Within the narrow confines of authoritarian power and influence that define the American political arena, it is good news whenever the idea of equality receives a boost from an individual in an influential position. Despite what polls say about the US population split down the middle with regard to marriage equality, I would like to imagine that I side with a majority of people in believing that every person, absolutely and without limitation, has the right to connect and partner and love as they choose. It may be just my imagination. I think the role of government, if there must be one, should be to protect such rights, rather than impose limits on them.
Joe Biden, and then Barack Obama, who wield enormous influence, both recently made statements in support of marriage equality for traditional, conventional, state-regulated, two-partner unions, regardless of the sexual orientation of the people involved. This may go some way in eventually countering the crop of backward, hateful state laws that specifically deny two gay people the right to marry. Or it may be an election-year ploy. (You decide.)
But I am very concerned about the cognitive dissonance that seems to have erupted around the statement of Mr Obama (a man, let us never forget, who likes to order people to be killed so much he used his Nobel Peace Prize speech a few years ago as an opportunity to defend war).
I opened up the popular social networking and FBI tracking website Facebook this morning to see that a friend had posted a photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr and added the quote "The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice" followed by the words "Well done Mr. President!"
This is beyond the fucking beyond. It's a kool-aid overdose. It is to conflate a fearless civil rights advocate with a spineless corporate stooge. It is to suggest that when the one indicated that he no longer was still trying to decide whether gay people should have whole rights he somehow achieves the moral stature of a man who gave his life fighting the triple evils of racism, poverty, and war.
Obama, mass-murderous, whose disdain for justice and equality trumps his predecessors in real, actual, non-kool-aid terms, has indeed offered a historically marginalized, repressed group the vague benediction of (potential, possible) justice and equality. Does he deserve praise for that? He does not.
King once said "I have worked too long and too hard to get rid of segregation in public accommodations to turn back to the point of segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And wherever I see injustice, I’m going to take a stand against it whether it’s in Mississippi or whether it’s in Vietnam.”
Specifically and pointedly and militantly, when he declares his vague support for gay rights (or any other "good" thing), Obama ought to be taken to task for "segregating his moral concern." To fail to do this is cognitive dissonance at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst.
If crimes of aggression are the supreme crime, carrying with them all other crimes, and if Obama is at the top of the mass murderous chain of command, it is literally fucking insane to thank him for statements in support of limited authoritarian support for some equality for some people who engage in some conventional behavior. Can there even be such a thing as "some equality"?
A reminder: the man receiving the accolades and the outrageous adulation for conceding that more people should have the right to enter into conventional, state-regulated relationships than his predecessors, has also specifically ordered the killing of US citizens, including children, accused of no crime. He has declared that he walks "in lock-step" (his words) with the apartheid, war criminal regime in Israel. He has demonstrated a predilection for murdering people with flying robots, a preference for military tribunals at an offshore imperial torture & detention center over real trials in real courts of justice, an insistence on addressing only the middle class and never the poor -- who are disproportionally people of color and therefore over-policed, over-incarcerated, often disenfranchised and thus unable to vote. He has been determined, since year one of his presidency, to turn away from all climate science, drill everywhere, and thus leave society's most vulnerable to suffer most as the global climate becomes weirder. He has enthusiastically embraced every civil liberties-encroaching bill that he can sign up for, from the Patriot Act to the NDAA to the anti-protest Trespass Bill (HR 347). He has expanded war, encroached on privacy, protected corporations, continued "drug war" policies, turned his back on racial oppression, and amassed the largest campaign fund in history, again.
This is equality? This is justice? This is praiseworthy? The arc of the moral universe is long. It does, indeed, bend toward justice. And away from Mr Obama.