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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

I agree, with an exclamation point (although I don't use them, as I am over 12). Let's be honest, Glenn Greenwald has it right, liberals projected onto Obama what we wanted to see and dismissed what was obviously there. Obama is a savvy politician and not the Second Coming. He isn't any different, aside from the hue of his skin, than all his predecessors... and to think he would be, just based on that superficial aspect, is stereotypical racism actually, as Clarence Thomas would agree. The pick of Warren is akin to the "get over it" statement to Hillary supporters, mostly women, when they felt unheard. He knew he could, because what?--Hillary supporters would go with McCain? Yeah, sure. In spite of some freaky Florida retiree, we may be women, but we aren't brain dead. Similarly with the gay vote, who are gays going to support in spite of this outrageous slight (and I believe it is also to women as well as gays)? Well, nobody. The lesser of the evils is always something one can bank on. Yes, we'll get the lesser of evils, how could any (elected) politician be more evil then Bush/Cheney? But we won't get real "change." Just more Democratic compromise.

sandra tellers

San Francisco, ca

Jan 4 2009 - 8:17pm

Web Letter

Should a law be passed that all women should be called "men"; all blacks, "white"? We could handle the equal rights problems more simply this way.We could call the people who oppose this change in definition bigots (and ourselves, truthful?). By law, we could change the definition of any or all our words to accomodate all the single-issue zealots. We could, by law, change the definition of the word "holocaust" to include abortions and prosecute the mothers for war crimes. We could all move to Wonderland, and by law change its name to "Reality." If the substance of a human right granted to a supplicant is the same as that he sought, why change history by ignoring the fact that it was once something else, someonces else's privilege? Preserve the word, and you'll remember where you were. Does anyboby know if George Orwell was gay? Please reply and tell me.

He would be powerful support in an argument.

Jack Whorton

New Orleans, LA

Dec 30 2008 - 4:23pm

Web Letter

We need to get beyond ideology if humanity is to continue to advance. I think that's what President-elect Obama is trying to do.

Jesus is supposed to have said that it's easy to love our friends, but that we also need to love those with whom we don't agree. JFK said, "We must never negotiate out of fear, but we must never fear to negotiate." And, as the saying goes, only Nixon could go to China.

Tony Ettwein

Kalamazoo, MI

Dec 26 2008 - 6:01pm

Web Letter

To win the revolution for same-sex marriage protection rights, lesbian women and gay men should marry, get the benefits and obtain equal government protection now. In the meantime, we make the statement gays and lesbians are a vital force of the citizenry and won't be repressed by the political machine that makes "gay" the new bigotry focus. This "we're out, wer'e here and deal with it" has been obliterated by the religious right and the political establishment. I wouldn't tell a young adult gay or lesbian person to come out to anyone--except people who really love and respect them. Persecution invited is for those who want to be flogged and made fun of. Game's over. The world does not suffer from too much love. Stay strong, go forward, upward. Just a thought.

jonas michell

Portland , OR

Dec 22 2008 - 9:26pm

Web Letter

I am deeply offended that the President-elect has invited Rick Warren to give the invocation at his Inauguration. I've heard all the arguments about inclusiveness, walking hand-in-hand, respect, etc. and let me say, this isn't about gay marriage--it's about honoring a so-called "man-of-God" who preaches divisiveness, who dares to claim that other people's loving values are wrong, sinful, etc. and who presumes to speak for God against me and my friends who are loyal, loving and honorable citizens. Isn't this exactly what infuriated us about George Bush and his lack of separation of church and state for his own political purposes? Obama hasn't even made it to the White House and already we're getting more of the same! I can't believe he would be so insensitive to a whole group of Americans who supported him energetically and devotedly. Like McCain's VP choice, this is a token gesture he's made for political purposes to win over a minority that he fears, at the expense of his loyalty to those he considers marginal, even though they supported him! Like McCain, he could have made any number of better choices, in this case, of religious leaders who would have been truly inclusive and would have helped him with his efforts at healing a divided country. Instead, he's shown bad judgment, poor taste and no loyalty. I'm not just outraged, I feel completely betrayed! So it is going to be business as usual, change we no longer can believe in! We're not even married and the honeymoon is over!

John Sheehan

New York, NY

Dec 22 2008 - 2:44am

Web Letter

I agree with Mr. Pasco's sentiments. There's something vulgar about the fact that during the election Obama repeatedly vowed to continue the killing of Palestinians, Afghans, Iranians and other Third World undesirables, but it took an association with a homophobic pastor for most liberals to declare any outrage.

