This should be the happiest moment in many years for all Americans.
We have just inaugurated a new president. The air is filled with a spirit of hope and change, and all of that is for the better. The prospects of a happy and healthy future for America look better than ever, and that has nothing to do with Republican or Democratic politics; but everything to do with a fresh outlook and a new, positive direction for our country.
But as with every change, there is sure to be resistance.
Naturally, I am seeing resistance from staunch Republicans who think that Barack Obama’s policies are “a lot of talk that will cost us a lot of money.” They are sure that he will fail, and that America will not step up to the challenge to come together and work for a better future for our country. And while I respect these people for having their opinions– because they are certainly entitled to them– I wish they would just step back and give Mr. Obama a chance to prove himself before they declare him a failure.
The most frustrating thing about this whole situation is, the same can be said for many of my GLBT brothers and sisters.
I have spent the past few weeks being a relatively silent observer to the historic events taking place around me.
When Prop 8 passed in California, I, like many other GLBT people across the country, felt the sting of disappointment. I wanted to join the protests but couldn’t; yet my feelings on the situation were the same as everyone else’s. The GLBT community voiced its disappointment with a resounding and unified cry– the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Harvey Milk or the outbreak of AIDS. It was inspiring and exciting to see.
However, in recent weeks, I get a sense that we as a community are going way too far… to the point where we could be called “The Community Who Cried Wolf.”
Since that first group of protests, there have been at least 4 other organized protests around the country, including here in Chicago. Those protests started out with clear goals – one was in protest of the Cinemark theatre CEO, who supported Prop 8; one was demanding that Obama repeal the Defense of Marriage Act– but when the protests actually happened, they were paired with other, much more obscure measures– measures that I had never even heard of. Instead of unifying our voices to one cause, we began spreading ourselves too thin, and our voices became muddled. I decided that I would not participate in any of these protests unless they were for clear and completely understandable goals.
This spirit of anger has also begun to permeate into the support of our new President. We have grown entirely too gun-shy… too skeptical of every move he makes; and most of the criticism came before he even took the oath of office.
When friends and acquaintances bemoaned the selection of Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church, to give the Inaugural invocation; I kept my opinion to myself until I got all the information I could on the selection. At that point, I decided that his selection was probably not the best move, but the message it sent to people on all sides was a message of inclusion for all- even differing viewpoints. Later, when Bishop Gene Robinson was selected to give the invocation at this past Sunday’s “We Are One” event, I felt that the gay community’s concerns were alleviated, and we got the reperesentation we needed by our incoming President.
But when the broadcast of the event occurred, and Robinson’s invocation was cut, immediately the community started crying “Foul!” and “Betrayal!” Granted, I was disappointed that his invocation was cut, but once again our community started laying blame before we got the whole story. I’m sure protests against HBO and the Inaugural committee are sure to follow.
The point I’m trying to make here is: We have a new president, with much more progressive ideas and beliefs than our former president. As his new whitehouse.gov website outlines, he is planning to do more for our community than has ever been done before. I just wish that our community would give the man and his administration time to find their footing and get the ball rolling before we start condemning him. Besides, there are much bigger fish for them to fry than our concerns anyway. They have an economy to rebuild, two wars to manage and hopefully end, and countless wrongs from the past to hopefully right. Our concerns are just a few of a great many. Will they all get addressed? Probably not. But let’s see where things go before we pass judgment.