Watching Ed Schultz tonight—the MSNBC host whose persistent boosterism of Obama qualifies him as a paid apparatchik of the DLC— lavishly praising the president for endorsing gay marriage reminded me for the zillionth time how degraded American politics has become. Of course this a general disease around the world, indirectly favored by the political stagnation and reactionism to which meddling US foreign policy has contributed so much. In this atmosphere demagogs and clowns prosper.
While the cheering in the liberal camp rapidly attains its usual know-nothing sycophantic proportions, one may be forgiven for asking a simple question: has no one ever heard of a calculated risk? And what of opportunism? Is that new, too?
So what prompted the Great Gay Epiphany? In this case the writing was on the wall: early polls were showing that in several places he was neck to neck with Romney, one of the most lackluster, pathetic politicians in generations. That was his wakeup call. As you all know, much of this situation was caused by Obama himself, who through so much flim flam and constant betrayal has essentially demobilized his erstwhile grassroots support, turn off much of labor’s rank-and-file, and soured his “fabled” youth-based netroots. On top of that, except for the fat cats who play both sides of the street and the usual pockets of uberrich liberals, like the Hollywood millionaires where gays, naturally, predominate, the money coming in didn’t look as impressive as during the 2008 campaign. What to do? Well, stroke the gay constituency, a vocal and rich segment he has only nominally and reluctantly supported in the past. The move, it was estimated, also had a chance of jump-starting the youth networks.
Uber grateful for small favors
It’s remarkable that after so many propositions and struggles in which gay people were left to hang or survive on their own Obama finally finds his voice, has his precious epiphany at a moment when it’s so ever convenient for him. I’m sure he came to that conclusion after a careful counting of all the possible noses with his spin doctors. He knows that Southern reactionaries, the Tea Party & the 2nd Amendment nuts, the legions of submerged racists, and the religious mob will never support him no matter what he does (or doesn’t do) so they could not have figured that heavily in the equation, but without a re-energized campaign his chances were getting perilously slimmer. Hence this sudden “historical gesture.”
Meantime, never mind that in all the questions that concerns us all, along with the rest of the world, and nature itself, the man’s contributions are either missing or scandalously nefarious. Although he’s been busy burning and dissing constitutional rights, backstabbing the American family in the economic arena, scuttling the possibility of true universal healthcare, actively (but stealthily) fanning the fires of social security privatization, slashing Medicare and Medicaid in backroom deals, and waging imperial wars with gusto, all of that is now of little consequence—come home, dear, all is forgiven—as he becomes once again a darling to the liberals. Gays of course can be forgiven for warmly welcoming the insincere words of this charlatan: honest or not, in the propaganda sphere we all inhabit it’s the media-amplified gesture that counts. But that should not blind us to the fact that wedge issues play a politically destructive and reductive role in this country, and that the trumping of class and race, far more important social dimensions, is not to the benefit of anyone—gays included.
So here we are. I’m sorry to say I think this is just election year posturing. But that does not mean that gay people will not win in the end, on their own merit. Meanwhile, piece by piece, as befits a well rehearsed choreography, as the November vote gets closer, the sheer awfulness of the GOP (its assigned role) will weigh heavier and heavier on the conscience of those who still think there’s a valid distinction between the two corporate parties. And these belated token gestures by Obama, plus his supposed “accomplishments” in the area of national defense, ie. the killing of al-Qaeda operatives and bin Laden, his no-strings-attached “saving” of the auto industry, etc., etc., something that the liberal crowd applauds mindlessly, have certainly provided a great deal of ammo to his Obots. If before the Great Gay Epiphany it was hard to convince one of these people that Obama did not deserve their support, by now it’s well nigh impossible. The Lesser Evil has won again. While political theater rules the waves.
Patrice Greanville is editor in chief of the Greanville Post.
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