Advertisement

Opinion

Opinion

In N.C., a big step backward

May 13, 2012

Advertisement

So apparently, Barack Obama is finally done evolving.

That, you will recall, was the president’s word for the process of reconsidering his opposition to same-sex marriage. Last week, after being publicly and inadvertently (?) prodded by his vice president, Obama announced the results of all that cogitation. He told ABC News he has “just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

It was a historic statement from a historic president, a moment of political courage from an administration that has provided fewer such moments than you would like. And the timing was serendipity itself.

Obama’s statement came a day after North Carolina enacted an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage. This, on top of a law already on the books that does the same thing. No one will ever accuse the state of excessive subtlety.

In the context of that dispiriting defeat, Obama’s embrace of marriage equality offers not just a rebuke to one state’s atavistic backwardness, but also a bracing reminder that progress will not be denied, that change comes, come what may.

It is an irrefutable truth from which, pardon the tautology, conservative Republicans have long been in full flight. The amendment, placed on the ballot by Republican state legislators, is only the latest in a series of recent efforts to turn back progress. In this case, the Grand Old Party went after progress that is still in the making. Alarmingly, however, they have also sought to turn back progress that was made decades ago.

Who would have thought that in 2012, we would be debating a woman’s access to contraception? Or re-litigating the merits of the Civil Rights Act? Or fighting to prevent a key provision of the Voting Rights Act from being repealed?

In “B-Movie,” his scalpel-sharp skewering of the Reagan revolution, the late, great Gil Scott-Heron derided what he saw as a tendency “not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards.” That song was released in 1981, and the tendency has only grown more pronounced since then.

Hence, the re-election slogan that Team Obama has been test-driving in recent days: “Forward,” they say. The implied suggestion, of course, is that the other party will take us in the other direction. But that is not simply the choice that frames the balloting in November. It is also the choice that frames this era.

Some of us strain toward a mythic past of perceived tranquility and stark moral choices when, to quote Scott-Heron again, “movies were in black and white and so was everything else” - in other words, the proverbial “good old days.” They don’t seem to know - more likely, they just don’t care - that some of us never had good old days.

For the nation’s gay and lesbian citizens, this is as close to good old days as they have ever come. And the idea that they can be turned back from the threshold of freedom by a state constitutional amendment or by 50 state constitutional amendments misreads human nature. You will as easily return women to the kitchen as you will return gay people to the closet, to the days when their sexual orientation was regarded as both a mental disorder and an indictable crime.

Let those who need to do so finally get it through their heads that gay people are not going to go back there - would you? The president has embraced this. By contrast, North Carolina embraces only the stubborn intransigence of those who desperately need to wake up and smell the 21st century.

We have seen it before, the mulishness of those who think that by sheer obstinacy, they can turn back the tide of change. Those people ended up on the wrong side of history.

They are about to have company.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. His email is lpitts@miamiherald.com.

Comments

cato_the_elder 2 years, 6 months ago

Since "Hope and Change" has been permanently shelved, it's a hoot that Obama and his cronies have, at least for now, adopted the slogan "Forward" (stolen from his lap-dog cable channel, MSNBC), when the economic policies they advocate are the same tired, failed policies employed by liberal Democrats for over 80 years - tax, spend, tax and spend. Liberal Democrats, not forward-looking Republicans led by Mitt Romney, are the ones whose economic policies are mired in the past.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

You need to repeat the third grade...for the fourth time.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 6 months ago

That's not accurate, but if it were all of my classmates would be liberal Democrats.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

At least liberal democrats only need to spend one year in each grade. You might make a good redneck comedy tour roadie though...

cato_the_elder 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion. I enjoy making fools of ignorant leftists.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 6 months ago

Not much of a comment, especially coming from a wet blanket.

westside_lawrence 2 years, 6 months ago

Your post sounds racist and homophobic. I hope you did not intend it that way. I disagree with many Obama's policies, but there is a better way to debate the extreme liberals. Otherwise, you're just making them sound credible. Unless, of course, that's your goal.

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure you can trump whatever you disagree with

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

Romney has already "pounded" the economy when he worked for Bain capital. I've had enough of his pounding already.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

Romney confiscated shareholder value and employee pension value. He created nothing. He is nothing more than a chop shop for companies.

