Friday, October 22, 2010
We were all grateful for your signing of the Matthew Shepard Act. However, Judy Shepard is the true champion of that bill, and you upped the severity of the crime to sate a grieving mother and a long-terrified nation. It was an easy move and it made you look good. For the sake of a good thing, we were all willing to call it even, and some of us even said we were glad we'd elected you, while we know that any Democrat would have signed this gift-wrapped bill.
Now, we face DOMA, DADT, and opposition to the compulsory ENDA, and you are nowhere to be found, blaming everything on the idea that Congress has more power than you do. I dare say that it's a perversion of Checks and Balances to suggest that the Presidency of the United States of America is without vehicles extraordinary influence over our government system. By not acting, by not at least speaking, or engaging Vice President Biden to speak, you do harm to all the greatest Presidents, and all the greatest leaders of our National history. I'm sad to say that this is how I feel, especially because even if I'm wrong, I'm not too far from correct.
You have the power to issue an executive order to suspend DADT for the amount of time that we are at war. Contrary to your promise, you have not ended the war.
You are the President, but you are still a citizen with a First Amendment right. You have the right to speak up, and the responsibility of proving your dignity as a person, which you sold to us in order to get elected. At the very least, you owe us an appeal in an open letter to Congress and the Justice Department on the issues under which a minority population and their supporters suffer on a daily basis. You have a privileged vehicle for exercising that freedom of speech because you hold the highest office, and by neglecting to use that freedom you do not adequately put Congress to the test of whether or not they would overrule your order. I don't know what your rationale for inaction is (because you don't tell us), but your complacency obstructs an Executive process long overdue. If you feel somehow that the Presidency limits your Freedom of Speech, please show me in the Constitution where that's true. You promised us, Mr. President. You asked for the office, we gave it to you, and you are overdue to use the fullest extent of that office.
You were not there for the National Equality March. You were not there for the Prop 8 protests. You stood back while the Justice Department issued a stay on DADT. You are allowed to comment, to communicate, regardless of what you sign. The Presidency is more than your pen.
You had plenty of words for us when it was time to make promises so we'd elect you. You owe us more than you have given us. And if you don't make good on your word, you owe us an explanation. Or, apologize and resign. Enough is enough.
"Yes, we can", of course we can. But you are our leader, and if you don't start leading, per your responsibility, you do not deserve the same title and privileges that Lincoln did, even though we all understand, as he said, that "The Presidency, even to the most experienced politicians, is no bed of roses".
Lastly, your participation in the "It Gets Better" project is a slap in the face. You have not proven this. For the minority LGBT community, you have not done this. You have not led us through a single hardship and I will not allow you to pretend, after sitting on it for weeks until you could get around to a three-minute video, that you really feel any responsibility, let alone compassion, for what gay teens do, even if they kill themselves. You didn't care when other people killed them, you just signed the paper. And you know it.
Please, find your voice, and restore the Presidency as an equal power by fully exercising your right to speak, to advocate, to lead. We looked after you to get you elected. You gave us hope and we gave you our gratitude, and then you dropped us. We have been more vocal than ever before, and you have not responded once to change something that wasn't already conveniently packaged. In the next election, when you give us promises, so will other politicians. And by your inaction, we will be all too glad to give /them/ our gratitude.
I live a half-hour away from you. I will be glad to discuss these matters anytime. I've patiently waited for eleven months. Would you spare an hour for me? You pick the time and the place, and I'll be there with tea for us to drink, a notepad to write down our ideas, and my listening ears.
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