Friday, December 19, 2008

pre-Shabbat rant

This is in reference to the news that the Rev. Rick Warren has been asked to give the invocation at the inauguration next month.

I watched the News Hour last night and thought the discussion began to touch on some of the issues with having Warren speak, but it didn't go far enough. (For example, here's a good point from columnist Dan Savage)

Also, Obama's rationale for inviting Warren as a simple quid pro quo (Warren had invited Obama to speak at his church) doesn't wash. There's a world of difference between speaking at a church, even a megachurch, and being asked to give the invocation at the Presidential inaugural. The first is a private event and the second is of national and world significance. Inviting Warren to speak at the inaugural is an explicit endorsement, and people will take it as such. The choice of Warren says a great deal about what Obama's presidency prioritizes, whether or not Obama agrees with Warren on issues pertaining to the gay community. In this case what it says is that once again the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people are of little importance and that, during these times of severe economic crisis and all the other issues Obama faces, it's fine to once again put the concerns of the gay community on the back burner.

As someone who is married to a woman but who does not identify as a lesbian per se, I am outraged both by the blatant disrespect for my marriage and the casual, cynical assumption that marginalizing this group of people is considered part of the cost of doing business by the Obama team (and maybe even Obama himself), because we are, as a voting bloc, politically impotent now that the election is over. (As an aside, have any political researchers/pollsters ever counted up the numbers of people who are not themselves gay, bi or trans but who have family members and friends who are? Families and friends care about these issues too).

I understand the politics that went into this decision. Obama wants to reach out to people who believe in Warren and what he represents, and I get that Obama wants, in his words, "to disagree without being disagreeable," but I am sickened that his bridgebuilding comes at the expense, once again, of the right of gays, lesbians, trans and bi people to be treated with the same respect and dignity all people deserve.



beth h said...

From where I sit: Same ol', same ol'.

I was NEVER working under the illusion that Obama actually represented me or my concerns. That makes all this now -- the inaugural noise, the weird-ass cabinet appointments, and everything else -- less of a disappointment. I was already disappointed back when Dennis Kucinich -- the only guy in the race with the balls to tell the truth, IMHO -- was shut out of the primaries. End of story.

This is nothing new and I do not expect it to change in my lifetime. The only thing that has changed about gay bashing is that (for me, anyway) these days it's institutional instead of physical. But it hurts all the same, and it's another reminder of the fact that because I'm a dyke I will be marginalized by the mainstream.

The only thing left for me to do is to life my life -- ALL of my life -- out loud, and not care who I piss off. So that's what I try to do.

Magpie Ima said...

I wish I could say I was shocked but I am not. I don't know why Obama feels he needs to suck up to the right--they never cared about us when they were holding the reins. I say "screw them" and let's get busy fixing the country but what do I know?