Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Got Any Spare Change?

Any one who walks in big cities has been asked this question by grizzled alcoholics, homeless wanderers, would-be hippies and other urban shnorrers. In the parable of the widow's mite from Mark 12 and Luke 20 Jesus compares what the rich folks give to the Temple offering to what we would call,"spare change". They didn't need it to live on, to buy food or pay rent or buy a pack of smokes. The widow is praised for giving two small copper coins, one to fulfill her obligation and one out of love or devotion to her faith. He says she gave everything.

When Barrack Obama promised us, "Change we can believe in", it didn't sound as if he was talking about 'spare change'. He wasn't promising change that would be easy or politically profitable-at least that was what it sounded like to me and millions of others. Oh, I know he's a politician, and inflated rhetoric is their stock and trade, and he is only human so you expect some pragmatism as well. But when the man goes back on a specific promise to work to rectify injustice to an oppressed group, he is offering them spare change, change that won't cost him any political capital.

In his campaign, Obama promised to work to overturn the odious Defense of Marriage Act that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal. This legal bigotry also denies federal benefits such as survivor's Social Security benefits to same-sex partners. In spite of his promise, the DOJ filed a brief in a California lawsuit challenging this unjust law supporting the Defense of Marriage Act as reasonable.
At this point witth Obama fighting for HealthCare reform and struggling against a vicious Right-wing campaign, it may be politically expedient to take this route rather than further alienate social conservatives. But than he is offering only spare change to the millions of LGBT folks who campaigned for him, voted for him, and believed in his promis of change. Not even spare change- he has given them chump change.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/opinion/16tue1.html?th&emc=th

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