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Archive for May 12th, 2012

By Bob Clark

This past week has seen a fair number of developments on the American fronts concerning civil rights and prejudice in national politics, all revolving around the  discussion of broadening civil liberties for gays and lesbians. Starting with Vice President Joe Biden’s off-the-cuff comments on Meet the Press last Sunday, we’ve seen the Obama administration adopt a strikingly accepting tone for the question of granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples, a step that far exceeds the positions taken by past Democratic office-holders and candidates in the recent past, culminating in the bombshell announcement on Wednesday of the President’s full personal support for marriage equality. Many have looked at this development on purely cynical, partisan competition-minded terms– Biden’s usual hoof-in-mouth elocution stylings forcing Obama to either dispute him and risk losing the Democratic base, or match him and risk losing the rest of the country; the possible motivations of mobilizing said base of younger, more open-minded voters and, more likely, the millions upon millions of funds to be secured from liberal donors. But in my eye, it’s merely been a long-overdue definition of terms that most of us already assumed existed something like this in the first place– Obama didn’t so much come to this decision after long years of soul searching as much as he held in an opinion for a long time that was bound to be controversial, and came out of the closet about it.

Granted, as a mere personal belief as opposed to a public policy statement it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference as far as the way of the nation goes, but as a part of the larger discourse concerning gay rights and prejudice in all forms across the country, it stands as a prime example of the bully pulpit put to good use. It’s especially iconic coming from a President whose very election counters its own centuries-old tide of bigotry and reaffirms the very egalitarian ambitions that helped found the Republic to begin with, and even more especially so considering many of the recent revelations about the presumptive Republican nominee’s past as a prep-school bully who once helped hold a classmate down and cut off his hair, to boot. And as a part of the even larger cultural conversation about the increasingly hostile pattern of physical and emotional bullying in and out of  schools over matters of race, gender, sexual orientation or just plain not-fitting-in, the President’s open-arms endorsement of tolerance over the course of his first term in office and especially this past week stands as one of the defining aspects of his administration (indeed, if the Republicans have their way, it could wind up the only defining aspect that can’t be legislated or litigated into obscurity). As such, between these recent events and the higher profile that Marvel comics have had in recent weeks for obvious reasons, the time seems right to revisit one of the other major comic-book adaptations of the past ten years, and one that adheres remarkably close in spirit to a specific graphic-novel whose very essence is dedicated to the questions of prejudice and bigotry in all its forms. The film in question is Bryan Singer’s X2, and its source material the vaunted God Loves, Man Kills, from 1982.

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