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Obama Plays SOTU Lip Service to Equality

The President's cognitive dissonance on gay rights and the Olympics.

Bethany Mandel


January 30, 2014 - 7:00 am

Last night during the State of the Union, I was amazed to hear President Obama say the following:

We [Americans] believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.  And next week, the world will see one expression of that commitment – when Team USA marches the red, white, and blue into the Olympic Stadium – and brings home the gold.

The cognitive dissonance between the first sentence and the second in that paragraph is mind blowing considering the situation for the gay community in Russia currently. The Mayor of Sochi, where the Olympics are about to take place, recently “reassured” the world that there weren’t any gays in his city. The situation is dangerous for Russians and visitors alike, as Russian President Vladamir Putin has put out a warning not to spread “homosexual propaganda” to any gay attendees or participants at the Games.

President Obama has chosen not to attend the Olympics, nor will he be sending his Vice President or wife for the first time in U.S. history. His administration has, however, named two gay athletes to the American delegation. Presumably the Presidential boycott and the fact that the U.S. delegation contains openly gay members is enough to express to the world that we hold this commitment to equality dear, though that has never been explicitly expressed. Apparently that’s enough.

If President Obama wanted to do more than pay lip service to gay rights (I would say the right to not be beaten in the streets in Russia counts as “gay rights”), he would be explicit in his opposition to Russia’s draconian anti-gay laws. Instead, he makes proclamations about his newfound support for gay marriage while using the American gay community as a fundraising cash cow.

Image: BuzzFeed

Bethany Mandel is a graduate of Rutgers University with a BA in History and Jewish Studies. Previously she worked as a teacher in rural Cambodia, as an online fundraiser at The Heritage Foundation and most recently the Social Media Associate at Commentary Magazine. She is currently a work-at-home mother. She has appeared on CNBC's The Kudlow Report, Huffington Post Live, BBC World's World Have Your Say, and is a regular guest on "Powers to the People" on Talk Radio 1380am WNRR. She was chosen by The Jewish Week as one of its "36 Under 36" in 2013, an annual list of individuals reinventing Jewish life. She lives with her husband Seth Mandel, an assistant editor for Commentary Magazine, in New Jersey.
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