August 4, 1961– Barack Hussein Obama II:
“No matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny.”
Donald J. Trump in 2014:
“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf? Worse than Carter.”
“I think he’s the worst president maybe in the history of our country.”
I am calling it now: We are headed for a big, LGBTQ reckoning.
Within hours of his inauguration, the current POTUS’ people had taken down the LGBTQ page on the White House website. Within a few months of taking power, the new administration began to chip away at LGBTQ rights. I find it very difficult to hold the sort of hope I had when Obama was in office.
We are on the cusp of a new era when discrimination against LGBTQ people will be legal, even encouraged, under the guise of new “Religious Liberty” laws. The 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges SCOTUS decision, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, is now within real danger of being overturned, or at least severely limited. Same-sex marriages could be relegated to some sort of second-class status that would allow basically anyone to turn us away. The USA could become the second country in the world after Bermuda to repeal same-sex marriage.
In 2017, in a speech in South Africa, Obama addressed the problem of POTUS and Putin without uttering their names:
“We see the utter loss of shame of political leaders when they’re caught in a lie, and they just double down and lie some more. Politicians have always lied, but it used to be that if you caught them lying, they’d be like, ‘Aw man’. Now they just keep on lying.”
Much of his speech, celebrating the birthday of Nelson Mandela, was devoted to the idea that too many people, including many wealthy people, see themselves as liberal, but they are lacking something:
”There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough. You dont’ have to take a vow of poverty just to say, ‘Well, let me help out and let a few of the other folks. Let me look at that child out there who doesn’t have enough to eat or needs some school fees, let me help him out. I’ll pay a little more in taxes. It’s okay. I can afford it’. I mean, it shows a poverty of ambition to just want to take more and more and more, instead of saying, ‘Wow, I’ve got so much. Who can I help? How can I give more and more and more?’ That’s ambition. That’s impact. That’s influence. What an amazing gift to be able to help people, not just yourself. Where was I? I ad-libbed. You get the point.”
Obama is the best presidential pal LGBTQ people could ever have. He was the twice elected 44th President of the USA; in 2008, winning more votes than any candidate in history. He was the first Hawaiian to hold the office. He is intelligent and handsome, with a fierce, beautiful wife, two lovely daughters and two cute dogs. They live in their new home in Washington D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood.
Before becoming the Leader of the Free World, Obama was a pot smoking college student at Columbia University, then a graduate of Harvard Law School where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review, a community organizer, and a professor of Constitutional Law at University Of Chicago.
In two elections, he aggressively sought campaign donations from the LGBTQ citizens of our country and he received the majority of queer people’s votes in 2008 and 2012.
LGBTQ people makeup at least 10% of the electorate and I am certain that nearly everyone in the USA has a sibling, parent, cousin, friend, neighbor or co-worker who is gay. What politicians say about LGBTQ Americans matters and Obama was the LGBTQ friendliest president in history; in most ways, he was the only friendly one. Starting in his first days in office, Obama showed his opponents that he is tight with the gays, appointing more LGBTQ people as judges, foreign ambassadors and other top government jobs than anyone before him or after his presidency.
”Every single American, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender- every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society. It’s a pretty simple proposition.”
Here are just a few of the ways Obama has contributed to improving LGBTQ lives:
He worked towards and protecting the Rights of LGBTQ People around the world. In 2015, he scolded his fellow Kenyan, President Uhuru Kenyatta, about Kenya’s Gay Rights record. Under that country’s law, sex between men is illegal and punishable with 15-years imprisonment. Kenyan leaders had urged Obama not to discuss Gay Rights on his first trip to their country. Obama:
”When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode, and bad things happen.”
Obama, along with former Vice-President Joseph Biden and assorted officials in their White House, recorded a series of Dan Savage‘s It Gets Better videos that take on the issues of bullying and suicide among LGBTQ youth.
His administration worked to ensure LGBTQ Equality in housing, helping queer Americans get mortgages, and ensured Equality for LGBTQ Federal Government Employees. The Trump administration sent out a guidance to federal agencies, asking them to respect ”religious liberty protections” in all the federal government’s work.
