It Gets Better. Maybe Not Under My Administration, But Eventually, K?
By Adam Polaski
“It gets better,” Barack Obama tells all of those gay teenagers out there who have grown up hating the idea that they may be gay or lesbian because it would mean that they’d be in a position of second class citizenry. All of their lives, LGBT issues have been in the news, thoroughly discussed and dissected, with news left and right about backwards policies in the government, like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, which insist that gay people are not the same as straight people.
Not so, Obama says in his own “It Gets Better” video, a project started by Dan Savage to combat the recent string of LGBT suicides. Obama says, “In time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination, not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms… It’s so important that as adults, we set an example in our own lives, that we treat everybody with respect, that we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes.”
What example is President Obama setting by heading up an administration that stands idly by while gay rights legislation is shot down, or worse, approved by a judicial order and widely supported by the American public but then reinstated, as is the case with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? How are those defeats doing anything to boost gay Americans’ confidence and self-worth, telling them that they are valued, equal members of the national community? Sure, the Matthew Shepard Act was passed. But there are still so many anti-gay policies in this country that it would be near impossible to list them all. There is still institutionalized homophobia and inequality.
Obama continues his charade in the video, saying, “As a nation, we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness, to make the most of our talents, to speak our minds, to not fit in. And most of all, to be true to ourselves. That’s the freedom that enriches all of us. That’s what America’s all about. And every day, it gets better.”
But when you are in a position of power to make it get better for all of these kids and all of these people in your country, then why, President Obama, are you not making it get better faster?
Originally posted on October 23, 2010 on AMPed, Upfront Editor Adam Polaski’s personal blog: (http://amptastic.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/obamaitgetsbetter/).