Let me say right off that I understand the skepticism and the caution. President Obama, after all, waited nearly four years to say anything this unequivocal. He sat and watched while state after state chose to pull right after right away, sometimes preemptively. Sometimes he spoke up, but generally, it was weak tea.
But, this time it was different. He said:
“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Now, there are two schools of thought. One is that he has “evolved,” like he had stated, and that this is something that he has come to during his presidency. The other is that this is a political calculation, done to try and garner votes (whether he believes it or not is immaterial).
I am going to come out right now and say neither matters. This is still a good thing. This is a sitting president publicly throwing in his lot with lgbt people. After North Carolina, no one can deny that we need that endorsement right now. At the very least, it is a tiny bit of salve on the wound.
Should he have come out with this before the election in North Carolina? Well, do you honestly believe it would have made a difference? It was not a small margin that it lost by. I really don’t believe that anyone who cared about gay rights would have stayed home just because the president hadn’t given his endorsement. Honestly, I think it is a more likely scenario that it would have riled more bigots up to get out and vote against it because Obama supported it.
But, coming on the heels of this loss… we are angered. We are hurting. We are motivated again. We are cognizant once again of what happens when we are complacent, when we don’t speak loudly enough. Once again, we see the results of those who already speak loudly, with a cable news microphone, throwing lighter fluid on the flames.
And then the President came in and sacrifices his queen for us. He knows that this will anger some people to the point that they will never vote for him again, even if they voted for him the last time. But, honestly, there were a lot of people who were going to throw this election away, because they wouldn’t vote for him if he didn’t come out for gay marriage. Maybe not enough to make a difference, but enough to make his election to a second term not a sure thing. And, that is too close for comfort.
Because, what would our other option be? Mitt Romney? That’s not just biting off your nose to spite your face, that’s lopping off the whole head. Ron Paul? Yeah, he’s for gay marriage, but against rights for women and blacks. And Gingrich? He supports a federal (!) amendment to ban gay marriage.
We cannot do anything that would put any of these men and their ilk in the White House. We cannot stay home. We cannot be complacent. We cannot lose. People are waiting, with their lives on hold, for people to understand that rights are not given. That’s why are called rights. But, rights have been denied and we need to change that.
President Obama is not perfect, but we don’t get perfect in politics. However, when I have to chose between not perfect and perfectly awful, I will vote for not perfect everytime.
The President is no longer riding the fence. He is with us, for better or for worse. We need to have his back. We need to support him and win this election in a landslide. We also need to vote out the bigots in Congress who have been thwarting every move he has tried to make. Change cannot happen when only one person is doing it. We need to get people in there that will work with him and people who believe in fairness and equality.
He sacrificed his queen for us. Now, let’s protect his King and get her back.