Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obama’s Divisive Unity

[Commentary] 12 Jul 2008--Senator Barack Obama has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages–a decision that was forced on the citizens of California by the state’s Supreme Court. In a letter expressing his support for extending “fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law,” Obama wrote that he opposes “the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”

Why is it that Obama, who promises to be “post-polarizing” figure, is using this issue to attack the motivations and integrity of those with whom he disagrees? This is the embodiment of the kind of politics we were told Obama stands against. If Obama believes same-sex unions are the right position, let him make his arguments. But to portray those who want to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage–particularly in response to an imperial court’s efforts to reshape our culture–as “divisive and discriminatory” is itself divisive and deeply unfair. It is an effort to sideline an important discussion of the issue by branding the advocates of traditional marriage as bigoted.

With each passing day, it seems, the original conceit of the Obama candidacy–that he is an agent of “change” who will “turn the page” on the “old politics” and act as a uniquely unifying figure in American politics–looks more and more absurd. He turns out to be an exceptionally skilled and ambitious politician who uses the old playbook even as he pretends to have discarded it. It’s a neat trick if you can get away with it.

Related article:
My Sullivan Rebuttal- Commentary

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