So.. at first, I thought the President had done a mighty good thing yesterday. He came out and stated that he now supported Same-Sex Marriage–that his personal beliefs had changed and evolved over these past years. I also immediately recognized that this statement probably had a strong element of political theatre to it and was mostly symbolic, since the President’s support of something doesn’t automatically translate in the existence of that thing.
However, I’ve since seen a lot of reactions–most of them on the left side of the political spectrum–that are quite angry with Obama for the part of his talk where he said it was a matter that is being worked out in the states–and also, more generally, for not having gone further and tried to push the matter more.
After reading all of these critiques, I think my own position has evolved. I agree that Obama made some mistakes in his interview that need rectifying. The following is what I think Obama should have said…. (my altered version in bold…):
ROBIN ROBERTS: … So Mr. President, are you still opposed to same-sex marriage?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well– you know, I have to tell you, as I’ve said, I’ve– I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. I’ve always been adamant that– gay and lesbian– Americans should be treated fairly and equally. And that’s why in addition to everything we’ve done in this administration, rolling back Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell– so that– you know, outstanding Americans can serve our country. Whether it’s no longer defending the Defense Against Marriage Act, which– tried to federalize– what is historically been state law.
I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for– the L.G.B.T. community. And I had hesitated on gay marriage– in part, because I thought civil unions would be sufficient. That that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and– other– elements that we take for granted. And– I was sensitive to the fact that– for a lot of people, you know, the– the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs, and so forth.
But I have to tell you that over the course of– several years, as I talk to friends and family and neighbors. When I think about– members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about– those soldiers or airmen or marines or– sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf– and yet, feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is gone, because– they’re not able to– commit themselves in a marriage.
At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that– for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that– I think same-sex couples should be able to get married. Now– I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn’t want to nationalize the issue. There’s a tendency when I weigh in to think suddenly it becomes political and it becomes polarized.
And what you’re seeing is, I think, states working through this issue– in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that’s a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what’s recognized as a marriage.
But Robin, that last bit is actually, what I like to refer to as, Bullshit. Seriously, when have a person’s civil rights been a matter that has been determined state by state? Well, I know one example that my liberal critics will quite accurately point out, namely civil rights and even more specifically, interracial marriage. Those were both areas where state level solutions to this issue were entirely unfair and where federal power–in the form of the Civil Rights Act and the Supreme Court, respectively–came in to rectify the situation.
So Robin, the real reason that I’m calling this a “state level issue” is because I actually don’t have the ability to make this change all by myself right now. Really, it’s a issue that either has to be decided by the Supreme Court or else Congress has to pass new laws that make it the law of the land and then I will happily sign these laws.
But you know what? That’s not going to fucking happen right now, is it Robin. With John Boehner and Mitch McConnell acting like the biggest dicks on the planet, my desire to get Same Sex Marriage legislation passed is about as likely as them deciding that we really do need to raise taxes on the rich.
I could be mad at them, and I am. They are both really special kinds of assholes.
However, you know what the real reason why I have to talk about state level legislation right now rather than trying to get federal same-sex legislation passed, it’s because of all the fucking leftist whiners who couldn’t be bothered to actually go and fucking vote back in 2010.
Seriously. In 2008, all of these young people went out and cast their ballots and we started something. Of course, this didn’t just happen out of thin air. My campaign marshalled a whole fuckton of resources. Jesus, we spent over a billion dollars working with young people in “get out the vote” movements and with advertising to try and make it clear how important it was to actually vote their interests.
But what happened in 2010, Robin? While I was busy trying to run a country that I inherited in the midst of a fucking economic catastrophe–all while getting health care legislation passed that at least addressed some of the more glaring problems in our current system–these young people couldn’t be bothered to get up from their damn World of Warcraft to go cast their ballot for their democratic representatives.
What the Fuck, Robin? I mean it, WTF? Do they expect me to go and personally invite them to grow the fuck up and take responsibility for their lives every fucking time there is an election? As if I have nothing better to do than to spend months consistently reminding them that they might have something at stake here?
No. I didn’t go and talk nicely to them for weeks to INSPIRE them to go and do their very basic democratic and civil responsibility. I was too fucking busy trying to run the world.
And yet, I’m sure they’re just going to whine now about how it’s my fault that this isn’t all solved already and how I should just make this all happen now.
Well guess what, all you critics, you can go shove it up your ass. If you had bothered to go and vote, we wouldn’t be in this mess and I could easily go and at least try and get federal legislation started–even though there are still some major dicks on democratic side who would probably try and would have a good chance of thwarting this initiative.
But you didn’t. So shut your mother-fucking pie hole about this and go and make sure you actually vote next time.
And that’s all I have to say about the subject, Robin. Goodnight.