I’m praying they restock the Kool-Aid
Rick Warren is delivering the invocation at Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration. I’m not kidding. Seriously. What the fuck Mr. President-Elect? Now I’ve apparently been main-lining the Obama Kool-Aid for a great long while, but it would appear that the ObaMART is all out of the prepared stuff, so we’ll see what I can whip together on the fly here but I’m not optimistic.
So I understand what Obama is trying to do here. There’s a two separate things he’s hoping to accomplish with this. First, he’s trying to spark a debate that should serve as a catharsis to unite the nation, his “disagree without being disagreeable” platform. Second, he’s trying to court the evangelicals for the 2012 election (which I guess you could classify as the unity platform again).
So while Obama is doing things that I understand and can somewhat agree with, the means he’s using are unjustifiable. He could simply interact with Rick Warren during his presidency and achieve roughly the same results without angering his base so much and legitimizing the viewpoints of this divisionary figure.
Having Rick Warren deliver the invocation at one of the biggest events in our country gives him a platform that, regardless of fact, will imply that you agree with him. This is a tremendously poor choice on behalf of the President-Elect, and while I’m all for healthy discourse this is just beyond the pale. Granted, Rick Warren has been actually “good” about our need to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, and it’s with that common ground that Obama is defending this pick, but there are some serious other shortcomings with Rick Warren.
That being said let’s all look at this rationally. While this is a BAD idea of Obama’s, it’s only about a 4 or a 5 on a BAD scale of 10. Obama has a decent aim with this selection, but he’s really screwed the pooch on this one, and he could have achieved practically the exact same results with a significantly less controversial religious figurehead.
One caveat: if this all turns out to be a huge political “gotcha!” then Barack Obama is an absolute genius. If on January 19 he reveals that Rick Warren isn’t actually giving the speech and it’s… I don’t know, someone else… then I will have to hail him as a genius. This way he will have created this HUGE national debate and not pissed off the people Rick Warren has led the charge against.
photo credit http://flickr.com/photos/andycornejo/