Tuesday, December 23, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Obama's Radical Pragmatism

From Time's Swampland Blog, Michael Scherer lays out how Obama's positions re: GLBT rights will be frustrating to those who don't believe that separately equal works. "Radically pragmatic" is how he labels this incremental approach -- and to some there is a certain appeal to embracing a more evolutionary path.

The problem with this approach is the assumption that fundamental rights and equal treatment can somehow be handled in some sort of cafeteria model -- out of this one? choose another. Sacrifice this one, to get that one... and eventually the arc of history will catch up.

Certainly a less costly approach to those who eschew living up to the Constitutional guarantees of equal rights -- those who already enjoy full citizenship can take their time in getting to that emotional comfort spot that tells them it's okay to "let the gays be equal now"... as if they (and not the Creator as invoked by Jefferson) are the source of those inalienable rights.

So now that we are confronted by the "radical pragmatism" of the Obama Doctrine, what to do?

Understand what makes pragmatists tick: cost versus benefits.

We must forcefully press for civil equality in terms that make accomodation with the Rick Warren/James Dobson end of the spectrum too costly -- politically, economically, socially and whatever other levers we have at our disposal.

Obama's radical pragmatism will have no choice but to embrace a much more expansive (and revolutionary) GLBT rights agenda.


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