25 February 2011

The DOMA trap

President Obama's determination this week that DOMA is uncon- stitutional and the DOJ should no longer defend it has stirred up quite a hornet's nest on the right. For round-ups of conservative reactions, see Republic of Gilead, Politics Plus, and Prop 8 Trial Tracker. See also discussion at Dissenting Justice, Box Turtle Bulletin, and The Crossed Pond (libertarian). Linda Hirshman at Salon thinks Obama is luring the right into a trap.

I think they are walking into a trap in a more general sense, simply by re-affirming that this fight is so existentially important to them. Over the last few years, anti-gay prejudice has been losing ground in American society at a startling rate; from being the default viewpoint a decade or two ago, it's increasingly looking like an ugly eccentricity of cranky old blue-noses. A couple of polls have even shown support for gay marriage above 50%, and even if we're not actually there yet, it's clear we soon will be. Yet those cranky old blue-noses, a.k.a. the Christian Right, are the dominant force in right-wing politics these days; despite the efforts of secular conservatives like Mitch Daniels to shift the focus from "social" (theocratic) issues to economic ones, the Republican party cannot extricate itself from the weird obsessions which animate a key part of its base. And so it is tied to stances which increasingly alienate the mainstream, especially the young, who will not forget.

Let's hope that Obama's announcement also reminds our own side of what's at stake next year. Never forget that what happened in the 2010 election was not a swing to the right, but a collapse of voter turn-out -- too many people stayed home because they were disappointed in the Democrats or had fallen prey to the grotesque delusion that there are no real differences between Democrats and Republicans. As Obama's DOMA decision and the conservative reactions remind us, there are.


Blogger dotlizard said...

This is the reason that one of my hobbies is arguing with liberals on Facebook. Disaffected progressives pride themselves on their high standards and their principled refusal to vote for the lesser of two evils, no matter what the consequences. Like the Nader-ites in 2000 who could have saved us from relying on hanging chads and the Supreme Court, but instead chose to waste their vote making "a point." Whatever that point was.

Many of the folks who stayed home this last election were frustrated LGBT and their supporters who felt that the President had somehow managed to throw them under a bus in the short time he enjoyed a majority in both houses. I don't know whether to be upset with Obama for not doing this sooner (and removing those objections from the electorate, thus possibly preventing the "shellacking") or with the voters whose impatience cost us so dearly.

25 February, 2011 11:15  
Blogger Prash said...

As Obama's DOMA decision and the conservative reactions remind us, there are.

Couldn't agree more.

25 February, 2011 13:21  
Blogger Prash said...

There are certain changes since the Obama administration is in Wanshington which on one talks about and probably one ones knows about it.

Since last July, the same sex partners of diplomats of whose country accepts the reciprocity can work in the USA. During the Bush administration, the visa was not given automatically, since Obama, it was automatic and since a year now, the partners can also work and they get the same status and visa of their partners like any married couple.

25 February, 2011 13:23  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

GL: One can legitimately be upset with both. There's an abundance of ways to push Democratic politicians to take stronger stances, but refusing to vote just empowers the Boehners of the world. And nobody, absolutely nobody, will care about whatever "message" non-voters or third-party voters thought they were sending -- any more than they did in 2000.

Prash: That's an encouraging move. Certainly I couldn't imagine it happening under the current crop of Republicans.

25 February, 2011 13:35  

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