Saturday, January 10, 2009

WW: Obama's Inauguration

When Obama invited Rick Warren to pray at his inauguration, my first response was disappointment. My second response was to tell myself, hey, he's reaching out to other people, which he said he would do, and he tends to know what he's doing. I was still uneasy, so I read editorials and spoke to friends to see if there was anything I hadn't considered that I needed to consider.

There were and are a million opinions out there. For example, Frank Rich of the New York Times, who thought it was a bad decision, wrote,
[Warren] was vociferously attacked by the Phyllis Schlafly gang when he invited Obama to speak about AIDS at his Saddleback Church two years ago.

There’s no reason why Obama shouldn’t return the favor by inviting him to Washington. But there’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” he told The Times, but “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.”

On the other hand, E.J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post, wrote,

Although I support gay marriage, I think that liberals should welcome Obama's success in causing so much consternation on the right. On balance, inviting Warren opens more doors than it closes.

During my research, I found that I agreed with much of what people wrote and said, both pro and con.

Then I discussed the situation with my friend Rodney and some other friends. We discussed it as a disappointment, and we discussed it as a sort-of-acceptable political move, and we discussed how Obama seems to know what he's doing, and then Rodney said, "But it's not my inaugural anymore."

And that sentence hit me like a ton of bricks. In all my thinking about this decision, I had ignored what I had been feeling. And Rodney hit it on the nose. I was really, truly upset. And I am really, truly upset.

Rodney also mentioned that he had replied to a request for a donation from Obama's people with a, uh, somewhat pointed response that they shouldn't approach him anymore. I copied his idea, but I didn't tell them to stop contacting me. Instead, any time they approach me, I write about my disappointment and how, after giving hundreds of dollars, I have no interest in giving any more money. I end with the line, "I wish Obama supported me as much as I supported him."

Now I'm trying to figure out (1) how to let my disappointment go, and (2) whether to let it go.

I was so excited when Obama won. I was flat-out thrilled. Of course, I understood that he wouldn't be able to be too overtly pro-gay right off the bat. And I knew that he would inevitably disappoint me--and everyone else too! But I didn't expect this symbolic slap in the face, so soon. If that is what this is.

After all this thinking, I've decided to hold off deciding what I think and to see what the future brings. I'm still disappointed, but I have decided to be cautiously optimistic.

Here's hoping!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think cautious optimism is a good stance - and you might be surprised that the optimism part of this equation will pay off. I think your feeling that Obama is reaching out is correct - that is what I feel in my gut. He has the onerous task of re-uniting a deeply divided nation, and rather than a slap in the face to the GLBT and liberal factions, I think it is more of a hand reached out to the hardcore anti-Obama faction. Anyway, as to whom Warren is praying for/to, God/Goddess is one - all the same, no matter what glasses we view them through. I really think it's going to be all right. So try to keep the faith in Obama, and know that no matter the dufus doing the praying, it is the benevolent power of the Universe that receives the prayer.