OK, let me just own up front that I am not a lesbian, I’m not HIV-positive and I don’t play those things on TV. I have, however, worked with, lived with, played with and loved gay and/or HIV-positive people for most of my adult life and I care greatly about their ability to live full, happy, healthy lives with the same potential for self-actualization and fulfillment of human potential that any straight, HIV-negative person has. That said, let me, with all my lack of “qualifications” respond to Jennifer Vanasco’s column in the June 18 Chicago Free Press.
Get in line, Jenn. Our new president has people everyday demanding he solve the financial crisis NOW, health care reform NOW, global warming NOW, education problems NOW, the closing of Guantanamo NOW, peace in the Middle East NOW, the end of nuclear proliferation NOW, the end of all wars NOW. In case you haven’t noticed, he is equally lambasted by the Republicans and the Democrats simultaneously for A) taking on too much at once and not doing enough. Liberals wail at him because he has “moved to the center” while conservatives spew invective about his “radical liberal agenda.” He chooses a Latino female for the Supreme Court and then has to endure white male assholes calling her a racist. After eight years of a president who rarely faced the press and when he did, only managed to display his total lack of intellect, awareness, and ability to speak the English language correctly, President Obama is accused of acting like a “rock star,” his eloquence criticized as arrogant, his “charisma” referred to as if it is something to be ashamed of.
This man has done more in these few months of his presidency to restore the U.S., and Americans as a people, to a level of respectability and acceptability than George W. managed to do to make us the most-reviled, least-respected country and people in the world. And I have no doubt he will continue to prove to the world that we can be a true ally, a shining example and the strongest contributor to the effort to make this world a better place to be than it has been for the last eight years.
The one thing he can’t do, and shouldn’t be expected to, is please everybody all of the time. He is not only NOT the owner of the Department of Justice (as in “Obama’s Department of Justice”), but he, himself, has no control over any brief that may be crafted by anyone who works for the DOJ. Come ON, Jennifer – do you honestly think any president can control what an official of some kind (and find out WHO exactly the wing-nut was who wrote the damn thing!) writes a brief on? And wouldn’t it be scarier if he could? It was a brief, not a law! No one is bound to agree with it or live by it or even pay attention to it! And as far as the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” thing is concerned, perhaps you should tune into what AFTAH (American Foundation for Truth About Homosexuality) has to say about him “homosexualizing” the military by repealing it. Theirs is just another voice yammering away at him for not being their friend.
Just as he is now being raked over the coals for not sticking the formerly invasive, arrogant American nose into the election in Iran, there will always be someone, some group, who is disgruntled because their cause is not at the top of the priority list. I, for one, would appreciate him funding more research into a cure for diabetes so I can get back to eating fresh-baked cinnamon rolls on Sunday as I watch “Meet the Press,” but I understand that he is not just MY president and I’m sure there is a rabid, personal trainer, hyena-person who wishes he’d require all fat people to be locked up in “exercise parks” and thus put an end to all obesity-related issues. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing that both of us will have to wait until more important things are dealt with.
So the LGBT and HIV communities can add to his burden of challenges by getting on the bandwagon of accusation of betrayal and false advertising, believing that he is indeed not their friend, not their “fierce advocate” but, in deciding where you stand on this question, I ask you this: would you rather have John McCain to deal with? Sarah Palin?? Seriously. Think about it. And then give our president time and have some faith that this is an honorable man. Yes, a politician and all that goes with it, but hey, what other president has taken an HIV test?