Yesterday I was thrilled to learn that President Obama has come out (so to speak) in favor of gay marriage. This is a good move ethically as well as politically.
Homosexuals are people too, Mitt Romney and fellow gay-bashing Republicans. Recognizing the obvious will energize Obama's base, and it won't cost him many votes since homophobes already plan to vote against him.
Eugene Robinson ends his column on this subject with:
Politically, Obama may have taken a big step toward reclaiming the future.
The magic of hope and change that suffused his 2008 campaign has dissipated after 40 grueling months in office. Obama’s supporters could point to his accomplishments and cite the reasons why Romney would be a poor replacement, but the optimism and excitement were missing.
Obama could have kept silent on gay marriage, and frustrated progressives would still vote for him. Instead, he spoke out when he didn’t have to and took a stance that might hurt him in key states — reminding us how he can surprise and inspire.
Did I just catch a whiff of that hopey-changey stuff in the air?
For sure. I've already vowed to make a change in my habit of blurting out what I now realize is a slur: that's so gay!
Here's an example.
In the past, my wife has tried to get me to buy a Jams World shirt when we've gone to Maui. She likes the Jams World clothing line. High quality; made in Hawaii; kind of expensive, but not super-outrageous given what you get for your money.
Almost universally -- coincidentally, up until yesterday, the day Obama stated his new position on gay marriage -- I've responded to her pointing out a men's Jams World shirt I should consider buying with Oh, no, that's so gay!
Now, I've had good reasons for saying that. Check out the retro Jams World flambe.
lt just isn't me. Most of the time I wear gray and black combinations, often from Hawaii's other cool clothes purveyor, Crazy Shirts. My taste runs more toward a dark-themed macho Chinese dragon or big breaking wave, not pink flowers.
Still, I also like colorful shirts. Yesterday my wife showed me a Jams World shirt that was much more subdued than the one above. I ended up buying it. However...
My first reaction, more from habit than anything else, was to tell her that's so gay when she said, "I like this Jams World shirt." I kept my mouth shut, though. Partly because we were in a public place and I no longer feel comfortable saying that's so gay, in the same way I wouldn't say that's so black.
And partly because I had just learned about Obama's gay-friendly words a few hours before. I was enthused by them. I felt that the United States had taken a big step toward ending discrimination against homosexuals.
Which has been a long time coming.
Back in my high school years, 1962-66, us guys taunted each other with faggot! There weren't any openly gay students in my high school. Any guy who looked or acted too feminine was teased mercilessly. We had essentially zero compassion for gays.
So I was astounded to read what Mitt Romney said about his own (much worse) gay-bashing experience, given that we are almost exactly the same age.
“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney said, laughing. “I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s, so that was not the case."
Ridiculous. Back in the 1960's attitudes were hugely different toward homosexuals than they are now. Almost certainly Romney is trying to erase and excuse his past, as he so often does.
My past is still with me.
I wasn't so clearly aware of that until yesterday, when I caught myself about to say that's so gay! Yes, it seems that there is a certain gay style, though I can't describe it exactly. Likewise, there is a certain black style, though I also can't describe it exactly.
But my use of that's so gay had a homophobic edge to it. I was afraid of looking like I was gay. I didn't want people to think, "Only a gay guy would wear that shirt."
Why? Why couldn't I simply say to my wife, that shirt doesn't appeal to me; too pink, too bright?
That's what I'm going to say now. No more that's so gay. Of such small steps revolutions are made. May we have legal gay marriage all across the United States soon.
Here's the Jams World shirt that I bought. I've worn it several times. No one has asked me if I'm gay.
In the unlikely event someone does, I'll respond, "Yes. You must have been able to tell from the Jams World shirt. Very observant. By the way, please support gay marriage. We gays deserve equal rights. Along with nice clothes."