Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Category Archives: politics

Obama Does The Right Thing

A little late on this, but big kudos to the President’s public support of gay marriage. I sat and read the article and thought about how unlikely this would have been just a year ago. Every time I see another politician step up and say that supporting gay marriage is the right thing to do, I get a little emotional, which is maybe silly; why should it be affecting to me when people recognize my right to live as a human being? Other people respond with contemptuous “it’s about time” anger, and maybe that feels right to them. Maybe I’m so used to the entrenched bigotry that I have some weird version of Stockholm Syndrome where I sympathize with how hard it is for someone in the public eye to actually take that position.

But I think it’s more the emotion associated with watching the tide turn in a battle, of Wellington keeping a wary eye on the horizon as the battle goes on and Napoleon’s reinforcements don’t arrive, of the knowledge that the unlikely is happening before our eyes. History is being made here. I may not long recall the exact date, but I will remember sitting in front of my computer looking at those words on the screen, the same way I remember the giddiness of Prop 20 being overturned in California and the optimism with which we confronted the Prop 8 vote. I have been heartened by the number of columnists who’ve said that this is just another step in the march forward, who predict that in 2016 the official platform of the Democratic party will include federal recognition of same-sex marriage. I think this is an amazing time to be living in.

I have seen opinions from some people complaining that Obama didn’t do enough, didn’t go far enough, have heard his statement called “cowardly” and “opportunistic” (which are about the furthest words from my mind when a sitting president makes a declaration like this going into an election cycle), as though making this statement the day after a crucial swing state resoundingly passed a constitutional amendment outlawing any recognized partnerships save for a formal marriage of one man and one woman held no danger for him politically. To those people, I would say: go see “The Avengers” again, because clearly what you want in your life is comic book superheroes and not real people addressing real problems in a realistic way.

The sitting President of the United States supports same-sex marriage. That’s a big deal. Let’s be happy about it just for a day or two, huh?

The New Yorker Celebrates Obama’s Statement (from The Gothamist)

On Obama, and on Prop 8

If you like sports, or just good writing, and you haven’t read any of Joe Posnanski’s column, for shame. I read his book, The Soul of Baseball, about his year spent with Buck O’Neil touring America, and found it a very affecting portrait of a man who knew what was right and was willing to wait for it.

Joe has a column in SI today which is about Buck, and Obama, and not about Prop 8. But I can’t help but take some of it in that light. If you can’t read the whole thing, here is what I think is the most relevant excerpt.

Buck O’Neil became the first black coach in Major League Baseball — that was in Chicago, for the Cubs, in 1962. He was, in too many ways, a token hire; he was as qualified as anyone to be a big league manager, much less a coach, but realistically they brought him in mostly to serve as a bridge to Lou Brock and Ernie Banks and Billy Williams and the other African-American players. The Cubs never let O’Neil on the field, not even to coach first or third base. “I would have liked to do that, even if it was for only one game,” Buck said. “But it just wasn’t time yet.”

He said that with no bitterness — Buck just seemed to have no bitterness in him. He believed in the passing of time and in the slow but steady rhythms of change. He had seen so much of it in his life.


Again and again, I saw him light up with joy as he saw what America had become. “Yeah, we have a way to go,” he would say to those people who sounded discouraged. “We’ll get there, man. I wish you could see what I’ve seen.”

He could not get enough. He spoke in classrooms and chatted with people at ballgames and went up to complete strangers in restaurants and at airports, and he believed in this America. It isn’t perfect, of course, nothing close to perfect, and there’s always a lot to do. Buck said that plenty. But, more, much more, he said: “Look how far we’ve come. Look how much we’ve grown. Look how much closer we are.”