Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When Obama Sacks Warren

Not if, but when Warren's gone - and it's going to happen -I'm sure that evangelicals all over will be pissed. But Obama's done this to himself. It's his problem now and he has to deal with it. The sad thing is it didn't have to happen, because no one would have ever expected Obama to give the nod to a bigot to do the invocation, evangelicals most especially. In fact, it was probably the last thing people would expect.

More to the point, though, does it really matter? Really? Not very much. These people, as a group, will never, ever vote for us. Not today, not tomorrow, not ten years from now. And you know what? I'm okay with that. There is such a thing as a tent that's too big. There's no room for someone in my tent who thinks I should go to hell because I'm physically attracted to guys and not women. As if I had a choice.

Obama clearly forgot Rule Number 1 in politics: You go with the people who brought you there. If you don't do that, you're not going to go far. Rick Warren is only exhibit number one for Obama's presidency: if he were already in office, this distraction would be even more destructive. It's bad enough that he's going to lose a lot of gay support for a very long time, until he gives the glbt community reason to volunteer and donate their funds again.

Gay people vote in Presidential elections at a far more frequent rate than the country at large, including presidential primaries. Upwards of 10% of the democratic vote in a presidential primary comes from the GLBT community. We're a large part of the activist base. We raise huge amounts of money and form the base of many (most?) democratic campaigns - even in local, state elections. In every local campaign I've been a part of glbt people have made up about 50% of the dedicated volunteers. No exaggeration. The fact of the matter is Barack Obama needs the GLBT community if he wants to pass anything from health care reform to a green jobs and energy bill. So if he's going to have to deal with a now pissed-off evangelical base that would never vote for Democrats as a group anyway, then so be it. The GLBT community is far more important to his success than Rick Warren and his ilk any day of the week.


Peter Porcupine said...

Ryan - the one thing that has struck me the most reading some of the comments in debate is the genuine PAIN this has caused. This goes beyond a political gesture to real hurt, inflicted on some decent people.

I can't say I understand, because I've never expected ANY politician to change my life. I only want them to deliver efficient government, not make me happy.

Psalm 146:3 says, "Put not your trust in princes, Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." It's something to keep in mind; at the end of the day, they are just government officials.

Ryan said...

Thanks for that comment, Peter. Awareness may be the best thing that's come from these setbacks to the movement lately.

I think it caused that pain because it was so unexpected and was on top of what happened to Prop 8. GLBT people were horrified losing Prop 8, to put it mildly. Not only does the Warren decision open those wounds, it does so at the hands of what many people thought would be a strong ally to the glbt community. I think Obama can still be that ally, but it's now quite clear he's going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming, because the Warren decision showed that he just didn't or doesn't get it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Obama ever was a real ally to your cause. He's a politician, he "says" he's a strong advocate, but then waffles on gay marriage etc. In essence he became the lesser of two evils, not a strong ally. If I were in your shoes I would withold support from candidates till they explicitly supported a list of your causes "Drop don't ask, don't tell" etc. Better yet find a openly gay candidate and only work for him/her. Force the issues to the front burner.

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