Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama: Saves World, Gets People to Fucking Chill

So: done and... well, almost-but-not-quite-but-nearly-as-good-as-done. Yay! Good job! Keep it up! And so on and so forth!

Now. Why, pray tell, did Obama sign the executive order lifting the global gag rule today, rather than yesterday, a date that would have had far more weight and resonance, and which was also the date he initially planned the signing? Well, the Wall Street Journal has a theory that will piss you off: he did this precisely to deny it that weight and resonance, and to make all our Abortioning Day parties a little less awesome. This is consistent with his (weirdly pander-y and undermining and gross) statements about abortion being so sensitive and divisive and sad and bad and undesirable, and the fact that he has always been a little nebulous and unwilling to fully, openly commit to a progressive stance on issues related to gender and sexuality. It is also consistent with his history of "[supporting] liberal policies he believes in while trying to defuse emotional political debates."

Which, to be honest, does make me cynical and cranky. Barack Obama respects my rights! Barack Obama respects the people who seek to deny me my rights! Which is inconsistent with respecting my rights! So what in heck does he believe? I DON'T KNOW! I automatically distrust people-pleasers, since I figure that you cannot smile at every single one of the people you meet each day without faking it at least some of the time: in the absence of concrete proof as to where your loyalties lie, I will be forced to assume they don't lie with me, because that's a lot safer than misplacing my trust. Give me honest assholes over insincere charmers any day of the week, say I. So, though Obama is most certainly a charmer, I insist (and will continue to insist) on good, solid, action-based proof of his sincerity.

Yet rescinding the global gag rule is... exactly that. It is awesome. It is great. It will save lives and do a substantial amount to ensure the autonomy, freedom, health, and economic security of women. It is a praiseworthy, feminist act. Regardless of these facts, however, crazy people who hate women don't seem to be losing 100% their shit! Witness this quote, from anti-abortion advocate Reverend Joel Hunter!
"I really do appreciate their sensitivity to this day and this issue," he said. "To do it [the policy change] on a day that pro-life people see as a day of grief, and a day of a really hurtful decision, would be, I think, very insensitive. And that's not who I think President Obama is or would mean to be."

President Barack Obama, surrounded by the souls of his unborn victims. Oh, no, wait, those are bling graphics.

I know, right? We won! He lost! Yet he is expressing... respect? Gratitude? Gracious acceptance? Never in my life have I heard these things from anti-choice people in response to a pro-choice victory. This seems to mean that, whatever Obama is doing, it is working - and that, to be honest, is blowing my mind.

Progressives are Obama's base. Our commitment to him has been crucial to his success. We helped him to rise above a well-established Democratic frontrunner, then supported him during a dirty campaign from his Republican opponents, and eventually helped to make him the leader of our country. We owe it to him and to ourselves to keep him (and every one of our representatives) accountable. When he screws up, we are obliged, as citizens who believe in our government enough to care about it, to criticize his actions openly and seriously. Yet these moves of his, slick and occasionally infuriating as they are, are nothing to fuck with. The man knows what he's doing. Within two days of taking office, he's made that abundantly clear.

So, yeah, Barack. Listen to those folks. Listen to them all you like. Listen to them for as long as it takes. Just don't, you know, listen to them. That's gross.

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