(The following is the opinion of the writer, a freelance video editor, and does not reflect the opinion of any organization or company.)
Two interesting things happened last week. First, my picture was in the New York Times in an article about the President's media team. Second, the President finally announced his support of same-sex marriage. How are these things related? Well, the dark haired guy working in the background of the picture has been in a committed same-sex relationship for the past 8 years.
Of course, not every gay couple is eager to go forth and get married. My partner and I are perfectly happy with the unofficial state of our relationship. We have no institution-shattering desire to participate in a marriage ceremony. We fought hard for the freedom to be who we are, to be a couple, and we require no external approval. But for all the gay and lesbian couples dreaming of getting married this is a miraculous achievement, something I never would have imagined as a teenager. Should the day come when the federal government grants us the same legal rights and benefits as a straight couple, we'll be standing in line for our marriage license.
I'm delighted that the President has evolved his position on gay marriage. It's a step in the right direction. However, I might just ask why it took so long, but of course I understand the necessity of timing in politics. The President faces a tough and uncertain reelection campaign. He needs something that will reenergize his liberal base, something to get the kids back on the bandwagon. Maybe this administration is finally willing to admit they'll never get the religious conservatives to vote for him. Remember, this is the same administration that called its own progressive base a bunch of whiners for expecting "change we can believe in" when political bravery was inconvenient.
Yes, I'm a little cynical - I've worked on the edge of politics far too long delivering their empty promises. But now I'm happy to believe in President Obama once again - with an appropriate disclaimer. I won’t launch into a laundry list of grievances with this administration, that his civil rights record and executive power grab has been worse than his predecessor. If you haven't been paying attention you can just read anything by Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi.
I was proud to help elect this nation's first black president. I will be proud to help reelect the nation's first president to support same-sex-marriage. But what I'm proud to reelect is not a man, whose failings probably out number his achievements, but a symbol of hope in a world that desperately needs such symbols. Obama is more than just a President - a single man imprisoned by the political realities and limitations of his office. He represents an evolution on this planet, a new perspective awakening, even when his own administration undermines it with the same old backwards-looking politics. The world will still change.
I'm sure there are negative voices out there eager to paint all this as some nefarious cult of personality, but the truth is Obama still manages to inspire me to be a better person and a more involved citizen. He continues to inspire me to critique, to hold him, our nation, and ourselves to a higher standard, not to rest on past glories, but to recognize that we can be so much more if we only try.