Saturday, October 10, 2009
Gay Rights. Yes, let's go there.
Fresh off of winning the Nobel Prize for Peace, President Barack Obama is going to make a major speech on gay rights tonight. The speech (via The Huffington Post) at a black tie event held by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)is on the eve of the National Equality March (Equality Across America) which is expected to attract thousands to Washington on Sunday.
What will Obama say tonight? I do not know. What he should say, in my opinion, is something like this: 'gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans should enjoy every right, every freedom and every opportunity which is afforded all Americans'. Talk though is cheap. A speech on the eve of yet another march in Washington is great optics. It makes for great copy. It will distract once again the right wing nutters (they are like June Bugs, anything which appears 'leftist' is like a light bulb, wow, smack, ouch, wow, smack, ouch, continue) from the disgust they feel that Obama was awarded a Nobel Prize. But will it affect positive change? Is there anything Obama can say tonight that will set the ball rolling towards true equal rights? Will he encourage same sex marriage legislation? Will he speak directly to the homophobes and the bigots and tell them their views are wrong, will those homophobes and bigots listen?
My point is, yes, I like the idea that Obama is taking on the issue of gay rights (finally). But I remain skeptical of any real positive change that Obama can make with one black tie speech. If this is but the beginning of a concerted effort of Obama and his administration to champion the cause of Gay Rights in America then I tip my hat. But why do I get the feeling that this is a one off, a wee bit of optics, to keep the critics at bay?