Don't get me wrong: Obama's choice of Warren is worthy of outrage, but so are many other things Obama supports that the liberal intelligentsia have blissfully ignored.

You can read more here.

Steven Salaita

Blacksburg, VA

Dec 22 2008 - 12:17am

Web Letter

I generally agree with the article's disgust with Warren's selection, but I do have a couple of points of separation concerning the author's depiction of the left-religion relationship.

"Vocally opposes gay marriage"--but not civil unions; believes that marriage is not a public institution but a private church ceremony.

"Beneath the sheep's clothing lurks a culture warrior wolf"--that may be the case when looking at some of the pastor's stances; however, to negate the potential for common ground between the left and the church is to cede the whole of the believing public; which is stubborn as an electoral tactic and as a culture-war-maneuver is as incendiary as the most wrongheaded, racist rants emanating from the right's cultural caldron of pigheadedness.

Granted, his statements in 2005 to Larry King were offensive and of the worst kind. To fire, as he did in the statement, directly across in the bow is rhetorically effective in constructing a paper tiger. Yet, it leaves untouched the heart of his position: his support for civil unions. This discussion should be less attuned to rabble-rousing statements to focus on the reality of public opposition to gay marriage and their support of civil unions. As progressives, our values determine our acts and supporting rationales; should we not be engaging each other in debate concerning these alternatives and their practical ability to successfully secure the rights and privileges of the gay/lesbian community?

Though he may be a right-winger, some of his positions reflect progressive values; e.g., his support for equal rights for straight and gay couples. This is not a wholesale denial of right-wing idiocy but it does show the changing nature of the right: it coming around, slowly, painfully, and never fully to our side.

Now, I am not trying to defend Warren. I simply would like to see progressive inclusiveness that has granted the left the high moral, practical and tactical ground in the past.

Bradley James Schaffner

Pittsburgh, PA

Dec 20 2008 - 11:26pm

Web Letter

Ah, yes, here we go again. The liberal/progressive circular firing squad commences. As a longtime liberal/progressive, I thought it would at least take to January 21 before our self-destructive ignorant egotism exposed itself.

But Sarah Posner and several of the intelligent, yet tone-deaf writers on this blog have missed the point of Obama from the moment he entered this race (and perhaps from the moment he entered public life).

He is not a doctrinaire liberal/progressive, he is a pragmatic liberal/progressive in the tradition of FDR and, dare I say it, LBJ (without the Vietnam War, I hope).

He has changed the tone of American politics (although many of you haven't gotten the message yet). Now he turns to the substance: allowing everyone to state their views and have a place at the table.

Yes, he will make decisions doctrinaire liberal/progressives won't like very much. But he will make many more decisions that we will like and, more important, that the country as a whole will accept and approve.

By the end of his first term, I predict that in addition to restoring our place as the moral leader of the world, and putting our economy back on track, that gay marriage will be a fait accompli, if not in every state, in a majority of the nation.

As one astute reader pointed out, Rev. Joseph Lowery will give the benediction. His views on gay marriage, equal rights and his religious background speak for themselves, and it is intellectly dishonest for Posner to blithely ignore his presence.

After all (other than Billy Graham and perhaps Maya Angelou), can anyone name anyone who has given the invocation and benediction at any inaugural? Come on, people, we liberal/progressives like to think we're smarter than the average person. It'd be nice if we acted that way.

Paul Schwartz

Wyckoff, NJ

Dec 20 2008 - 10:32am

Web Letter

This is a very delicate balancing act. How does one go about being inclusive of those who are exclusive? What kind of tolerance is due to those who are intolerant? I don't have the answer, but I'm not sure Obama is hitting the right note here.

The goal of building bridges with rvangelicals is praiseworthy, but Obama shouldn't foster and/or condone other forms of exclusion. Being everyone's president doesn't mean pandering to parochial or majoritarian prejudice.

I'm willing to accept Obama is genuinely seeking to reach out. But shouldn't he also reach out to other faiths: What about a Jewish prayer? A Muslim prayer? Where are the Buddhists, atheists etc.?

Peter Shoemaker

Columbia, MD

Dec 19 2008 - 12:44pm

Web Letter

What is important is that there be an open dialogue, and to understnd that neither side on any of the social issues is going to miraculously disappear. Both sides have legitimate points that need to be considered, and whenever possible, compromises should be found. Making every issue into an "all-or-nothing" federal issue can become a recipe for a new civil war.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Dec 19 2008 - 12:11pm

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