Author Toni Morrison anointed President Bill Clinton “America’s First Black President,” and in a play on that title and what is sure to be a controversial move, “Newsweek” has named President Barack Obama, America’s “First Gay President,” reports Politico.
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“Newsweek” released the following preview of a piece by Andrew Sullivan analyzing Obama’s announcement on marriage equality:
“It’s easy to write off President Obama’s announcement of his support for gay marriage as a political ploy during an election year. But don’t believe the cynics. Andrew Sullivan argues that this announcement has been in the making for years. “When you step back a little and assess the record of Obama on gay rights, you see, in fact, that this was not an aberration. It was an inevitable culmination of three years of work.” And President Obama has much in common with the gay community. “He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family,” Sullivan writes.”
Black America has been turned on it’s head in the wake of “The Announcement” with civil rights and religious leaders such as Rev. Al Sharpton coming out in full support of the president and others, like Pastor Jamal Bryant, saying that they feel betrayed. Professor Michael Eric Dyson joined in the fray when he served as guest host on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” and called out religious “bigots” as “sexual rednecks.” Add to that half-way critics who are pitting the Black community against the LGBT community, as if they don’t intertwine, and the situation has become combustible.
In an blog earlier this week, Sullivan articulated his unwavering support for the president’s move:
I do not know how orchestrated this was; and I do not know how calculated it is. What I know is that, absorbing the news, I was uncharacteristically at a loss for words for a while, didn’t know what to write, and, like many Dish readers, there are tears in my eyes.
So let me simply say: I think of all the gay kids out there who now know they have their president on their side. I think of Maurice Sendak, who just died, whose decades-long relationship was never given the respect it deserved. I think of the centuries and decades in which gay people found it impossible to believe that marriage and inclusion in their own families was possible for them, so crushed were they by the weight of social and religious pressure. I think of all those in the plague years shut out of hospital rooms, thrown out of apartments, written out of wills, treated like human garbage because they loved another human being. I think of Frank Kameny. I think of the gay parents who now feel their president is behind their sacrifices and their love for their children.
The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House.
While the president has surely bolstered his support across the board with this move, it is clear that the dissension in the Black community will be a vulnerability for Obama in November — and “Newsweek” covers with the first Black POTUS with a halo over his head does nothing to stifle the conflict.