Monday, January 12, 2009

Double Standard

I wish I was a better writer. I wish it were easier for me sometimes. I’ve had the idea for this post for some time now, but I’ve found it to be a difficult one to actually write. So I hope that there is at least a modicum of clarity in what follows.

Barack Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to say the invocation at the inauguration infuriates me. Why does Obama want to reach out to someone as intolerant as Rick Warren? But more importantly, why is Barack Obama himself demonstrating intolerance?

Obama talks very often about wanting to be all inclusive and wanting to listen to all sides, even the far right. This might be a good thing. I have my doubts about it and only time will tell if it will be a good thing. However, Obama is off to a bad start. He talks about being all inclusive, but he is not. Obama goes out of his way to reach out to the far right, but he has not demonstrated the same courtesy to the far left. In fact, he has gone one step further and denounced at least one spokesperson for the far left. Progressives, along with the non-religious are being ignored and banished while people like Rick Warren are being elevated to positions of stature, both real and symbolic. Just looking at how Obama has treated two very politically different people demonstrates the point I am trying to make. Obama has severed all ties to Jeremiah Wright and fallen over backwards to embrace Rick Warren. You would think that Obama was George W. Bush here. The politics of Jeremiah Wright are actually quite close to the politics of Noam Chomsky, and to my own. Why has Obama chosen to ostracize this part of the political dialog? Obama is a liar. Every time he says something like “I will listen to you when we disagree. And most importantly, I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again" he is lying. He slammed the door shut on Jeremiah Wright and locked it. He has locked out progressive and non-religious thought. Hell, he has even locked out religious progressive thought. Will he ever listen to the ideas of someone like Noam Chomsky? Rick Warren is no progressive. His politics are very far to the right. Obama is a hypocrite. He is too much of a right leaning centrist. He places the game of politics before all else. Unfortunately, this is probably the only way he could have been elected. I don’t imagine he would have won if he had not denounced Jeremiah Wright. Embracing Rick Warren, however, is simply going too far.

If there is one thing that infuriates me, it is exclusion. The politics of Bush/Cheney is all about exclusion. Their great efforts at secrecy prove this. Their great efforts on the part of the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class are also strikingly exclusionary. The religious politics of Rick Warren is all about exclusion, even though he is supposed to be the prince of inclusion. His efforts to diminish the civil rights of gay people proves this. Jeremiah Wright did not exclude gays from his church while he was pastor. Exclusion hampers and suppresses equality. I thought the United States was supposed to be all about equality. The fact that Obama has excluded Jeremiah Wright simply so that Obama could have political gain infuriates me. How can Obama exclude the extreme left, embrace the extreme right, and then claim that he wants to wants to listen to all sides? Hypocrite!

Where is the "change" that Obama talks about? Who exactly is he referring to when he says “I will listen to you when we disagree.”? It certainly is not Jeremiah Wright. Like so many other politicians Obama doesn’t seem to want to listen to gays, atheists, and progressives. Where is the "change" in that?

Why is Obama “outraged” and “saddened” by Jeremiah Wright and not “outraged” and “saddened” by Rick Warren?

Noam Chomsky and Jeremiah Wright talk about things that most Americans don’t want to hear about. They talk about our imperfections, things that desperately need fixing, things that too many Americans either don’t know about, or don’t want to know about. We desperately need this kind of dissent and criticism. I am “outraged” and “saddened” by Barack Obama.

Obama may be better than Bush, but don't we deserve more than that?

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