This past week, my friend and co-conspirator in writing about political and cultural issues, Deb, put up a new post on a web site that she and I a few others contribute to. She was motivated, in this instance, by the dismissal of Lt. Dan Choi, for openly defying the terms of the DADT policy in our military. You can read it here: http://turn-left.hypocrisy.com/2009/07/01/the-injustice-continues-under-obama/.
As you might guess, the article expresses Deb's displeasure with the military's decision concerning Lt. Choi, as well as the general direction of affairs relative to the country in general, President Obama's inaction towards the LGBT community. She makes a very good case (as usual) and concludes by saying that the President is a "political coward", and that "is not what the country needed".
Now you should know that Deb is a very vociferous member of the LGBT community so it is not difficult to understand her basic position. And I was very much in general agreement with her, but I did not feel her statement went far enough. So I wrote this:
Before this post becomes the source of vitriol that swirls around solely LGBT/homo-angstian rhetoric, and some of the readers here climb all over Deb for per position, I must say that I think she is both right and wrong. Her outrage and indignation over the handling of Dan Choi (and DADT in general) is apt and well placed. But she is wrong in overlooking its' symbolic value, as regards the actions (or inactions) of the Obama administration on the whole.
Injustice is probably not the best word we could use here, and I'll tell you why. The outcome of the Choi hearing, as well as the President's comment to a retired Air Force officer, that this was a "generational issue" smack of the same position of mediocrity, appeasement, glad-handing and moral molly-coddling that is evidenced by his stance on every major issue confronting us today: the financial debacle, the economy in general, LGBT rights, foreign policy issues (Israel/Palestine, Honduras), government secrecy and the biggest elephant in the room, health care. And Deb's conclusion that this stance is political cowardice may not be the more appropriate word, either.
What we do have a a betrayal of promised leadership and a strange and curious sudden lack of courage. Five to six months in or no, we were promised change. But, alas the world is of full of promise keepers/breakers: Ensign, Sanford, Pelosi (who lead her legislative body), Reid (who would lead his party), Bush who promised to be a uniter and a decider and was neither.
Obama appears to lack the courage to do the extraordinary so that the ordinary and necessary and morally correct may occur. He is languishing in a sea of mediocrity and half-baked actions.
If you want something worthwhile to occur, the required action must have some spectacular and extraordinary transformations accompanying it so that there will be a valuable and lasting effect. If you want to burn down a building, you have to start a fire and be prepared for the heat.
If you want to bake leavened bread, you must scald, then milk before you add it to the mixture or else the the microbes in the milk will kill the bacteria in the yeast and the bread will not rise. You will still get bread, but if you don't scald the milk first, but the bread will be flat, hard and disappointing. If you use only tepid water to make tea, instead of boiling water, you will still get tea but it will be weak and unappealing.
Obama needs to stop walking down the middle of the road, stop trying to appease and accommodate everyone, stop not trying not ruffle feathers , incorporating every side on every issue, take a firm stand, piss off a few people on the outer edges, stop pretending to be Solomon and make some strong tea and some substantial, chewable bread.
Injustice and cowardice? I think not. But mediocre fence-straddling and a lack of conviction to cause the extraordinary may be more like it, and Dan Choi is only one example of conventional turpitude.
Almost without fail, Deb's posts get lambasted and attacked by a select group of right-wingnut, conservative, nearly illiterate, unabashed homophobes who attack her comments almost solely because of her sexual orientation. I posted my comments almost immediately and several days have passed. There has been no rhetorical firestorm or rebuttal from any front. I wonder why that is?