The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

I Am So Happy About Gay Marriage Being Legal in the US

But, yeah, sorry, but, can we talk Obama for a moment?

Rainbow White House

Obama did not support gay rights until after he was subjected to IMMENSE pressure, including public heckling and a gay donor strike.

Now, I appreciate a politician who will cave to interests I believe in, but let’s be clear, this is a case of caving.

My friends, above all things, supporting, trusting, and giving credit to people who do not actually have your interests in heart is what hurts you, again and again. Until you learn who you can actually trust (and for what), you are going to continue to get hurt.

Among the other news of the week was the passage of “Fast Track” legislation for the TPP trade deal. That is going to cost many of you your jobs, and it is going to make many of the rest of you poorer, even if you keep a job. People I trust on the Hill tell me that Obama has NEVER lobbied harder for anything (not even Obamacare) than he did for TPP.

Obama, as a rule, is happy to give you things that the oligarchy doesn’t mind. They don’t, overall, mind gay rights. A large chunk of the oligarchy wanted Obamacare (it was and is a huge subsidy to insurance and pharma companies, among others). There is a reason the public option was never seriously considered by Obama; it was a potential threat to insurance companies.

None of this is to say Obama is all bad, he certainly isn’t. But he is not your friend if you want widespread economic prosperity, and he never has been. Nor will he ever be. Nor, to point out what should be obvious, is Hilary Clinton (also not always for marriage equality).

You set yourself up for immense hurt when you trust the wrong people with political power and it is important not to engage in revisionism about what is, after all, very recent history.

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  1. Ann

    Thanks for this timely reminder. The New York Times coverage this week as regards Obama’s legacy has been nauseating.

  2. coloradoblue

    I understand Obama also gave a moving eulogy in South Carolina for the innocents massacred there.

    Let me know when he does the same for the innocent he kills every day.

  3. Lisa

    Great step forward.

    It is too easy to dismiss this ‘as something the elites’ don’t care about. That lets the ‘US ‘progressives’ in other areas off the hook.

    Many of the same elites, that win at just about every turn in other areas, were virulently against marriage equality and fought with everything they had against it.

    The progressive activists in other areas need to learn a few tricks from the LGBTI ones, this win didn’t come from nothing, it was decades of work by many unsung and unpaid heros working at all levels of media, community and politics.

    As an example: How did the LGBTI movement move US public sentiment in favour of marriage equality, an essential part of the process?

    So I disagree Mark, it lets the, so often inept, US (etc) progressives off the hook and gives them an easy excuse for their endless losses. In fact that dismissive attitude is a classic example of why they have been (and until they change will reman) ineffective.

    The US has not passed the ERA, the entire feminist movement (plus all its supporters) failed in that, but the GLBTI movement managed to get the far more divisive, threatening and much harder fought against marriage equality up?

    So who is effective? It is not the role of LGBTI activists to work on everything, we have our own incredibly serious and life threatening issues to fight, but maybe, just maybe, the other activists in other areas might pull their heads out and learn a few tricks.

    The reality about the daft US Obamacare failure was simply that the US ‘left’ and ‘progressive’ had rings ran around them by Obama. Even after the debacle had ended far too many of them were still defending him (“it was the best he could do….”)…. The real lesson of that disaster was that the US progressives are all incompetent. Watching the slow, tardy and again amateurish way they have responded to TISA, TPP and TIPP just confirms that.

    Yes a great win and a lesson to others, you want to change things…pull the finger out. And another lesson, we in the GLBTI community never give up, even when we get (and we have had many and will have many more in the future) set backs.
    If we had lost this Supreme Court ruling, we would still keep fighting another way. Another weakness of the ‘progressives’ in other areas is that they give up totally when they get a setback. If you took the LGBTI attitude to Obamacare we would have still kept fighting on, working on and getting continual changes and tweaks to it until, eventually, it might be turned into something half decent (or at least not as bad).

