Obama VS Truman on Civil Rights

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 15, 2009 3:08 AM GMT
    I know I'm going to get tons of heat for this and since I don't get on here a lot I'm not going to respond to challenges to my assertions most likely, but I want to provide this topic to start a discussion amongst yourselves on here.
    I've been dismayed as of late over Obama's lack of action on Civil rights issues, particularly gay rights issues. Despite the fact that he's acting vociferously and with great speed on several diverse issues, his silence on gay issues has been deafening. Now I know what hardcore liberal gays on this site will say, that he has a lot on his plate, and it's the beginning of his presidency. But let's take a look and compare him to another US President, who integrated blacks into the military....
    Yes, that's right, Harry Truman. Harry Truman was unpopular in his first term, AND only 18% of the American public supported integrating the military, numbers were even lower for the military. General Omar Bradley, the last five star general we had, who was also commander of the joint chiefs at the time, spoke out against integration, so did the secretary of the army, and most of the brass and military. Many members of congress did too. But, Obama has more to deal with than Truman did right? Dead wrong. Truman's presidency makes Obama's look like a cakewalk. Truman had to wind up WWII, decide whether or not to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, deal with a postwar world, encroaching communism in Eastern Europe, the Marshall Plan, Communists taking over China and Asia, a rapidly downsizing military, a post war economic recession that made the current recession look like a a happy time, more labor unions on strike than at any time in US History, a Republican congress that refused his entire agenda, and later, the Korean war. OH and before I forget, the Berlin airlift too and the beginning of the Cold War. However, even though he was ENORMOUSLY busy, and dealing with an entire restructuring of US foreign, domestic, and military policy (something no president has really genuinely faced since the end of the cold war) and all the domestic problems the country faced, he STILL made time to integrate the military by executive order, add civil rights to the Democratic platform in 1948, and do more things to put us on the right track to civil rights. Obama, by contrast, has a recession to deal with, a war that is WINDING DOWN in Iraq and a low level insurgency in Afghanistan, he is popular with the American public, has passed the bulk of his economic agenda (with the exception of Health Care reform) and has the support of massive majorities of Americans on ENDA and Hate Crimes legislation and DADT repeal. He has control of both houses of congress, and (arguably) a filibuster proof majority. Even 58% of conservatives and 60% of weekly churchgoers support repeal of DADT. Check recent Gallup and Pew research polls if you don't believe me on that one lol. Despite all this, he won't even move an inch on easy gay rights issues. I can understand leaving DOMA repeal and Civil Unions and Marriage for later, if ever, but where he has support and especially on DADT repeal why has he stalled? and why is he defending DOMA and DADT in court and using the SAME arguments the Bush administration used? Even more infuriating, why aren't gays and gay rights groups holding him to the fire and putting pressure on him to do more? Given the comparisons to Truman, and the black civil rights movement, we should... That's my word anyways.... I'll let ya'll discuss....
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    Jun 15, 2009 3:24 AM GMT
    By coincidence, I was just viewing some Truman newsreel footage today, from a DVD gift I was given last night at a surprise birthday party. The DVD was all about 1949, the year I was born, and the year Truman was inaugurated for his first full term as President, having succeeded Roosevelt when he died in office in 1945.

    I agree with your premise, that Obama is being more timid politically than Truman was, particularly on gay civil rights issues. But there are 2 differences between them.

    One, I doubt Obama sees gay rights as civil rights. I've concluded from his actions so far that he only views civil rights as Black rights, being Black himself. We gays need not apply.

    Second, the world has changed since Truman, especially the media and the Information Superhighway that is the Internet. Politicians were not subject to immediate and intense over-analysis back then, as they are today.

    I believe that Obama is a product of our modern times, who is extremely cautious about his political image. He is less concerned about what is intrinsically and basically right, as Truman was, than about what the public THINKS is right.

    He will play the public opinion polls, which do not sufficiently favor gay rights at this moment. They are improving every day, but until they represent a clear majority of the American people, expect nothing pro-gay out of this White House.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jun 15, 2009 12:31 PM GMT
    We can compare him to a lot of people in the past who took chances when it came to Civil Rights
    and I agree that Obama is ducking the issues right now
    That's a mistake ....
    It's been the democrats achilles heel when it comes to PR since the Clinton era
    They're afraid of their own shadow
    The public is way ahead of them on these issues
    DADT should be abolished Now
    Guantanamo should have a plan made and be closed
    This backtracking and playing nice to the other side will only come round to bite him in the ass
    I know he's trying to get other things done before he delves into something the admin views as devisive but it will serve them much better to go all out