Two questions/statements that get tossed around whenever I vent about one of these hot button issues were in a thread from yesterday, and I think they are worth talking about. The first:
OK, don’t have time to read all 289 comments but just wanted to ask why John is so obsessed with what gay people think of Obama? I mean, seriously, lately every third or fourth post is knocking some gay blogger or gays in general for being critical of Obama.
This post is representative of a weird mindset. As someone who was on the BushCo train, and only ditched out on them when it was obvious to everyone with a brain that they were failing us miserably, it seems that some who then in turn embraced Obama want to apply that kind of hero-worshiping that they did with Bush to Obama. That’s not how any of this stuff (stuff meaning how citizens observe and interact with presidential politics) was ever supposed to work.
I’ll answer them together because I think they are related. In response to the second statement, I think it is a very valid question/assertion to wonder if I am just shilling for Obama the way I did for Bush. I do at times seem to have an odd authoritarian streak, and I was completely and totally uncritical of Bush until I finally couldn’t take it anymore, so I think it is fair to think maybe I am just resorting to type.
The thing is, I don’t think I am just in the tank and think Obama can do no wrong. And this is where the first question/comment comes into play. If I’m obsessed with anything, I’m obsessed with people saying what I think are crazy and irrational and stupid things and then making fun of them. It just seems recently, a lot of that stuff has been coming from gay bloggers over gay rights issues. I also think that there is a certain mindset among some people that if you are not spending every day dramatically freaking out that Obama sucks, you aren’t doing your duty as a citizen and aren’t thinking critically and are “just in the bag” for the President. There honestly seems to be a group of people out there who think that when the President tells them to “make him do something,” they don’t understand that he wants them to apply constructive pressure on him and on Congress, they think it is a license to scream and flail and yell “just words” and adopt Republican messaging frames. They think it is permission to have a hissy fit. And I don’t think it is being “in the bag” for Obama to point out those hissy fits.
Where I have made mistakes on this issue is assuming or seeming to assume that I think certain bloggers speak for all gay people. I’ve also been flippant and given the appearance that I just think all gay people are just whiny drama queens. And, something I thought about while watching Milk the other night was that this has been going on for a long, long time, and I might not truly understand the anger and frustration of a lot of people in the gay community.
Lemme give you some examples. I have no problem with people being mad that Obama has not issued a statement about the marriage equality issue in the state of Maine. I think he could and should do more, and won’t say a peep about people flaming the WH for not doing more.
On the other hand, I think you are an insane crazy person if you flip out like Steve Clemons because Obama’s HRC speech was not up fast enough on the White House web site on a Saturday night. I think you have lost your shit when you insist that the WH house release a list identifying all the gay people who came to a ceremony (maybe the WH can also demand they wear pink triangles on their jackets!). I think you have lost your ability to reason if you spend an entire day hyperventilating because the President did not use the word “gay” at a ceremony for hate crimes legislation that covers EVERYONE. I think you have serious issues if you point to an unsourced anonymous quote from John Harwood and then boldly announce to the world that the WH hates gays. And I don’t think I’m obsessed with gays to point at these things and laugh. And I don’t think it is wrong to note that a good bit of this anger is based on the turf war between certain online gay bloggers and the HRC.
Likewise- you will never see me attack Marci Wheeler or Glenn Greenwald for their accurate chronicling of the administrations backpedaling on certain civil liberties issues, because I think they document their arguments and are right. Hell, as much as I love having flame wars with Armando, I think he is more right than wrong on many of these issues.
I will, on the other hand, mock you repeatedly if you tell the world that Obama is worse than Bush because Gitmo is not closed yet and because he hasn’t completely altered the overall outlook of the national security machinery. I will mock you endlessly if you scream that Obama sucks because Gitmo still has prisoners, when the Senate has repeatedly screwed Obama. Hell- remember the 96 to nothing vote a couple months ago about “freeing terrorists on domestic soil.”
I’m not going to say a peep to folks who argue the administration has not done enough to reign in the banksters or the credit ratings agencies or the insurance boys. I think it is ridiculous we have not started a new regulatory regime by now. I’m kind of shocked we have not broken up the boys who are “too big to fail” and have sat by while they taking bigger and bigger risks and leverage themselves more than they were before they almost killed the country. I think the Goldman Sachs presence in our government is to the point that it is blatantly criminal.
But I am going to mock you if you tell me Obama is the worst president ever because of daily fluctuations in the DOW or the value of a dollar. I am going to give you a rhetorical punch to the neck if you bitch that Obama has not “turned the economy around” when just a few months ago we were on the verge of global armageddon. I am going to point and laugh if you kvetch about the deficit and the national debt when it would still be disastrously out of control from the previous administration if Obama had spent not one penny.
In short, I don’t think I’m in the tank for Obama, I think I’m just applying common sense. Maybe I am too sarcastic and snide, and we all know I can be a real jerk, especially to people I like. And if you disagree with me, or think I am wrong, well, you get to go ahead and call me an asshole in the comments and tell me why I am wrong. Try it. You might find it very liberating, and I know that when enough of you start to point out I am wrong about something, I probably am. I’m hard-headed, but I am capable of learning.