Thursday, December 18, 2008

Response to outrage at Obama's Inaugural choice.

Why did he choose Rev. Warren for the opening of the inauguration?
I have a few thoughts on it, the first of which has to do with one of the main reasons that I was attracted to Obama as my president in the first place.

In 2004, when a nationally unknown Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention, he initiated a dialogue that he culminated in his recent presidential acceptance speech in Chicago.This is not a country divided by political party. It is not a nation colored by red or blue; not place separated by moral stance, socio-economic position,color, religion, or orientation. This is the United States of America, and each person, regardless of whether they hold views that oppose our own, are equal, valuable members of this nation.

I see Obama's choice as a reaching out, once again, to a person that he respects as a human being. An American. A symbolic gesture to speak clearly that Obama recognizes that though he holds positions passionately, he realizes that they are not the only positions held by Americans. He acknowledges that he does not agree with Reverend Warren on various issues, but that he does on others, and that they agree to respectfully honor one another's positions.

This radical idea, that we can all live together as a united and mutually respectful people of Americans with unique and differing perspectives is being highlighted symbolically in Obama's choice of Reverend Warren. What is not being talked about is his choice of the pastor that will close the inauguration. Obama chose Reverend Joseph Lowery, a veteran of the civil rights movement, a pastor who has worked tirelessly to unite people and lift up those who have experienced judgement and oppression.

Earlier today, I heard a perspective on these pastoral choices that I find poignant and relevant. Perhaps Obama chose Reverend Warren to open his inuaguration to reach out in acceptance to "where we currently are as a nation". Reverend Warren, though working to acknowledge our nations failure to deal with poverty, maintains a strict, right-wing moral stance on issues related to a woman's right to choose and on a person's right to choose whom to love. Some would consider these ideas divisive. That is where we are now.

Then, he chose Reverend Lowery to close the ceremony - a symbolic movement to show where Obama wants to take us in the next four years -- to acceptance. to peace. to gentleness. to non-judgement. To equality as an American people.

Is this his motive?
I don't know.
I do think it's meaningful
and inspiring.

So, do I think it's hypocritical that Obama chose, to swear him in as President of the United States of America, a person that differs widely from himself on matters significant to the people of this country?


I think it's beautiful.
I think it's brilliant.
I think it's poignant.
I think it's unifying.

And I think it's long overdue.


Kasia :) said...

I TOTALLY agree. Rev. Warren has a lot of fine qualities, and supposedly has made great strides against fighting poverty and racial inequality. Even if he differs on gay rights issues, there are a number of other things going for him, and while I am a gay rights advocate, that needn't be at the forefront of the inauguration. His opinions don't make him a harbinger of hate, and it's important to have representation from all sides and beliefs for our country to come together.

Obama acknowledges their differences. It would be highly unusual to find a Rev. who agrees 100% with the ideas and opinions of a president-elect. If you did, would that person be sincere? Would that person be truly committed to his/her beliefs or another boring fence-straddler?

Good-hearted people can change, and they also have the power to influence others. I think we are off to a good start in '09! Fingers crossed...

Anonymous said...

I agree - you go girl. I'm so proud to have such an eloquent (sp?) friend! Mare