Obama doing the right thing... At the right time?
|Graphic by Jae Lee '14|
Casually scrolling through Facebook during study hall, I recognized a post on President Obama’s new stance concerning same-sex marriage. Surprised by Obama’s changed attitude towards this rather controversial issue, I decided to delve into recent news from one of my favorite sources, The New York Times. Numerous questions formed in my mind:
Why didn’t Obama make his stance on gay marriage clear before?
Why the sudden change in views?
Like all politicians, Obama has always been cautious when dealing with controversial topics. As a pious Christian, Obama believed that “marriage is between a man and a woman,” as he claimed during his presidential campaign in 2008.
As a Christian myself, I find conversations about gay rights quite uncomfortable. My personal experience, garnered by my time in the United States as well as by the inspiring speech of Mr. Andrew Watson, has helped me form my own perspective on the topic. Now, I stand as a strong advocate of gay rights, and I believe that same-sex marriage should be legal not only because it is a popular opinion among my peers, but also because I believe affirmation of the stance is the right thing.
As we can see today, both the United States and the global community have rapidly changed their views on gay marriage. Recent polls in the U.S. indicated that there are more supporters of same-sex marriage than there are those against it. Considering the attitudes toward such issues a few years ago, we have made great progress in promoting justice within a nation where the constitution declares, “equal rights for all.” Throughout history, the United States has been a leading force in unifying diverse groups into one community. As shown by civil rights movements that promote the rights of blacks, women, and the lower social classes, America has continuously worked towards achieving the “American Dream.”
Obama’s views may be, as he says, “evolving,” in the rapidly changing modern society. Although I am glad that the efforts of many Americans are recognized, I am also skeptical about president Obama’s true motives behind his recent change in perspective.
As the 2012 presidential election approaches, the political sphere enters the cold arena of image-crafting and vote-collecting. Obama himself is not unaffected by the rising tension, especially with his republican rival, Mitt Romney at his tail. Maybe, just maybe, Obama’s controversial announcement in this strategic time might not be a complete coincidence.
The world of politics is, as I like to think of it, a brutal war between gladiators. Politicians are hungry for cheers and votes. In the presidential elections of 2008, publicly supporting same-sex marriage would not have been a smart move. Throughout the last three years, however, the tides have turned; supporting same-sex marriage has become a ticket to the votes of liberal Americans. Obama’s decision might just be what he needs to keep his lead in the political arena and guarantee another term in office. Although I am a bit disappointed in Obama’s rather slow and shy approach to the issue, especially since he has only publicized his views after Vice-president Joe Biden offered up a similar sentiment, I still view Obama’s announcement with hope.
President Obama explained his change in views as a result of the influence of his close relationship with a family of same-sex parents.
I have learned from my own experiences that the people around us are the most important influences in our long standing views. Because I myself have learned that America is a community of all different sexual orientations, and because the Loomis Chaffee community is open to new perspectives, I am confident that Obama’s new stance will elevate the nation to yet another level of equality and justice.
I wish to tell the Loomis Chaffee community that we must carry on our mission to be our best selves, actively participating in the everyday changes that occur in our lives. I urge you, Pelicans, to fully embrace this year’s all-school theme and to continue to do the right thing as the school year comes to an end.