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

Dear Barry, please hurry and lose your re-election bid so the country can move forward and our mistake / experiment can be put behind us.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

It was W. who ran up the debt. Obama is leading the US and the world back to economic prosperity. Anyone who thinks the GOP can solve economic problems doesn't understand basic math or human nature...

clubber1 2 years, 6 months ago

Did you really just state that Obama isn't responsible for running up the national debt? It's comments like that, that make the left look really stupid or naive.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

The Mope's position on same sex marriage didn't so much evolve as he finally revealed what his position was.

JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 6 months ago

Your math doesn't add up...nor does your irrational hatred and fear of Obama.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

Support for gay marriage is a slap in the face to the Christian Supremacy movement. Anything that throws a monkey wrench into their theocratic steamroller is a step toward a better America. I wonder about the effect of all this effort placed by the churchies to deny liberty to others ~ do you think it increases, or decreases, the likelihood that a non-religious person would find said faith to be attractive? I suspect the opposite is true and that as a result of this issue many are getting a clearer view of the Christian Supremacy agenda - and will outright reject it come election time.

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

Very proud of being so selfimportant this morning are we boys ? The Blue Dot mind at work, yea it's an oxymoron

tomatogrower 2 years, 6 months ago

They do say at lot. They say that some people have more rights than others, which shows just how un American they really are. I was just watching "Philadelphia", and I thought one line would really piss off some of the conservatives. It's all men are created equal, not all straight men. How will it change your life if gay people had the same rights, Math, Weiser, cato, etc. Are you conservatives going to suddenly leave your wife for a man, if gay marriage is legal? Tell the truth now.

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

Here is what you always forget. If you are a man / woman you are a man / woman, black, white, brown, straight, gay.... Gay people do have the same rights, read the freaking constitution especially the part regarding " a;ll men are created equal". Pretty 101 don't you think ?

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

"All the same rights." Except for those little things like survivor benefits, taxation at joint married rate, health insurance, and a host of others. Easy to dismiss the wrongs being inflicted on others when you're so threatened by them, isn't it?

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

Lmao, threatened right. Keep playing the victim and see how that works for ya

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

Married straight republican agnostic here; not a victim of gay oppression individually. If you don't like gay marriage = don't have one. Somehow that's not good enough for you and you feel the need to force yourself on others, like a drunk at a party who doesn't know when he's being obnoxious. But wheen you deny rights to others and treat them like second-class citizens you shouldn't expect them to be cheerful taxpayers, all the while cheering on the christian steamroller and its' presumptuous, overbearing, self-righteous nanny-staters at the helm.

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

We all have the same rights. You are confused thinking a benefit is a right. Is everyone elidgeable for the same benefits - no. Do people who did not serve in the armed forces deserve the gi bill benefit no. Wake up and get over it

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

Your right to swing your arm ends at my nose.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

Show me the legaleze where marriage is a "benefit." No, those who aren't GIs don't deserve the GI bill. That's not even remotelly the situation here. Taxpayers are being wrongly being treated differentlly as a result of their sexual orientation ~ and the motivations compelling folks like you to want to continue government-sanctioned discrimination are quite curious at the least. Have you disliked gays your whole life, and if so, why? Have they not tolerated your bigotry meekly enough?

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

You have been paying attention to your liberal playbook. Rule #1 play the victim (always) Rule # 2 put words in peoples mouth and make the thought sound like theirs. Good job. Bottom line and I will type slow so you can understand this. We all have the same rights. Life choices and or circumstances give us differnt opportunities.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

But I'm not playing the victim, as you state. I'm advocating for the victims of your sanctioned bigotry. I'm still waiting for the legalese supporting your assertion that rights aren't being denied some taxpayers. Did you also oppose bi-racial marriage? Those folks were victimized by their "life choices", and now that's considered archaic and intolerable in this nation. And my "liberal playbook" seems to be malfunctioning because I've never "voted liberal" once in my life. Oh wait, Bob Dole probably counts as liberal to you. Have you even known a gay person or attempted to view the world outside your narrow bigoted box?

