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 Or fighting to prevent a key provision of the Voting Rights Act from being repealed?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

Liberty275 1 year, 11 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.

0

FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 11 months ago

Thomas H. Naylor Knows Liberals. The knows of the great "Leviathan"

Vermont is perhaps the most left-wing state in the nation. Two-thirds of the voters supported Barack Obama in his 2008 election bid. To the political left in Vermont, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, Obama represented the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. After three years some Vermonters on the political left have finally figured out that Obama does not walk on water and is merely a smirk-free George W. Bush. But because he is smarter, more articulate and more charismatic than Bush, he is much more dangerous. Secession is a very tough sell in Vermont as well as elsewhere. In January of 2009 it became a much tougher sell.

(from a source)

http://www.thedailybell.com/3878/Anthony-Wile-Thomas-H-Naylor-on

0

ThePilgrim 1 year, 11 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.

0

thuja 1 year, 11 months ago

Do you ever just scroll real fast through and see "Mope" and "Anointed One" (sic) a few times, say "Ugh" and click on something else, like "Turn Computer Off"?

0

Flap Doodle 1 year, 11 months ago

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

0

Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 11 months ago

We can't let homosexual marriages ruin the sanctity of Britney Spear's prank wedding to her high school friend!

0

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 11 months ago

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

0

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 11 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.,

0

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 11 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."

0

1 year, 11 months ago

@observant Your 0640 post was so correct. 4 posts by ijm; 3 by fhnc; 7 by others of the same ilk. 14 / 19 right wing rant posts so far.

You notice that these same poster(s) says little of value and almost nothing regarding things going on in KS.

@Pastor_Bedtime I agree, except in reality the laws aren't white supremacy laws, but rather ALEC laws.

0

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 11 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.

0

observant 1 year, 11 months ago

And the usual presidential name calling underway as usual by right wing nutcases. Once Obama is re-elected, they'll all have coronaries and whine that Obamacare better take care of them.

0

its_just_math 1 year, 11 months ago

I guess The Anointed One is trying to create a whole new bigger, stronger generation of gays. He's doing his part as a committed liberal to insure more votes for future liberal politicians. The corrupt Obamamania is giddy over The Anointed One's announcement.

http://www.mrc.org/biasalerts/cnns-balanced-coverage-obamas-support-gay-marriage-5-guests-favor-1-opposed

0

Flap Doodle 1 year, 11 months ago

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

0

weiser 1 year, 11 months ago

I think the rest of us should all pitch in and give gays free wedding receptions.

0

Armstrong 1 year, 11 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.

0

its_just_math 1 year, 11 months ago

Isn't the DNC convention in NC this year? That should be interesting. Obama is going to have to face the music eventually on our crappy economy. He can run, but he can't hide. Gays, and "Julia" and Clooney and his celebratory hoopla year anniversary of OBL and all of his pandering to left wing special interest groups won't help him when he faces down the barrel of a debate and the economy is front and center. Romney needs to pound the economy hard in the from here on out and in the debates.

0

Gotland 1 year, 11 months ago

It's not forward or backward it is just people voting on the laws they want in their state.

0

observant 1 year, 11 months ago

Will be an interesting day today on the forum. Right wing nutcases in full rant about latest Pitts column.

0

FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 11 months ago

"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."

Blacks and Gays are "united" for a "common" cause. Hand in hand, together, they will move the country "Forward". Pounding "Forward", Blacks and Gays will force their knowledge of love for a true togetherness that will "inspire" all to behold, from around the world.

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Kenyan+muslim+clerics+fault+Obama+on+gay+marriage/-/1056/1404426/-/8boaew/-/

"unprecedented"

0

cato_the_elder 1 year, 11 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.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.