This weekend, the Senate passed the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military. The
Senate decision suggests an increased acceptance of homosexuals,
particularly from Republican members who are known for opposing gay
marriage. Politics Daily's Walter Shapiro
points out that social issues such as gay marriage and repealing DADT,
as well as legalizing marijuana--another issue that has gained recent
popularity--are not usually high on the agendas of Washington lobbyists
or even the politicians who support them. This leads him to propose
that Hollywood, not Washington, is responsible for influencing the
public's attitudes and creating greater acceptance of these key social
issues. "An obvious guess is that these positions correspond with the
world view of the entertainment industry. Whether it is gay rights,
sexual permissiveness or just-say-yes attitudes on recreational drugs,
Hollywood has long been at the barricades," Shapiro writes. Matt Lewis
another Politics Daily writer, agrees with Shapiro's theory. "For
decades now, Hollywood has introduced American families to gay
characters. There is little doubt this contributed to changing
attitudes toward homosexuals," he notes. Lewis cites George Bush's 2004
campaign strategy of airing close to five hundred commercials during
the television program Will & Grace as an example of this
influence. The campaign's research had found Republicans, young
Republican women in particular, were fans of the show with two gay main
characters. "It should be noted that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' would not
have passed without the support of Republican
concludes. "Clearly Hollywood (as well as the music industry) has
played a part in changing attitudes on a bipartisan level."
Obama is enjoying some unusually good press
right now. But did Hollywood win this one for him?
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