Emanuel and Obama: as thick as thieves?

Matt Patterson, columnist in the Washington Post, New York Post, San Francisco Examiner, wrote a column in another publication some months ago saying that years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.

Nowhere is that analogy of a witch craze more appropriate than in the license Obama has now given to the fanatical and increasingly hysterical campaign of the gay lobby in the United States on their current battlefront, the objective of which is the destruction of the institution of marriage. Obama’s mindless and sentimental endorsement of that campaign and the high-profile celebrities he has drawn after him into it, underlines everything that Peterson says about him in his devastating critique of the most powerful man in the world.

In short: our president is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job. When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.

The culture of patronising affirmation is what Peterson and Norman Poderhoetz of the Wall Street Journal, whom he quotes, blame for the malaise they see before them. Affirmative action for them is a wound inflicted on minorities so that whites can pat themselves on the back.

Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don’t care if these minority students fail; liberals aren’t around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the colour of his skin – that’s affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn’t racism, then nothing is.

And that, they argue, is why Obama was elected. He was the icon representing a minority. His election made liberal America feel good about itself again. He in turn is now espousing those same liberal principles of crazy social engineering, the craziest of which is the destruction of the institution of marriage to make a minority, a very small minority, feel good about themselves. This affirmative action is ultimately going to destroy the very human beings it purports to help – and bring with them any number of innocent bystanders caught in their self-deluded folly.

It is not a little chilling to remember that a similar wave of ill-thought folly brought down upon America the biggest crime wave of the twentieth century with the passing of the Prohibition Act nearly 100 years ago. The destruction of marriage – and all the rest that the campaign of the gay lobby augurs for the welfare of the family and children – will be more devastating than even that short-lived folly. The damage will be much more difficult to undo.

The craziness of the entire project is nowhere more evident in that bizarre side-show which is running to packed theatres just now, the Chick-fil-A farce. Sean Collins, writing on the website, Spiked, this week sees the more serious side of it in that it reveals just how illiberal and intolerant supporters of same-sex marriage are becoming.

The mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco proclaimed that Chick-fil-A was not welcome in their cities. Specifically, they asked their city councils to deny Chick-fil-A the permits they need to open. ‘Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values’, said Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago and former chief of staff for President Obama. Joe Moreno, an alderman in a ‘hipster’ ward in Chicago, vowed to block the restaurant, calling the chain’s owner, Dan Cathy’s family and marriage-friendly comments ‘bigoted and homophobic’. Christine Quinn, leader of New York’s city council, said Cathy’s remarks were ‘repugnant and un-American’; she urged New York University to evict Chick-fil-A from its campus.

The reaction by these public officials shows the authoritarian instinct behind many of those who support same-sex marriage – and how such illiberal views are not limited to hardcore activists but rather extend right to the top of the political world. In defending his stance on Chick-fil-A, Boston mayor Thomas Menino said, ‘We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion.’ But apparently, in the name of ‘inclusion’, it is perfectly acceptable to be intolerant of those who back traditional marriage, Collins writes.

Collins goes on to point out: Three months ago, Obama was against same-sex marriage – is anyone who espouses that view today now anti-gay and ‘repugnant’? Obama launched his political career in Chicago – was he out of line with ‘Chicago’s values’ until his conversion to the gay-marriage cause 90 days ago? Same-sex marriage has been voted down in all 31 states where it was on the ballot, including in California – are these states filled with ‘bigoted and homophobic’ people?

He concludes: The campaign for same-sex marriage claims it is a popular movement for equality, but it looks more like a top-down attempt to impose a particular, non-traditional view of marriage on all. Reasonable people, in good faith, have different opinions on same-sex marriage, and the issue should be discussed openly. But many politicians and media pundits who support same-sex marriage clearly prefer simply to denounce and demonise those who won’t get with the programme. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat writes: ‘The gay-marriage movement isn’t just arguing with its opponents; it’s pathologising them, raising the personal and professional costs of being associated with traditional views on marriage, and creating the space for exactly the kind of legal sanctions that figures like Thomas Menino and Rahm Emanuel spent last week flirting with.’

Movements for equality have historically sought to expand our notions of freedom, but as the case of the Chick-fil-A boycott shows, today’s campaign for same-sex marriage is moving in the opposite direction.

Sean Collins is a writer based in New York. Visit his blog, The American Situation.

Michael Kirke was born in Ireland. In 1966 he graduated from University College Dublin (History and Politics). In that year he began working on the sub-editorial desk of The Evening...