Barak Obama is being criticized by many of the left of the Democratic Party for inviting Rick Warren to give one of the two prayers at his inauguration. Meanwhile, Warren has received calls from some evangelical and fundamentalist leaders asking him to decline because of Obama’s support for abortion as well as his position on gay rights and gay marriage.
Joe Solmonese, President of Human Rights Campaign has stated that inviting Warren has tarnished the view that “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your (Obama’s) table.” Solmones goes on to state that the selection of Warren shows deep respect for homosexuals.
For that last twelve years America has been increasingly been torn apart by divisive fighting between the extremes, with each side not being willing to build from the common ground. Bush claimed he was the President of all Americans and he would bring people together. Yet, his choices for his cabinet was heavily weighted with those who were far from being centrists. His choice for Vice-President signaled what was to come. Bush’s view was that he won the election and he would govern from the right (interestingly, with the collapse of the economy the right now claims Bush has not been governing from the right and he was not their man). What Bush meant by building a common ground was that others were expected to capitulate to his position.
Solonese and others who are deeply angered by the selection of Warren are not far essentially in agreement with George Bush’s view of governing. The only difference is that while Bush governed for the most part from the far right they want their man to govern from the far right. They want Obama to use the language of being the President for the whole nation and seeking common ground but not to follow-through on that language. They do not want to have Obama reaching out and conversing with those on the political right. They want Obama to be the left version of Bush.
Like Bush Obama says he is the President of all Americans. Unlike Bush, he is bringing into his administration and cabinet strong people with diverse views. He is taking steps to reach out to all. He wants to have strong views argued within his Cabinet. He wants ideas to be challenged and sifted. I hope that he will help end the politics of polarities and divisiveness.