Whether it’s starting a business, or running for office, or raising a amazing family, remember that making your mark on the world is hard. It takes patience. It takes commitment. It comes with plenty of setbacks and it comes with plenty of failures.
But whenever you feel that creeping cynicism, whenever you hear those voices say you can’t make a difference, whenever somebody tells you to set your sights lower—the trajectory of this country should give you hope. Previous generations should give you hope. What young generations have done before should give you hope.
Young folks who marched and mobilized and stood up and sat in, from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall, didn’t just do it for themselves; they did it for other people. That’s how we achieved women’s rights. That’s how we achieved voting rights. That’s how we achieved workers’ rights. That’s how we achieved gay rights. That’s how we’ve made this Union more perfect.
And if you’re willing to do your part now, if you’re willing to reach up and close that gap between what America is and what America should be, I want you to know that I will be right there with you. If you are ready to fight for that brilliant, radically simple idea of America that no matter who you are or what you look like, no matter who you love or what God you worship, you can still pursue your own happiness, I will join you every step of the way.”
—President Obama, delivering the commencement address today at Barnard College
You cannot be in support of equality for all and support a person who uses drones to kill innocent people, persecutes medical marijuana users, persecutes immigrants, persecutes protestors, persecutes farmers, and persecutes those who will become the victims of Obama’s NDAA.
That’s just supporting equality for some.
I’ll support alternative party candidates instead of a 4th term of GWB.
@jeff4justice: How many of those things can Obama really influence if he has to deal with the Congress that is not in his favor and the people who are majorly supporting those policies? Just like that, he cannot really do anything big about marriage equality but simply use his political popularity to help people accept the new reality.
Still, first it was Obamacare, now it will be Obamarriage.
Obamarriage!!! Obamarriage!!! Obamarriage!!!
@K!r!lleXXI: If Democrats have no power (even when they were in the majority after the ’08 election) becuase of Republicans obstructionism then there voting for the Dems is all the more futile.
The dysfunction you describe is another reason why the 2party system is not worth supporting.
@jeff4justice: As far as I’m aware, Democrats did the same thing when they were disadvantaged previously, i.e. using filibuster to block certain laws (see Rachel Maddow Show). Of course, Republicans took it to a whole new level never seen before (111th Congress, I’m looking at you!).
Politics is such a dirty game that every time I think a lot about it I end up gagging (unfortunately, I still have a gag reflex, but that’s besides the point). Every politician has to play that game, no matter how much they want to avoid it. So, really, can we actually expect any better outcomes from a system that is far from perfect? It needs to be reformed to become more liberal and pro-people, because we are the society OF people, and so we should be FOR people, not against them just because we don’t like the same things they do. That is the main problem here that we, gays, also deal with every day.
So, maybe we need to make the best of what we have now, compromise and try to play that same dirty game and abide by the same dirty rules to get at least something done at least sometimes… and hope that as the society gradually becomes more open, accepting, understanding, and most of all educated, the rules will change with time and the game will become fairer and more pro-people oriented.
And don’t get me started on the two-party system. As a Russian citizen, I do not understand how you can accomplish anything with that system, it seems to be very much dysfunctional (at least, when Republicans gain control). But, of course, Russian de-facto one-party system may seem effective in passing legislation (like the ban on the so-called “propaganda of homosexuality among minors”), but it’s basically what Putin wants, not what people want; it just so happens that their desires somewhat coincide.
@K!r!lleXXI: Some of all it. He runs an entire branch of government. He gets a lot of leeway in how war is waged and how domestic laws are administered.
The medical marijuana raids are completely of his making. He eased off them in the beginning, but now has ratcheted them up. No laws changed: it’s all up to him.
Maybe this is why Amerika cannot have nice things – can you imagine how MLK would be treated today? LBJ? yet look at the legacy.
Of course Obama is faulted – drones, Guantanamo – but that isn’t the point. This statement is historic, as much as Truman desegregating the military. Look at the international reaction for one thing, or the reaction in the African American community for another (it’s there, if mis/under-reported).
It is one thing to be a critic or even a cynic. It is another to pretend that history has not, in fact, been made.
@jeff4justice: Oh how nice of you. The only problem in killing innocent people during a time of war is when the war itself is useless, meaningless, or out right wrong. I would of painlessly killed innocent Germans as President during World War 2.
