Father Tony

The Speed of change, and why I am not happy with President Obama

Filed By Father Tony | April 07, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, gay rights, iowa gay rights, president obama, Vermont Freedom to Marry

I'm listening to the news about the victories in Vermont and Iowa, and agreeing with Iowa Senator Gronstal's daughter that we are just one generation away from full equality.

I'm also working on my tax return and wondering whether to check married or single.

I'm thinking back to how surprised I was when the USSR imploded, seemingly without warning, and, to the rather unexpected crumbling of the Berlin wall.

I'm looking out over the ocean knowing that Cuba is about one hundred miles away, and thinking I ought to be buying property there because it will surely "open up" shortly.

I am also recalling an evening in Rome many years ago when I was walking home from a restaurant with group of seminarian friends. I announced that within our lifetime, we would see the election of a non-Italian pope. They all laughed at me. One of them stopped, turned around, shook an umbrella at me and said "That is the most ridiculous thing you have ever said."

I am convinced that within a few years, doctors will produce a pill that will restore hair and cure AIDS, and that there will be drive-through non-invasive microwave liposuction stations owned by and co-located with Dunkin Donuts. One year later, those stations will be torn down when all doughnuts will contain fat-eating enzymes that gently consume the consumer. I also believe that in my lifetime, indoor plumbing will become obsolete as newer technologies will generate or process water and waste within the confines of one's own home. Likewise, the disgusting smell of gasoline will be forgotten.

Because I have learned to suspect that that which seems permanent is not permanent, I am angry with President Obama because I want him to be more of a bold and farsighted leader. I think he is hiding behind courageous men like Senator Gronstal in the fight for gay rights. President Obama thinks it's smart strategy to use double-speak when talking about marriage equality, or DADT. I bet he thinks that once gay equality is the law of the land, he will pin a rainbow to his lapel and jump on the bandwagon just as it crosses the finish line, welcoming us all to the front of the bus.

I am still convinced that in his heart President Obama is entirely pro gay rights. He thinks he is being an astute politician by letting other men like Senator Gronstal do the road-paving dirty work. Obama does not want the taint. I think this is a mistake that he will ultimately regret. Men coming home from battle remember who was, or was not, in the trenches with them. It's not too late for him to speak up, but if he waits much longer, his opportunity for real brilliance, like cheap real estate in Havana, will have passed him by.


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Wow. Awesome commentary.

I agree with your vision of our future, all the advances, the inevitable change that will and must come, and even the fact that Obama may regret not fully expressing his true feelings of support for our equality.

But when equality comes as we all know it will, I doubt President Obama will fare too badly in the grand scheme of things. And we have yet to see his actual part in the completed process, so its impossible to know for sure. But I'd gamble that history will be quite kind.

At LEAST Obama was calling for an investigation of Nifing, Siluwe, while you were calling for rather vulgar circumstances for Nifong's victims.

JJJJ:

What do you do, stalk me from site to site to pound home your little points?

I'm really not stalk-ee material. Get a life. Or therapy.

One more thing ...

can we really buy real estate in Havana?!

Yes, Taylor, with cash and the right connections.

I am still convinced that in his heart President Obama is entirely pro gay rights
Why?

The recent evidence suggests otherwise, doesn't it?

Seriously, what is the big stumbling-block, the massive opposition, that makes trillions of dollars of radical economic restructuring easy, and supporting a single one of the many pro-Gay issues so hard? It's not as if there's an election in a few months.

Obama's pro-gay when it's useful, and anti-gay when it's useful, and most of the time he doesn't want the issue raised in case it damages his position. Like the DNC in general.

Agreed.

It's lovely how some people ignore his statement basically affirming DOMA through the states' rights jargon, downplaying--even denying-- support for the Iowa decision, merely acknowledging it.

Oh, and let's not get into how DADT was put on the backburner for the reason of "too much on our plate", when he criticized McCain for taking a similar approach.

Obama is no ally of ours.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 8, 2009 4:54 AM

"Fat eating enzymes?" Will those be directly connected to the recycled waste water? :)

I wouldn't recommend land purchases in Cuba as that could quickly disappear through "eminent domain" a new constitution or anything else they dream up (ala Mexico).

God grant me patience, (stamping his foot)

and I want it RIGHT NOW!

Much as the German side of me would like to have sixteen years of work done in seventy days the prez just touched down at Andrews, there are priorities like troop draw downs, health care, and a sick economy to eat up a bit of his time.

And yes, he can effect our rights in a positive manner, but what we want will still take a combination of the courts and 535 "stray cats," with no attention span, in Congress.

