ago the Amendment to North Carolina’s constitution, banning both Marriage Equality and Civil Unions between homosexual citizens, passed by 61%-39% a 20% margin. Afro-Americans voted in favor of the bill 2-1!
This is President Obama’s key constituency, and when the Catholic Bishops weighs in on the issue it could hurt him in Hispanic communities; another key constituency. And when they are joined by legions of racists and clueless airheads, anything can happen!
Yet the revelation that Mitt Romney – who has just restated his opposition to marriage equality – was a teenage bully who harassed and physically assaulted gay classmates in his exclusive prep school, which is coming out in the news as I write, should leave no doubt in the minds of voters that this flawed amoral charlatan, whose ethical allegiance is dictated by expedience, doesn’t have the right stuff to lead this nation. He is a rich, arrogant, cynical bigot: A throughly odious fraud!
Whatever happens, we will have won a moral victory by the president speaking out for Marriage equality. Some will find satisfaction in this no matter what the outcome of the election…but I tend to agree with the African political philosopher Kwame Nkrumah: “Seek ye first the political kingdom / and all else shall be added there unto.”
A Compulsive Liar and Bully
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 10, 2012