Friday, May 15, 2009

Do we really want Barack the Magic Negro?

This is a political post

My president, and he's my president until he really fucks up and at that point my memory will get fuzzy, is catching some flak over this whole "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the dismissal of Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point grad and Iraq War vet. My president is being taken to task because while he indicated campaigning that discharging military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation during wartime was a waste of resources, now that he is in the White House, he's not doing anything about it when implored. When Jon Stewart, who has messed and become an actual news guy, starts in on you, well it can be said you've kind of screwed the pooch. Unless doing that will get you thrown out...I digress.

So why doesn't President Obama take a page from the book of President Harry Truman, who in 1948 simply issued an Executive Order to end military racial segregation, and just take out the old magic presidential pen and make everybody see it our way?

Two things. What is our way? And whose next?

Obama is not Superman.
Image by Alex Ross.

Much like African Americans had to get over the idea that having a black president meant everything changed instantly (it didn't), members of the Gay and Lesbian community need to get the same grip on reality. Everything is gonna take time.

Didn't we just vote out someone who abused the power to simply "decide" what was right? Or was it we voted out somebody who didn't decide the way "we" wanted? Wouldn't that be ironic? To simply to decree by executive fiat, which is what it would be, would be no more right now than it was in 1948. Yes, what Truman did to assist with the desegration of the races was wrong when he did it, even though it was the right thing to do. Why you ask? Because it circumvented the system. And we need the system. That system is pretty damn good.

In 1948 Truman got away with it because nobody expected a repeat. Obama isn't gonna get that luxury.

If President Obama simply signed and executive order tonight ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy tonight, there would be nine special interest groups knocking on the West Wing doors by 8am tomorrow asking for similar action to correct an "injustice". I pulled the number nine out of my ass, but there would be three hundred by noon and countless more by dinner time. The pundits, talking TV heads and special interest groups would start a whole new round of vilification to get the president to magically fix something else. Rush Limbaugh's favorite song "Barack, the Magic Negro" would come to life.

And what happens when he makes a "decision" that "we" don't like? Or backfires? And who is we? I'm certain the Republicans that they were "we" when Dubya was making his "decisions" and they were doing "what was right", damn the system. And as we just witnessed, circumventing "the system" tends to mess things up. See example Wall Street, war on Terror, etc.

Man that's a lotta quotes.

In the military they instruct you to obey orders, and in this case they were not obeyed. That's a scary concept right there. Lt. Dan Choi knew the rule and broke it. Not because it was an illegal order, but because he did not agree with it. And that's not an excuse. And like all martyrs before him (not mention soldiers who failed to follow regulations), he will have to die on his metaphorical sword - in this case, before justice prevails. He has my sympathies.

In our age of instant everything, the idea of ongoing struggle seems to perplex us.

Let's do a little exercise. (The phrase "Yapple Dapple" comes from a cartoon I'm too lazy to explain, but it's used as a genie's magic phrase that makes things just poof into existence.) So...I personally don't agree with the "Don't ask, Don't tell" rule, and yes, I think it an ignorant bigoted waste of resources. So we should change that rule. Yapple Dapple. And I believe that men shouldn't be forced to pay child support for children who are not theirs. So that should be changed too. Yapple Dapple. I believe a credit card company shouldn't be able to raise your interest rates without cause. So he can just wave the wand and get that one as well. Yapple Damn Dapple. You know I also believe that the national speed limit should be as fast as your car can go. So we should change that rule too. Yapple Dapple. I don't like mean people and chicks who I like but who don't want to go out with me, so we need to... see where this is going. If we move the line, especially in this day and age, we have to ask where do we move it too? And who gets to make that decision? The system of checks and balances goes out the window. And there are number of people who would be happy with that...until he makes a decision they don't like. Then they'll want his head.

Which is why the President has decided not to touch the this whole issue. And that's kind of why we elected him.

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