By Jay Kirell
Ten years from now a gay person will run for president.
Think that’s absurd? You’re not alone. Even though support for gay rights in this country has been accelerating at a rapid pace over the past few years, you’d be hard-pressed to find many political pundits who think an openly gay person would run, let alone win.
They’ll say there isn’t a big enough pool of openly gay politicians, certainly not at the national level right now.
They’ll say even if there was, America wouldn’t be ready for one because a whole large segment of the country still opposes the idea of gays marrying.
They’ll say Barack Obama’s presidency has shown how divided Americans still are over race, so how could it possibly survive even the possibility of a gay president?
And of course, they’d be wrong.
While it is true that the number of openly gay politicians in Washington D.C. is rather small – only eight as of 2014 – in 2012 there was a wave of openly gay state-level winners. This wave included victories in such hotbeds of liberalism as North Dakota, West Virginia and New Mexico.
America might, in some quarters, be wrestling with the issue of gay marriage, but time seems to be on the side of those in favor, as well as the courts.
Whether one of the openly gay politicians currently in congress, those running on the ballot this year, or those on the lower state-wide level can make a rise up the ranks quickly enough to be considered a serious candidate by 2024 remains to be seen.
All I know is that its certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Right now a woman is so far and away the frontrunner for the presidency in 2016 that Hillary Clinton might as well change her name to Secretariat. That has to qualify as defying the odds considering America has yet to nominate, let alone elect, a woman to the highest office in the land.
But defying the odds is usually the way most presidents get elected.
In 1970 nobody would have guessed an actor could be elected president. Ten years later Ronald Reagan was elected.
In 1982 nobody would have guessed the next Democratic president would be a poor, moderate Southerner. Ten years later Bill Clinton was elected.
In 1990 nobody would have guessed the son of the president would be the next Republican to hold office. Ten years later George W. Bush was (sorta) elected.
In 2004 nobody would have thought a black man would be elected president. Ten years later Barack Obama is set to complete his second term.
In 2014 nobody believes an openly gay politician can be elected president.
Ten years from now, after what was eight years of the first black president and possibly eight years of the first female president, who’s to say we won’t be getting ready for eight years of the first gay president?