"For the greater good" how much distraction (media, Congress, Ignorant Christian hate groups) from those things that he would like to do can be borne in light of all the things he must do? I think it is time to ask ourselves if we personally have ever done anything as hard to do as what Obama is attempting before we denounce him as not being "a friend."

We don't need friends, we need good working partners. That also means we do stuff for them too. So, get your stuff done, and cut out the donuts! :)

beachcomberT | April 8, 2009 9:24 AM

Ok, I'll be patient for a year or so. But you know what the political "wisdom" will be in 2010 -- Obama can't move on gay equality right now because the Democrats will lose too many House seats mid-term. GLBY issues will be shoved back to second term.
In the meantime, he could be doing stuff with executive orders if he wanted to send a pro-equality message -- such as, slow down or stop military discharges while DADT is "studied" ; start a Social Security study of how much GLBT people pay into SS versus benefits they collect; order the IRS to draft some gay-equality reforms to the tax code for Congress to pass when it becomes "safe;" attend a same-sex wedding (He must know at least 1 or 2 liberals who are about to get hitched); have the FBI and IRS check into the finances of Westboro Baptist Church and other anti-gay hate groups. See if they're abusing their non-profit status.

Beachcomber ...

I agree but especially that last point: Westboro needs to go, and no one, NO ONE would miss that inbred freak show.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 9, 2009 4:03 AM

This is sounding suspiciously "Nixonian" to me to sic the IRS on those we do not support. Just sayin, are we not above those tactics?

beachcomberT | April 9, 2009 6:09 AM

All I ask is that IRS enforce the tax code. Right wing people have been demanding IRS investigate United Church of Christ for allowing pro-gay speeches from its pulpits. By the same token, what's good for the goose, etc. Westboro, which just picketed a college conference in my town, has its right of free speech. It also has a responsibility to pay taxes if it's a church in name only for tax-evasion purposes. They're so busy traveling the nation, how do they have time to hold services and help the destitute in Topeka? Any Kansans on this blog to chime in?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 9, 2009 10:30 AM

Oh, those nuts, they are largely related to one another too. I had "Saddleback" on my mind. oops!

No, we're not. And if they're breaking IRS rules, then what's the problem?

Anthony in Nashville | April 8, 2009 9:43 AM

I can't pretend to know what is in Obama's heart, but his actions so far make me doubt that he is "entirely pro gay rights." The higher the office is, the more politics people seem to play with regard to "how fast" gay rights should be attained.

I think he will build on the LGBT outreach of Bill Clinton, but stop short of giving us the same rights as straights.

A. J. Lopp | April 8, 2009 12:58 PM

Hey, guys, be careful if you do land speculating in Cuba --- it is a low-laying island, and Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster every time scientists try to measure the rate.

And by the way, Robert, how much of Thailand disappears if the ocean rises three feet? I hope Buddha Hill doesn't become the new refugee camp.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 9, 2009 4:09 AM

Well, I am 100 meters from the ocean (gradual slope) and at high tide the water is three feet lower than the top crest of beach sand before the beach wall, beach road. I am on the 12th floor and as I serve on the condo committee I oversaw the installation of a sump pump for the open foundation beneath the building for ventilation.

I think I am safe for twenty years :)

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 9, 2009 1:05 AM

@BrianZ: Politicians are the archetypal hustlers; forever kissing babies, on the make and ready to make a deal. Obama fits that description and like most of his tribe, with the possible exception of Sanders of Vermont, is 'connected' to parties which are in turn 'connected' to corrupt business interests.

In "The Grandfather” sense of connected.

They’ve been looting the economy like pigs in a candy shop. Just how corrupt the looting class, and the Democrats and Republican who toil for them in the halls of Congress are can be easily summed up in just three sentences.

Five million working people have been fired in the last few months.

Bush and Obama have championed the giveaway of trillions to cover the losses of the looting class.

The world economy is in stop mode.

During the election Obamaites were in a frenzy of wanton, clueless adoration. True believer style, they sang his praises as if he were one of the minor gods. And they warned over and over that that McCain was Fascism Incarnate. Now that the confetti’s been swept up the sobering truth is there for all but the deliberately blind to see.

With the bleak reality of even more war, an economy that's on the edge of depression and non stop bigotry Democrats are hoping they haven’t bet the bank on a not particularly lesser evil. Some claim to be able to predict his actions and make up scenarios to rescue hope or make claims that he'll do or think this or that.

Hogwash. Baloney. Bullpucky. There is no credible way anyone can have a clue about Obama's likes, dislikes or motives except with reference to his actions.

His actions, as opposed to his hustles, are vigorously anti-GLBT, pro-war and when he speaks to the looter class, the uberrich and business managers you can see his tail wagging a mile away. They financed him early on and it paid off big time. He's been handing them a trillion or so every few weeks to cover their losses.

