Saturday night President Obama charmingly delivered a rather bleak message to the gay community on the eve of its latest march on Washington. In a speech to the world’s largest gay political group, the Human Rights Campaign, Obama essentially said two things: I’m with you. But I can’t do much for you.
As usual with this President, all the cadences were right. “It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga,” he ad-libbed, again a deft and knowing line for an audience probably as eager to hear her performance as his. During one clamorous ovation, Obama said, simply, “I love you back.”
Obama patted himself on the back for his party’s passage earlier in the week of a a hate-crimes bill that, for the first time, includes gay and transgender people. And he used the opportunity to tell gay critics who have expected so much of him to express what he expects of them. The hate-crimes bill, he said, had become law only because those who believed in it had thoroughly educated the public about why it was important. “Countless activists and organizers never gave up,” he said. “You held vigils. You spoke out year after year, Congress after Congress.”
Obama is right, in a civics-class sort of way, because social change can’t occur if it’s forced from the top down. But that’s also a convenient argument for him, since it defers responsibility from his office.
Obama did pledge — as he has before — to end the Pentagon’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But once again he said nothing specific about how he plans to do that and didn’t acknowledge that he already has the statutory power to instruct the Pentagon that investigating service members’ sexuality is not in the best interest of the armed forces. Also, he said that gay relationships can be “just as real and admirable” as straight relationships, but he did not say gay couples should be treated equally. Obama, after all, still opposes equal marriage rights.
“Obama lost me,” said Zach Rosen, 28, who came to Washington from Philadelphia. “He took a lot of gay dollars and gay votes, and then it was like Clinton — unkept promises.”
I’m sorry, who is surprised by this exactly? I mean there is a trail of bodies behind the bus that Obama drives over those who are politically expedient in his career (or lack thereof). Why wouldn’t The Gays be another victim?