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Video: Anglin' America: A Possible Gay Fantasia on Presidential Themes

by Jeremy Hooper

After last week of Scott Brown-iness, we decided that this week would be an attempt to restore "hope." One in which we'd genuinely try to reclaim the optimism from November 2008. To put some fierce support behind our "fierce advocate," in hopes that year two will be one about which the LGBT community may not unanimously agree (can you even imagine?), but maybe one that will get us closer to the same page.

Playwright Tony Kushner will now make that case:

(H/t: Queerty)
Tony Kushner on President Obama's Gay Rights Agenda [YT]

Most of us (including this writer) probably don't agree with everything Kushner says. Some of us probably don't agree with much of it at all). And that's fair. But not gonna lie: It feels kinda nice to hear a cheerleader making the case for confidence.

Now, we're not encouraging mindless support. Not by a loooooooooong stretch. But whereas "change" was trendy in '08, the "Obama's a homophobe" meme has become a tad too prevalent over the past few months. It's as if you can't stand in support anymore without getting called an "apologist," and that seems just (or at least almost) as dangerous at this point as sheeplism. There would seem to be a balance we can find between pushback and pragmatism.

So this site's suggestion: Let's give this relationship a restored try. We have a national date tomorrow night, one that could possibly put some pep in our step. If anything, we can offer up a completely open mind to the president, and let him fill our community of would-be rabid supporters with a reason to get off our asses in this mid-term year. Honestly, the administration would be downright foolish to not throw us a bone.

And if/when our president doesn't deliver us any reason to feel like a priority? Well, we'll take it from there. But not with face-egg, because we won't go into this round with Kool-Aid-drinking star-eyes. We go in knowing that we just might get neglected. But so too might the 2012 campaign to re-elect.

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Your thoughts

"the "Obama's a homophobe" meme has become a tad too prevalent over the past few months"

He does not support gay marriage.

He is a bigot.

Those are facts no one would dispute if he weren't a democratic president. He's still a better choice then the GOP, but it's silly to complain about it being 'prevalent' that people are stating facts.

Posted by: penguinsaur | Jan 26, 2010 6:46:54 PM

A "bigot", ps? Seriously?

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 26, 2010 6:52:02 PM

People who oppose interracial marriage are racists.

People who oppose gay marriage are bigots.

Am I wrong about this?

Posted by: penguinsaur | Jan 26, 2010 6:59:28 PM

Well in my eyes, I think you're overlooking the distinction between being misguided, wrong, or duped vs. being a bigot.

Are ardent foes of interracial marriage most likely racist? Yes, now. But when the topic was hotly debated and more than half the country opposed, MANY people were against it not because of malice: They were against it because they had been fed a lifetime of lies. Lies that said certain people were lesser. Wrong. Even immoral, in some cases. And these duped people of an earlier generation surely include some of our own cherished loved ones.

I have been a major critic of Pres. Obama's separate and unequal civil unions-only stance (among other policy stances) since before he was even Democratic frontrunner Obama. But I think calling the man a homophobe is wrong-headed and dangerous. I think calling him a bigot is even worse.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 26, 2010 7:24:46 PM

Good God! JH, where does one start with that last statement???

First, let me say that I don't consider Obama to be a bigot, as much as he is a political pragmatist. But, the distinction is pretty flimsy. To me, anyone can seriously dislike me, just because I am a fag. I think that they earn the title of bigot when they actually exercise that animus in a way that diminishes my rights. A political pragmatist may easily cross that line by simply ignoring the fact that I voted for him, hoping that he would work to increase my rights. But, right now I wouldn't go that far with Obama.

But, a lot of religious persons fully believe that the bible tells them not to intermarry with persons of other races. Of course they cherry pick(ed) those passages so that they match(ed) their prejudice against African Americans. They are prejudiced... and, again in my mind, they would cross the line of BIGOT if they act on that animus (by trying to compel others to agree with them, by attempting to eliminate or suppress rights of interracial couples, or any of a number of other actions).