You can bet he'll get as much for his 'service' as Clinton, who was also idolized until the reality of DOMA and DADT set in. Clinton too was a hustler too by the miracle of modern corporate accounting is now a gazillionaire. Being Jefe of the biggest banana republic of them all can be very profitable.

We Forget What It Was Really Like Under the Clintons by David Morris, AlterNet. January 7, 2008.

NAFTA failures; deregulation of banking and ENRON's rise; "Welfare Reform" that led to more poor people. This and more is what the Clintons gave us.”
http://www.alternet.org/story/72336/?page=3

In matters of love it’s an awful thing to want someone who doesn’t share your feelings, but in politics it just plain dangerous.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 9, 2009 4:32 AM

The welfare reform came with educational opportunities and daycare. People were not simply "cut off" but given a stick and carrot to upgrade their job skills and get off the public dole. If you live in an urban neighborhood and the predominance of families are welfare recipients how good do you imagine the schools would be or the motivation of the students, parents and teachers?

Welfare was a well meaning attempt to make permanent underclasses more permanent by making it too difficult to leave welfare itself. Issues of medical coverage, child care, and low income housing institutionalized poor people. They were stuck in an unsatisfying despairing life, they could not leave, living in the most dangerous neighborhoods. "Welfare to Work" did some wonderful things. Not the least of which was to motivate multiple generation welfare families to finish high school and get supplemental special education.

Within the community welfare was "the system" that kept sucking people back down every time they tried to get out. Welfare created generations of people who did not have bank accounts for fear if they "saved" anything they would lose benefits. The result was that welfare recipients were the least sophisticated in using budgeting, computers, banks and credit because they dared not learn how to and were penalized if they tried.

Welfare was nothing to be proud of as it hurt recipients in the long run. Just as pure Socialism would cut the air out of life and innovation.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 9, 2009 1:09 PM

^^^^^^

Is this Chamber of Commerce "Talking Points for The Rich" Pamphlet No. 6 or No. 7?

Have they updated it to explain why those 5,000,-000 lazybones unemployed people haven't got jobs yet? I mean, some of them have been out of work for months, sitting back and collecting benefits that rightfully belong to AIG management. The shiftless bums!

HA HA!

But to quote Posh Spice, can we please leave "bums" and "butts" out of this?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 10, 2009 1:57 AM

...or the bottom billion people in the world who are starving while a Socialist makes faux debating points.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 10, 2009 12:12 AM

You are an authority on who is a bum. After all, only you used a derogatory term toward folks who are unfortunate.

And like the true Socialist you are you care little about the truly poor, but are so jealous of the rich it sets your teeth on edge. Even in a hypothetical situation where everyone is doing better a Socialist would cry if the "gap" between the top 2% became greater than the bottom 2%.

Which matters most? That the poor you claim to represent do better over time with more education or the wealthy you are so sickeningly jealous of do worse? I think you would like everyone to be poorer in that it is the only way you can stop your own envy of them.

There are wealthy and poor who are both pigs and saints, but there are people in communities who are better off today than they would be with the inadequate education and skills they had previously.

And I know it is hard still in the tough neighborhoods and small towns that have lost their anchor factories for people to realize that constant re education and acquisition of new skills is the only choice they have. The water is there, drink it.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 10, 2009 12:23 AM

And, of course, the present fresh unemployed are receiving unemployment benefits rather than welfare. I do appreciate how you cannot refute anything I said so I will tell you this only once. I have never met, spoken to, or attended a meeting of, The Chamber of Commerce.

I have, however, wasted an hour (that is all I could stand) with a fifty cent lecture on Socialism conducted by...you!

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 10, 2009 1:36 AM

I didn't say you'd been to CoC meetings, just that you sounded like one of their spokesmodels.

Fr Tony;
I am not entirely convinced that Obama earnestly supports Gay rights.

The reason?
His rationale for preferring Civil Unions over Marriage; "God is in the mix"

Underlying that is the implication that we are morally unworthy of marriage, that there is at least a wee bit of thruth to the scathing references to LGBT's found in the Bible.

If "God is in the mix" and we cannot marry due to that, then perforce abomination is in OUR mix.

I don't like to consider myself an abomination first thing in the morning when I get up.

Apparently, however, at least at some level, the President DOES consider us such. Further, he tolerates homophobia around him in some of his advisors and considers it an acceptable prejudice since it is based upon religion.

That sort of tolernace of religiously based fear and loathing has not worked out any better for the LGBT community than it did for the women of Salem Village in the colonial era.