Against terrible odds, Obama actively addressed Health Care disparities with The Affordable Care Act, bringing hope and healing to the hurting, funding programs that addressed obesity and HIV-related health issues, better nutrition and physical activity for all people, along with expanding access to health coverage. The ACA works to provide all Americans have secure, stable, and affordable health insurance. Because of the law, insurers can no longer turn someone away just because they are LGBTQ.
The Obama administration developed and implemented a national HIV/AIDS Strategy, funding The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention with $200 million in grants for HIV prevention for transgender people and gay and bi men of color. He made sure that The Department of Health and Human Services required all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (nearly every hospital in America) to allow visitation rights for LGBTQ patients. Obama also directed HHS to ensure that medical decision-making rights of LGBTQ patients are respected.
Without explanation, Trump fired all the members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Obama signed historic Hate Crimes Legislation, ended legal defense of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and championed Marriage Equality. Each year he was in office, he wrote and posted a proclamation making June Gay Pride and History Month. Trump failed to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month.
In July 2014, Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, continuing to set an example as a model employer that does right by its workers. The current POTUS rescinded this order.
Obama strongly supported legislative efforts to ban the use of Conversion Therapy against minors and he released a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study condemning the practice. Mike Pence supports the use of federal funding to treat people “seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Obama was the first President to use the term ”Gay” in an Inaugural Address:
”Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.”
He placed The Stonewall Riots as a signature moment in the Civil Rights movement, putting the 1969 event in the ranking with historical turning points in the battles for Women’s Rights and Racial Equality:
”We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths- that all of us are created equal- is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.”
In June 2016, Obama designated a new national monument at the historic site of the Stonewall Riots in NYC. The new Stonewall National Monument protects the area where the queers rose up against police harassment and sparked the modern LGBTQ Civil Rights movement in the USA. It is the first official National Park Service site dedicated to telling the history of LGBTQ Americans. Trump ordered a “review” of all national monuments, a sweeping action that is intended to shrink their boundaries and reduce protections. The executive order targets monuments stretching from Maine to California to Pacific islands.
Trump is a slob who wears ill-fitting clothes with extra-long ties and speaks and tweets in some sort of incoherent babble. Obama is one cool cat. Dressed to perfection, with an easy-going demeanor and an informal way of interacting with others, some tight-ass Republicans and other haters claimed that Obama is inappropriate, even offensive. Remember the tan suit controversy? Now we have a president that wrote the book on inappropriate and offensive, if only he could write. I always appreciated Obama’s level head and sly candor.
Obama is a dynamic, inspiring speaker with a smart sense of humor peppered with pop culture references, crack comedic timing and an incredible intellect. Trump yells and when he looks up from the teleprompter, he lets his ego take over, and he starts saying stupid things.
Last week, in a deeply moving 40-minute speech eulogizing Representative John Lewis, Obama drew parallels between the police violence that Lewis endured as a civil-rights leader in the 1960s and the recent wave of racial-justice protests and police clashes that have spread across the nation:
“Bull Connor may be gone, but today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators.”
I have read some criticism from leftists about Obama’s disappearance from the public scene, but after he left office, he did a very Obama thing: He stayed quiet; until last week.
Barack and Michelle Obama have a sweeping, lucrative Netflix deal to develop projects. We need a show with Obamas starring, where they are shown doing crafty projects around the house. Barack installs a putting green in the back garden; Michelle knocks down the wall between Malia’s and Sasha’s rooms declaring “NO MORE WALLS”. The combined space become’s the best First Lady’s Pilates/Yoga studio.
I think they should have a talk show where guests would hang out in a re-creation of the Oval Office outfitted with a DJ Station, a Ms. Pacman, and craft beer on tap, with everyone belting out Al Green tunes. I could be their sidekick/announcer and Obama would let me call him Barry. Both Obamas should be guest judges on RuPaul’s Drag Race.