Haranguing the gay-hating king of North Carolina on Facebook
A lot of people have expressed impatience or eye-rolling about Obama’s statement on same-sex marriage. I keep wondering: what would it have looked like for him to do justice on this issue this week? What actions would you have had him do? What is he legislatively capable of changing in the near term? These aren’t rhetorical questions.
I have low expectations for presidents, both because of how government works and because of the personality traits necessary to become a president; their power seems tightly constrained and their will to do good faint. So even though I know it is misplaced, some part of me still wants a president to be a moral leader. That part felt proud this week. I am unconcerned about being manipulated for political gain. To have truth spoken—that LGBT people should be treated equally by law—is good.
But we don’t elect presidents to be moral leaders, not if we’re sane. We look to more fitting sources. Also, presidents are bad at effecting cultural change, and we hope that our moral leaders will be good at it.
The obstacle in front of same-sex marriage is not Obama but fellow citizens, and the responsibility of changing minds falls democratically to us. We have to be moral leaders of people.
"Let me be clear," I do not think that changing culture involves haranguing people on the Internet.