måndag 28 juni 2010

Obamas tal till (gay)folket.

President Barack Obama höll sitt tal till HBT-aktivister vid White House Pride-firandet 23 juni. Obama blir ibland anklagad för att vara bara en retoriker. Men jag menar att en presidents uppgift delvis är att inspirera genom sin retorik. Givetvis måste det sedan fyllas med innehåll.

Obama har hittills orsakat både glädje och besvikelse bland de i USA som sympatiserar med honom. Men det är mycket tydligt att USA fått en ny färdriktning inom många områden sedan han blev president. Själva White House Pride-firandet är ett bevis för det. Det hade varit omöjligt med ett sådant evenemang när George W Bush var president.

De senaste decennierna är det väl bara en annan president i USA som kan tävla med Obama när det gäller retorisk skicklighet, Ronald Reagan. Han hade ofta problem i debatter när han inte var förberedd. Hans politik var konservativ även om han aldrig försämrade några homorättigheter - till den kristna högerns besvikelse. Men folk som mötte honom säger att han hade en sådan karisma att de sällan sett det hos någon annan politiker. Och han var skicklig när han höll förberedda tal.

Några delar av Obamas tal som kanske kan fungera som inspiration även för oss svenskar när det nu är många Pridefiranden i sommar både här och i andra länder. Talet i sin helhet är på USA-gaysiten 365.com.
Hello, hello, hello! (Applause.) Hello, everybody! (Applause.) I was going to say welcome to the White House — but you guys seem like you feel right at home. (Laughter.) You don’t need me to tell you — it’s the people’s house.....

And it is also great to have so many activists and organizers from around the country — folks who fight every day for the rights of parents and children and partners and citizens to be treated equally under the law. And so we are very proud of all of you. (Applause.)

Oh, and by the way, the guy standing next to me — this is Joe Biden. (Applause.) Just because he’s a Phillies fan — he’s from Delaware. (Laughter.)

Now, look, the fact that we’ve got activists here is important because it’s a reminder that change never comes — or at least never begins in Washington. It begins with acts of compassion -– and sometimes defiance -– across America. It begins when ordinary people –- out of love for a mother or a father, son or daughter, or husband or wife -– speak out against injustices that have been accepted for too long. And it begins when these impositions of conscience start opening hearts that had been closed, and when we finally see each other’s humanity, whatever our differences....

Just stay with me here for a second. Last year, I met with Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mom, and I promised her that after a decade’s-long struggle, we would pass inclusive hate crimes legislation. I promised that in the name of her son we would ensure that the full might of the law is brought down on those who would attack somebody just because they are gay. And less than six months later, with Judy by my side, we marked the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act. It’s now the law of the land. (Applause.)

Just a few moments ago, I met with Janice Langbehn and her children. Where did Janice go? There they are right there. And when Janice’s partner of 18 years, Lisa, suddenly collapsed because of an aneurysm, Janice and the couple’s three kids were denied the chance to comfort their partner and their mom — barred from Lisa’s bedside. It was wrong. It was cruel. And in part because of their story, I instructed my Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to make sure that any hospital that’s participating in Medicare or Medicaid -– that means most hospitals — (laughter) — allow gay and lesbian partners the same privileges and visitation rights as straight partners. (Applause.)....

In addition, I’ve issued an executive order[SIC]* to extend as many partnership benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees as possible under current law. And I’m going to continue to fight to change the law: to guarantee gay federal employees the exact same benefits as straight employees -– including access to health insurance and retirement plans. (Applause.) And in an announcement today, the Department of Labor made clear that under the Family and Medical Leave Act, same-sex couples –- as well as others raising children -– are to be treated like the caretakers that they are. (Applause.)

Because I believe in committed — I believe that committed gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country, I have called for Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. (Applause.) We are pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. (Applause.) No one in America should be fired because they’re gay. It’s not right, it’s not who we are as Americans, and we are going to put a stop to it.

And finally, we’re going to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. (Applause.) That is a promise I made as a candidate. It is a promise that I reiterated as President. It’s one that this administration is going to keep. Now, the only way to lock this in -– the only way to get the votes in Congress to roll back this policy — is if we work with the Pentagon, who are in the midst of two wars....

And thanks to Patrick Murphy and others, for the first time in history, the House has passed a repeal that would allow gay men and women to openly serve in our armed forces. And this repeal is authored so that the Pentagon can complete its review of the policy — which is critical, by the way, not only to passage, but it’s also critical to making sure that the change is accepted and implemented effectively. In the Senate, the Armed Services Committee has approved repeal for the first time, and the full body is poised to vote soon.

So here’s the bottom line: We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy. And I’m going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk and I can sign it. (Applause.) ....

This is a reminder that we all have an obligation to ensure that no young person is ever made to feel worthless or alone — ever. Now, at the same time, I think there’s plenty of reason to have some hope for many of the young people including those who are here today. They’ve shown incredible courage and incredible integrity — standing up for who they are. They’ve refused to be anything less than themselves.

And we all remember being young — sort of. (Laughter.) But it’s not easy. It’s not easy standing up all the time and being who you are. But they’re showing us the way forward. These young people are helping to build a more perfect union, a nation where all of us are equal; each of us is free to pursue our own versions of happiness.

And I believe because of them that the future is bright. It’s certainly bright for them. Of course, it does depend on all of us. It depends on the efforts of government and the activism of ordinary citizens like yourselves. It depends on the love of families and the support of communities. And I want you all to know that as this work continues, I’m going to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, fighting by your side every step of the way. (Applause.)

So, thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Uppdatering 1.

De flesta av oss svenskar tycker nog det är udda att Obama säger God bless you i sitt tal. Det är inte förenligt med den attityd de flesta av oss har i Sverige.

Men jag vill berätta när jag var på ett möte på Stortorget i Malmö 2003. Det var dagen efter dåvarande utrikesministern Anna Lindh blev mördad. Det var många människor på torget, de flesta var nog socialdemokrater men jag träffade också många borgerliga politiker där. Vi var givetvis alla bedrövade efter mordet. Som en sista del i ceremonin fick en präst säga några ord. Han avslutade med "Gud välsigne dig Anna Lindh". Och även om jag är sekulär och inte identifierar mig som kristen så var det kanske den finaste delen av talet. Det var så tydligt att han menade de orden och att det här handlade om något annat än simpel partipolitik. Det var en medmänniska som hade blivit mördad.

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