by: Justin Huang
It’s been said before, and it’s being said especially now, but no one campaigns quite like Obama.
As the first sitting president to publicly support marriage equality, he has once again proved to be a master of game change, galvanizing the youth vote (even though we’ve all been whupped by the economy) while simultaneously branding the GOP as straddling the wrong side of history.
Yes, this has caused grumblings within the LGBTQ community, and that’s not surprising: There are always grumblings within our communities. But whether we like it or not, it has become important — no, necessary — for our civil rights movement that Obama remains in office.
It has been a poorly kept secret that Obama has always supported marriage equality during his time in office, so it’s understandable that his coming out of that closet at this point of the campaign is being eyed with suspicion.
And what do I have to say to that? Shut up.
Because this is actually not about the Obama campaign or even his legacy. This is about the most symbolically powerful person in the world openly voicing his belief that everyone has the right to marry whom he or she loves. And this statement comes at time when there is a suicide epidemic among our nation’s children. The future of our nation have been killing themselves, did you know?
We can argue amongst ourselves in our little bubbles of privilege: “Oh, Obama is just trying to get our votes!” “He’s doing it for politics, not principle.” “Now the Hollywood elite is going to give him millions!” “What a flip-flopper.” And that’s your prerogative, because there’s truth to much of it, plus you get to sound clever.
But this much is true: A terrified gay teenager in middle America has just been told by the president that he or she has just as much a right to love and marry. And that teenager doesn’t care about your intellectual meanderings of politicking. All that teenager knows is that his or her future will be drastically different: It just got better.
The majority of the people — especially youth — think symbolically, not cynically. And “subversive” messages are best accepted when packaged in mainstream imagery. Pride parades are fun, but presidents are better.
It’s a gross simplification, but Obama’s second term and the acceptance of marriage equality have become the same thing. It’s time for us to truly become politically ferocious when it comes to marriage equality. It worked for the GOP, and it will work against them, as well.
Obama has hit the ball into our court by becoming the most powerful ally we’ve ever had. We can carry him through to 2012. The first president who openly and fully supports LGBTQ community must be reelected.
We keep saying that we are on the right side of history. Let’s prove it, and let’s kick some homophobic ass.
Note: This piece was originally posted on the Huffington Post and on the author’s blog. You can find it here.
Justin Huang is 25, Asian, male, gay, overly cocky, popular, insecure, shy, gassy, loudmouthed, promiscuous, guilt-ridden, nonjudgmental, hardworking, goofy and dead serious. Huang is a film editor and a personal fitness trainer in Los Angeles, both of which mean I sit in coffeeshops and gyms a lot trying to look cute. Follow me @justinhuang.