No matter how much I might dissagree with President Obama’s acheivements or policies, that was a brillient speach. It may (and should IMHO) be added to the most memorable speeches of the past. Give that speech writer a raise. Thank you President Obama. Now if we can just light a fire under the rest of the Democratic party!
Swung back through here after ages to find that nothing has changed. Where are the story’s about Rand Paul, part of the so called libertarian saviors, and his disparaging remarks about our community. Yeah, they want us to be free so they can be free to discriminate to our face without repercussions. I am sure the f word and a whole lot of unsavory words were common place in the Paul residents over the generations. Also missing is the story about the dangerous rappers, that I don’t listen to, supporting the presidents stance on gay marriage. Nothing like selective reporting, what ever it takes to paint your own picture in people’s minds.
President Obama wouldn’t even sign an executive order banning discrimination against GLBT employees with companies that hold federal contracts — which is within his power to do, and without the approval of Congress. So much for putting actions into words.
Once a lying hypocrite, always a lying hypocrite. A close race and a unengaged liberal base made him “evolve” back to the same position he took in 1994 as a Illinois state senator. Oh, and thanks for taking a 1950’s Southern Segregationist’s “State’s alone should decide on Civil Rights” approach to equality in the United States. Good thing the US Supreme Court didn’t take that “states should decide” attitude in 1967 or Obama’s interracial parents’ marriage may have stayed illegal in those fourteen remaining miscegenation-banning states when he was a kid growing up.
At the time, over 70% of the U.S. population polled were against legalizing interracial marriage, even though it had been struck down by state courts in many places around the country before the Supreme Court decision. Coincidentally, North Carolina even had an amendment added to its State Constitution to ban interracial marriage.
“The last time North Carolina amended the state constitution was in 1875 in order to ban interracial marriage…” http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20120513/OPINION02/205130323
@Andy: If you were right and the President had a lot of leeway in administering domestic laws, he wouldn’t have to enforce DOMA if he disagrees with that law, however, he has to enforce it because it is not up to him to legislate, he’s heading the executive branch which has to execute laws and defend them in court, not pick and choose which laws to follow and which not to.
On war: as much as we would all want it to end ASAP, it is not always feasible, and sometimes it would violate international laws and obligations. For example, that obligation that the country that invaded another country must not leave until it made sure peace is restored and guaranteed for the local people. I’m sure there are other complicated issues and obligations that preclude any invading country from leaving the war zone just like that.
On marijuana: Personally, I think marijuana needs to be controlled better, it is way too easy to get ahold of it practically in any state. There need to be studies conducted to figure out how exactly marijuana influences people and affects their decision making and reaction. We need to be worried about public safety first, and only afterwards about people’s right to get high. It is also my understanding that people who obtain marijuana illegally claiming it is for medical purposes when it is not, are the ones who get prosecuted. If it is illegal to use marijuana as a recreational drug, then he’s simply following the law, no matter how you might disapprove of that law.
@me: No doubt, your argument is absolutely sound and valid, however, politics is not a field of fair games, I’m afraid, so sometimes people have to play those dirty games in order to get something done.
I never thought Obama was really against same-sex marriage, it is clear from his 1994 stance and from the fact that his own church supports marriage equality. What happened is he became a presidential candidate who must represent everyone, so he had to change his stance to appease the conservatives while not alienating the liberals completely. I hate politics for this exact reason, I would never be able to become a politician who has to lie about his personal beliefs to make the majority happy, but some people can do just that, and maybe that makes them great and me — and idiot who will always suffer because he won’t shut up or lie.
There is only one way to deal with the conservative sheep: lie to their faces that you support their views so they would vote for you, so you would get a chance to make a difference when you become an elected official. Do I care about him lying to the sheep? Doesn’t bother me at all. I would hate to lie simply because I wouldn’t feel honest with myself. But if he can, go for it. Ultimately, years later down the road we’ll see how it all turns out. Something tells me, it’s all gonna work out just the way it should.
@K!r!lleXXI: Great perspective.
@paulcanning: It’s awesome Obama has come out in support of equality.
However, just as the election of the first black President was overshadowed by the fact that Prop 8 passed (after the same Obama proclaimed marriage was only for heterosexuals), Obama’s marriage equality comments today are overshadowed by the many ways he’s acted as GWBs third term.
Micheal Bloomberg, Dick Cheney, and Obama all support marriage equality and all of them have blood on their hands one way or another regarding other issues.
@Red Meat: No need for Obama’s drone attacks killing innocent bystanders with they could do targeted individual killing instead.
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