    Part of that attitude I think comes from the fact that back in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s the ‘progressives’ had a lot of ‘insider’ power and can’t adapt to the fact they have none now (and whinge all the time about that). We LGBTI ones never had that and have to fight as ‘outsiders’ all along the way.

    The other issue is the way we deal with ‘turncoats’ versus how they get treated elsewhere. We quickly marginalise them and fight against them (eg TG people vs certain old school feminists). Immediately they turn they get put in the ‘enemy’ camp and treated as such with no holds barred.

    Elsewhere? Endless time wasted on them trying to turn them back, or negotiate, or compromise, make all sorts of excuses for them or…whatever. Look at all the turncoats in so many NGOs and the easy ride they get, compared to how (just recently) someone stepped out of line in a GLBTI rights organisation and was hammered out of their job so fast it was not funny.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but even in the US the vast majority of the population is (and has been) mostly in line with ‘progressive’ ideas on the economy and society. The fact those activists have not been able to utilise that effectively says a lot about them.

  4. Joyce L. Arnold

    I always read, very seldom comment here at one of the most thoughtful blogs I’m aware of. As a lesbian who had been involved in and followed the LGBTQI equality efforts for decades, I appreciate your thoughts, Ian, and Lisa, we have a very similar take on all of this. The basis for the equality we have gained is primarily through the efforts of grassroots advocates, including our allies. People have courageously and persistently kept on working, including coming out with family, friends, work colleagues and local and state Electeds when it was much more difficult than now. There are a few exceptions, but in general, Electeds don’t lead. The SCOTUS majority today didn’t lead, either. Generally, Electeds have to be pushed, again and again, along with some hand-holding and cheering when they get it right. But always held accountable. And as you note, Lisa, perseverance is absolutely essential. Full equality is the goal, and we’ll keep making progress because equality advocates will simply keep on working. After all, a number of states which now must recognize marriage equality have no protections for LGBTQIs, so either of the newly married couple could be fired the next day.

  5. guest

    52 and gay here (and single, duh), and I can’t believe how underwhelmed I am by this. I think I emotionally reacted more to the smaller, less inevitable steps. Killing DOMA last year even felt much more momentous than this. Actually, the biggest reaction I had was to that stupid Ellen show, which surprised me, because I did not even plan to watch that. But back then actually seeing an out gay character on National TV turned out to be a very surreal experiences.

    I for one will never forget or forgive Obama for his prop 8 phone messages in CA that supposedly were technically not antigay, but effectively and intentiionally were very antigay, antiequality.

    Ian says he’s not all bad. I haven’t seen what isn’t bad about him yet, but like Dubya before him, as soon as I hear his voice, I’m reaching for the off button. He may not be the worst by a stretch, but as far as I’m concerned he is all bad, and it it 10 times more offensive because of his platitudes and posturing and smugness, and the fact that he gets a pass on 99% of his shittyness (he even gets a preemptive Nobel for giving “soaring” speeches, whatever the fuck people mean by that). He can burn in Hell for all I care.

    Hillary at least has never got much of a pass on anything, so I can’t hate on her to the same degree. But the prospect of a Hillary presidency is about 90% as unappealing to me as the current one. At first I wanted Sanders to run, if only to force the so far nonexistent field to the left. Now I won’t be satisfied with anything less than victory.

    Especially after TPA this week. Maybe TPA is what has ruined today’s news for me. I don’t know why, but that defeat seems very ominous to me, as though we are now committed to Euro style self destruction via the banks.

  6. Lisa

    Joyce L. Arnold , agree entirely. Being united, focus and perserverence. Being cunning, adapative and keeping fighting at the grass roots levels and never ignoring it has not hurt either. You check out the progressive elites in other areas (and what they say and do) and their often dripping contempt for the grass roots is all too common.

    Takes a conservative (mostly) commentator group to discuss how progressives in other areas have been ran over so many times:

    We emailed Congress but lost on the TPP (again). Let’s try something different.

