Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
This is the perfect opportunity for Mr. Obama to take the next big step in his evolution as a “fierce advocate” for LGBT equality. He should submit a video to the White House initiative, “LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge,” announced yesterday. In fairness, his submission shouldn’t actually be considered in the competition, but as an inspiration. By now, it’s clear that taking the marriage equality step is a really big “challenge” for the president.
From the WH Blog:
Announcing the LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge:
Across the country, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community … , all united in the fight for equality.
… we are launching the LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge to explore the stories of unsung heroes and local leaders who are leading our march towards a more perfect union.
May 4 is the deadline for submission. A panel will select semi-finalists.
Then, in early June, the public will have a chance to weigh in and help identify finalists that will be featured as Champions of Change at an event at the White House.
Now, I want to stress that the idea of videos, particularly of “unsung heroes and local leaders,” is a good one. My little idea is just as an addition, an opportunity to help Mr. Obama move along in his evolution.
Submissions, the WH says, “should be creative, innovative, and inspiring.” That sounds like a potential description for an Obama the Campaigner offering. Well before the September Democratic National Convention, it would also allow him to get on board with the growing number of Dems calling for a marriage equality plank in the party platform (For example, see Joe Sudbay’s Signorile to Obama: “Come Out of the Closet on Gay Marriage.”). It would help him keep up with things in general. Just today, as Chris Geidner reported, “BREAKING: Lambda Legal Files Federal Lawsuit Seeking Marriage Equality in Nevada.”
And it isn’t as if Obama himself isn’t taking steps toward marriage equality. As Pam Spaulding wrote yesterday, “Obama Campaign: the President does not support the Minnesota marriage discrimination amendment,” which announcement followed Obama’s recent statement that he is against North Carolina’s Amendment One.
But based on Obama’s inability / unwillingness to fully evolve, the marriage equality must be a really big challenge for him. Making a video could be an inspiring example of making a significant “change.”
What would be even better yet is that through announcing his support for marriage equality, Mr. Obama emphasizes what you can hear in LGBT communities’ conversations: the need for full equality. Marriage is important, but there’s more. Protection related to employment, housing, health care, law enforcement, the justice system, privacy … a “creative, innovative and inspiring” message about full equality by Mr. Obama could be good for LGBT’s, and for his campaign, especially related to “ordinary people” mentioned in the WH announcement.
These aren’t the people, after all, who are likely to be attending today’s LGBT fundraiser in Hollywood, FL:
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz; DNC National Political Director Jeffrey Lerner; Jaime Citron, national LGBT vote director of the president’s re-election campaign; Obama for America National Finance Director Rufus Gifford and Obama for America Florida State Director Ashley Walker will brief supporters before the president arrives. Obama will then attend a general fundraiser at the Westin Diplomat Hotel before he returns to Washington, D.C.
Tickets start at $2,500 per person.
‘This is a unique opportunity for those who can afford to take part in it,’ said one Obama re-election campaign official during a conference call on April 4.
Since most of us can’t afford such “unique opportunities,” I have another idea.
What if lots of people added another category to the WH list, and submitted “Champions of Change” videos as a “challenge” to Mr. Obama, to take that next big equality step? He could use the White House Pride event to announce his acceptance of the “challenge,” and make the “change” and evolution to unequivocal fierce advocacy. #EvolveAlready, Joe Sudbay’s phrase, would be great for tweeting in support of Obama to become a #ChangeChampion. Add the June timing … this could be a winner. How about it, Mr. President?
(Obama Pride via LGBTQNation)