In preparation for his 2012 re-election campaign, Obama has been sprucing up his web page to highlight his major accomplishments as president. For the first time ever, LGBT issues have gotten their very own landing page. AND IT’S CALLED WINNING THE FUTURE.
The page is also part of Obama’s celebration of LGBT Pride Month. He also made a proclamation about Pride, which ends with “I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.” It’s some good reading, if you’re into that sort of thing.
On WINNING THE FUTURE (all caps necessary), Obama lists the many things he has done for us so far, which Pam over at Pam’s House Blend was patient enough to type out (the list is in PDF format, unfortch). Obama mentions a lot of things, but the main categories are:
+ Preventing bullying and hate crimes against LGBT Americans
+ Supporting LGBT families
+ Ensuring equal access to housing for LGBT families
+ Supporting LGBT health
+ Supporting job creation among LGBT-owned businesses
+ Setting precedents in hiring and business for LGBT people
+ Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
+ Providing global leadership for LGBT Americans
+ Honoring LGBT history
+ Supporting LGBT progress
Check out the individual issues listed under those topics over at Pam’s page (linked above) or by downloading the PDF here.
The comments on Pam’s article about this were almost entirely negative, picking apart Obama’s list of accomplishments, asking why more was not done, expressing disbelief that this actually means anything. Find fault where you want, his record isn’t perfect, but President Obama has done more for the LGBT community than any other president in history. The last guy who was supposed to help us out ended up signing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act into law. Even if Obama had never lifted a finger, it would have been better than Clinton’s presidency.
But he did lift a finger. He worked really hard on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It took a while because he spent a lot of his momentum on the health care bill, but honestly, that’s completely fine with me. There are other things I care about beyond LGBT issues, just like there are other parts of my identity beyond my sexuality. When health care was done, he turned to DADT and he got it repealed. I wish that repeal was taking effect more quickly, but he has the House to deal with.
Then Obama started attacking DOMA. In the past few months, his position went from “my office has to defend it in court because it’s my job” to “we won’t defend it in the Second Circuit” to “we actively support its repeal in Congress.” If Obama can advance that far on DOMA so quickly, who knows what he’ll be fighting for by 2016.
Obama is not perfect. There are important things that he has not done, and marriage equality is not the only LGBT issue that matters. But he has gone a long way toward erasing the damage done by Clinton, and he becomes a stronger LGBT advocate every day. Finally, we have a president who is willing to call himself an ally. He has stopped undercutting that with mutterings about religion or with concessions to the religious right. He is on our side.
So yeah, this is just a silly web page that he launched to cater to LGBT voters. But I say, bring on the flattery. What other president has ever been so willing to vocally support us, to tell the country that LGBT Americans are worth his time?
In a world where I am forced to vote for the Democrat every time because the Republican party wants to string me from a flag pole and strip all of my rights, it is nice to be able to vote for a candidate that actively supports my equality. I’m tired of putting up with Democrats who are just less evil than the other guy. Obama is not simply the better choice, he is a good choice.