The more things change…



Please give a warm welcome to TripLBee,  Skeptical Brotha’s newest contributor.

By TripLBee, Contributor

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Remember 1993? A charismatic young President rode into the White House in shining armor, liberating our tired and weary masses from 12 years of right-wing tyranny. We were giddy. We were hopeful. We were naive.

Within days of taking office, Bill Clinton gave us a clue as to the kind of President we could expect. Having campaigned on a promise to integrate the military, he promptly compromised his GLBT constituency with the ludicrous and triangulating “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. For GLBTs the abrupt about face may have been more aptly described as the “Don’t Trust This Mutha@#$%^& As Far As You Can Throw Him” policy.

Fast-forward 16 years. Another charismatic young President extricates Americans from the grip of a crazed GOP. He is handsome. He is “articulate and clean.” He sports a brilliant and beautiful wife, and two of the cutest kids on the planet. He quotes Jay Z and Jesus in the same speech. He is perfect. He seems too good to be true. Perhaps because he is.

Among the many promises he makes is one to overturn a Jim Crow redux, euphemistically titled the “Defense of Marriage Act.” This act essentially demotes GLBT couples to legally sanctioned second-class citizenship. Cut it and slice it any way you will, this is the essence of the legislation. Those of us concerned about basic civil and human rights are heartened that our new President is set to undo such palpable wrongs. Only he isn’t.

It took our perfect Prez only a few weeks to cause us some concern.

He’s extending the pull out date in Iraq by a year? Ummmm….okay, I guess.

What? He’s tripling the number of troops in Afghanistan, the graveyard of Empires? Oh dear.

He’s pumping money into the biggest banks in the country, but he’s not requiring them to fire their bosses, cap their pay or change the way they conduct their business? Now I am really confused!

Of course we’ve made excuses for our new Prez. Who did we think we were getting after all? Che Guevarra? Look, he’s gotta compromise a little bit. I mean, he has to govern 300 million people, many of them former Republicans. He’s gotta throw em a bone every once in a while. Right?

At some point however, compromise becomes a stale rationalization for “politics as usual.” By filing a friend of the court brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, President Barack Obama has officially become a typical Democrat.

This is a sad day indeed for those of us contributed to his campaign, knocked on doors until our knuckles bled and worked the phone banks until we were hoarse. Many of us, myself included, expected this brother to be different. So far he has proven himself to be smarter, more charming, and slightly more daring than the average bear. But in some fundamental ways, he’s no different.

Born to a white mother and black father in 1961, Obama was literally illegal in 17 states. His parents’ marriage would not have been recognized in many parts of the country. I wonder what they would think if they could see their baby defending state sanctioned bigotry?

And here’s the rub. He didn’t have to do it. He could have told his lawyers to take the day off and play golf. He could have told them to call in sick. Whatever pathetic excuse he has concocted, he didn’t have to go out of his way to spit in the faces of his GLBT supporters. He claims that he had to file the brief because the Defense of Marriage Act is federal law. Well, abortion is a constitutionally protected right. Did you see Bush filing friend of the court briefs when protections for abortion were being challenged in the courts? Nope. Bush knew where his bread was buttered. Apparently Obama does not.

17 thoughts on “The more things change…

  1. 1. Good column.
    2. Great addition to Skeptical Brotha!
    3. I have nothing to say. If you’ve been reading JJP, you’ll know that this shyt makes no damn sense to me in any way, shape, or form. And, that, the repeated throwing away of ‘ gimmes’, is what makes me go ‘ what the fuck’?

    Gay marriage? – he should leave that alone and let it work it’s way through the states.

    But, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? You know my feelings.
    and THIS? Simply wrong. No two way to look about it.

    So, if the Gay community decides to close their pocketbooks – good for them.

  2. Chesapeake

    Congratulations Trip and SB!

    Though you can probably predict my position on the Defense of Marriage Act, this is nevertheless a good piece, Trip. Keep up the good work.

    … Great team!

  3. “Many of us, myself included, expected this brother to be different.”

    After hearing the empty centrist platitudes of the 2004 DNC speech and watching him trying to sell free trade to Illinois factory workers (whose jobs are probably long gone now) I expected him to be exactly what he is, another triangulating DLCer.

    Hey at least he is better than Sarah Palin, which is all we have to be thankful for right now.

  4. Gov. Sanford of South Carolina ‘ disappeared’.

    IFFF he was having a ’ breakdown’, then I don’t think his wife would be reacting the way that she did. She’s a proper Southern political wife, who basically just shived her husband.

    So, unless she’s a cold mofo, I’m not thinking ‘breakdown’.

    I’m thinking an underaged illegal named Pedro

    or Shaniqua (any age will do).

    Take your pick.

  5. mark

    Handsome???? Take another look. The kids are cute, the wife scares me. “Articulate and clean” what does that mean?

    Some here in California think that it was the unusually high numbers of black voters that got prop 8 passed. This doesn’t surprise me but, some people find this ironic. Can a brotha speak to that?

  6. Mark,

    While it is true that the majority of blacks here in California voted for Prop 8, we’re only 6% of the population here. So it’s a bit misleading to pin the its passage to the black vote.

    Also, I thought the white media’s reaction to the black vote on Prop 8 was reflective of their lack of understanding of the black community.

  7. Skep,

    My position on Prop 8 is clear, as are my concerns about homophobia in the black community. That being said, I’m troubled that the black vote is the only one that seems to have been parsed and vilified in the ongoing Prop 8 drama. The proposition was put forth to the people of California, not the black people of California. Sadly, a majority (a bare majority I might add) supported a ban on same sex marriage. If people are looking for scapegoats above and beyond the voters in California, there are plenty to choose from whose #s are greater than black folks, and who voted for Prop. 8 in higher #s: Catholics, evangelical Christians, Mormons….It’s intellectually dishonest to say that black voters are responsible for Prop 8. Sowing discord between the black community and the GLBT community (which are not, by the way, mutually exclusive) seems pointless, even counter productive.

  8. mark


    I wasn’t clear about your concerns about homophobia in the black community. That’s the type of response I was looking for. Did you think it was right or wrong, ignorance or righteousness, fear or loathing? Not that you speak for the black community, but I was interested in hearing your thoughts. Thank you.

    You’re right that you can’t pin the passage on the black vote, but it was a close vote.

    Myself, I voted for prop 8, and I hope that fact doesn’t close the dialog.

  9. mark

    As I said, I just wanted to get your take. I never said I thought it was a bad thing or a good thing

  10. mark

    Hey, Skeptical Brotha,

    Did you remove a post? That seems kind of dishonest, don’t ya think? Then again, it is your site.

  11. let me tell ALL YALL sumthan! you aintuh nevuh seentid me cause IM black like dat – I LIE like dat, IM tall like dat…but I FALL like dat…I tried atl like dat…ALABAMA I went back! sonya-tameka-forsetta-fatimuh like dat….lick dey poosey and beat up dey cat! go to sharrisse party like dat – in detroit where its at…ask me how nuccas know dat… cause I run my mouth like dat! HALLITOSIS in MY trap – when I talk its all CRAP! My ex wont take me BACK – my BA & MBA been SCRAPPED!

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