As far as I'm concerned, Dan Savage has said all that needs to be said about President Obama's shameful record on gay rights since winning election--and also about the "wait your turn, faggot" crowd that inevitably pops up every time anyone has the temerity to point out that the Dear Leader is naked. The Dear Leader really hasn't been all that dear as far as the gay community is concerned, and he sure as hell hasn't been a leader. Or even that good of a follower.
But then Obama was sworn in under Rick Warren’s porcine gaze and the "fierce urgency of now" quickly morphed, in Andrew Sullivan’s damning turn of phrase, into the "fierce urgency of whenever." Never mind that gay people are being turned away from their partners’ bedsides during medical emergencies now. Never mind that people are being kicked out of the military now. Never mind that Arkansas banned adoptions by same-sex couples on the very same day that Obama was elected. (Gosh, where’s that bully pulpit when you need it?) The man who wasn’t afraid to appeal directly to us for our votes as a candidate -- and certainly wasn’t shy about asking us for our dollars -- couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge the promises he had made to us and seemed to greatly resent being asked to actually honor them.
That paragraph says, eloquently and concisely, everything I've been struggling to say for the last seven months. In all likelihood, I will be turning to it again and again throughout the next three and a half years because, as Savage concludes his piece:
Last fall we, along with everyone else, got swept up in the momentousness of the campaign, in the symbolism and the history and the drama, and lost sight of something important: Obama is a politician -- and a Chicago politician at that. Nothing is ever given to you. You have to ask and tell and demand and do the work -- not passing the legislation ourselves or signing it ourselves (no coup gay’tat is in the offing), but in making sure our "friends" in the White House and Congress understand that we won’t take "wait" for an answer.
What do we want? What we were promised. When do we want it?
We're not going to go away. We're not going to sit back and let you shove us back into the closet, or put our issues on a back burner until the next time you feel like coming around and begging for our time, our talent, and our treasure to help you get (re-)elected. In fact, if we don't start seeing some action--and I mean concrete action, not just pretty words or a cocktail party for the A Gays or a proclamation that carries with it no actual substance--you can beg us all you want for our support, but you still won't get it. Come 2010, if we're still standing on the outside looking in, the Obama administration and the Democratic Party are going to find out what "I just can't seem to find the votes" really means.