State of the gay American

Marchaè Grair

One year ago, the American people elected President Obama supporting the notion of change. That November election was a public referendum rejecting Republican policies about the economy, social justice and national defense.

A year later, Americans want more than rhetoric. Deployments and questionable bailouts make some campaign promises seem like fairytales, and many question President Obama’s ability to stand behind the progressive ideas that put him in the White House.

Tonight, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address, and many interest groups will have high hopes about the president’s vision for a better 2010. The president ran a campaign built on many promises, so he will answer to critics who believe he is lax concerning real change.

Most people are anxious to hear President Obama’s take about what he accomplished his first year as president.

I am more interested in hearing him speak about one of his biggest failures in office — staying silent about the greatest civil rights struggle of my generation.

The fight for gay rights pushes on as the government and mainstream media remain mum about most of the details.

Last year, hundreds of thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., for the “National Equality March,” protesting American policies about gay and lesbian rights. The California Supreme Court is hearing a case determining the legality of gay marriage, in a review of the Proposition 8 decision. The government announced the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which bans gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly in the military, will possibly go to trial next month.

President Obama is following the national consensus to ignore gay rights, and his ignorance does not go unnoticed by the gay community.

The struggle for gay rights is a struggle for civil rights, which all Americans should have the right to enjoy. When the minority is targeted by the prejudices of the majority, a country cannot claim to be “the land of the free,” and its leader cannot say he stands for justice.

President Obama was the most liberal senator in Congress, and it seems like he’s forgotten his roots. He has always supported civil unions for the gay community and he used the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of his campaign platform in 2008.

It is a disgrace that President Obama did not immediately repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The archaic idea that gay soldiers are detrimental to both themselves and fellow soldiers is laughable. The United States should be ashamed it discharges soldiers for their sexual orientation. No one should ever be considered dishonorable for risking his or her life for freedom.

Freedom seems to be an objective idea in this nation, protecting only those who the majority perceives deserving of it.

People want a firm stand on health care from the president because many feel their rights are being denied because they cannot afford it. Struggling workers want a message from the president that bankers and realtors don’t get the last say.

Americans want protection from exploitation, but target some groups they don’t deem worthy of that protection.

It is time for a change I really can believe in. I’ll be tuning in tonight, President Obama, with hope that I can still believe in you.

Marchaè Grair is a senior electronic media management major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].