"I believe you are confusing the current occupant of the White House with a fellow ofthe same name who campaigned for the office of the Presidency in 2008."Well, I wasn't actually saying I was surprised that Obama hadn't lifted the HIV travel ban; just that it would seem like a political slam dunk for him to do so. Also, apparently- according to Andrew Sullivan, who is directly affected by the ban- the government has been working on getting rid of the thing for some time now; it's just taking forever.
I guess a more interesting argument could be made about the Defense of Marriage Act, a law signed in 1996 by Presidential Schmuck Bill Clinton, which states that federal law will only recognize marriage as existing between a man and a woman (and an intern). At the time, there was thought that Hawaii would legalize gay marriage. Currently, there are three states with gay marriage and three more that have legalized it. So, if you're gay and get married in Maine, the federal government says, "Screw you and screw Maine!"
Naturally, I'm against a federal law on the issue, but I'd be against a federal law mandating gay marriage as well. I think the states need to work it out. If we end up with something like Roe V. Wade, in which nine old farts in black mumus decide the issue for the entire country*, the debate will be as unresolved decades from now as Roe V. Wade is now. Let the states decide, and if ten years from now, West-by-God-Virginia doesn't have gay marriage and Vermont does, move out of West Virginia. I'd recommend that in most circumstances actually.
Anyway, President Obama should get rid of the DOMA, and most gay rights groups are pissed at him that he hasn't. As always, I'm of two or three minds about this:
- I'm glad they're upset with him and I think they should protest. It is a stupid law that should be done away with. In general, I think Obama needs to have an iron fist more often than he does and stop dithering about every single issue.
- On the other hand (and here I dither!), people feeling "betrayed" by him seems bizarre since it's only been what- five or six months now? The reason I'm not surprised by these sorts of things is that I always thought Obama was a great politician, but didn't make the assumption that he'd be a great leader. (I will, however, say that nearly everything John McCain has said or done since the election has confirmed my belief that he'd be a fucking nightmare as President.) Many of Obama's supporters seemed to have thought that he'd get elected and solve all of their problems for them. This is not a healthy stance to take with any political figure. Democracies are maintained by the eternal skepticism of their electorate; not eternal hatred for all politicians, but not starry-eyed faith and hope either.
- So, on the other hand, I don't think people should accept it when they feel a politician has let them down. Raise hell about it. The thing about democracies is you have to make them do what you want. You don't just vote and ignore things until the next election. If you feel betrayed by Obama, raise hell. That's what you're supposed to do. Please, though, don't give up on US politics and move to Canada- you're bound to be disappointed by Canadian politics, which consists of a room full of dipshits yelling at each other, accomplishing nothing, and vowing to get together and yell at each other again after the break.
- And, finally, I'm happy to see more people gettting pissed. I think the "betrayal" stuff is overblown, but I think it's much healthier in a democracy for people to hold elected officials' feet to the fire than march around with HOPE posters dreaming of the day when their favorite politician will tuck them in at night.
*(I can't remember who I stole that line from.)