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Obama Opens the Yellow Brick Road

Rob Tisinai

May 9th, 2012

I just sent $100 to President Obama’s campaign fund. Yes, this GayTM has reopened. I guess this means I won’t get yelled at by any more clueless Democratic campaign workers.

My heart sings. It does. In 1980 there was not one openly gay person in my 1600-student high school. In 1989, Denmark was the first nation to introduce civil unions (not even marriage!), and I thought, That will never, never, never happen here. I doubt 20-somethings today can even comprehend what that world was like. And twenty years from now it will boggle kids’ minds to imagine a presidential election with no serious candidate standing up for marriage equality.

Because that time is over!

But a part of me leans back, crosses my arms, frowns, and says: Mm hmm.

I’ve been thinking that the president’s “evolution” resembles the way a lot of people come out. At first, your feelings are secret. You even deny them out loud. But folks start to suspect –your closest friends wonder, and the idea ripples out beyond your inner circle. Still you deny it, and your friends play along, and they get used to the notion, and it’s not even scandalous. They discuss it. They wonder why you don’t just come out with it. They start to view the whole thing as a character flaw — not because of what you’re hiding, but because you keep hiding it! At some point, events catch up with you, and with a hurried epiphany you realize the costs of hiding are worse than the costs of being open. So finally, at long last, to everyone’s relief — even the relief of those who don’t like the fact — you come out of that damn closet.

Is that what happened with Obama? Or perhaps this was all staged. Obama knows that endorsing something will solidify a part of the country against it. (Would those Republican New York State Senators have been able to vote for a marriage equality law that Obama campaigned for?) So Obama, canny politician, deliberately minimized the blowback. He deliberately let it become an open secret, deliberately drained it of its shock value, deliberately let Biden and Duncan force the issue, and finally deliberately announced it after everybody figured it was coming anyway.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It’s happened Obama can claim another civil rights first. He hasn’t just broken the color barrier — he’s opened the yellow brick road.  He’s giving back, repaying the fighters and activists of previous generations who made his own election possible, so that now, somewhere, in a tiny little no-name corner of the nation, a bright and talented gay kid has suddenly realized: I can be president.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

I also sent a contribution today, and one yesterday to the Democraats. I sent my first contribution to a politician in 20 years after DADT went.

Tony
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

“I just sent $100 to President Obama’s campaign fund.”

I will be doing the same very shortly. I think the DNC could also use a contribution.

Patricia Kayden
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

I always knew that President Obama, as sensible as he is, supported marriage equality. Very glad that he stopped pretending otherwise. He may lose a few votes, but will gain a lot of respect for taking a principled stance on this important civil rights issue.

DN
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

GodDAMN that fifth paragraph is a great summary of what coming out was like for me. Nevermind the way you made me guffaw with your opening line.

As always, an on-point analysis from Rob. Great job!

CPT_Doom
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

As far as timing is concerned, this may be the best for Obama. Had he done this before the NC vote, the fundies would have claimed the vote was a rejection of the President.

jpeckjr
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

Watched the video clip and just kept saying “Wow.” Over and over again.

I told you people the other day Biden and Duncan were signaling the President’s position and testing the waters for a DNC platform item. Oh, I just love being right! Not that it happens very often.

jpeckjr
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

We should also send contributions to the MN and ME marriage equality efforts. A vote in favor of marriage equality is necessary for the game to truly change.

Rob Tisinai
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

jpeckjr, I got a call from the group in Maine a few weeks ago, and he was about 5 seconds into his pitch when I surprised him with, “Yeah, is $20 okay?”

(Hey, I have a mortgage!)

Seriously, anything to break the opposition’s mantra of “Every time it’s been put to a vote by the people…”

And Maine is our best bet for that.

Richard Rush
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

I also donated to Obama’s campaign fund today. This is the first time I’ve ever donated to a political candidate in my 67 years of life!

CPT_Doom
May 9th, 2012 | LINK

I dumped $250 into Obama’s re-election today. I had vowed to refrain from contributions until Obama came out for same-sex marriage, therefore believing I would escape without any hit to my bank account this election season. Damn that BHO!

Seriously though, the very fact that the fundies are fuming shows this was the right move.

Reed
May 11th, 2012 | LINK

Like Ben in Oakland (hello, up there) who I actually knew for a short time a million years ago . . . I’m in with my dollars.

And I’m grinning like an idiot – except at that last sentence, which made me tear up excessively. I shall blame that on allergies.

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