Guest Column

June 2, 2012

Appreciates risk Obama took on gay marriage

Congratulations to President Obama for taking a big political risk when he announced his support of same-sex marriage. It took him a while, but his way is to think difficult issues through, and I respect him for it.

Over the years, many social customs have been modified or changed altogether. There was a time when women couldn’t vote, when interracial marriage was illegal in many parts of the nation, or when a man couldn’t come home without a paycheck or his neighbors would talk trash about him. There were plenty of jobs in those days, and if nothing else was available, one could always work in a factory, on an assembly line, as a shipping clerk or delivering telegrams. I’ve done all of those and even taken a turn on Brooklyn’s infamous docks as a longshoreman.

It must be difficult to be young today; not only is there a superabundance of new technology to absorb, but social mores are changing faster than you can blink your eyes. In my youth, nobody ever thought that one day they might be sitting in school next to a student with two mommies or two daddies.

But that’s the way things are these days, like it or not. “The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine,” someone once said. One never knows what they might produce.

If you are young, you probably can’t imagine that there was once a time when, if I wanted to take a train to points South, I would have to change to the Jim Crow car in Union Station, in our nation’s capital, just a stone’s throw from the place where Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I Had a Dream” speech. In many parts of the country, African-American men and women alike were kept from voting by poll taxes, unfair literacy requirements and other devious devices. America is no stranger to discrimination.

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