Bittersweet


While I confess that I helped to raise quite a bit of money for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, I can’t help but feel cynical about the whole deal.  The Obama campaign for change is being bandied about by the media like it is the second coming.  As a gay man watching what is starting to look like deification, I can’t help but wonder what kind of message Obama’s failure to support equal marriage rights of gays and lesbians is sending.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have supported Daffy Duck over John McCain or Goofy instead of George W. Bush.  But now that Obama is President, I feel that gays are the one group that had to be thrown under the bus.

Everybody knows that the United States is excessively religious and that’s why no presidential campaign could come out in support of gay marriage and get elected.  Even so, in the heady ether of inaugural rhetoric, I feel sanguine and bitter.  The seeds of hypocrisy were long ago sewn in the Obama campaign, or he would never have made it to the White House.  I give him that.  But now that he’s there, I want my civil rights just as much as the African Americans who see him as the embodiment and fulfillment of their struggle.

What scares me is not so much that I can’t marry, although that provides some benefits I would like to have, but that our presidential savior is sending a message to America that gays are not equal.  As Native Americans used to say, he speaks with forked tongue.  Out of one side of his mouth comes the most moving rhetoric we’ve heard in a long time, tears-and-goose-bumps kind of rhetoric.  And out of the other side comes, “I don’t believe gays should be allowed to marry.”

The anger that stirs in me wonders if John F. Kennedy, back in 1960, could have said that he did not support a black man marrying a white woman.  We all know that it was illegal back then in many parts of the country.  Did JFK ever mention it?  Did the media ever ask him what he thought about it?  Of course not.   I’m pissed.  I want to fight back.  I want to take hetero marriage rights away.  I want to make it illegal for blacks to marry whites.  I want to make it illegal for men to marry women.  I want to ban religion.  I want to burn your bibles.

I almost miss the polarization of the Bush terms.  I’m ready for it.  I learned a lot from it.   And now they tell me we’re doing business differently.  We’re all going to be nice.  Conciliatory.  Unified.  Working together across the aisle.

I don’t want to be conciliatory.  Straights have been asking gays to be conciliatory for two thousand years while they insulted, beat and killed us, called us immoral and limited our civil rights.  Screw conciliatory.  Look where it got us?  The blacks in America didn’t get where they are today by being conciliatory.  In spite of Obama’s brilliant campaign, they got where they are because they burned buildings and overturned cars in the streets of Detroit and Los Angeles and Newark.  And gays wouldn’t be where they are if it wasn’t for some drag queens with the balls to throw rocks through windows in New York’s Greenwich Village.

So I say, screw conciliatory.  I want equal rights now.  And I’m not going to be nice about it.  When I recently started rewriting the bible to make it pro gay and anti straight, I got so much hate mail, I’m still nervous when I open my email.  People from all over the world telling me that we’re not going to get anywhere with that attitude.  We’re not going to be given our rights if we piss everyone off like that.  We’re just going to alienate the mainstream.  One man even said that because of me he was going to fire all his gay employees.

In the old days they called blacks who bought into the system “Uncle Toms.”  The gay version of that is what I call an “Uncle Todd.”  The interesting thing is that the percentage of Uncle Todds is much higher than the percentage of Uncle Toms ever was.  Yes, the gay community is full of Uncle Todds.  Think about it.  The Bible says that gays are immoral, that God says it is an abomination, and yet they ask us to admire, respect, even love this bible which hates us, and this God which hates us too.  In short, they want us all to be Uncle Todds and make nice so that one day maybe we’ll be granted full civil rights.

Well, I am no Uncle Todd.

Here I am.  Ungrateful and disrespectful and getting hate mail from both sides, including gays and lesbians.  I always said a gay Christian is like a black Ku Klux Klansman.  We’re really good at taking it.

So, President Obama, you have four years to get this gay marriage thing online.  And to quote Allen Ginsberg, “I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.”

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