In 1948, we had President Harry Truman running for a full term as President, and under constant attack by the Republicans, who controlled both houses of Congress. We also had Mayor Hubert Humphrey, later Senator, Vice President, and Presidential nominee, who had the courage to fight for a civil rights plank at the Democratic National Convention of that year. This put the Democratic party and Harry Truman ahead of the Republicans in that regard, and it was the Democratic Party which fought within itself, against the Southern Democratic segregationists, and finally brought about civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
Now, we have a Democratic President, Barack Obama, facing a hostile House of Representatives controlled by the opposition Republicans, and we have the controversial issue of gay marriage, as well as promotion of full rights in every way for gay men and lesbians. And we have a courageous, principled Vice President, Joe Biden, and a gutsy Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, who have now aggressively promoted the issue of gay marriage as a human rights issue, and there is a push on to get President Obama to take the next step in what he has himself called his “evolution”, and publicly endorse gay marriage. And there is a movement now to make it a plank in the Democratic Party platform that will be adopted at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this September.
This will, of course, make it a clear cut issue with the opposition Republicans, but it is time to mount the fight for equality, just as Humphrey and Truman did it two thirds of a century ago.
In the long run of history, Humphrey and Truman look like statesmen for promoting what they believed, as Biden, Duncan, and ultimately, Barack Obama, will look in the future writing of American history in the 21st century!