But, a lot of people who are "being misguided, wrong, or duped" are most likely susceptible to being "duped" because of a bias that they already hold. And, again, I don't care if any of these people hate me for being a fag. When any of them cross the line and vote their subconscious animus, or fire me for being a fag, or attempt to make me a lesser human because of that animus, they are a BIGOT. To me, it is all about actions, and it is all based in deep rooted (sometimes subconscious) prejudice/bias/animus.

Ultimately, whether we want to admit it or not, it always revolves around animus, and animus can lead to malice. In years gone by, that animus was much more socially acceptable, and was much more widely held. The eighty year old granny who adores her grandchildren, but still frowns on the interracial couple down the street is misguided, or to some degree, prejudiced. And animus is at the heart of it. And, no one really cares.

On the other hand, if she (metaphorically) makes a point of tossing the collected dog crap, that she accumulates while walking her dog, into the yard of the interracial couple down the street just because they are an interracial couple, then she is a bigot. Of course, if she is just returning the dog crap that the nice interracial couple's dog deposited in her rose bed, then she is just a pissed off neighbor.

For me, the bigot title is earned through actions, or possibly through inaction when "change" is within one's sphere of influence.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 26, 2010 11:29:35 PM

Bigotry is as bigotry does.

Posted by: Mykelb | Jan 27, 2010 12:50:04 AM

"JH, where does one start with that last statement???"

You seem to have managed ;-)

I stand by the distinction -- though it certainly doesn't begin and end there. It can't and shouldn't be expected to be "explained" with one theory. Humans are far from monolithic.

I do think there are many, many, MANY people on this issue -- and remember, we are talking about the *one issue* of marriage -- who vote against it out of the mindless belief that they are "protecting" something. And they have bought into the lie that this vote in no way harms LGBT people. Sometimes this means that they oppose marriage anecdotally, yet would probably also vote against marriage bans (which imagine is our president's category). That person is not a bigot in my eyes.

When one casts an active vote against it, it does take on a new level -- the same way when one, even decades ago, acted politically in support of anti-miscegenation laws. But if we write them all off as having the affliction known as "bigot," then we're going to have a much tougher time moving them.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 27, 2010 6:31:14 AM

There's also the other label that must be considered, despite how hard it may be. The label of "politician."

I firmly believe that our president supports full marriage, but has been long-advised not to publicly say as much. The same way so many of our other Democrats are just now "evolving" their marriage positions, after years of C.U.-only stances.

During the primary, I used to get CREAMED whenever I'd speak out against then-candidate Obama's marriage stance, being told that a president in 2008 is still not going to come out for full equality, not until we get at least for or five more states. It was annoying then. It's annoying now. It's unprincipled, always (the very reason why I could never be a politician: I'd never let any kind of pragmatism trump my principle). But it may also be the truth. And it's another distinction we need to make, IMHO.

Oh, and I say all this who did, does, and probably will always think Hillary Clinton was the better '08 choice.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 27, 2010 6:51:53 AM

Perhaps it is a bit harsh to label someone a bigot simply because they allowed their ingrained animus toward (or perhaps fear of, or even ignorance of) LGBTs to be manipulated into a yes vote for Prop H8. Especially that 20% in the movable middle who do struggle with the decision. And, maybe the label should be reserved for those who derive some sick, sadistic pleasure from hurting others. But, I think that the distinction between actions is a good basis for the 'B' word, perhaps then modified by the degree of derived pleasure that those actions effuse.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 27, 2010 10:33:57 AM

"derived pleasure that those actions effuse."

That would certainly be a key component of my personal "bigot" label. We all know the people who genuinely seem to be rubbing their hands together waiting for our demise. The Phelps clan, for instance.

Actually, the Phelpses are good examples here. The majority of that family is made up of victims: Victims of Fred Phelps' intense cruelty in both word and deed. But they have crossed the threshold and themselves become more than "victims." They had opportunities to break free (as some in the family have) but they chose not to leave.

The thing is: *All* of us are shaped by the world and people around us. So these distinctions are never going to be perfect.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 27, 2010 10:42:07 AM

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