Yesterday President Obama finally came out as a supporter of gay marriage. You can "blame" Joe Biden for pushing the president into this pronouncement, but as it turns out, his Sunday interview was taped on Friday, and the White House knew about it then. They could have asked for a do-over, but they chose not to. The back story is that Obama had planned to announce his support closer to the convention, but decided to move it up. He had said for a long time that his feelings were evolving, and the story is that he made this decision back in January.
Some say that this will not hurt him politically, as those people who would have voted him, still will, and those who never would, still won't. (Although that does beg the question of the Log Cabin Republicans: I just don't get how they can support people who support North Carolina's Amendment 1, but maybe Jon Stewart says it best in his piece on cognitive dissonance. Clip here. He's talking Romney, but you'll easily see the association.) There is an issue of whether fundamentalist blacks will still support him: some are rabid anti-gay, but it's likely that re-voting Obama will trump the single issue. The statistic you'll here is that 90% of blacks in California voted for Obama in 2008, but 58% voted for Prop 8. In my heart, I believe that a lot of those people will see Obama's evolution, and think that maybe they, too, need to evolve. Loving v. Virginia all over again with different actors.
The most important thing, I believe, is contained in what Corey Booker said last night on TRMS. He perfectly encapsulated the idea that what Obama did today is not about gay rights, the suffragette movement was not about women's rights, and the Civil Rights movement was not about black rights -- they are ALL about ONE set of EQUAL rights for ALL Americans. He further made the point that teenagers in his city now feel that their president considers them equal, that it is a necessary form of validation. In addition, he pointed out that it isn't just "marriage" - it's the thousands of legal rights and protections that straight people have and gay people do not. If you click on the chart on the left, you'll be taken to an interactive graphic showing how far some states have come, and how far others have to go.
It's all so clear: when you vote this November, will you vote for ALL the people, or only the rich white guys? Will you, personally, say: my issue is X, but I understand that X is part of A,B,C through X,Y,Z, and we must all stand together. Stand up for all Americans. Stand up and lead the world. You can watch Corey Booker, superstar and super hero, below:
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