Obama is clearly making as many symbolic efforts of inclusion as he can to govern from the center. Picking an evangelical preacher like Warren is part of that.
I find Warren’s support of Prop 8 cowardly and morally reprehensible.
And, like many queers, I am tired of being the one who has to “be bigger.” We know what it is to put up with ignorance and self-censorship to be “part of the family.”
But here’s the problem we face: we want a democracy that recognizes each of us as equals under the law. We say we want all difference acknowledged. We are not fundamentalists. This means we are always going to be stuck “being the bigger person” when it comes to dealing the evangelical and fundamentalist world within the democratic process.
If we really believe there is room in our democracy for us and them to both exist and be treated with dignity and be different, then our leverage comes from showing up without censorship. We can’t make it an “us or them” game and then claim our goal is democratic inclusion. Not because of how we feel about the immoral politics and “theology” of evangelicals like Rick Warren, but because of our own integrity. Because of what we stand for. We have to find as many ways as possible to make clear that they are wrong. To make our lives, our relationships, our marriages-illicit as they are now- as visible as possible.
We have to make clear to Obama that our consideration matters too. We’ve got to make it politically necessary for him to consider us. You can’t be mayor of San Francisco without that. We need that to be the case for our President. We need to keep our eyes on the prize. So we’ve got to find some way to be at the inauguration. To be visible. To be part of the America that includes everybody. We are part of that everybody and our families and children and love is too. But having Obama as our President, even with the greater amount of inclusion he may offer LGBT Americans clearly won’t be any kind of short cut to our equality.
I don’t think we’ll be able to convince Obama to drop Warren. I get the political and even moral effort he’s trying to make by including those who lash out at him. They’ve lashed out at Obama too (eg. on abortion) not just at us queers.
I don’t know what the answer is yet. Maybe we are at the inauguration andwe protest at Saddelback Church. The protests are really about us being seen.
We already got a pretty big punch in the stomach the night of Obama’s election. The promise of a nation for everyone, even coming from his own lips, is still hollow. So perhaps we need to accept that our “family,” even the “cool cousin” like Barack who seems pretty liberal isn’t always going to make us comfortable or acknowledge all of our lives.
We’re going to have to do this the way we did it with out own families. Or I can speak for myself, with my own family. Everyone hasn’t been as fortunate to see their family make the change from those who reject and insult you to those who see and accept you and your relationships as mattering. There was a period of not speaking. Then once I was able to be happy and clear about myself and my relationship, I knew I would never pretend and erase myself just to make my family comfortable. That’s what queers have been doing across the country for ages. Well we have a few cities to live in. Thanks.
Ironically, Obama is a pretty good teacher of how to get acknowledged by Obama. People threw the kitchen sink at him while he was campaigning: calling him a “terrorist,” “socialist” and any other projection they could come up with. He knew the whole time that there wasn’t any truth to it but he did not react AND he did not back down or be less of himself. This is a definite insult. It’s not his intention, but it is.
Let’s do what he would do. Acknowledge that. Name it for what it is, and then continue with our reality and achieving our goals.
And our goal is clear. 100% equality and dignity under the law across the United States at every level. Nothing less. This land is our land too.
So maybe we go home for Thanksgiving. And maybe the homophobic cousins will still be there making their fucked up jokes. But we are 100% ourselves and we are fabulous and we are sitting at the damned table just like they are. And we do not cede 1 inch of ourselves. And eventually, the cousins may hear themselves because everyone else sure does.
-cross posted at EqualityCamp . Register now for Jan 3rd.