“…surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.”
I know I didn’t dream hearing the democratic nominee for President of the United States say those words. I know that because I’ve never allowed myself that dream. But a little over thirty minutes into his acceptance speech, in front of 75,000 people packed into Denver’s Invesco Field and broadcast to the world, that is exactly what Barack Obama said.
Do we believe him? We squandered a lot of trust on Bill Clinton. We believed in his “place called hope” only to be turned aside at the door. We were sure that the American people would not let Karl Rove and his gang of thugs use us the same way Hitler used the Jews. Wrong again.
I want to believe in the young senator from my home state — but why do I keep having a vision of Charlie Brown running toward that football?
Am I truly that cynical?
Sometimes, I am. Hallmark, for instance, has seriously annoyed me with their new line of gay wedding cards. As have those in California who are discovering the financial benefits of recognizing same-sex marriage. I don’t want to be given equal rights (that “to be given” business is a whole other rant for another day) because it’s economically feasible — I want it because it’s the right thing to do.
And, I think, that’s what makes me a bit skittish about Barack Obama. You see, I don’t think he made that statement because it was politically expedient — although our clout is certainly being recognized and taken into account. In that place in my heart that hasn’t been completely closed by the disappointments of our history, I believe he means what he says — that he believes it is the right thing to do.
I don’t mind telling you, that scares me. But the alternative is so much worse.
Okay, Senator, you’ve got the ball. Let’s see how well you hold on to it.