Yes They Should

I know that Obama has an appalling civil rights record. I know that his expansion of many of Bush’s Cheney’s more horrific policies should disgust everyone who supports true progressive government. I know that, despite the morons bleating about socialism and food stamps he has a firm record of being one of the best friends Wall Street ever had. I am one of the people who wants Obama the President to act like Obama the candidate and not turn his back on the things he supposedly believes in. Part of that is screaming about the things he does wrong, and I’ve done some screaming. But part of that is praising him when he does right, and yesterday he did right.

It is about goddamn time that a politician — no less than a Presidential candidate — stood up and said that gay Americans should have the exact same rights as all other Americans. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal, since the majority of Americans are for it, the polls tell us, but naturally the Intolerant Right are up in arms about it.

There’s been a big rush to pooh-pooh this announcement, not only by the usual idiots on the Right but by folks on the Left, and I get it. Obama has been a huge disappointment to people who want something other than a moderate conservative in the White House. But if this statement is to be dismissed, if something like this is worthless because of all the rest of the baggage, then I don’t know what you’re waiting for, because you’re not going to get it. This is how these moments come, and as disappointed as I am in Obama, and as hard as I’d support someone more in line with my beliefs, I’m not going to stamp my foot and hold my breath until Candidate Charming arrives to sweep me off my feet.

I don’t care what his reasons might be behind it. I just know it needed to be said, and I’m glad he said it. I want this issue to be front and center. I want it to be established that to be a Democrat, you have to embrace civil rights for everyone. I want to make Democrats who are uncomfortable about this statement to be made uncomfortable and to hopefully figure out why they feel that way. I want Republicans to say, straight up, “we want discrimination”. I want them to have to own and display this ugliness.

I don’t have any illusions about where Obama will go from here. If he gets re-elected, I don’t expect him to stand up and say, “You know what, America’s getting the single-payer health care system it should have had long ago and anyone who doesn’t like it, I got something big and black you can take a swing on.” I don’t expect he’ll stop sending missiles into Yemen or setting up CIA torture rooms, or spying on citizens or assassinating one every now and then.

His simple statement yesterday, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married” will have far-reaching consequences. And I for one am glad — and proud — he said it.

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