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Santorum, Sullivan, Sulu: One is not like the other

No two incidents better reflect our country’s schizophrenic political and cultural zeitgeist as it pertains to gay rights than this above photo taken by Charles Dharapak on one end of the spectrum and on the polar opposite end, the crowd’s reaction at a Santorum rally of seeing two men kiss. As the two kissers, Timothy Tross and Ben Clifford, were escorted out, the crowd lustily chanted “USA! USA!” (you know, because nothing screams American values quite like oppressing personal choices and because PDA is totally “ew” and unpatriotic) as if it were the 1981 Olympics “Miracle on Ice” hockey match.

So there’s that aspect of American culture right now.

In contrast, Dharapak’s aforementioned photo captures Andrew Sullivan swagishly walking hand-in-hand with his husband Aaron Tone as invited guests of President Obama on their way to last Thursday’s State Dinner at the White House honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha. Phil Perdue articulates the significance of this moment:

…since in the U.S. the visibility of married gay couples has not yet become normalized within the optics of State, it’s hard not to read an important symbolic affirmation onto this moment. For President Obama, such optics deliver a salient response not only to his political opposition as they desperately scramble to inoculate American culture from happy, committed couples like Sullivan-Tone, but also to LGBT advocates within his own party who want to include same-sex marriage in the Democratic party platform.

Which vision of America will prevail? If memes are indicators of which way the winds are blowing, then this image macro meme that George Takei posted on his Facebook, which has been shared almost 17k times, provides a definitive answer:

A guy that walks on water does not stutter.