To be a leader means to be out in front. It means to take chances and risks. It means to do what you think is right and appropriate, no matter what.
I thought of that on Wednesday when the day after another defeat for gay marriage, this time in North Carolina, President Obama spoke out.
"it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."Wow!
As everyone was saying on the news and analysis on Wednesday, this means that this WILL be an issue in the fall elections. It may have as much impact on the election as the economy. It could determine the election. Some might believe that it is still early enough to overcome between now and November, especially if the economy continues to improve. Get it out of the way now and let us focus on the real issues facing us, others might argue.
No matter which or how many of these myriad opinions is anywhere near the truth of the political matter, the truth is that Barack Obama took what may be the biggest risk of his presidency by speaking out on one of the more polarizing issues of our day, behind only health care reform and abortion/contraception issues.
Why would he do it? Was he forced by Biden to do so?
Perhaps he decided to be the leader he is. He decided to be in the front of an issue instead of trying to figure which way the wind was blowing and take THAT stand. perhaps he looked at his girls, as he says he did, and realized that there is another generation coming up that needs to move beyond hatred and homophobia and see that love may know no orientation bounds.
This fall here in Minnesota, we will be voting on one of those anti-gay marriage referenda. (referendums?) Maybe Obama's position will help defeat that and maybe not. But here we have an issue that will not go away. Let us hope that we can now have some compassion and concern instead of rhetoric.
Thank you President Obama for having courage to say what you believe even if it may cost you the election. It is better to be honest and open.