On Monday, January 20, 2013, President Obama was inaugurated for his second term. At the ceremony, he gave a speech, as U.S. presidents always have done on this occasion.
I wrote an analysis of the speech and was ready to submit it as my column this week, when I saw that Salon published an article that did the same thing, almost.
So here’s a link to the Salon article.
And if you didn’t catch the speech, here’s a link to it.
And a transcript.
So, instead of doing a point by point on how the President dismantled his foes, I’ll focus more on one part of the speech. A couple lines really.
“But Sophie, this is a TG website! Why can’t you keep yer liberal socialist hippie treehuggin’ commie opinions to yerseff?”
Well this IS a TG website. One of the Leading TG sites. And the President’s speech touched on LGBT issues. So that will be my focus.
The President made history with this speech in several places, but especially with two lines:
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”
“For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Three ideas, two lines.
In the space of a couple of minutes, President Obama changed forever the fate of LGBT rights. There, on the world stage, an American President declared that not only are we engaged in a Civil Rights struggle (the Stonewall reference), but we also deserve equal rights. Human rights. (As women too!)
How major is this?
Of course, the GOP isn’t going to take any of this lying down. They protested that they weren’t mentioned in the speech. They also protested that President Obama didn’t “extend an olive branch” to them.
In the days since, they’ve become more vocal. The House GOP actually said “In short, gays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less time than virtually any other group in American history.”
I didn’t know that!
I didn’t realize that we who can be refused medical care, denied housing, fired without cause, are actually in control! We’re so powerful that we commit suicide in far higher percentages than anyone else!
*Goes into other room.* *Pets dog.* *Calms down* *Comes back.*
Ok. So what is my point in all this?
If you’re reading this, you at least have a passing concern about LGBT rights. You probably have a horse in this race. So my point is this:
Do you really, really think that a GOP president will ever in our lifetime utter those words?
Would EVER support LGBT rights?
I know my Conservative Sisters are worried about the economy. Everyone is. But if you worry about economy over your OWN rights . . . well, what good will your money do when you’re imprisoned? Dying and denied medical care? Or worse — when it happens to someone you love?
Because it CAN happen. It IS happening.
It’s not like there isn’t historical precedent here. An industrialized nation in the middle of a bleak depression once elected an extreme right wing leader who promised economic reform. He also preached extreme nationalism, blamed popular scapegoats for all the ills of the world, and told people exactly what his “social programs” would be. He even wrote it in a book. His idea of social program? Concentration camps. And he DID spur the economy to new heights. Making weapons. Building roads and railroads capable of moving troops and weapons. Recruiting soldiers.
This was the 1920s and 1930s.
Do I even need to say where this was?
Or that those who died in the concentration camps included many who voted for his party?
Social programs matter. Human rights matter.
Because we ARE human, and we HAVE rights, despite what some may think.