I am posting a special essay, due to the uproar.
It is all over the blogosphere. All of the major blogs are discussing the decision of Barack Obama to tour with the reformed homosexual gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. The thing that troubles me about the debate currently surrounding this issue is the same thing that troubles me about the Democrats and the progressive movement as a whole. The problem with both is that they expect a candidate to be all things to all people and any candidate that doesn’t believe exactly as they believe is a sell-out. I’m sorry, but the majority of Americans do not support homosexuality. The problem is that everyone in the car wants their issue to be the driving issue, as if their issue is the only one of any consequence. Barack Obama is not anti-gay, but he is not pro-gay either. Why does one have to be one or the other?
We have come a long way in our acceptance and treatment of gays and lesbians in this country. Is it perfect? No, but a lot of progress has been made. Think of the progress made by the gay and lesbian agenda compared to civil rights or immigration, it has been fairly quick. I hear myself saying these words and it sounds so weird, I feel like one of those people telling blacks how much progress they have made. The truth is however, there is a lot of resistance to complete acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. It may not be fair, but it’s the way it is. Many would rather have a candidate that could help to promote unity and benefit many Americans on other issues lose and remain loyal, than win and make a difference. This type of logic to me is asinine. NEWSFLASH – You can’t govern, if you don’t win!
The sad thing about the debate is that no one believes that Senator Obama is a homophobe or does not support gay rights; no one believes that he would try to push a Constitutional amendment against gays. So why is he getting all this heat? Because he is willing to stand up and not pander to the minority in opposition to the majority. These people have a campaign to run and hopefully win. During campaigns strategic decisions are made, decisions like which issues to emphasize and which ones to downplay. Would any of the people bashing Barack believe that Mitt or Giuliani would make a better candidate?
Senator Obama is making a concerted effort to enlist the support of the Black faith community. If you don’t like the views of the Black Church bash them not the candidate trying to reach out to them. Is the Senator flip-flopping like his Republican counterparts on issues of importance to gays and lesbians? I have not heard the Senator back away from any of his stated positions concerning this group. The Black Church has been traditionally a rallying point in the community and to enlist their support is a smart campaign decision. Black churchgoers tend to vote more than other blacks and they tend to be more united in their voting patterns. Ministers in the Black Church hold a lot of influence over their parishioners and so I don’t see what the outrage is over Senator Obama making an outreach to them.
It is precisely this type of criticism that makes the rest of America view Democrats and their candidates as “godless” and without faith. If any candidate tries to court the religious vote they are demonized by the gay and lesbian communities and their surrogates in the progressive community. The time has come for Democrats to stop running from their faith and for those who do not share their faith to back off and allow them their freedom to believe. No one is saying that everyone has to believe the same thing, but by the same token allow those who do believe differently the freedom to express it. The problem with being a democratic candidate is that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Everyone expects you to cater to their particular viewpoint and if you are not 100% in agreement then you are a “sell-out”. Forget the fact that you won’t win, obviously that’s not important.
I have friends that are ex-convicts, drug addicts and alcoholics, but when I go to get a job I don’t emphasize those ties, it’s not that I am “dissin them” it’s just more prudent not to. The Bible says when I am around people that are vegetarians I don’t serve them meat, not because I agree with them but because I am not to be a stumbling block for my brother. We are to bear the weaknesses of our brothers, not condemn them for it. Is it wrong to reach out to those who may not be as enlightened as I am? If so how then am I to affect change?
The Senator is trying to show that politics or debate does not have to be an either/or proposition or that everything has to be done in a confrontational manner. But again in sticking to politics as usual, he is condemned for it. It appears that the wing-nuts are not the only ones who are stuck in the politics of the past; there are a lot of “so-called” progressives stuck in the same rut. Senator Obama does not have a gay problem, the gays and lesbians have an Obama problem.
There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find – Michael Friedlander