6.30.2009

Taking him at his word

I am embarrassed to admit that I was not aware of President Obama's speech about LGBT rights today until I read about it over at the Daily Dish. And, while I agree with Andrew that there wasn't much by way of actual news in it, I also agree that it was a moving and heartening speech.

First of all, it is very encouraging, and something for which I am grateful, that the President of the United States saw fit to speak specifically about gay and lesbian rights. The only thing we have heard about our issues until now was either rank opposition from W. (and what a friend to the gays he was) or a quick flash of tepid support followed by waffling, collapse and triangulation from his predecessor (thanks a big heap for Don't Ask, Don't Tell and DOMA, Bill). So, in all sincerity, I am pleased that Obama spoke up for us at all.

I also took the following as an encouraging sign:
And I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago.

But I say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. And by the time you receive -- (applause.) We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration. (Applause.)

I like the "we will make more" more than I care for "by this time this administration is over," since the Prez may be banking on a second term and I'd rather not wait another seven years. But I appreciate that he appears to be willing to keep his promises.
The truth is when these folks protested at Stonewall 40 years ago no one could have imagined that you -- or, for that matter, I -- (laughter) -- would be standing here today. (Applause.) So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country. That should give us hope, but we cannot rest. We must continue to do our part to make progress -- step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind. And I want you to know that in this task I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a President who fights with you and for you.
Again, I am glad that we have a President who appears to want to be our friend, publicly, than one who either wants to use us as a wedge issue or run the hell away from us. So, again, points for progress made and the right words said.

I understand what he says about the patience that is required while the process takes its necessary steps. And, for now, I am placated. But I still expect progress, and I want to see it during this first term. Words, no matter how moving and comforting and refreshing, are still less important than action.

4 comments:

  1. It was a pretty speech and that was all. I prefer to judge a person by their actions. That being said.... I sent another email to Mr. Obama today as I did yesterday and the day before and the........

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    ReplyDelete
  2. The president made the same point that I have made to gay friends in comparing gay rights to the civil rights movement--social progress requires takes time. I also know that I am not the most patient person in the world and would be chomping at the bit if I were gay.

    Barbara

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dan, you can't still believe this man? Really? He will sell you out the instant he needs one more vote from a constituency that isn't on your side. Remember, he also says he doesn't personally believe in SSM, although I'll bet you think he's lying when he says *that*.

    Rule one: don't trust anything Barack promises. Only believe it when he actually delivers. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just cannot resist one more swipe at Mr. Obama when given the chance.... here goes. If I am correct, he prefers Civil Unions over Gay Marriage giving the same benefits to each. How in the Hell can the first Black President be fine with the doctrine of separate but equal? If that's the case it should be applied across the board. Let's turn the clock back for all citizens to say one hundred years ago. Would that suit him?

    Jim

    ReplyDelete