Sunday, May 13, 2012

Patience, Young Grasshopper

The peculiarity of where this country decides to focus its attention on occasion completely baffles me.  In case you've been under some sort of glorious rock lately, I will tell you that President Barry, during an interview with Robin Roberts, came out in favor of gay marriage.  I think.  And from the reactions I'm reading, you'd think that something wonderful just happened instead of just one guy changing his mind.  Or not. 

Look, President Barry is a pretty progressive guy.  I have a hard time believing that he, deep down in his heart, was ever really against gay marriage.  I'm more inclined to believe that he was against it for purely political reasons.  Whatever the reason is, here is his latest statement on where he stands in regard to gayrriage:  "I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed 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 are 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." 

While that's a lovely sentiment, I don't know that it's going to make a difference in anything.  And that's for a variety of reasons.  First of all, I just want to point out that he did include the word "personally".  That's what he now suddenly believes on a personal level.  Is that going to translate to a political level?  I have a hard time believing that it would.  That'd be great if he wanted to go and campaign in states that are putting gay marriage bans on their ballots, but I just don't see that happening.  And the reason I don't see that happening is because he also said that "..states should have the right to decide what marriage is".  Of course.  This way, he can be for gay marriage and appease those folks who have really made it their number one social cause, while at the same time allow himself to stay out of the issue because he sees it as not being a federal issue.  Tricky. 

But here's one of the things that I find just fascinating about this whole dynamic.  Until now, President Barry had been, essentially, against gay marriage.  But no one gave him any crap about it.  Everyone was just fine with it and continued to sing his praises as if he were the second coming of Christ himself.  No one called him a bigot.  No one called him a hater.  No one pressed the issue.  There weren't rainbow flag protests outside of the White House.  None of that.  People just let his ideas evolve on their own until he came to a different conclusion that they were happy with.  Why aren't other people who are against gay marriage (or who aren't sure about it) not given that same sort of time and/or leeway for their opinions to change?  Why are people automatically so angry at those folks?  I don't have an answer for this, by the way.  It's merely an observation that I've made. 

Here's another angle of this that I find interesting.  So far, every single state that has put gay marriage to a vote has voted against it.  Every.  Single.  One.  The states that allow gay marriage have only been able to do so through legislation.  But every time that it's given to the people for a vote, they have voted 100% against it.  Every. Time.  What's that all about?  And with the recent passage of the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman in North Carolina, that brings the grand total up to 30 states with similar laws on the books.  Thirty!  Yet the topic is still covered in the media as if it is a minority of people who feel this way.  Clearly, that's not the case. 

All I'm trying to say here is that it's a tricky issue for a lot of people.  And the whole gay acceptance thing has come such a long way over the years.  Things just take time.  And really, just because someone is against gay marriage doesn't mean that they hate gays.  Sometimes it does.  But sometimes it doesn't.  In fact, most of the people that I've met or that I know who are not exactly for gay marriage are absolutely NOT people who hate gays.  I just think that we just need to be patient with people in the same manner that everyone seems to have been patient with President Barry. Do you have any idea how long it took civil rights legislation to go through?  Longer than you would guess and definitely longer than I would have liked.  (In case you were wondering, Lyndon B. Johnson passed a minor piece of civil rights legislation in 1957.  That was the first legislation passed since the Civil War had ended.  See?  Takes a long time.)  People just need to be patient and see it for what it is.  An evolution of thought.  And evolution is not a speedy process. 

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