During a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, liberal pundit and activist Dan Savage discussed gay rights, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Naturally, he’s not exactly the biggest fan of Donald Trump.
While he did say that Trump isn’t as anti-gay as many other Republicans have been (at least not yet), he’s still scared of what a “President Trump” would do to gay rights and the country in general.
“He’s promised to put people on the Supreme Court who will overturn marriage equality and forcibly divorce me from my husband because that’s pro-marriage,” Savage said. “So I don’t trust Trump in the long term.”
He did have some rather high praise for Hillary Clinton, while still making sure to point out that she’s “evolved” on LGBT issues over the years.
“Hillary Clinton is good on LGBT issues, she’s excellent on them,” Savage stated. “She wasn’t always good on gay marriage, but neither was Barack Obama.”
Then Savage said something that, while he was defending Clinton, I feel addresses a much larger issue within our country right now.
“When you go to somebody, go to a politician, and you say, ‘Please change your mind,’ when they change their mind, you don’t then spend the rest of their lives going, ‘F*ck you for not changing your mind sooner!’” Savage quipped. “You say, ‘Welcome to the right side of this issue, we’re glad to have you.’”
Look, I’m not here to debate the pros and cons of Hillary Clinton or even get into a Clinton vs. Sanders battle. What I liked about his comment is what I’ve been saying for a while now. Nowadays, because anger, hate and division sell best in the media, we’ve seen things like “compromise” and a politician’s ability to evolve on an issue as a “bad thing.”
I’ve always said, I want someone who has the ability to change their mind, listen to the American people and admit a past mistake. Isn’t that what politicians are supposed to do – listen to the voters? Well, if the minds of the voters change, then why is it a “bad thing” when the opinion of a politician changes with it?
Not only that, but the Clintons were actually quite progressive on many gay issues in the 90’s when being openly gay, even among Democrats, was still not all that accepted. I think a lot of people are forgetting (or just aren’t old enough to remember) that when Bill Clinton enacted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, it was considered one of the more controversial things for its time and was the first step toward allowing gay Americans to serve in the military. Was it perfect? No. But it was a step in the right direction.
Even President Obama, who was opposed to same-sex marriage when he was first elected, knew how to “pick his battles” when it came to gay rights when he eventually ended DADT, allowing gay Americans to finally serve openly in the military.
To put into context how much gay rights have evolved even over just the last few years, just think about if, in 2016, a Democratic presidential candidate tried to run against marriage equality – they would be crushed. Yet the ultra-popular Barack Obama did so in 2008 – and won in record fashion.
But this is what I mean in this country where we have to stop looking to be “fake outraged” by something and start applying context to the things that go on in this country. Because the last thing I want in any politician is for them to lack the ability to evolve on an issue or admit a mistake. And the last thing we should do as a society is punish those politicians who do.
That’s essentially what Dan Savage was saying.
Watch the interview below via CBS: