December 19th, 2008


Get over yourself, Geoff -- or WWHD?

Equality California's email blast this morning announced that Executive Director Geoff Kors was declining the invitation to attend the inauguration. He's staying away in protest of President-elect Obama's selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation.  I deleted the email before I'd read and absorbed all of the rationale and justification for this action, but I figured out that Geoff couldn't lend his implicit approval to Warren's inclusion at the ceremony.

I know that Geoff's stand is meant to be a principled statement.  Unfortunately, to me it feels more petty and pouty.

Basically, Geoff, no one cares whether you go or not. In fact, Rick Warren and his fellow travelers are most likely happy to have one less $!%%(& in the visitors section.  It's a win-win.  Rick Warren gets the stage, and they don't have to deal with gay people because we stay at home.

I've thought more about the Warren debate.  Two online postings have kept me focused on the issue.

low_fat_muffin's "give us a place to stand and we will move the earth..." is a longer, better-written essay that complements my own posted views on Warren's participation.  We basically agree.

The more difficult read was a Facebook post by a college friend who pointed out "Mr. Warren had every right to support Proposition 8. He also had the right to support it just as he did: disrespectfully and dismissively, and without any gesture towards bridging differences or attempting to understand. The way he supported it (not simply that he did) should have disqualified him from the inauguration ceremony. Mr. Warren’s offense was neither acceptable nor trivial, but Obama’s invitation means he considered it one or the other, if not both."

Yes, yes, and maybe. I don't know. 

I'm stuck in a "|: On one hand... and on the other.. :| " loop.

I don't know what was in Obama's head when he invited Rick Warren.  Rick Warren does represent other causes which we probably would agree with (think "feed the hungry"-type issues). Prop 8 and Warren's hateful statements are high on the gay radar, but maybe they are not so prominent to our straight allies.  (On the other hand, they should be.) Maybe the invitation is an attempt to draw Warren into a dialog with more progressive people.  Maybe it's an attempt to find common ground. Maybe, maybe, maybe!

And, on one hand we need to get closer to those who oppose our rights so that they will know us. It's more difficult to take away rights from the visible and hurting than from the theoretical and bloodless. Similiarly, the country needs less polarization and more compromise. And, on the other hand there's John Kerry's example of turning the other cheek to the point of irrelevance. Being Swiftboat bait  is not a campaign strategy, and compromising my rights is not on this man's gay agenda.

Milk made it clear what we did wrong on the No on 8 Campaign.  The intellectual "It's not fair! It's not right!" route is no match against the bogeyman coming after your children. Harvey Milk kept the campaign against the Briggs Initiative from making that mistake 30 years ago. This year we forgot the power of our own humanity.

Faced now with Prop 8's passage and Rick Warren's gig at the inauguration, What Would Harvey Do?

No telling, of course. 

But, I don't think he'd duck out of the inauguration in a huff and become invisible.  Maybe he'd greet Rev. Warren with a smile and a big kiss on the lips.