Tag Archives: Glenn Greenwald

Barack Obama is Not My Boyfriend Anymore

2 Jun

Photo used under a Creative Commons license by flickr user waltarrrr

My dears, it has come to this. A while ago, Bill Maher did a bit telling liberals to stop fawning over Obama because “He’s your president, not your boyfriend.” I read this quote on on Glenn Greenwald’s blog and back then I was like, “right on, right on.” But it was like one of those empty church amens that people do when they’re not really listening all that well, but know they should be agreeing with whatever was just said.

I don’t think I’m the only liberal who had a little bit of “Barack Obama is my boyfriend” syndrome. And who could blame us? After eight years of being stuck in a terrible, unfulfilling relationship with Stifler from American Pie, we were all so glad to finally meet this wonderful guy who promised to make us forget all about that Bush fellow.

Let’s take a moment to remember the times, shall we?

When we first saw him in 2004, we were struck by how perfect Barack Hussein Obama was. Although we’d been told that it wasn’t healthy to pin too many hopes on a guy we’d just met, we couldn’t help but imagine how wonderful it would be to be in a relationship with him. Our new boyfriend Barack was the perfect man– Larenz Tate in Love Jones, if you will. He was so smart and soulful, whispering sweet nothings about hope and dreams and change into our ears. He read to us from his books, and we were blown away by how beautifully he could put words together. By every measure, he was everything our ex wasn’t: cosmopolitan, intellectual, responsive to our needs, and respectful of our feelings. Unlike the last guy, he wasn’t an ignorant oaf who embarrassed us at parties. No, we didn’t have to worry about Barack choking on hors d’oeuvres or repeatedly mispronouncing our colleague’s name. He had a law degree and spoke a couple of languages, so we could introduce him to even our most bougie friends and he’d fit right in. Lest you think he was Carlton Banks, Barack also had a subtle way of reminding us that he was down, a Chicago boy who knew how to brush the dirt off his shoulders. After years of dealing with a controlling partner, it was refreshing that Barack didn’t want to isolate us from our friends, but encouraged us to stay close with all of our mates around the world. We didn’t even mind that he was technically already taken; seeing how wonderful he was with his other family made us love him even more.

So we liked it, and we put a ring on it. Our wedding was fantastic—Aretha sang, and we partied for hours on end. We even got a little vindictive, and made sure our ex was there to see how much happier we were with our new boo. And then we coldly told G.W., “to the left.”

It was really quite terrific for a while, and we woke up everyday pinching ourselves thinking, “Am I really married to this guy? Is it possible for men to really be this wonderful?” It was astounding to us that when there was a problem, he’d actually listen to us and try to fix it, instead of shutting us down and claiming that he alone was “the decider” in the relationship. It took us an even longer time to get over the fact that he would apologize for mistakes that he’d made! What was that thing our ex used to say about the “bigotry of low expectations” again?

Now we’re a year and a half into it, and like all marriages, the shine is starting to wear off a little bit.  We’re definitely still happy, but we want more.  While we wouldn’t dream of going back to our old guy,  we’re starting to feel like our relationship with Barack has plateaued a bit. When we were young and still courting, he made us imagine all these fantastic possibilities, and now that we know how wonderful relationships can be, we can’t settle for anything less than what he promised us. Even though we did our fair share of gawking in the early days, the fact that he still looks good in a tux and can make us smile just isn’t enough anymore. Maybe our relationship problems stem from Barack having to deal with the fact that our ex maxed out our credit cards and started feuds with a bunch of our neighbors before he peaced out. In any case, something has got to change.

So how do we emerge from this relationship malaise, and get the unabashedly progressive marriage we want and deserve? Well, the first step is refusing to look at any more adorable pictures of this man (and his other family) because they always make us forget why we were so mad at him in the first place. Avert your eyes from that smile, we have serious things to be angry about! Like why he didn’t push for the public option like he said he would. Or why he’s been so slow to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. And while we’re at it, how come he’s starting to behave a lot like our ex did, what with all that  sinister maneuvering to avoid giving detainees their constitutionally protected right to due process?

This isn’t the guy we married, the first guy many of us decided to trust after we’d been in a series of crappy relationships. I mean, we wore t-shirts with his face on them!

We still see a little of the old Barack here and there, enough to keep the spark alive. But if this is going to last, we need to start demanding that Senator Barack Obama show up more often and remind us why we were totally bonkers over him in the first place. That Barack spoke out against the War in Iraq and opposed the arbitrary detention of insurgents and American citizens.

That guy, with his dreams of transformative change, was–to borrow his term—audacious.