Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Big Smile, Long Horizon from Obama

Yesterday's the prez and the gays meeting went as most of us figured. Barack Obama said the LGBT community should relish advances in these first six month and expect to be delighted in the next 42. People still want to believe, but he makes us work for that.
The Remarks: You can read the whole transcript over at Pam's House Blend here.
Many supporters of civil rights in general and LGBT ones in particular have lost patience. His agenda needs shuffling, as in:
  • A come-to-Jesus moment (following irony intended) on same-sex marriage. He infuses his marginally fundy religion on public policy here. It's civil rights marked by a civil contract, B.O.
  • He promised to dump DOMA. Get with the program, Prez.
  • He says even now that don't ask/don't tell is wrong, outdated and inefficient. Nuff said; now act.
Here in Massachusetts, we think of his buddy Gov. Deval Patrick. They each made strong commitments to the progressive, netroots, and LGBT gangs. Both have been timorous with their legislatures. Neither has shown the leadership they promised in their campaigns. Both hide behind the veil of passivity while claiming their major skill is to get disparate groups to work together for good laws.

In yesterday's White House event, the President played the six-month card. Among his remarks came:
I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.
That's the old trust-me approach. It works for a lot of sales types, less so for the President.

On DOMA, he said:
I've called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to help end discrimination against same-sex couples in this country. Now, I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I've made that clear.
What that should make clear is that he won't push for DOMA repeal or even nibble at the lack of portability of legal marriages among states. If DOMA dies, it won't be because of Obama's leadership. Act, don't ask.

Speaking of over 250 homosexuals tossed from the military during his tenure, he could only say:
But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security. Now, even as we take these steps, we must recognize that real progress depends not only on the laws we change but, as I said before, on the hearts we open. For if we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that there are good and decent people in this country who don't yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters -- not yet.
So, the old bigots in the Pentagon and military aren't quite ready. Our President would pray for their hard hearts to soften. He's commander in chief. He could make this happen today.

So, read all his remarks and make your own call. This is too slow and wishy-washy for me.

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