Monday, May 14, 2012

White Privilege, Gay Marriage and Legalised Pot

There's no pleasing some people. And this particular President seems to have not pleasing "some people" down to an art.

For example, he can't do anything that would please the Republicans - not adapting their own ideas for healthcare reform, not keeping the Patriot Act ticking over, not even killing Osama bin Laden. Nothing, absolutely nothing could ever please these people, short of the President resigning and insisting that the Presidency be handed to someone like Paul Ryan to oversee.

OK, all of the above is understandable. The Republicans, are, after all, the opposition, and if they were in power, I'd hope nothing they did would satisfy our side as well.

But there's something to be said when nothing the President does is acceptable to some people who purport to be Progressives, and in this respect, they've even proven themselves as intransigent as the Republicans, themselves - even to the point of allying with them (as when Jane Hamsher climbed into Grover Norquist's political bed to call for killing the healthcare bill, vocally supported by Stank Cenk Uygur, in a misguided and  completely naive attempt to force Congress to initiate a single-payer plan for the United States).

Now that the President's advocated his support for single-sex marriage, that simply isn't good enough for some dyed-in-the-wool Progressives. It's almost a requirement that a hardcore Progressive choke on his own vomit rather than give President Obama credit for anything at all, and Scott Tucker is no exception, as evidenced by a particularly nasty piece of snark written for Truthdig, entitled Obama and Gay Marriage: Thanks for Nothing.

That's right. Thanks for nothing, Mr President.

This concession, extracted from one of the emptiest suits ever to enter the White House, will be lauded by anyone and everyone inclined to vote by rote for career Democrats.
The honor of the real struggle over the years and decades does not belong to such politicians, but to gay couples and rebel queers of all kinds. First and foremost to ourselves. So thanks to all of you—all of us—who fought the good fight.
And for those who “evolved” themselves into triangulating and calculating career politicians: Thanks for nothing.
As for Obama lauding “incredibly committed monogamous relationships,” just consider making that argument in defense of allowing straight couples to marry. Yes, because heterosexuals really set the gold standard for monogamy. Obama never sounds more fake than when he is laying on the morals, monogamy and militarism with a gilded trowel.

Look, I understand this man's frustration, but his head is so far up his proverbial ass that he doesn't see that activism of the sort he cites is exactly what awakened the President to proclaim marriage as a right for anyone of age, irregardless of gender or race. As early as 2009, the President was urging activism, and imploring the public to "make me do it."

What certainly didn't work for healthcare reform (a lot of armchair quarterbacks and whiners) certainly did work for same-sex marriage, and kudos to the activists who kept at the President like a dog with a bone. Remember: every time a President throws his support behind a particular civil rights issue, it invariably becomes the law of the land - eventually, as this is a states' issue.

As it happens and as Scott Tucker is so determined to ignore, the President has actually accomplished a lot in the advancement of civil rights for the LGBT community, the most obvious being the repeal of DADT. You can read a list of his accomplishments here, something that, assuredly, makes him the most gay-friendly President of any time.

Scott Tucker's anger has an oddly familiar sound, and it's a sound that creeps surreptitiously further and further from the Left until it actually appears to emanate from the Right. In fact, the blogger Deaniac83, blogging on The People's View, identifies Tucker's problem perspicaciously and even names it.

 The discounting of all of this in favor or a litmus test on marriage from anyone who claims to care about the LGBT community, let alone be part of this community, can be described with one simple word: privilege. To go even further and claim that the withholding of donations from those who are privileged was the principal reason for the president's "evolution" is the epitome of elitism. It is a scathing belittling of not just the advancements in gay rights that have been made under President Obama but the critical problems facing the LGBT community that those advancements address. It is the refusal to understand that when a gay kid is being kicked and having his head bashed in with a baseball bat, the ringing sound in their ear as they pass out is not wedding bells. It is the utter disregard of the fact that when you want to get to the bedside of the person you love the most in this world, and when that person is suffering without the comfort of your company, the first thing you look at is not your ring finger.
This brings us to the most insidious undercurrent of much of the "Lefty" opposition to President Obama in general, and the discounting of this history-making moment in particular: the unspoken white economic privilege. Everyone with privilege is not part of the problem, of course, but way too often, and specifically in this case, it is that economic and social privilege that allows a self-described queer activist and many like him to boldly claim that the first president ever to support marriage equality and the first black president is "an empty suit." And it is that galling level of elitism that refuses to recognize that for many, the path to embracing marriage equality is a journey, sometimes as much of one as it is for a gay person to accept oneself.
Another person who's spent the past four years implying that the President is, amongst other things, if not an "empty suit," then certainly a spineless appeaser and someone who caves into demands regularly, is self-styled political fundit Bill Maher. Even though he's sought to buy indulgences make amends for subtly suggesting that Obama's really not worth supporting by donating a million bucks to the President's SuperPAC, he still manages to whine about how inadequate the President has been on promoting Bill's own favourite unicorn wedge issue - the legalisation of pot, and he got in a few swipes in his editorial on this week's Real Time:-

The fact that Joe Biden, seemingly, instigated the final stages of the President's "evolution" on the subject of gay marriage, offers the Professional Left just the hero - the Great White Hope - they need in apportioning credit and identifying the hero of the piece. Even the New York Times's resident bitch and Maher's Celtic soul sister finds it easier to give kudos to Biden's verbal-cerebral disconnect than to credit the President with anything remotely courageous.

So Maher reckons that Biden should next hoist legalisation of marijuana as his next personal crusade, and maybe the poor, beknighted President, who needs to be helped and guided along by those who know better, will follow suit in supporting this.

"White privilige" and "elitism" are too nice a phraseology for me, and I don't think these continuous and gratuitous critics coming from the Left and aiming at the President (and all the while aiding and abetting the Right) should be called any less than what they are: Racists.

Not a pretty word, but there you go; and it sits them squarely amongst the poor, ignorant and toothless inhabitants of the Red States, whom they decry, in witholding support and credit from someone clearly acting in their interests - because the Republicans certainly won't be.

There are so many things that need to be addressed in this country - none less important than the economy, the jobs' situation and the crippling cost of higher education. It's simply dismaying that the core issues, for some, in this election cycle are boiled down to same-sex marriage and legalised pot.



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