So the liberal world jumped for joy yesterday as President Obama told the world that he was in favour of same sex marriage. Rightly, we are proud of him for backing equal rights when it would no doubt have been much easier to stick to his stance that he favoured civil partnerships but not full marriage equality. It was great that the day after North Carolina became the 30th state to ban same sex marriage and civil union, the President, facing a tough re-election campaign, had the courage of his convictions to say what he meant. That he’d been persuaded by seeing members of his staff in stable, long term, monogamous relationships that same sex people should be allowed to marry. Now, you might think he should have said that all along, and I sympathise. But I also see the political environment he’s operating in and respect the fact that he’s been willing to take a risk and scare some of his own horses at a time that may not be altogether convenient for him.
I was as happy as everyone else to hear this news. I even dumped Julian Huppert from his deserved role as Liberal Champion of the Day in favour of Obama. I knew that there was no room for complacency, though. While liberals might be punching the air and hugging each other, there would be more than enough bile from the well funded Republican or evangelical right to deal with. I thought I’d better see what we’re up against.
I’ve had Fox News for a while. I think I might have turned it on once during the 2008 election and run away at the horrors I witnessed. Within two minutes last night, I was hyperventilating and wanting to throw things. The general thrust of what I was hearing was that Democrats in general are the Spawn of Satan and that Obama had somehow reneged on a commitment to marriage.
They then started talking about Elizabeth Warren, Democrat Senate candidate in Massachusetts. She’s been accused of claiming she had Cherokee heritage in order to gain career privileges. Now someone’s come up with an allegation that her great great grand uncle in fact might have removed Cherokee families from their homes. If you go to the end of the article, you’ll see that someone is a bit of a Tea Party fanboy. No surprise there, then.
Accuracy doesn’t seem to matter on Fox News, so the general thrust of the conversation was that all this was equivalent to Elizabeth Warren saying that she opposed gay marriage while being gay herself. In what universe? She was hardly responsible for the actions of her ancestor in 1860, even if the facts stacked up.
That Massachusetts campaign is bitter and nasty already – and there’s still 6 months to go.
My brief sojourn into the murky world of Fox News made me very grateful for the BBC, much though I moan about its lack of Liberal Democrat or female presence on its panels. It’s so important that all of us who believe in liberal values and equality stand up and do what we can to put our point of view forward.