Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union: Obama throws us a bone. Can we stop the groveling already?

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via WikipediaApparently, I am one of the few gay bloggers that deliberately missed Obama's State of the Union speech last night. It was a tough choice, but I couldn't miss the WE premier of "Joan and Melissa: Joan knows best". It won't last, so I figured I'd have a look, while I had the chance.

The fact is, anyone who has been paying attention since the last SOTU (I hate pretentious anagrams) speech knows that the economy is having a hard time recovering, the troops are being pulled from Afghanistan in July and the president will be signing the repeal of DADT as soon as the certification process is done. None of this is news.

Yes, I missed the speech and opted instead to surf around this morning for highlights and I'm glad I did. Don't get me wrong, some people are inspired by the president's words and never miss a speech. All due respect to them, but I'm not so easily swayed by charismatic speechifyin'.

As everyone knows by now, the president is a talented orator and and knows how to rally his base and set a positive tone for the next year. By all accounts he was once again successful and gave a rousing speech that lasted for over an hour. Woo-freakin'-hoo!

What every queer blogger and his/her dog is all fired up about in the aftermath, is that the president threw us a bone last night by mentioning us at all. I think Pam Spaulding actually peed a little upon hearing the following words:
Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us – by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation. Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay.

Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.
Yep, the president called on colleges and universities to once again allow the ROTC and military recruiters back onto their campuses, now that they're not hatin' on the gays any more. It's now okay to talk about the gays as long as you include our military, because it makes you a patriotic American, not a bleeding heart, queer-lovin', pinko, commie liberal. 

Look, we were lucky to get what we got last year with the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, DADT repeal, hospital visitation rights and an assortment of other rule changes that help queer federal workers. Props to The Big O for getting that much done. We knew going into the last election cycle that a Republican takeover of the House would mean our momentum would come to a grinding halt and so it has.

But haven't we gotten past the point where we grovel at the feet of our leaders for even mentioning us? Is this what we have been reduced to once again? I am reminded of the 1960's when African American families would gather around the TV any time there was a black actor on screen. Yes, it was significant at the time, but we've all been able to build on those moments as a nation and move forward. How sad and pathetic that the LGBT blogosphere has dived head first into a cultural backslide.

Pam's House Blend featured this prognosticating headline yesterday, "President to say open military service to begin this year". He did in fact say just that. Wow! I wish I had her crystal ball.

Joe Jervis over at Joe.My.God takes it a step further with DADT Mention At SOTU and providing video proof. Way to earn those awards that you nominate yourself for every year, Joe.

David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement picks apart the president's speech and highlights things Obama should have said, but didn't. Dare to dream, Dave.

Like all of the rest of the gay blogosphere, each of these sites also features videos of the Republican and Tea Party response to the speech, so they could point out that these folks disagree with the president (shocking!) and can show how smart they are by spotlighting every mistake made by the speakers.

To be honest, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, who gave the Tea Bagger reaction, never once looked at the camera, instead preferring to look off to the right at a camera that wasn't on. She even mispronounce Iwo Jima as "Iwo Jamma" during a forced show of gratuitous patriotism. But seriously, folks. That is sooo high school.

To borrow from Bill Clinton, what the president said last night was, in essence, "It's the economy, stupid!" And he was saying it to everybody, including us.

The bottom line is that the president wanted to let us know that he was still thinking about us, that we should celebrate our victories and accept the fact that there won't be any forward motion for LGBT equality coming from the legislative and executive branches until/unless the Democrats retake control of the House and keep the senate in the next election cycle. We already knew this, but it was nice of him to say so.

Our focus for the next few years has to be on the court cases, like the ongoing Prop 8 challenge and the constitutional challenges to DOMA that we hope we'll win at the Supreme Court level. With any luck, Obama will be able to replace another conservative justice with a more liberal one before our cases get there. That would be something to really celebrate.

We have made some significant gains over the last few years, especially in the court of public opinion. It's time to move up to the next level. Can we stop phoning the neighbors, waking the kids and creating something out of nothing every time the president glances in our general direction? I realize that as bloggers we have space to fill every day and our readers look forward to our perspective on the important issues. But that doesn't mean we have to invent issues where they don't exist or make mountains out of mole hills.

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1 comment:

  1. Hey Steve your not the only one who passed on watching the pres....Hearing him talk no longer gives me warm n fuzzies inside since I known it's all B/S and that he won't follow through on any of it. I'm told most Of what he said last night was the same thing he said in his last SOTU. I'm done believing in this pres or in expecting him to do anything for us or for the liberals in general.....He still talks a good game he just never delivers...n I'm so over it (Politics)


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