Some people may wonder why I’ve taken so long to write about what has been heralded as a momentous announcement by the President of the United States.
After all, doesn’t it take bravery and nerve to declare your support for something as controversial as marriage equality? And why, this year is an election year, thereby making this announcement all the more timely and important! How selfless he is, to take a stand despite the possibility that his stance could make him lose voters!
That would be the case, if he actually declared his support for gay people having the right to marry. Or if his stance on gay marriage wasn’t already well known and apparent. Or if this whole “public announcement” drivel wasn’t just a ploy to ambivalently pander to what the populace wants whilst not saying anything that actually commits him to doing anything on a federal level.
Okay, that probably sounded terribly cynical. And when you consider that this announcement has made a lot of people very happy, I feel a little guilty writing something that projects an image of me sitting a dark room writing with a beret and a cigarette brooding over the world and it’s problems whilst offering no solutions; so I will say something positive to, you know, ease up on my theoretical consumption of nicotine.
Personally, I thought that the little speech the President gave when explaining his reasoning and his “evolution” of thought that apparently led him to make this announcement was, in fact, sweet.
In this speech, the president spoke about how he has spoken with gay men and women about how they feel that their rights are violated, about how he’s seen his daughters interact without prejudice with their friends who have same sex parents, and how these things culminated in his decision and his progression of thought and eventual support of gay marriage, etc.
I think this little bit reflects a lot of what is happening across the country. From my experience, people becoming more open minded and in general, less ornery. They know people who are gay, and they like their gay friends, and they realize that oh hey, Paul and Jose are just people, and oh, we’re kind of overreacting a little bit. Plus, if we invite them over to do stuff, Jose will make a mean artichoke and cheese dip and is TO DIE FOR.
However, despite our recent jaunt to happy town—I’m bringing us back to Cynicalopolis, where the city never sleeps, and neither do I, apparently.
I find this whole public announcement thing a little lack luster because, The Prez may say he’s totally for you and yours getting hitched, he isn’t going to do a damn thing about it on the federal level. He thinks you SHOULD be able to marry, but is he going to turn that “should” into a “can” or a “will be able to?”
He’s going to let the states decide. Which has been the same stance he has taken for the past four years.
Now, I respect the fact that our president has updated his vocabulary, but the change in words would mean a whole lot more if he actually put some concrete action behind them.
Also, hasn’t this whole “let the states decide” thing been a problem in the past? Wasn’t slavery once considered a state-related issue? Or racial discrimination? Or even women’s health rights?
If you can recall, letting the states decide on those types of, shall we say, sensitive issues has worked out less than spectacularly when you look back.
I’m no political expert, but I think when it comes to important issues that directly affect people’s lives, such as my basic rights as a human being, those should probably be universal in a country.
For instance, I think it would be quite, shall we say, frustrating to be in a same-sex married couple in California, then get a job transfer out in Wyoming, where the state doesn’t recognize your marriage; and because of this, denies you benefits/rights and jeopardizes your ability to create and support a family. I think that may cause a little confusion/deep loathing that would be directed towards the government, but hey, that’s just me.
President Obama’s announcement has been made to be seen as a game changer, when in fact, it’s just shallow. There’s no substance to it. Yet our twenty four hour news channels don’t see it that way. But then again, it’s their job to make news into entertainment. It’s almost a kind of sport. Take a sound bite of something the president says out of context, and replay it a million times until people get so pissed off/elated that they’ll start screaming/crying on camera. Not because it informs anyone about what’s actually going on, but because it makes for good television.
The fact of the matter is, supporting marriage equality is the popular choice nowadays. People are much more open, more relaxed, and simply don’t care as much about this issue as they used to. A lot of people are out of work, out of money, out of healthcare and out of patience.
So two people want to get married? Whatever. Do it. And while you’re at it, would you like to adopt my two kids? Because I sure as hell won’t be able to pay for their college tuition.
People try to make it out like Barack Obama is taking a stand, but he is only doing so in a distant, gilded type of way.
And he’s taking a popular stance. But, then again, the stance isn’t yet mainstream enough for him to actually declare his attempt of legalizing gay marriage on a federal level. So he’s going to just “let the states decide.” Which is, in my opinion, a pretty epic cop out.
The president has taken a middle way that’s neither helpful nor productive. This is a cotton candy statement. It’s bright, fluffy, and tasty looking, try and eat it, and after two seconds it will dissolve into nothing but sugar and food coloring, leaving a bad taste in your mouth.
I’m not sure whether or not this statement is any type of real progress. I think it’s a step in the right direction…but it’s not as much of a step as it is a reluctant, hesitant shuffle.
Everything will be as it is now if gay people can get married. They’ll still live with each other, they’ll just file their taxes differently. They’re not going to come to your house and demand sexual favors from you and your family pet at gun point.
However, I imagine the scenario would go as follows:
“Not Fido! He’s wearing a purity collar! He’s to remain a doggy virgin until forced breeding with a bitch of comparable quality! Don’t look at me like that, that’s the correct word to use. What? He’s experimented with leg humping?! Oh Fido, if you keep doing that you’ll go blind! Look, look at what these gays are doing to our family pet! He was once so innocent, and now, this Say Yes to the Dress-ified culture has driven him into a mad leg-humper!”
Disregarding my bizarre tangents, I suppose if there’s one good thing to get out of this, is Barack Obama’s “evolution,” and his thoughtfulness at coming to this public conclusion, lack luster though it might be.
It is refreshing for a politician to admit that they’ve changed their minds or have progressed in some way. It may be a ploy but at least for once someone is admitting, albeit vaguely, that they were wrong at some point about something. These days, it’s almost a sign of weakness to change your mind; but I think it’s essential if you want to stay relevant and promote peace.
On the complete opposite end of this spectrum is, of course, coming to you from Small Town Later Day Saints-Ville, USA, Mitt Romney. His stance on the whole issue is the tried and true Republican rebuttal to the notion of legalizing same sex marriage, with a little sass added to the end.
“My view is that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman…That's the position I've had for some time, and I don't intend to make any adjustments at this point. ... Or ever, by the way."
My question is, is that if same sex marriage, let’s say, was super popular, with over ninety percent of the country in favor of it-- what do you all think Mitt Romney would say? I think we all can agree that he’d be changing his tune if he thought it would get him the votes.
All I can hope for is that one day, we as a nation will be so tolerant, so chill, so Zen about the whole thing that people up for election will have no choice but to shallowly pander to our universal goodness as a people.
Now if that’s not the perfect marriage of cynicism and optimism, I don’t know what else is.
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