  7. guest

    I can’t say anything authoritative about the who accomplished what with this LGBT victory. But it sure seems strange that women can’t get on the stick about women’s rights, especially abortion. Back in 1980, I never would have imagined that abortion would still be so contentions 35 years later, and especially would not have imagined they would have gone backwards so far.
    I don’t know who is to blame, ladies, but if you actually care about this shit (maybe it’s not that important to you), maybe it’s time for your organization to fire your lobbyist team in DC and start raising some hell (or get rid of your too comfy, too polite, feminist organizations as well). Abortion has a lot of ick associated with it, but 20 years ago, openly gay men in public was considered a lot ickier.

  8. Lisa

    This is a biting cartoon about the Australian Labor Party and sums up so much about so called ‘progressive mainstream parties’. They are not and never will be. So they have to be kicked all the time to get anything good up, left to their own they will always fall into regressive actions.

    They are as much an enemy and should be treated as such, as the so called ‘conservative parties’. This means, just because they get in power, you don’t slow down or let up on political pressure, if anything you intensify it. The way US progressives acted when Obama was elected was they gave up, rolled over and excused his every failure. It was pathetic to watch.

  9. Pluto

    Social progress at the domestic level are the scraps they throw the dogs to keep them from barking. The conservative god, guns, bible push-back comes with the territory and is a useful distraction, like professional sports. Social progress will always achieve victories and the game will go on. (Meanwhile we won’t bring up the uncomfortable fact that Americans do not have even the most basic human rights, including the universal right to housing, food, education, or health care.)

    The only real issue, the big money issues, are unfolding on the world stage in the US singular quest for Total Empire Control. Everything else falls under that category, including the TTP, TTIP, banking and finance, and most murder and mayhem everywhere else. These are the Neocon States of American, and all presidents are vetted, selected, and given $2billion to make certain the Neocons win — that includes Obama and the only two candidates in the 2016 race (once you strip away the kabuki distraction) — Clinton and Bush.

    I won’t belabor this, but I did run across an interesting comment just today that lends an illuminating perspective:

    The communists who run the U.S. Empire are Trotskyites; the communists who built the Soviet Union were Leninists and Stalinists. The Trotskyites seek world domination, regardless of the cost in human lives. Their Stalinist rivals sought “socialism in one country” — a far more sensible approach, in my opinion.

    The Stalinists supported national liberation movements, the peace movement, peaceful co-existence, rights for women, and rights for labor. They industrialized a peasant society, defeated the Nazis, rebuilt the country and pioneered the exploration of space, while holding the U.S. Empire at bay and fostering cultural diversity in the Soviet Union — quite a feat!

    The Trotskyites despised the Soviet Union because it rejected their rabid ideology. Stalin banished them and had Trotsky assassinated in Mexico. In the U.S., the Trotskyites infiltrated the conservative movement. They are the neo-cons and neo-libs we see today. Now that Russia has abandoned communism altogether, the Troitskyites (neo-cons) hate it even more than they hated the Soviet Union.

    Alas, this cannot not be changed from inside the United States. In my opinion.

  10. Monster from the Id

    U. S. quest for global empire?

    No. The U. S. Govt. is merely the wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Capital. It is Capital which wants the world.

    Capital is Sauron; Uncle Sam is merely the Lord of the Nazgul.

  11. Although mandating as federal law the right of homosexual couples to marry is a great “equalizer” in terms of collective equitableness, it is still a red herring meant to distract the general public from a lot of the more underhanded activities our government routinely engages in.

  12. dqw

    While gays are obviously better off now than they would have been without marriage equality, it’s not even obvious to me that they’re actually better off now overall than they were 20 years ago (though 50 years ago is a different story obviously.)

    Peoples’ lives have gotten pretty damned ****ty in the last 15 years.

  13. fgb

    Monster: It’s the Empire that unifies the demands of Capital. Not the other way around.

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