Sullivan Loves Obama’s Complexities

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Democrat Barack Obama‘s come under some fire recently. As we’re sure you know, opponents are calling for his head after footage surfaced of the Senator’s retired reverend, Jeremiah Wright, calling for America’s damnation and blasting Hillary Clinton.

The candidate’s making a speech on the matter as we “speak,” but loyal supporter Andrew Sullivan doesn’t need no stinking speech to know that Obama’s his man.

While some people point to Obama’s controversial complexities – how can he say Wright’s a good man while also repudiating his comments? – Sullivan insists it’s the politico’s multiplicity that makes him so appealing, particularly to a gay man such as Sullivan. You see, as a gay man, Sullivan doesn’t necessarily approve of or appreciate some people’s gay ways, but that doesn’t mean he can’t consider himself a part of the wider, proverbial community. It’s the same with Obama, says the long-winded Sullivan:

…It’s appropriate for me at this point to express how he has inspired me as a gay man to keep trying to maintain the bridge over the gulfs of my own various identities rather than to burn it. It is possible in American public life to be defined as a gay person and to embrace every aspect of gay culture – the good, the bad and the ugly. It is also possible to be closeted or semi-closeted so that these questions do not easily arise. And it is possible to be a gay man completely divorced from gay culture, and to buy access to power and influence by simply adopting a relationship to the gay world that is indistinguishable from many straight people. I don’t think there’s any perfect solution to this terrible dilemma of identity – of belonging and transcending, of empathizing and maintaining a proper distance.

I have no desire to disown much of gay culture that the straight world finds abhorrent. At the same time, I also know that not all of this subculture is healthy or good and I have an obligation to address and engage and reform those parts of it. That I have also tried to do – with uneven success. And I know, as I watch Obama, that these strains are not easy and those who have never had to walk this path do not fully know how hard it can be.

I see Obama as a pioneer on this path – a brave and principled pioneer. I would think much, much less of him if he disowned a spiritual guide because of that man’s explicable if inexcusable resort to paranoia and racial separatism and anger. And I would think much, much less of Obama if he had never opened himself to this subculture and its fears, hopes and resentments. That he has done all this – while still attempting to reform and explain it – is a remarkable achievement.

Yes, quite right, but so is having a woman on the camaign trail.

Basically, the Democratic candidate will be historic. How historic, however, remains to be seen. And, if the party can’t unite soon, Sullivan, Obama and Clinton’s repsective dreams will be history – as in over.