Talk about backing people in a corner…I think Obama’s public campaign deathbed conversion on gay marriage is going to create far more issues for him with a key constituency than he and his advisers anticipate. His kung fu is not strong on this one, Grasshopper.
So, what does Obama’s setting of a “world precedent” (as the AP called it) on gay marriage say about one of the Democrat’s most monolithic voting blocs, black Americans , a bloc that gave Bill Clinton 83% support in 1992 and one that supported Obama with an astonishingly homogeneous 95% in the 2008 election? There are several articles that say that this will NOT make a difference in Obama’s support in the black community but if true, does that mean that black voters are willing to completely set aside some of their most strongly held values to vote for Obama? If they are, what does that mean?
These seem to be legitimate questions because it would seem that opposition to gay marriage is a core value of the majority and is based on religious grounds as well. It can be substantively argued that the modern incarnation of “progressivism” has chosen the Democratic Party as its delivery system and two of the characteristics of that “progressivism” are distaste for religion, particularity Christianity, and messianic support for gay rights, of these two, the flagship issue being gay marriage.
Rather than asking the larger questions of why 95% of black voters can rationalize voting against what are clearly two strong convictions, religion and support for traditional marriage, NPR breaks it down to what is important to “progressives” who share their views – how will this affect their precious, Barack Obama.
In an article posted on their blog, National Public Radio asks that question:
By now, most news organizations and the Twitter world are debating whether President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage will turn off African-Americans — his most loyal supporters.
It’s a legitimate question because blacks, compared with other groups that make up the Democratic political base, have been the most resistant to an expansion of gay rights.
Citing deeply held religious objections to homosexuality, African-Americans, many of whom are evangelical Christians, have consistently voted for state bans on gay marriage, most recently in North Carolina on Tuesday. Blacks were credited with (or blamed for) providing the winning margin for the California ban passed in 2008 (which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled unconstitutional).
A 2011 Pew Poll, noted in the same NPR article, found that black Americans are in opposition to gay marriage by a margin of almost two to one:
So what does this really mean?
I know that it is likely a far more complex issue than this analysis contemplates but two possibilities sprung to mind as I considered the conundrum that Obama’s electoral deathbed conversion has posed to the black voting community. It occurred to me that a vote for Obama in 2012 would be based on the cynical support of Marxism or racism…or both.
A vote to continue the welfare state is a vote to continue socialist/Marxist policies that disproportionately benefits blacks. Pundits in the black community may say that it isn’t – but remember that this is the basis for charges of racism against the Tea Party. The Tea Party does not propose a social agenda – it has only campaigned on an economic platform, one that we are taxed enough already and that government spends too much money. The black establishment immediately seized upon this as racism because their constituency does benefit disproportionally from government programs, many of which would be reduced in a shrinkage of government. The charge of racism has been proven over and over to be facetious, but the basis of the charge is true – blacks do benefit disproportionally from these socialist/Marxist government programs…and the black establishment validated that by using it as the basis to attack the Tea Party.
The other option is that it is purely a racist motive, a proposition that black America is voting for Obama specifically and solely because he is black. As I’ve noted before: voting for a candidate because of his skin color is just as racist as voting against one for the same reason.
The Democratic Party has decades of practice walking a fine line with their various constituent groups, many of which have many conflicts when placed head to head. They have stitched together a tenuous record of keeping them unified in pursuit of “progressive” goals.
Will this issue be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Is this a “wedge” issue that could finally break the Democrat’s repressive and condescending hold over black Americans? Maybe…but I wouldn’t count on it.
As a classical liberal, I’m very aware of compromising my positions in support of a candidate. I’m forced to do it with Romney but in doing so, I am very clear about what and why I am compromising and I that am not dishonestly compromising in the sense that I am abandoning my values, just accepting a variation of them. It would seem that for a person to accept a candidate that accepts gay marriage when directly opposed to it is a conflicting proposition – it is a binary choice, you either accept it or or you don’t.
As a result of my admission of compromise, the argument may well be advanced that I cannot criticize people for doing exactly what I am doing – but that argument would be illegitimate. Even if I wasn’t excepting only variations and taking on wholesale diametrical changes – if my decision to compromise is wrong, simply pointing it out does not make the opposing position correct, it only confirms that both of us are wrong. The old adage is true: two wrongs, a right does not make.
Will black voters be willing to take on that same examination?
If they are, this might be a watershed moment.
It is their right, as it is mine, to support any candidate they wish and for any reason whatsoever but logic dictates that you can’t split the baby, that you can’t have it both ways. A thing either is or it isn’t.
Obama’s crass, callous and politically opportunistic announcement of his support for gay marriage has put 62% of his strongest support base in the dock. He has put the black electorate in a very tough spot.
A choice between cynicism and racism isn’t much of a choice.
But I’m probably a racist for even bringing it up.