COLUMN: President Obama comes out — Too little, too late?
On May 9, President Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to publicly endorse same-sex marriage. A barrage of provocative headlines concerning Obama’s statement instantly gushed from the media. This was a case of the media creating news rather than reporting it.
Emblazoned on the cover of Newsweek was an image of the president with a rainbow-colored halo above his head alongside a headline obviously designed to incite discussion — “The first gay president.” Perhaps the writers at Newsweek didn’t understand that when Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage he didn’t actually, you know, come out.
Baylor Bynum, The Oklahoma Daily
- Yes 56%
- No 44%
18 total votes.
A subtle image I enjoyed came from the cover of The New Yorker: a simple picture of the White House, with the six pillars colored red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. No words necessary.
Groundbreaking. Historic. Monumental. All words from various headlines.
A word you probably didn’t see making headlines over the past week? Underwhelmed. But a lot of us are feeling just that.
Obama has been hailed as a hero by many from the left side of the political spectrum, but should we really make such haste to bring him laud? I don’t think so.
Great, he supports gay marriage. But isn’t it about time already? I mean, I’m certainly not angry or upset with him like some Republicans such as Rand Paul, who “wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer." It seems like the son of Ron Paul doesn’t have much of an imagination.
I, for one, am a little puzzled, though. Why is Obama getting so much praise for finally coming around to what most Democrats already support?
And it’s not just Democrats who support gay marriage. Take a look at these names: Dick Cheney, Laura Bush and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (the token conservative voice on the TV show The View in case you aren’t a fan of the show). These three well-known conservatives came out in support of gay marriage before Obama and all they received from their left-leaning peers was a dissatisfied “about time!”
I wonder, then, why Obama’s remarks don’t receive the same response.
The media is acting as if a mere opinion of the president will bring in a new era of equality, but what the media doesn’t realize is that just “talking the talk” without “walking the walk” won’t win you a Nobel Prize. Oh, right.
Many supporters of Obama argue he is the first president ever to endorse gay marriage and for that we should applaud him.
True, but I’m still not impressed.
If Obama had said on his first day in office that he endorsed gay marriage, I would be applauding him for making the issue a priority, but with this announcement coming mere months before election season, it’s difficult for even the most diehard fans of the president not to entertain the idea that this was a political ploy.
Why didn’t he come around earlier? It seems that a man so involved in the black community would empathize immediately with the gay community. Both groups have battled ardently for civil rights in this nation.
Another aspect of this whole issue that hints at a political ploy is the fact that the president has absolutely no bearing on the legalization of gay marriage, anyway. That’s completely up to the states. Obama making a statement about gay marriage is like a state governor denouncing Roe v. Wade or a mayor attempting to declare war. Politicians are welcome to share their opinion, but if the execution of the act is outside their personal jurisdiction, then it’s ultimately irrelevant.
If you’re one of the two-thirds of Americans who believe Obama’s statement was a political ploy, perhaps you can take pleasure in knowing that of the voters who said Obama’s apparent change of heart will influence their vote, a plurality stated they are less likely to vote for Obama than they were before.
Don’t cackle in glee too soon, Republicans. A majority of Americans support either civil unions or marriage for homosexuals. Bill White, CEO of Constellations Group, a consulting firm that advises corporations, foundations and high net worth individuals with their business challenges and philanthropic endeavors, expressed this sentiment after publically withdrawing his support of and future contributions to Mitt Romney. “You have chosen to be on the wrong side of history and I do not support your run for president any longer,” White said to Romney. Ouch.
So what do you think, faithful reader? Did I take the words right out of your mouth or do you disagree completely? Do you want your voice to be heard? Sound off the in comments section below this column.
Tom Rains is a Spanish major senior.