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    December 20, 2008

    Rick Warren, a different take

    Posted by: Andoni

    Success key Chris has covered the Rick Warren controversy from many angles beginning here and continuing herehere, and here.

    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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    1. Tommy on Dec 20, 2008 4:07:41 PM:

      You mention a "new politics." I don't think it is so new, although not one we've practiced, recently.

      Obama's philosophical underpinnings are rooted in American Pragmatism (the only philosophical school developed in the US) and the Social Gospel Movement (a religious view also developed in the US). Both of these embrace, and seek to put into action, the thought that what unites us is greater than what divides us. Thus, the idea to not spend energy fruitlessly focusing on irreconcilable positions, while at the same time, creating space for each side to hold it's own principles, and building up our common life. It's delicate, but you are right, governing is delicate and is measured in results.

    1. Chuck on Dec 20, 2008 6:44:09 PM:

      Andoni, at risk of getting myself in hot water with the "How could you crowd?", I must state that your faculties of reasoning are remarkable as you have demonstrated and you have made points that I find hard to take issue with.

      Cool logic, devoid of emotional baggage, as Captain Kirk always demonstrated, got the Enterprise out of the worst-case scenarios and took us where no man had gone before.

      I do like the analogy of "Keep you eye on the prize". It's so easy to get distracted by the shooting gallery operator doing his pitch-talk, the cute boy passing by or the person who bumps into your elbow while you are trying to take aim at the duckies with the air rifle.

      It's the big panda we want.

      Not the little tit-mouse. ;-)

    1. Chuck on Dec 20, 2008 7:14:53 PM:

      However, that said, I present you with a non sequitor.

      Peace in our time: 1938

      Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain: Herr Hitler, did we not just sign a non-agression pact?

      Herr Hitler: But I thought the Sudetenland region covered all of Czechoslovakia?

    1. Ray on Dec 21, 2008 2:50:02 AM:

      Great post Andoni!

    1. jomama on Dec 21, 2008 1:20:44 PM:

      From the great theologen:

      gays are like pizza

      Yes this is an important voice that we must engage.


    1. james on Dec 21, 2008 8:42:05 PM:

      It still hurts.

    1. JY452331 on Dec 23, 2008 1:56:31 PM:

      Yes, we gays decided to hop onboard Obama's express. We liked his flashy car and certainly loved his destination. However, not but a few miles down the road, we got pissed at his driving and the route that he is taking and we try to take get our hands on the wheel to steer. We keep trying to turn back. Maybe it is us who cannot stand change. If we are all going to the same destination, I don't think we can have several pairs of hands on the wheel and still make it there.

    1. Chuck on Dec 26, 2008 5:14:15 PM:

      JY452331, if we take note that the operator of the vehicle is about to veer off the road over a cliff or find that we are being taken to hell in a hand basket, is it not an expression of our desire to survive and take responsibility whenever we find our selves in such a perilous position?

      Or, are you simple one of those "Iz no my yob, man" types?

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