Has there been a more depressing presidential contest than this one, ever? The curious thing is that both Obama and Romney are able and potentially good men, both highly intelligent and accomplished in their different paths. I’d bet that the two of them, working together and granted a cooperative Congress, could solve a lot of the country’s problems without significant disagreement.
And yet, here is the actual choice before us. On one hand, an incumbent held in such disrespect by critical members of his coalition (gay activists) that they feel free to act up like spoiled children when invited to the White House. (For those who somehow missed the story, several gay activists posted Facebook pictures of themselves giving the finger to a portrait of Ronald Reagan. Classy.) Their actions speak a lot about them, as well as volumes about their opinion of Obama. Could you imagine acting that way as a guest in the home of someone you respected?
Or the alternative — a man with not much of a record and few known convictions about foreign policy except that he plans to take millions of dollars from contributors with passionate attachments to a foreign country, in the expectation that the candidate will start a war with the favored country’s rivals.
For me at least, Sheldon Adelson’s relationship to Romney and the broader problem of Israel Lobby/neocon deference it represents pose greater threats to this country’s well being than do Matthew Hart and Zoe Strauss and whatever their presence in the White House means. But my guess is that Hart and Strauss gambit will penetrate more deeply into the American consciousness. It’s likely a majority of Americans have made or are in the process of making an uneasy peace with gay marriage, and a very solid majority are well past the homophobic attitudes of past generations. But those who smell something antinomian in the Hart and Strauss gesture are not wrong — and for many it will leave a stench strong enough to sway a vote or untether the idea that rethinking old prejudices may not be worth the effort.