Seriously, THIS, and not just because she’s the boss lady:
You had it, and we worked hard to give it to you, and we see you calling things impossible which are just very hard, and we get fucking annoyed, because we don’t get to get away with that shit. Not at our jobs and not in our lives.
We’ve all of us been running some variant of that loop the last few weeks, and we all will probably continue to, and weshould.
But the loop in my head goes off into my own personal cul-de-sac, and I get that it’s at the very least not just a bit selfish, not to mention somewhat counter-productive, even downright presumptuous, but here in my private angry cul-de-sac, it’s just me and the President. More specifically, me and the President and his Queer Problem.
Because whether anyone else thinks it’s right or not, whether it’s rational or not, in my heart, I hold Barack Obama personally responsible for letting us down. Letting us down about same sex marriage, about DADT, about ENDA. I hold Barack Obama personally responsible for choosing cynicism and expediency over principle on these issues that for me and mine, are profoundly central to lives, not to mention our experience as engaged citizens.
Because yes, we needed strategy and a coalition and policy prowess, but even more we needed a champion, we needed the personal political authority and leverage that only a POTUS can bring. And our POTUS has a Queer Problem. I’m not saying he is homophobic, nor do I actually think that, but I am saying he simply doesn’t seem to believe gay rights are human rights.
I think part of this is owning up to just how invested I was with my queer expectations, about my hopes for this charismatic, principled candidate to address some redress, to be a champion. I mean, what’s more “hopey-changey” than righting wrongs, ensuring basic human rights?
The sand started trickling out on those expectations pretty early on. As the midterms came on, I knew I would vote no matter what. It’s a personal choice and my ingrained choice isalways going to be to vote, but this year I couldn’t condemn the many pissed offGLBTQs who abstained. I still completely disagree with the political efficacy of their choice, but goddamn I do feel the rage, and goddamn I did struggle against that anger even as I pulled into the parking lot at my polling place yesterday.
Because Barack Obama has a Queer Problem.
He doesn’t seem to think the despair and despondency of our GLBTQ youth is an emergency. Oh sure, he made an It Gets Better video.AFTER everyone else and their dog did.
Sure he’s spoken out in favor of repeal of DADT but seems incapable of understanding the whole “fierce urgency of now” with respect to the hundreds of ruined military careers of gays and lesbians who continue to volunteer to put their lives on the line.
He has spoken in favor of a trans-inclusive ENDA, he’s appointed a lesbian to the EEOC but tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, queers can still get fired for being queer in 28 states, and in 38 states, it’s still legal to fire someone on the basis of gender identity. In 2010. It’s still legal to discriminate in the country you lead in 2010, Mr. President.
Last week, the POTUShinted to some DFH bloggers that he actually thinks about same-sex marriage, that his “attitude” has evolved. This from the man who thought it was okay to make the distinction that “God is in the mix” only when heteros stand up in front of their friends and family and commit themselves to each other. Some people considered it an optimistic signa but the first thing I did was look at the calendar and count back from Nov. 3. But hey don’t worry, Mr. Obama, you’ve got time. After all, Dick Cheney will likely die pretty soon so people will probably stop pointing out how he’s more progressive than you about the queers getting hitched.
On a related note, it’s flat out presumptuous of me to assume to know what someone born in an interracial family believes or thinks about marriage. I do get that, but I still wonder why, if Mildred Loving herself can say
“I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people civil rights”
that Mr. Obama does not make a similar personal connection and having made that connection, publicly bring his personal understanding to bear on the issue of marriage freedom, similar to the way he often spoke so eloquently about how his mother’s experience as a cancer patient influenced his advocacy for healthcare reform. My guess, again cynical, is that even if he does have personal insight about the freedom to marry based on his family’s experience, to speak about it publicly might pose the additional political risk of emphasizing his “foreign-ness.”
Barack Obama has a Queer Problem. Sure, he’s said a lot of positive supportive stuff and made some key appointments and theHRC thinks he’s superswell, but when it comes down to it, time and again, over and over, the POTUS has simply failed to prioritize gay rights as human rights, failed to afford them that urgency, or any urgency at all.
As a result, as these midterms will certainly underscore, from here on out the queers officially have an Obama Problem.