Sunday, December 21, 2008

Craftier Than We Even Thought

Radio, supermarket checkouts, furious flying emails, holiday and graduation parties: everywhere the talk has been about Obama's surprising move in choosing Rev Rick Warren for his inaugural invocation. Didn't sit well with many of his supporters. I have no love for the Reverend myself and am rather offended, to say the least, as were most of the people I came across. But. This is no casual move on Obama's part. I suspect that he's quote deliberately setting the tone of his administration from the very first moment. A tone of tolerance and acceptance rather than exclusion and demonizing. He's going to bring everyone, regardless of their position or viewpoint to the table, even if he disagrees with them, and get them to acknowledge each others right to their ideas and viewpoints. Or at the very least, be civil.

Tolerance goes both ways, I hate to say. Obama probably doesn't see eye-to-eye with Rev Warren on many issues, or even on any. But he's willing to listen to everyone, as he stated repeatedly during his campaign. Rev Warren certainly doesn't agree with Obama or his supporters. But that doesn't mean he must be shut out. That's the old way. We have to get past this all-or-nothing type of thinking. We have to be able to acknowledge that we all have our different viewpoints and opinions and come up with tolerant, inclusionary solutions for everyone rather than the current it's-my-way-or-the-highway.

Obama is way smarter than we think. I think he's capable of true Christian compassion, of being able to say: I don't agree with you, but I respect you; I think you are wrong, but to and for yourself, you are right. That's a toughie, isn't it? To fully grasp that other people have right ideas, too. And not all right ideas are the same ideas. Very post-modern. I think he's going to work hard to get us out of the dichotomies we are so stuck in and move us to higher ground and a higher discourse. This is his strength, this is how he operates. These are the true skills of a Community Organizer. And it will be a very new way of doing business.


  1. I think Obama is going to disappoint us sometimes in the process of pulling us all together. We've been torn apart for so long that we've forgotten how to compromise. I hope he helps us remember.

  2. Deidre...I also suspect there will be some disappointments, due to the very nature of compromise. As you said, we used to know how to allow people their beliefs while holding firm to your own. It's a skill we need to get back.

    That said, I'll admit that some of what Rick Warren says gives me the creeps. But there are other sides to him and for an evangelical, he is considered progressive. Someone said he supports sex education because it prevents abortion. (ya think?!?!) But I want to check that out...


Noise makers!