The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for May 11th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for May 11th from 14:07 to 14:17:

  • Gay Marriage: Why Obama Couldn’t Wait : The New Yorker

    "Clearly, until today, the President had been making a political calculation—one that had outlived its usefulness. In some ways, it’s amazing that he was able to maintain a not-yes-but-not-no position for as long as he did. While it was a useful electoral strategy, changes in public opinion and in the culture have created a new reality. Obama’s political advisers badly underestimated the extent to which the marriage issue would remain at the forefront of the national discussion—and the determination of those of us who work to keep it there.

    So while this is an important moment in civil-rights history, it is also an important moment in political history—in which the lesson, for the gay community and, perhaps, for anyone advocating for change, is that words are important, but we have to insist on action from our friends."

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    Clearly, until today, the President had been making a political calculation—one that had outlived its usefulness. In some ways, it’s amazing that he was able to maintain a not-yes-but-not-no position for as long as he did. While it was a useful electoral strategy, changes in public opinion and in the culture have created a new reality. Obama’s political advisers badly underestimated the extent to which the marriage issue would remain at the forefront of the national discussion—and the determination of those of us who work to keep it there.  

      

     So while this is an important moment in civil-rights history, it is also an important moment in political history—in which the lesson, for the gay community and, perhaps, for anyone advocating for change, is that words are important, but we have to insist on action from our friends. 

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  • Mystery Mitt: Who Is He Really?

    "Most of the American people don't know who Mitt Romney really is. They don’t know what is good and decent about his life story, his family, his work, his philosophy or his personal ethics. They don't know the bad news either. They don't know much of anything except a few caricatured, cartoonish facts.

    The former governor of Massachusetts remains largely an empty canvas, onto which the Obama campaign, the Democrats and a voracious media are slapping paint as fast as they can.

    Romney campaign officials, I know from a visit there this week, seem to think they have plenty of time to tell their story. They don't."

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  • How Mitt Romney Bullied a Gay Student at Cranbrook : The New Yorker

    "What one does as a teen-ager does not need to mark a person or a politician for life. We can all be stupid. For Senator Rand Paul, it’s Aqua Buddha; for Senator Robert Byrd, it was, more darkly and at a more mature age, his affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. It took many more years than it should, but Byrd learned how to talk about that in a way that suggested understanding and repentance. Both of those are necessary.

    And how far has Romney moved? This story is resonant because one can, all too easily, see Romney walking away even now, or simply failing to connect, to grasp hurt. How he talks about this incident will be impossible to divorce from how he talks about same-sex marriage in the wake of President Obama’s announcement, and about questions of basic dignity for gay and lesbian Americans. But unless he deals with it soundly, it will also be present as people wonder about his compassion for anyone not as well situated and cosseted as he has always been. Who else might he walk away from? Until now, the campaign has talked about his fondness for pranks as a way to humanize him; his wife called him wild and crazy. Is this what they think that means?"

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  • Barack Obama’s decision to support gay marriage was a rare act of empathy in this presidential election. – Slate Magazine

    "Whatever your view of President Obama’s motives, or the legal consequences of his statement yesterday, it is not in dispute that the words he spoke gave many Americans—including gay children and teenagers—the message that he had heard them, and that their experiences mattered so much that he’d changed his views—personal, political, and legal. He wasn’t declaring war on marriage, or on religious Americans, or on any church or pastor. I didn’t hear anything like blame being leveled against anyone. But he was also declining to blame gay Americans for everything that’s currently wrong in the country from the divorce rate to the economy."

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  • In Obama’s stance on gay marriage, a return to hope – The Washington Post

    " President Obama’s evolutionary leap on same-sex marriage is a historic advance in the nation’s long march toward equality and justice. It is also a bold political gambit that sacrifices some votes in exchange for potentially renewing his image as a leader of vision and hope."

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  • Mitt Romney bullied in prep school according to the Washington Post. – Slate Magazine

    "One of the many tensions in evaluating presidential candidates is that we don't want to disqualify them based on the stupidity of their youth. George W. Bush's blanket denial that "when I was young and irresponsible I was young and irresponsible" seems like a good rule. On the other hand, we want to know who these candidates are who seek to lead us (especially when they spend so much time offering us synthetic versions of themselves). We are looking for some piece of evidence, some sign of what makes them who they are. Many of us prize "character above all" in a president and a lot of those hints about presidential character are located in the stories of youth. If you want to be president, your résumé, accomplishments, and experience are not enough. Your origins matter."

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  • Mitt, the prep-school sadist – Mitt Romney – Salon.com

    "Last week we learned about President Obama’s first post-college romantic relationships. This week, we’re discovering details of Mitt Romney’s prep-school sadism. While I think we should tread carefully when examining the youthful experiences and mistakes of both presidential candidates, I thought Obama’s romantic past was fair game in Vanity Fair. I think the Washington Post’s well-reported feature on Young Mr. Romney’s entitled cruelty to gay classmates and a disabled teacher is even more revealing and important."

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  • Mitt Romney as a Young Bully – The Daily Beast

    "It seems pretty hard to believe that a person wouldn't remember pinning someone down and taking a scissors to his hair. True, 1965 is a long time ago, but that's a pretty dramatic thing to do. What does it tell us about him today?

    Perhaps oddly, I think the violent incident itself tells us little. Most of us grow out of using violence, so let's assume that he has. What's maybe still relevant and telling, though, is his anger at the poor kid in the first place. "

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