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Dr. Cheryl Pappas

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Obama's Accidental Heroism

Posted: 05/11/2012 6:30 pm

And the Accidental Hero Award goes to President Barack Obama.

Yes, Obama finally "came out", on Disney-owned ABC morning television, with the long-awaited magic words of support for gay marriage.

Historical, and somewhat hysterical, at the same time.

The hysteria is the gay rights community's celebratory amnesia about this president's audacity.
To put it simply, he stalled in "liberating" gay people from Washington-sanctioned discrimination for 3+ years as he purportedly "evolved" on the issue.

See, it turns out that Obama is the leader and public opinion tide turner, the approver -- or disapprover-in-chief -- and current "father" of America. The gay community is a patient, loyal group of children, but even so, gay adolescent cries of injustice were beginning to escalate.

If we grant any credibility to Obama's stated process of "evolving", and I staunchly doubt the credibility of it, what exactly did he need to evolve from? Was it an ingrown prejudice, perhaps fanned by Obama's previous life, his years of Sunday attendance inhaling Reverend Wright's fire against gays? Did he not veer apart from those sermons?

More likely, his indifference was authentically part of the hard drive of his character; the gay matter itself an annoying swarm of gnats buzzing around him again and again.

As human beings, we sometimes are blessed with the opportunity and fortune to grow and evolve. Many of us believed we were hiring a president who would make good on his promise to represent "all the people in America". We certainly believed he was someone who was already evolved on civil rights. This was a blind, even racist belief. Just because Obama is half-black and a member of a minority himself, does not ensure his understanding of others who are hated for being different.

I do not agree with those who say that history will delete this president's four-year stall. Nor will history forget the timing of Obama's announced turn-around.

We are smack in the middle of campaign season, and the political chess game just turned whimsically in the favor of gay people.

Timing is a big part of the story of civil rights, as is political motivation; each factor not easily struck from the record.

Speaking of striking, Obama's initial silence was intense in response to the vice president and secretary of education speaking out for gay marriage. This event obviously cornered him and presented him with a checkmate moment. Really, what choice did he have?

Let's review.

#1. The gay community, who so richly supported his 2008 election, backing him financially and emotionally, was stirring in their anger. The threat of losing that money and that substantial voting block was fierce and urgent.

#2. Both the vice president and the secretary of education spoke out publicly and definitively in favor of gay marriage.

Two potentially deadly chess moves, and whamo! A supporter is born.

The scheduling of the president's critical Wednesday announcement is a stroke of fortune.

Obama seems to have concluded his evolution just in time for Thursday night's Hollywood fundraiser!

Without doubt, the president's public support for gay marriage is nothing short of fabulous for the evolution of humanity. That the president finally was motivated to grant his approval, thus sanctioning and legitimizing the life of every gay person, is a wonderful event.

However, I stand apart from those who believe Obama's 11th hour gay marriage support was risky and courageous. I don't believe he had many voters to lose in this strategic enactment, even as a beautiful new freedom rings forth.

Perhaps he has disappointed his fellow church people, but they will not turn against him.
Further, white homophobic people are likely not too bullish on black people or Obama either, and probably were never prone in great numbers to support him.

We can thank the vice president and the secretary of education who may or may not have been conscious of the essential role they were playing in politically setting the president up.

Yes, that one thing is certain; Obama was set up.

Set up by a previously generous, essential gay voting block, threatening to remove their resources for his re-election; who in turn were backed up by the common decency of support by our vice president and secretary of education.

This long-fought, happy confluence of light and favor in our time will stand as the key story in the history of justice and liberation for gay people.

In the last and lasting analysis, Obama is, at best, an accidental hero.

 
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