A powerful Democratic friend contacted me this morning to let me know that they talked to the key players yesterday, and Diane Feinstein, chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, had nothing to do with the pick of Rick Warren as Obama’s invocation speaker at the inaugural. The decision was made by Obama himself, I’m told, and Feinstein just assumed that he had vetted it with his staff. Difi went along with Obama’s decision, not the other way around. If this is true, then our apologies to Senator Feinstein for suggesting that she was involved.
But Jesus. This is rather uncharacteristic of Obama, making some grand gesture from his gut, and not checking it with his brain, or the brains around him. Unless, of course, his brain trust thought this was a brilliant strategic move. I can easily imagine them thinking, what better than to make a nod to the religious right and the religious left, by having Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery, at his inauguration?
Why stop there? If you really want to show that you’re not the typical Democrat, that you’re breaking the mold and willing to embrace the other extreme of religion and politics, regardless of how much it ticks off your base, why not invite a racist and an anti-Semite too? Just imagine the thrill – one of America’s lead civil rights activists, alongside the first black president of the United States, surrounded by men who think of them as little more than slaves. Talk about change!
But Barack Obama would never invite a high profile racist or anti-Semite to stand next to him during his swearing in, regardless of the bigot’s caché. Obama did, however, invite a raging homophobe – and it’s the second time now that he’s done so – and we’re supposed to suck it up and say “oh it’s okay.” Well it’s not okay. It’s yet another example of how when the bigot is anti-gay, somehow he’s not as offensive, not as non grata, as the bigot who bashes blacks or bashes Jews. None should be acceptable, but one always is.
So the day of Obama’s inauguration, millions of Obama’s supporters get to watch a gay-basher, who compared our love to incest and pedophilia, who helped rip away our civil rights, share the stage with our new president. That’s not change. It’s the same old crap we’ve always had to deal with, and apparently always will.