Tag Archives: Inauguration

Mr. President

These words juxtaposed with Obama’s face on the Chicago Sun Times unleashed a torrent of tears on Oprah today. She held up the soon to be iconic covers during her interview with James Smith, the Page One Editor of the Sun Times.

The front page featuring the Bushes greeting the Obamas with the caption “welcome” was a tearjerker too.

This is what Smith said of what he was thinking when he created the headline: “Slaves built the White House.”

And I wondered at the sudden mood of racial reconciliation. Where did it come from, in an era where national discussion of race have been confined to a few series on CNN and in the New York Times? This marvel that Obama was elected because of his qualifications, and his appeal, not because of his race?

Has it been simmering under the surface this 10 years now, simmering like our apparent national shame of the Bush administration, unleashed in a torrent of flag waving on the mall as Obama was sworn in?

I’ve always loved the idea of America. I am simply amazed to see that I wasn’t alone in that love, and for the first time, this week, I felt proud of the actuality of the U.S.

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Filed under African Americans, election 2008, race, Social Justice

Obama’s Rick Warren Mistake

Lefties are ignorant about religion, resulting in political mistakes of no small magnitude.

Like the lefties on the Huffington Post suggesting that we embrace what we have in common with Warren as a way of reaching out to religious conservatives. They cite Warren’s anti-poverty work, and his reverse tithing, as examples of what he has in common with us.

While I am in favor of coalition building– and really, who isn’t on the left?– there is a line, and Warren, a vocal prop 8 supporter? That crosses it.

Progressives have religious leaders too, and though I am an atheist, I have met many of them in my work in the Bay Area. People who sleep on the street for a week once a year to know what it feels like to be one of the homeless they serve every day, for example, lit with a fervor that puts my bleeding heart to shame. And who still support LGBT rights– full civil rights, not some piecemeal second-class bullshit– while they believe in god.

Why not put one of these faithful people forward in the inauguration? Upend the idea that piety falls neatly in line with hate, as it does for Warren? Only 30 percent of Americans are religious conservatives, we tend to forget. Lumping religious together with conservative, and mistaking religious for conservative, is a grave error.

Homophobia is intolerable. It is intolerable in and of itself, and in that it upholds a patriarchal system of gendered inequality that has been used to oppress women since the dawn of time. If progressive aren’t going to take a firm stand on this, then who will?

Invite Warren to an anti-poverty summit, along with the numerous other religious leaders who struggle against injustice every day, sans mega church resources. But to invite a proponent of hate to speak at an event that is supposed to represent a summit of a civil rights movement– that is unfathomable.

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