Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chill out people! It's not the end of the world just yet

I cringe to say this and I know folks are going to be a little upset but . . .

Everyone needs to chill out about Obama selecting Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inaguration.

For the record, I am not in favor of the choice. I think Obama was showing that he is a president for all Americans, even though many of us do not share same views on controversial issues.

It was a clumsy attempt but as much as I hate to admit it, I have to give him points for it.

And I will tell you why I feel this way.

I was involved in the protest when Donnie McClurkin toured for Obama in 2006. I didn't like what happened then but mostly I hated how the entire thing ended. There were folks on our side who were too strident and undisciplined, Donnie McClurkin came out of the controversy smelling like a rose, and still the issues of lgbts of color were not addressed.

Subsequently, I did some soul searching and came to the conclusion that sometimes you have to step back and look at the bigger picture before going off half cocked.

Also, I remember how the religious right acted when Bush was re-elected in 2004.

I remember the cocky comments from pastors who loudly declared that they were the ones who got Bush re-elected and as such folks had better show them some respect.

I remember the words of Bob Jones University in a letter written to Bush after the election:

You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ. Honor the Lord, and He will honor you.

I remember how Bush said the election gave him capital and he was going to use it. And use it he did. We are going to be paying for how he used his capital long after he leaves office.

So when I remember these things, I cringe when I hear the comments of my lgbt brothers and sisters who are already declaring “game over” and calling Obama everything but a child of God.

I cringe to hear the extreme hyperbolic claims that Obama has thrown lgbt families over the side.

Has he really?

No he hasn’t. All he did was reach out to a core of constituents.

Warren and people like him have been unfairly appropriating words like “family” and “values” and making their views seem moderate when they are anything but moderate.

But they are Americans too. And while we see them as misguided, Obama sees them as people that he has been elected to reach out to and represent.

The problem here does not lie with Obama. The problem lies with the assumption that Obama’s election is a magic lamp that will make our problems go away.

That’s not the case. The road got less bumpy with Obama in office but it is still a long road that we have to travel to get what we need.

And we still have work to do. We still have to educate Americans (Obama included) on who we are, what our needs are, and how we have a right to words like “family” and “values.”

Obama is going to be in office for at least four years. During that time, I know that I will not agree with every decision he makes.

But I am still glad he was elected. And I am not ready to say “game over” just yet.
Obama and Rick Warren - Let's do the right thing

Homobigot Rick Warren to deliver invocation at inauguration

I don't like it but can we do something other than getting on our computers and spew venom? I swear if some of us lgbts did what we needed to do in our individual communities as quick as we throw around hyperbole on blogs, we would be unbeatable.

Of course it's not supposed to be all peaches and cream. I'm sure before it's all said and done, Obama will do things to piss us off as well as delight us.

One thing for sure though. In light of their protests over the recent Newsweek article about religion and gay marriage, the religious right had better not say a damned thing about our supposed "lack of tolerance."

Of course who am I kidding?

But this is the perfect time to act as a community. I am sorry if I offended some by my first statements but I am of the opinion that we shouldn't waste time talking about how "Obama betrayed us."

We need to show our anger as a community over this action. When the religious right gets angry, they complain en masse.

Why should we be any different?

I don't like the assumption that Obama should "get where we are coming from" without some prodding from us from time to time.

And this is one of those times.

So, if you want to complain, here are the appropriate emails to do it. I don't think I have to tell you all to show some dignity and respect. Be courteous: (Parag Mehta is Obama’s LGBT liaison in the transition team.) (Steve Hildebrandt) )