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh I see you're a martyr. Good for you. Tell ya what we will play your game. I get to go first. You tell me "in legalese" how gays are being denied taxpayers rights. Here is the catch you have to use facts not scenarios or play the discrimination card. Tell me specifically and factually how gays are being denied taxpayers rights.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

Let's start with the deduction for married folks' filing jointly.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

I guess I must type slower so you can understand. Because some taxpayers are not allowed to marry, they cannot benefit from the deduction for married folks' filing jointly. This cost thousands of dollars each year to each affected taxpayer.

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

So they file single like the single hetero crowd does.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

And that, sir, is wrong ~ and exactly proves my point that some individuals are being denied their due taxpayer rights.

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

Love to argue more - got Mom's days plans. I will get back later tonight

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 6 months ago

President Obama gave his opinion that he sees no reason why homosexual couples should not have the right to get married like everyone else. He talked with his family which consists of a wife, two daughters and a mother-in-law about this as he anticipated a considerable backlash. I don't understand why the law would be involved in this at all and yes I know the arguments about the importance of the family in creating a stable society. That is the same thinking that is used in various ways to preserve the status quo of a few people who seem to be threatened by what total strangers are doing or not doing.
How in the world is a homosexual couple getting married going to keep a heterosexual couple from doing the same thing? There is absolutely no threat to "the family."

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 6 months ago

Well, here is my take. I am old enough to remember when the Klan, the American Nazi Party, The Republicans and other extremists were against integration, voting rights for blacks, Jews and other racial issues. This recent issue drips of associations with the very same hate groups and political throwbacks. The usual hate groups are now agitating against gay marriage based on their flimsy and vapid "religious" notions. Claiming to support "Christian values" from a Christ that told us to" love one another", "If a man compels you to go a mile with him, go yet another mile" and "to pray, go into your closet, close the door and pray to your God in secret who will reward you in secret."

Sharia Law? It is here. Those who loudly proclaim "Christian values" are touting the same principle as the Muslim Sharia Law.,

Armstrong 2 years, 6 months ago

Your "take" leans so far left it has fallen over.

jaywalker 2 years, 6 months ago

"Sharia Law? It is here"

Whole post was was pretty good but for a couple discrepancies 'til you jumped the rails w/ that simple idiocy. Shame.

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 6 months ago

Due to a radical rightward shift, today's left is yesterday's middle. Just ask Bob Dole.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

Ya wonder if the Pittster ever sighs and rolls his eyes when the day's talking point assignment hits his in-box?

jaywalker 2 years, 6 months ago

This string and that post is excellent evidence of why you're no better than those you rail against, observant.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

Like many other things you seem to believe, you are wrong about that.

Liberty275 2 years, 6 months ago

Nether word seems associated with race (which doesn't exist) to me. Maybe you have the problem if you are can understand why associating those words with any particular group of people would be a course to follow.

I'd like to hear why you think a bigot might use those terms too describe someone with different colored skin. It would be interesting.

ThePilgrim 2 years, 6 months ago

The media's message is getting across...Three times this week I have heard family members and friends say "since the economy is getting better..." My response was - what planet are you living on? The economy is not getting better, especially in Wichita where many of them live. But if you repeat it often enough it will be taken as truth, ala Animal Farm.

Liberty275 2 years, 6 months ago

At first I thought this was no big deal, but Biden has forced Obama into a world of hurt. Democrats all over America are abandoning the president like rats jumping off a sinking ship. Some of it is quite amusing, especially when they have the audacity to say "state's rights".

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/227007-vulnerable-democratic-senators-balk-at-obamas-endorsement-of-gay-marriage

LGB-whatever, like it or not, you are still way less popular than abortion across America and across both major political parties.

Keep in mind that libertarians hold no such ill will towards you and support your efforts because it is your body, do with it as you wish. Perhaps in the future, you might consider keeping everyone's rights in mind, even those rights you may not want.

jafs 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope that's not the case - I had thought it would probably be a wash, with his gaining some support and losing some.

Your contention about LGB folks doesn't seem to be consistent with the results of polls, that show a small majority favoring gay marriage - I wonder why that is.

Liberty275 2 years, 6 months ago

If a majority of people supported gay marriage, democrat senators wouldn't be disagreeing with obama. I suppose those democrats might actually be against gay marriage.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.