19 December 2008

Tempest in a teapot

Quite the stir created by our President-elect recently, eh? Seems a lot of his supporters don't like this Rick Warren fellow, and especially don't like that Mr. Obama asked him to deliver the inaugural prayer. I don't like bigotry. I don't like fundamentalism. I think LGBT folks get the shaft regularly in this country (and most of the rest of the world). I can't blame some of those folks for being pissed off. But this is a tempest in a teapot.

Obama is a "big tent" sort of guy. He means it when he says he wants to work with all Americans and wants to represent all Americans. Evangelical Christians are a large part of our country. Ergo, Obama will work--or at least attempt to work--on their behalf.

This is a prayer. Not a cabinet post. You want a prayer, you get a reverend/rabbi/priest/pastor/etc. Mr. Warren is some sort of reverend/pastor type. Mr. Obama is also a very religious man. (This is my least favorite part of his personality.) I don't have much use for religion, but apparently he does. So I expect we'll get some Executive Religiosity during his tenure as POTUS. I'm prepared to accept that--lots of folks are religious. Most Americans, in fact.

Mr. Obama is also his own man. He doesn't "owe" anyone. He has no political constituency, he is not beholden to any interest group. THIS IS WHY 65 MILLION PEOPLE VOTED FOR HIM. That means he's going to make decisions that he thinks are right, and the flip side of that independence means he's going to disappoint some people. Too bad. Get over it.

The President-elect is a smart, determined public servant. He wants to solve problems and get things done. He's not swayed by ideology. He's sick of the culture wars. I recently watched an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where Mike Huckabee was the guest. They engaged in a passionate and intelligent discussion of the "gay marriage" issue. Mr. Stewart profoundly disagreed with Mr. Huckabee, and told him so. Mr. Huckabee was the interloper, the odd-ball facing the strongly pro-Stewart (bordeline sycophantic) audience. You know something? They were polite. They were respectful. They shook hands like real men and showed a genuine affection for each other. That's a good thing. It's a model for how we should ALL conduct ourselves.

No comments: