By Dock Wells
If labels test your resolve and commitment, Obama is in for the exam of his lifetime. When the cover of Newsweek declared him to be “The First Gay President” many of his most ardent supporters pushed back and cried foul. “How dare that struggling magazine malign the character of the nation’s first Black President,” some said.
But wait a minute, wasn’t Bill Clinton declared to be the “First Black President?” Indeed he was, at a Congressional Black Caucus Dinner, in Washington D.C., on September 29, 2001. Thereafter, he sported that label and wore it well. It was an adoptive label of endearment which affirmed the belief that Clinton understood the plight of Black Americans and cared to improve their condition.
Similarly, the Gay community has adopted President Obama. His recent declaration in support of Gay marriage, sealed he deal. For all practical purposes, Obama is now one of them. Although straight, he is the gayest president gays expect to see in their lifetime. Like Clinton, Obama must wear that label with pride. He cannot shy away from it. To do so would suggest there is something wrong with being gay.
If the president or his supporters give the slightest indication they are offended by the label “First Gay President” they would defeat the purpose of his declaration. The Gay community has welcomed Obama with opened arms. He has won their unfettered support. Hereafter, when they call him the First Gay President, it’s incumbent upon him to grin and give them a genuine group hug.
Yes, this is a real test. Not only will the label “The First Gay President” become a part of this president’s legacy, he may have to explain it to other world leaders; not to mention his daughters.