Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Wrong Kind Of Change

Last week we got treated to a real study in irony, something that was not lost on columnist Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe. Here's what she had to say:

PRESIDENT OBAMA had much to say about the glass ceiling he is smashing on behalf of Hispanics and nothing to say about the glass ceiling the California Supreme Court is reimposing on gays.

On Tuesday, Obama announced that he would nominate Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals judge in New York, to the Supreme Court. In nominating the daughter of Puerto Rican parents to become the nation's first Hispanic justice, Obama said that when she "ascends those marble steps to assume her seat on the highest court of the land, America will have taken another important step towards realizing the idea that is etched above its entrance: equal justice under the law."

Those are stirring words, and ironic ones, too, given the day's other momentous judicial news: The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, last year's ballot initiative prohibiting same-sex marriage.
[Emphasis added]

Stirring words indeed. That has been the ideal and the as-yet unattained goal of this nation from its inception. You would think that the first African American president introducing the first Hispanic American nominee to the US Supreme Court would have something to say about the devastating news from the California Supreme Court, but you would be wrong. His press secretary ducked the question when asked about the president's response to the news, and it's been crickets from the White House ever since.

President Obama wasn't always so reticent on the issue, however.

...Earlier this year, the political website produced a questionnaire Obama filled out in 1996 for a Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper. "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages," Obama wrote in a typed, signed statement.

But that was then. Now he has settled into the politically expedient and oh-so-comfortable "middle" on the issue, as he has on various issues:

In what is becoming a pattern, his thinking evolved to a less-liberal stance. As president, Obama has been less than eager to take up a campaign pledge to grant equal federal rights for gay couples; or to reconsider the military's don't-ask-don't-tell policy.

In fact, he couldn't even be bothered to travel to California to speak to the issue of extending "equal justice under the law" to gays and lesbians. Apparently this state is important only for fund-raising, not consciousness raising.

That's not the kind of leadership we were promised.

Instead of emulating a Lyndon Johnson, who helped the country through the tragedy of John Kennedy's assassination by implementing Kennedy's dream of a more equitable nation via the civil rights legislation he pushed through (after being pushed by those who saw that need), President Obama appears to be satisfied with a Gerald Ford approach: the nightmare of the Bush Administration is over. Let's move forward by papering over the pain of the past. Here, have a bandaid.

That's not leadership, that's capitulation to the monolithic status quo.

I am gravely disappointed and disgusted, and I am becoming increasingly angry.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I'm sorry you believed all that campaign shit, Diane.

But a lot of folks did, so you're not alone.

Obama may, in fact, become known as the 'Great Capitulator.' You could be the first with a meme, here.

He's a 'compromiser.' To him, the agreement is more important than what is agreed upon. He approaches each new negotiation already conceding important points to his antagonists. Principle isn't an important factor. It's just a bargaining chip.

I thought we all knew that. Obama's great attraction has always been that, at least, he does seem not to be Bush.

I wasn't ever gonna be satisfied with that. But I'm a cranky old man...

6:29 AM  
Anonymous elbrucce said...

it's not like she wasn't warned.

11:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home