December 20, 2008
Rick Warren, a different take
Posted by: Andoni
My take is different.
Assume we are observers sitting on the sidelines watching how two distinct entities operate over the course of time and then compare how successful each has been. These two entities would of course be the national gay and lesbian leadership and Barack Obama.
The LGBT leadership has had the goal of full equality for gays in the US for a very long time, setting up specific stepping stones to get there: Hate Crimes legislation, ENDA, repeal of DADT, repeal of DOMA, UAFA, and coast to coast marriage equality. A few years ago most analysts would have given our community very slim odds of achieving full equality in the near future, but most probably would have given us a fairly decent shot of at least passing some basic legislation such as Hate Crimes and ENDA.
We have been working on these first two items as long as I can remember. However, the strategy, decisions and actions of our national leaders has achieved absolutely nothing for us at the national level. Yet they continue to pursue the same strategy. To any independent observer, this should be a very sobering thought about how we operate.
Meanwhile, as recently as 2007, the other entity, Barack Obama, was also given nearly impossible odds of achieving his goal -- capturing the presidency. However, he had a new way of operating. He wanted to practice a new kind of politics that brought people together who agreed on things; he didn't believe in punishing people who disagreed with him. He wanted to end the culture wars. He wanted to end the traditional thinking of us versus them or red states versus blue states. He wanted to form a new coalition to provide a big enough majority to govern effectively and move his agenda forward.
He knew he (we) could not be successful with the old politics and the old way of thinking -- talking to and working with only those who agreed with him (us) all of the time. This old way has never resulted in a big enough coalition to accomplish things. The old way of dealing with people who only thought exactly like us always resulted in obtaining less than 50% of the vote.
The end result is that Barack's way worked and our national gay leadership's methods haven't and won't. People who think only like us do not make up a majority. We need more than people who only agree with us 100%.
Oh and one more point about our national leaders and their judgment. These are the same folks who analyzed the presidential election during the primaries and decided that they should back Hillary Clinton because she was the sure winner and Obama didn't have a chance. This should have given us pause about the accuracy of their political judgment.
So if you were an investor and saw these two approaches and the results, which approach would you support? I would support the modus operandi that gets the results -- and that would be the Obama way of doing things. And if that means having to listen to Rick Warren during the Inauguration, I can put up with that. (Keep your eye on the prize.)
There were several times in the past two years that I thought Barack Obama was wrong and I was right. I got very emotionally upset and emotionally vocal when he didn't act or react the way I thought he should. However, it always turned out Obama knew what he was doing and I didn't. His judgment was correct and the judgment of his critics was proven wrong. That's when I learned that his political judgment was better than everyone else's.
Barack has an LGBT agenda (at change.gov, then Agenda, then Civil Rights). I'm not going to act out because my feelings are hurt that he invited Rick Warren to speak at his Inauguration. Obama has a game plan to achieve his agenda .....and a good track record. I trust his political judgment and skills, and will give him 2 to 4 years before I become critical.
A lot of our national leaders are acting like spoiled children who didn't get their way. We should remember that we don't own Barack Obama, and we shouldn't be behaving as if we do. It won't do our movement any good.
It's as simple as this. If we are concerned about results, remember Barack's way has worked, our national leaders' way hasn't.
I've learned that when I leave my emotions out of things and use my brain, I usually make a better decision. When my emotions are in charge, I usually make the wrong choice. At the moment, I think most of our leaders are acting on emotions, instead of logic, over this Rick Warren thing.
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