June 28, 2009
I thought ChaliceChick was pretty amusing today when she said this – she remembers what it was like to be a Hillary supporter when
Obama was made of kittens and fairydust and was going to change politics forever and ever.
I try not to get too involved in politics since I live with Mr. Political Science who is involved enough with it for both of us, but I still thought this was funny. I think of my wise friend who is the benefactor of this blog when she was visiting last summer: she said, “If it was easy or even possible to be non-partisan and work together well with the Republicans, lots of people would have done it already. It isn’t like anyone hasn’t thought of that before.” Not that I don’t appreciate his efforts and the nice words he says, but it seems that this whole post-partisan change new world we-can-do-it is just a lot harder than he thought.
Not to be all anti-Obama, because I think he is just fine, just not nearly as good as he said he was going to be and everyone thought he would be, it does remind me of this cartoon which I find amusing.
Just some random thoughts on another rainy day….
June 2, 2009
I know lots of liberals are gung ho about our new president. I am not so impressed. I see lots of different rhetoric.* Not a lot of different policies. I am not disappointed, however, because I never had hopes that it would be so different. Before he even ran I heard someone say something like, “You don’t get to run for president of the United States by doing things differently.” I thought that was a good point – the system is set up to keep out real, actual change makers.
I’m not saying he is a bad guy, and of course he is better than the last round of White House folks. Of course, real change would have been nice. Although I don’t like the casual tone of the article, the gist of David Michael Green’s article, “Get Obama,” was a somewhat good summary of some of the issues I’m talking about. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/10-3
Why write this blog post, you ask? Since it is not well thought out and probably will disturb a large part of my already rather meager readership? I just get sooooo tired of hearing people being so ra-ra Obama because he is so eloquent when he talks and he does lots of nice symbolic things with declarations and memos about openness and such. Not that I want everyone to be down on him – rather I just want people to expect more of a president that makes lots of claims about change change change. I want us to demand more and not be so happy that the president isn’t George Bush or John McCain that we settle for any old thing that isn’t downright dreadful (and, I must say, while he does less dreadful stuff than GWB, he still seems to have his share of dreadful).
And I think that might be my only political post for the next six months. Living with a political scientist who wakes up and falls asleep talking politics is nearly all I can take of this stuff. But I thought I would do one Obama post while the inspiration strikes. Feel free to comment but it is unlikely that I’m going to take time to respond thoughtfully. Not that your comments are unimportant but political debates just aren’t my thing these days. I am politically fatigued.
*This is not to say that different rhetoric is not important. It is. For instance, even if you are going to be a pushy super-power, I think it is much better done with nice, team-work-ish rhetoric than you-do-what-we-say-stupid-peons rhetoric.
December 20, 2008
I am of two minds on the Rick Warren matter.
My first reaction is to say, “Look, I don’t like the guy either. I don’t agree with his theology. I don’t agree with his politics. But it isn’t like he was chosen to be the minister-in-chief or something. He is giving an invocation. I know it has a lot of symbolic meaning, but it doesn’t have any practical consequences in and of itself. It is a gesture of the president elect to say, ‘I am not a president only to progressives or to liberals, but a president to the whole country.’ And, there are big parts of the country that can identify with Rev. Rick Warren. And, as conservative evangelical pastors go, he is one of the less offensive ones who has at least made some overtures toward changing the tone of the rhetoric. My hope is that it is a gesture that will soften the hearts of those who would tend to be more opposed to Obama and his policies. It will not solve many problems, but it is a gesture of unity, which people are always talking about. You know, one country, working out our differences and that sort of thing. By saying all of this, I don’t mean to say that I don’t understand why people don’t like it. Heck, I don’t like it either. But I see it as a strategic move that may help in the long run with things that matter more than who gives the invocation at the inauguration.” (It is of course another matter whether there should be invocations and benedictions at inaugurations anyway.)
That said, it occurred to me how often discrimination against women or the GLBTQ community can often be chalked up to theology, while few people will stand for discrimination against ethnic minorities chalked up to theology. I try to imagine if someone gave the invocation that said that they still supported slavery based on theology. Or that women should obey thier husbands based on theology (heck, Warren may agree with the second of those statements). What would it mean to have someone give the invocation as a gesture of unity and goodwill who was known to support legalized discrimination against women – that they should get paid less, that rape should be less of a crime, that they should not have inheritance rights? Hmm. No matter how symbolic or strategic that would be, I would be feeling really unhappy about this. So then I started rethinking what I said above.
And now I just don’t know. The thing is, so many of these difficult issues are totally intrackable. “We” dig in our heals. “They” dig in their heels. We write on our blogs about why we are right. We affirm each other at our churches about why we are right. We are smug. We know whose side God is on. And where does this get us? What is the way forward toward better understanding each other, finding common ground to work on together, even, dare I say it, finding areas where compromise makes sense. I am not talking about any particular issue, but rather all of these very intense social and political issues that are so close to our hearts – all of our hearts – and where it seems so difficult to move forward.
I’m guessing having Rick Warren give the invocation at the inauguration isn’t the answer. But I wish we could come up with a better one that just insisting on how right and just we are and getting offended and indignant. Not that I am somehow immune to this. I do it to. But there must be a better way…