In what some have described as a political trap, with North Carolina voters recently banning gay marriage, President Obama has put himself squarely in the middle of the fray with his long awaited statement that he now supports gay marriage. Joe Biden’s recent comments about his strong support for gay marriage also put some pressure on Obama’s previous stance of an ‘evolving’ position on the issue. This position left many progressive gays feeling the cold shoulder in regards to the Obama administration, despite the fact that the policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was finally overturned under his watch. Isn’t it funny how quickly people can start singing the old Janet Jackson song, “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” as the gay community didn’t seem to have a lot of patience with President Obama’s evolving stances?
Obama has been known for being a smooth political operator, but he could find some tough sledding within his premier core of African-American voters based on his new, pro-gay stance on gay marriage. Already, angry African-Americans have been lighting up talk-radio to voice their ambiguous feelings towards Obama’s fully evolved position, because while many (or most) African-Americans loyally support the Democratic Party, there are many who also harbor strong feelings about gay marriage, and those feelings don’t necessarily line up with President Obama’s bold, landscape altering decision. The strong presence of religion in their community is the ‘pink elephant’ in the room.
In my view, I’m smart enough to know that my ability to get into heaven has nothing to do with my willingness to be some token black with a $9.99 pizza shuffling for Jim Crow’s conservative version of ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ So let me be clear: if I need to know the direction of heaven, I’ll consult my pastor, but when I need to know the direction of the conservative/Republican/Jim Crow slop-house, I’ll consult my nose towards the stench of institutionalized racism, and I’ll focus my eyes on the old, conservative men holding the social program cutting scissors!
So what gives, fellow African-Americans? It looks like it’s time to do some political soul-searching, because if there has ever been a more misguided, shortsighted plan of action than deciding to oppose the gay community instead of opposing the perennial archenemy in the form of the right wing, I can’t think of one.
As an African-American, it seems reasonable to me that whenever it becomes a choice between door number one in the gay community or door number two in the Fox News heartbreak hotel, the selection should without a doubt, be door number one, door number zero, or no door at all—anything but the door to Congressmen like Allen West, John Boehner or Eric Cantor. That reality should not even be debatable in my opinion. You could get Elton John and Boy George, Queen Latifah and Ellen DeGeneres, and I would perform the marriage ceremonies today for free before I would ever hand the keys back to the Republicans through the support of my vote or the inactivity of not voting at all.
The question has to be: Is it worth it? Is it really worth risking everything politically over trying to stay to the right of gay marriage, when it is just one issue—and not even the most pressing issue? Instead of holding your political breath and not voting in November, just ask your pastor to pray that President Obama’s pen runs out of ink when he tries to sign gay marriage into law, if it really bothers you that much.
And undoubtedly, there will be those within the Black community, specifically the Black church, who will contemplate the idea of punishing President Obama and the progressive cause by not supporting either with their vote in the fall. But when you blow up the airplane that you are a passenger on just to prove a point, that means that you will crash and burn with it, and that point is foolishly proven and well taken! Isn’t it better to be disappointed on a couple of issues than it is to dance with the ideology of the devil on all of the issues when you’ve seen the Hell that it can produce?
Now the fact that Obama made the statement that he made does seem a bit too politically risky for my tastes, not because it was wrong, but because it was too politically charged in an already politically charged election year featuring our history making, first Black president who might be the most hated person of color ever. But if the same Black community that had plans to support him yesterday suddenly decides to bail on him because of his support of gay marriage, then shame on them for narrow-mindedly backing the same oppressive forces that would love nothing better than to resume oppressing some other group next. Look in the minority mirror if you don’t know who that next group would be. It’s one thing to make sure that you don’t bite the hand that’s feeding you, but it’s also just as poignant to recognize, and never facilitate, the hand that’s been slapping you across the face habitually. Especially when we know that hand has not been and still is not a gay hand.
Since the ideology of a marriage between a man and a woman has now replaced the Republican’s old, President Bush 43, trump card of the Muslim bogeyman hiding underneath Ted Nugent’s bed at night, here’s my prediction for gay marriage opponents—conservative and otherwise: Like the proverbial male lion standing on a high cliff looking down on all that it rules, traditional marriage continues to beat back the challenges of its rivals. And even though it stands gloriously victorious for now, the aging lion still knows that it’s days at the undisputed top are numbered because in an ever-changing world its competition is always getting younger and stronger. It’s only a matter of time until the odds start to swing into their favor. The conservative North Carolina lions may have won the battle, but the war is far from over, and time is on the side of the challenger!
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