Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Gay Rights Leaders Feel Betrayed by Obama, but They Misread the Signs of these Times
Obama knows that however high-profile the gay community may be in the media, they comprise only a small percent of the population (2-4%, according to conservative estimates). Being a populist, and a true "man of the people", this may be why he is not overly concerned. Incidentally, this would not make him crass or uncaring with regard to the gay community; it certainly would not make him homophobic. It would simply mean that 90s-style identity politics mean little to him. I think this is in fact the case. The gay community expected a resurgence of the Clinton era, however unsucsessful it may have been for gays in the long run. It is the spirit of that era they are lining up for, like acting students bringing last semester's scripts for their auditon with a radical new acting coach. This behavior is what Howe and Strauss called post seasonal as opposed to pre-seasonal in The Fourth Turning: An American Prophesy. Post-seasonal behavior lags behind the times: we show up wearing beach clothes in the nippy fall weather. Conversely, pre-sesaonal behavior is on time, and even early: We have taken our winter clothes out of storage, and had them drycleaned, and are prepared to dress for the coming snow.
Many things are clear to me, when I eye them through the lens of this American prophesy. Howe and Strauss, by the way, predicted some reversal of the gay rights agenda. Again, I have been decidedly "pro-gay" all of my adult life; but I am anti-90s identiy politics, to a marked degree. In the words of Forrest Gump, "and that's all I have to say about that.". (Actually, I do have a bit more to say. Camille Paglia's Gay Stalinism was an intoxicating essay for me in the '90s, when the PC "Nazis" were taking over the national campuses and running everything. So to see history sort of catch up with her; well, it is a bit of a thrill. But this is only in terms of political theory. )
During election season, Future Blogger asked, "Can we outrace the Fourth Turning?". The answer to that is, no, we cannot. No, we have not. It is expedient that we go through this crisis. I am not sad to see the Third Turning go.