Okay, so get this. I’m sitting here watching the video stream of the HRC/LOGO debate, and they had Obama out first. The last question they asked was one that they said had been submitted to them, and then all of a sudden there it is. They asked my question. I’m sitting here in disbelief.
I saw Melissa’s post a couple of days ago asking people to submit questions to the debate (they had an online form at the time), and I decided to take a gamble. I filled in the form, and my question was whether the struggle for equal rights among the GLBT community was comparable to the struggle for equal rights in the civil rights movement. At first I selected their “ask to all candidates” option, but then thought better of it and decided to choose Obama only, because I figured there would be a better chance that they’d ask the question if it was to the only candidate who was directly effected by the civil rights movement, and television networks love connections like that. I’ve emailed her and we’ll see if she responds.
So I submitted it, and promptly forgot about it. Until tonight, when co-host Margaret Carlson told Obama she had two final questions (the second one they didn’t get to because of time constraints), and point-blank asked him the question I had submitted, though without mentioning my name: “Would you put the fight among gays and lesbians for civil rights on a par with the civil rights movement for African Americans?” (Video above.)
“Well,” Obama answered without skipping a beat, “If people are being treated unfairly and unequally, then they’re being treated unfairly and unequally, and it needs to be fixed.” He then went on to say that he was hesitant to say that they were the same (probably a politically smart thing to do, plus he discusses what he calls the politics of victimology and how un-useful it can become in his book The Audacity of Hope), but that “that doesn’t mean though that there aren’t parallels though in the sense that legal status is no equal. And that has to be fixed.”
“But I think it’s important not to look at the Black candidate and wonder whether he’s going to be more sympathetic or less sympathetic to these issues,” Obama continued. “I’m going to be sympathetic not ’cause I’m Black, I’m going to be more sympathetic because this has been the cause of my life, and will continue to be the cause of my life– making sure everybody’s treated fairly and that we’ve got an expansive view of America where everybody’s invited in, and we’re all working together to create the kind of America that we want for the next generation.”
Yeah, okay, I guess you can blame me for specifically addressing that question to Obama because he was Black. It was one of those split-second decisions, and part of me especially wanted to ask it of him, and the other part of me just figured there’d be a greater chance that it’d get asked if it was asked A) to only one candidate, and B) if it was asked specifically to him. One side note; I couldn’t quite tell what the host, Carlson said, but it seemed as if she referred to this question as a “Margaret-generated question.” I’m not entirely sure what that was about, but there is no doubt in my mind that the reason she asked it was because she had read my question– I mean, what are the chances she would ask the exact same question that I had come up with, to the exact same candidate I had addressed it to? Nil.