A politician, a dirty scheming politician, made a calculated move earlier this month to help win re-election, and a good portion of Americans cheered it.
Decent Americans cheered when he was elected as the pro-peace candidate. Lots of decent people cheered when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, though he shortly thereafter surged the troops in Afghanistan. Slowly but surely decent people grew disappointed with their "promise everything, deliver little" president. It's almost as if he has a calculating public relations man as a senior advisor / communications director, someone like David Axelrod.
Slate naively commented, "Obama should thank Joe Biden for forcing him to move more quickly to the right side of history."
This raises the question of whether Slate is a news organization or a club for sycophants who believe everything told to them by the White House. Did Joe Biden really slip? Or was it calculated? That's a hard one to prove either way. Slate insists with its statement that the Obama White House would never tell a lie. There was another time in American history where a national news organization insisted that the White House could not tell a lie. Fox News was the name of that news organization.
Obama's all talk. He used to talk about his support of terminally ill patients who used medical marijuana to alleviate pain naturally and to encourage an appetite. He did that until he won election; then, he did the opposite. In fact, Obama now encourages raids of medical marijuana dispensaries. If Obama thought the votes of terminally ill patients who use medical marijuana would come into play, his view on that would be "evolving” too.
Shortly after the president’s newest opinion had made news headlines, a voter from Obama's hometown of Chicago chimed in sarcastically, expecting nothing but talk from Obama, "I bet his support of gay marriage is as strong as his support of transparency, ending the war in Iraq, and ending 'business as usual' in DC."
This isn't West Wing where a bold and wise philosopher president forces his enlightened views on society fighting the villains who occupy the rest of DC. No, it's not. This is the real world where the crooked president from my hometown of Chicago plays politics every day of his presidency in order to see to it that he'll spend two terms in office. Obama saw enough polling results that said gay voters were willing to be swing voters, possibly voting for Romney, possibly staying home.
With the economy increasingly a mess and Obama at the helm, Log Cabin Republicans are seeing more excitement in their organization from defecting Democrats. The only way to be noticed by a politician is to threaten to abandon him. Gay voters threatened to abandon Obama. Obama's advisors saw that he needed them as part of his coalition in order to win. Perhaps this means that gay marriage will pass Congress, perhaps it will be 20 years before anything changes federally. Cynically, Obama made his announcement because he believed that with a few sentences of talk and no action, he would be able to convince most gay voters to excitedly vote for Democrats.
Obama played politics and shouldn't be celebrated for it. He is not a leader. He is a follower, following the trend, manipulating voters by saying the right words in the right way. The real heroes of this discussion are the brave men and women born gay who go through life essentially in a homophobic society. Cheer them, not Obama. Living life being honest with yourself and those you love is bravery, being a calculating politician is not bravery.
I remain dedicated to the goal of removing government entirely from the issue of marriage. Instead of federalizing marriage, we should seek to make marriage an agreement between two people, just like any other contract. Obama is going the wrong direction on this issue. We should allow federal employees to name a person who will receive their benefits in the event of death. We should eliminate tax benefits that seek to socially engineer society, such as tax breaks for married couples. We are individuals with individual rights. A neutral federal government benefits people on all side of this law. The people cheering Obama today are making this a federal issue, which is the opposite of moving us closer to greater equal individual rights.
"Gay rights" should not be what we work towards. Ending special privileges for the married is what we should work towards. No one should receive special privileges from our government. Let any man and woman enter into a contract with any other man or woman whether that be regarding the buying and selling of a house, the employee/employer relationship, or building a lifelong partnership. Of course, in a time where government is among the largest employers and offers some form of welfare to so many, I realize that this is easier said than done.
Politicians act when provoked, when forced. Obama's hand was forced by voters. That's something to be celebrated – forcing the hand of a politician. It's no reason to celebrate Obama's goodness. Let's try to force him toward acting to limit the size of government now instead of opening up the door for the federal governing to condone or condemn our private lives. That's simply not a good road for our society to go down.
What happened this month with gay marriage should be a lesson to all people who hold any political viewpoint that is too far outside of the mainstream to receive anything but lip service in DC – ending corporatist government handouts a la the wishes of the 99%, bringing the troops home, seeing that a modicum of civil rights protection exist at the federal level. From civil libertarians to people who want peace in the world, there is a lesson to be learned from this month’s pronouncement on gay marriage – if you are prepared to turn your back on President Obama and the Democrats, or any other group of politicians, if you are prepared to jump ship, and only if you are prepared to jump ship and vote for someone else, then you might have your most pressing issues addressed in DC. Anyone who can be depended on to vote for President Obama in November will not have their issues addressed between now and then. You won’t even get the lip service that the advocates of gay marriage received from President Obama, let alone legislation in support of your most pressing issues.