A reader writes:
I admire your rage. I wish I had more of it or any at all. I know you are angry and that DADT and gay rights are life and death to you, literally. However, I am concerned about the incendiary bent your recent comments have taken. I understand why Obama's speech on Friday night angers you. However, he did something in that speech that I thought was pretty remarkable.
In it, he referred to a young man, scared and alone knowing he was gay for as long as he could remember. For our president to unequivocally acknowledge that a gay person would know he was gay for as long as he could remember leaves no room for the ridiculous notion that being gay is a choice or a "lifestyle." I choked up because if I had heard my president on a Friday night on a major news channel say that when I was ten years old my adolescence and college life might have been entirely different.
I am not saying cool down, don't, but remember we have someone here who has a shot at doing the right thing. To take him to task so brutally when he has promised to do more than any other president seems unfair. You are more enraged at the guy who might/will do something than Bush who did nothing. Nothing. You know these things are not as easy a swipe of a pen. Make him do it but don't take him down in the process.
The absolute DUMBEST thing in the whole entire world that Obama could do right now, at this very moment as President is to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" or involve himself in the same sex marriage statewide issues or other gay rights issues that you wish him to tackle, in the present, highly volatile, nasty political climate, while this Aftghan war is escalating, (41 killed in Pakistan just this morning), jobs are being lost in record numbers, and with Healthcare Reform, something that Obama has made crystal clear is a mandate for his first term as President, is still on the table being negotiated. And President Obama is NOT dumb!
That is just the reality of the situation, Andrew, pure and simple. I think that you are much too emotionally involved in this issue Andrew, and as with all of us, when our emotions are in control, we become irrational. I say this out of tremendous respect and admiration for you.
My record of rage against Bush's FMA is easily found. I don't know many Republicans who'd say I was easier on Bush on these matters. I don't give a damn who the president is; and a civil rights movement shouldn't rest its foundation on any single party or politician. In this, of course, I am wearing my "activist" hat. But when a situation is about this kind of injustice, as on torture, I see no distinction between being a writer and an activist. There are times when you just have to stand up and say what's right. It is not my job to enable the continued persecution of my gay brothers and sisters. I never have and never will.