President Obama’s announcement that he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry will not – and should not — hurt him among black and Latino voters.

There are political factions seeking to exploit fear of America’s growing diversity, factions whose only hope of success is to pit groups of Americans against each other. A series of internal memos from the conservative National Organization for Marriage reveals this cynical ploy.

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies,” one memo states. Another discusses recruiting “glamorous” Latino artists and entertainers in order to make heterosexual-only marriage “a key badge of Latino identity.” (The memos were obtained by the Human Rights Campaign during a court proceeding and released in March.)

But voters of color are too smart to fall for these cheap, divide-and-conquer strategies.

Look at the political forces leading the charge against same-sex marriage.

Look at the forces seeking to roll back affirmative action.

Look at the forces looking to pass draconian anti-immigrant laws or blame poor people of color for the mortgage meltdown and economic crisis.

The cast of characters overlaps so much as to be nearly indistinguishable.

This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Republican pollster Jan R. van Lohuizen, who worked for President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, recently wrote: “Polling conducted among Republicans shows that majorities of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters support extending basic legal protections to gays and lesbians.”

Van Lohuizen urged GOP leaders to back off their opposition to equal treatment for same-sex couples, lest being on the wrong side of history marginalize them permanently. He sensed the tide turning, something voters of color understand well.

This is the great civil rights struggle of our era. Marriage equality will succeed because we will not let ourselves be divided. As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If one of us is not free, then none of us are truly free.”

George Dean and Ortensia Lopez are co-chairs of The Greenlining Institute, They can be reached at

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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