Sunday, December 21, 2008
So if you haven't been following recent political news, there has been a firestorm of negative reaction circulating regarding President-Elect Obama's choice to have Rick Warren, the mega-church evangelical, give the invocation at the inauguration. It is a pretty fascinating piece of news and I want to share my thoughts on it.
First off, just as an informative baseline, Rick Warren is the founding pastor at the Saddleback Church, this megachurch in Cali that boasts 23,000 members, making it the largest church in Cali, and the 4th largest in the US. He wrote a book, "The Purpose Driven Live," which has sold 20-some million copies. He is ultra socially conservative, but has managed to focus his churches efforts on usually untraditional evangelical causes like poverty or AIDS. In August during the election cycle, he hosted both Obama and McCain for a forum on faith. Safe to say, this guy is a big deal.
So this firestorm that has erupted comes (obviously) from the liberal and progressive side. They cannot fathom how someone so liberal and progressive like Obama, who built his platform on inclusion, positivity and hope could tap someone like Warren who holds these divisive and conservative social views to give the inaugural invocation. There have been articles upon articles written in newspapers and in the blogosphere about how Obama "conned" liberals and has made the worst decision ever.
Everybody just needs to calm down.
Obama made a GREAT decision. And this is coming from someone who is ultra socially liberal. I could not disagree more with Warren's views on abortion, gay marriage and a plethora of other social topics. But guess what? I recognize that a vast percentage of this country does NOT hold my views. I recognize that there are millions of evangelicals who will call Obama their president come January 20th. I recognize that if we truly want real "Change," that we will need to start working with people who we have never worked with before!
Liberals keep slamming Obama on the "Change" message. How can he select this Warren guy if he based his political platform on changing the way things are done? Well you know what? This IS change! It would have been very convenient for Obama, a liberal, to select someone who is also a liberal and who holds exactly the same views as him. That has been done before by almost every president. That is NOT change. Change is being able to admit that "hey, this guy does not hold the same views as me, but I still respect him and recognize that tens of millions of Americans look up to him. And I DON'T CARE what my base has to say about this because I know this is a good decision."
Obama has balls.
Like seriously. This is a huge slap in the face of people who thought Obama was just going to cater to the liberal left. Again, I AM a part of that left, but I do not want him to govern from here! Things just will not get done that way. Concessions need to be made. Compromises need to be reached. And to me, selecting Warren is a necessary concession, a worthwhile compromise. And I applaud Barack for doing it.