Barack Obama is a genius

OK, for the past week I’ve listened to my friends – staunch Obama supporters all – complain about President-Elect Obama’s choice of conservative pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.  (I’m not even going to discuss why there’s an invocation in the first place – that’s just a waste of time.)

I can understand why they’re pissed.  They campaigned for Obama, they voted for him, they drove others to the polls on election day, some even worked directly for the campaign.  And then he turns around and gives a big, public, virtual hug to a guy who believes the opposite of them when it comes to gay marriage, abortion rights, evolution, and a bunch of other issues.

In 2004 Rick Warren had this to say to his congregation about whom they should vote for (I found it on his Wikipedia page):

Despite Warren’s progressive image and focus on social issues, he is closely aligned with conservative evangelical viewpoints. On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, Warren sent an email[11] to his Saddleback congregation telling them that there were five non-negotiable issues that should determine their vote.

  1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children?
  2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem-cell harvesting?
  3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual marriage?
  4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning?
  5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia—the killing of elderly and invalids?

Warren chose not to overtly endorse a candidate, however the message clearly was an encouragement to vote for George W. Bush.

Let’s start with the fact that the country would be in a much, much better place right now if ALL voters in 2004 had concentrated on what the candidates would do for the economy, what the candidates would do about Iraq and Afghanistan, what the candidates thought about the handling of emergencies and crises…but I digress.  Rick Warren is obviously against some things that I think are very important.  And it’s safe to assume that most of the people who like him and listen to him and buy his books are also on what I would absolutely consider to be the wrong side of many issues.  But that’s all obvious.  My initial reaction when I heard about Rick Warren taking part in the inauguration was the same as my friends: WTF?

Then I started thinking about Barack Obama, and what he claims to be about.  And now I realize the genius of this plan.  The country is not doing well.  Here in my crunchy Brooklyn neighborhood everybody seems to be on the same page about a lot of issues, and it’s easy to forget that the country is so very divided about abortion, about the wars, about stem cell research, about gay marriage, and about many other things that determine who people vote for.  So what happens in four years?  Conservatives lick their wounds for a while, and then regroup and get people pissed off and fired up and Republicans win back the White House in 2012.

Or, we do something different.  We don’t just talk about working together, we actually do it.  And believe me, the thought of working together with people like Rick Warren repulses me.  But the alternative is worse.  Isolating conservatives for the next four years will not achieve anything productive.  It will just reinforce what they already believe about liberals.  But by bringing people like Rick Warren into the fold, people who would have ignored the inauguration may watch for Rick Warren but stay and hear what Obama has to say.  People who are against gay marriage may start talking to people who are for it, instead of yelling at them, and some minds may be changed.

What we’re doing now isn’t working.  It’s time for something different.  And Obama is walking the walk.  His supporters have to get used to it, and trust him, and remember why they voted for him in the first place.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom


  1. Jen says

    I HOPE you are right. I hope that 4 years from now we are in a much better place. I hope he lives by his words, but I have my doubts, he IS a politician.

  2. Toni says

    EXACTLY. I’ve been holding a extremely unpopular view about this — I’ve got some liberal friends pretty pissed at me, and a number of gay friends that have thrown the “you don’t understand because you’re straight” line at me, as if I haven’t been going to gay rights marches since I was 18 but unless I have sex with a woman I’m unqualified to care. Obama is doing *precisely* what he said he would do, in the campaign, in his books. He said he was interested in building bridges. That’s what he’s doing. There’s Rick Warren, right-wing, giving the invocation; Joseph Lowery, a left leader of the civil rights movement, doing the benediction. Balance. We could use some of that.

    I think liberals have a bad habit of expecting their leaders to do just what the want them to do, and nothing else. They heard what they wanted to hear about Obama, and not what he was really saying. It’s frustrating to me to have to listen to this whining right now, when all he’s doing is living up to his word.

    I think you’re very right about the crunchy folks (I have my own set) forgetting that the vast part of the country doesn’t agree with us. America isn’t just divided on gay marriage; like it or not, the majority is against it. I don’t think civil rights should be decided by mob rule (if they were there’d still be slavery, and women wouldn’t vote) but it does mean there are a lot of minds that need changing.

    (Sorry. this is a big soapbox issue for me right now!)

  3. says

    I know what you mean about hearing what they wanted to hear. I think also that liberals in general tend to be harder on their candidates and politicians, even if it’s bad for the Democrats. Republicans tend to have a more pragmatic view of things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *