Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama Does the Right Thing Again

The father of the Gay Rights Movement, Frank Kameny
It is refreshing to have a man of  decent impulses and strong character and intelligence  sitting in the oval office after the previous two presidents.   The last president was an arrogant lightweight  totally overwhelmed by the forces that enveloped him and unable to navigate through the disastrous consequences of his policies.   Every time he took to the microphone he was an embarrassment to himself and his country.  The way he spoke, the way he gestured, the tics in his face made him unbearable and yet you could not hate him the way you could easily hate Dick Cheney (or any of the Cheneys for that matter).  His 8-year tenure was catastrophic and object lesson #1 on how conservative governance is a failure.  The last president was someone to be pitied. 

The president before that was by all accounts a brilliant thinker with serious personal flaws.  His political expedience set the course for DADT and the Defense of Marriage Act which this current president has been undoing.  It is precisely why many of us disqualified his wife from ascending to the presidency.   The truth is that for myself 2008 was as much about keeping him and his wife out as putting Obama in.  If she has any plans for 2016, she better start by clearly stating her support for marriage equality .  She has been a loyal and very effective Secretary of State but the Progressive base still views her with suspicion. 

President Obama got it right yesterday on the issue of same-sex marriage.  Either you believe in equal rights for all Americans or you do not.  I’m happy to see that the administration is done catering to the likes of  hucksters like Rick Warren.

The flak from the right as usual was predictable.  It’s been predictable for hundreds of years in the United States.  Conservatism has always been allied with the most evil forces in American history and life—slavery, segregation, anti-union, anti-women, and anti –gay.  Throw in the worst sects of Christianity and its odious anti-science fundamentalisms and you have a recipe for the worst aspects of our country.   But the arrogance of  Conservatism means never having to ever apologize for always being on the wrong side of history.   

I don’t know how the politics of the President’s decision will play out—the white working class has been doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers and their ilk since Nixon.  These people keep getting poorer, their children keep getting dumber while the Koch Brothers and the one percent get richer.  

Imagine for a moment if the hard core red states somehow were their own country. You would basically have a 2nd world country akin to Eastern Europe.  Is there anything anyone wants from people in the red states?  Oklahoma?  Mississippi? Perhaps that is part of the problem.  Conservatives produce little that anyone anywhere wants (except for Texas oil, but that’s a question of geographic luck). Most if not all that is world class in the United States is produced by/in liberal enclaves.   Higher education? Massachusetts.  High culture? New York City.  High Tech? Silicon Valley.  Film & Television? Los Angeles.  Look at Washington State which even voted Dukakis in 1988 during a Bush I landslide;  that state has given the world Microsoft,  Starbucks, and Costco (yes Costco is now worldwide).  What does red state America offer the world?  Country music? Not anymore, even the golden age  of  the great country music of the 1950s-1970s is a thing of the past. 

The conservative mind is a terrible thing to ponder but like dead football players whose brains are being studied for brain trauma caused by concussions, we need to see why so many of them have gone off the deep end.  How is it that a proposal to raise the top marginal tax rate by 3.5%  on the wealthiest Americans to what it was during Clinton’s term somehow amounts to radical socialist  redistributionist economic policy shows how the conservative mind has become unhinged.  It is a mind filled with petty slights, jealousies, grudges and suspicions.  It is tribal and focused on suspicions of  the other, at the educated while always bowing to the wealthy.

At the root of all this is religion.   Red state America is not the future of the United States and not the future of the world.  It’s religious fundamentalism makes it simpatico with our enemies in the Islamic extremist world.  I’m quite certain however that such superstitions as supreme beings and gods of all stripes will be a relic of  the past by the next turn of the century.   That is part of what the 21st Century project will be about.  

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