Friday, October 22, 2010

It Gets Better - President Obama

It Gets Better - President Obama

"We have to dispel this myth that bullying is just a rite of passage an inevitable part of growing up. It's not."

I know I am not the first to be showing this video, but I think is important that it be seen. It is important because we, as part of the LGBT community, have to remember recent history. If we look at the last 5 Presidents, what the latest, President Barack Obama, does in this video is unprecedented. These 5 men represent the last 30 years of presidents, and if we look at the time of President Ronald Reagan, he managed to preside over the country during the outbreak and height of the AIDS crisis, yet he failed to mention it even once. The LGBT community was ignored. It was much the same during the George Herbert Walker Bush administration for his single term. President William Clinton, on the other hand, spoke of both the health crisis as well as the community, although this was also the administration who negotiated the dreaded 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for the armed forces, which still haunts us today. President Gorge Walker Bush, the eldest son of HW, did some good work with the AIDS crisis in Africa, yet he and his cronies managed to demonize the LGBT community at home, using us as a wedge issue every step of the way. During the campaign, President Obama spoke directly to the community, making promises, many of which have yet to come to fruition. But he has added his voice, and the wieght of his office, to the chorus of people speaking to the LGBT Youth, telling them that despite any bullying, life will get better. In a video from the White House, telling LGBT youth they have done nothing to deserve the bullying, and there is help available. This is something neither President Bush would have done, nor President Reagan. I can't even be sure President Clinton would have joined in, as his second term was mired in the scandal. But this President took the time to make the video, and post it on the White House YouTube account.



This has in fact been a period of highs and lows in the LGBT community, including the news of several youth taking their own lives. There has been the struggles with Marriage Equality, and the end of the DADT Policy. Our community has also been hit with the economic crisis with the rest of the country. Yes, I wish these issues were all behind us, but they are not. But I also remember a time when the leader of the free world has ignored us, or used us to whip of the fervor of his right wing followers. For me, to see a clip of the sitting President talking to members of our community, telling them they deserve more than what is happening now, and that they deserve love and respect, is, well, something I could not have believed coming from Washington, DC, 30 years ago, or even 30. So I, for one, would like to take a moment to appreciate the effort, and to say, 'Thank you, Mr. President.'

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