Thank you, President Obama

Thank you, President Obama

…for bringing joy

…for reviving patriotism

…for renewing our belief in ourselves and our country

…for reminding us that we CAN work together toward a common goal.

As you take the oath of office this morning, my faith in our democracy, our country, and my fellow citizens has been affirmed and renewed.

This is a day to remember always, especially in the days ahead, which will not be easy and won’t have instant cures. Yet, the fact of your election confirms that we can find a way out of the current difficulties and begin to find our way back to the road that leads to peace and prosperity.

We can, we did, we will.

There are no words…

I have struggled to articulate what races through my head (and has since November 4th) as we approach the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

I cannot find the right words to say how I feel, what this means to me, what I hope for.

As I watched today’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial with tears streaming down my face, all I could think of was: Yes We Did.

We ARE the new American Majority. All of us. With voices, and tools and communities and a will for change.

Yes we did. Yes we can.

May God bless Barack Obama and his beautiful family and keep them safe.

May we begin the arduous process of rebuilding this country one citizen, one family, one small spark of hope at a time.

Hope is a powerful and amazing motivator. We can, we will, and we did.

Rick Warren: An Open Letter to Progressives

Progressives, you’re missing the point and the boat. Didn’t you hear anything Barack Obama said during his campaign?

In the Bush years, all was dogma, rigid, unbending (among other things). Barack Obama spent 11 months telling us that change is coming, change we can believe in, change we NEED.

Change isn’t something that happens with the stroke of a pen. It emerges out of need, dialogue, and consensus.

I understand the anger over Rick Warren’s selection to give the invocation at the inaugural. But what you aren’t getting is that Warren represents a large chunk of our country — evangelical Christians who believe that the Bible prohibits gay marriage.

I disagree with them. You disagree with them. I wrote extensively about how hurt I was to see the hateful speech coming from them during the Proposition 8 campaign. That hurt hasn’t gone anywhere, but it seems unproductive and useless to shout Warren down, call for him to be disinvited, and in the process, alienate that segment of the population YOU all need to move the agenda forward.

I want you to consider Lee Stranahan’s viewpoint here. It’s worth thinking about.

Rick Warren has laid out arguments and views that you may not agree with but they are actually shared by millions of people. The majority of people, really. They’ve been quoted all over the place and that’s part of the gift.

There are weeks to listen to his arguments and not just quote them but actually refute them in an organized way. You could try out your counter-arguements on people who disagree with you, rather than just nodding in agreement at the people who you already agree with. You can try to answer the arguments with civil discourse and without the use of any broad generalizations meant to obscure the other side’s position. You could answer without insults. I mean – without a single one.

It’s harder, no doubt. It’s easy to wave your own team’s flag while sitting comfortably in your own team’s bleachers. But Barack Obama has been argued for doing the easy thing. The challenge is to do the right thing and that means actually trying to win by fighting well and fairly in the marketplace of ideas.

Barack Obama is handing the country the gift of civil discourse on difficult and emotional subjects. Happy holidays.

If you want change, start by changing the tone of discourse. I agree with Lee. We’re not used to it, but Barack Obama is offering an opportunity for an exchange of ideas in a civil tone. We don’t have to shout at each other anymore. That’s a hallmark of the past. We don’t have to suffer rallies shouting down opposing views, but can come together and try to get a clear understanding of what exactly the issues are.

It takes one voice in a room. Are we going to use that voice to try to persuade, or alienate?

As an aside, I have met Rick Warren and talked with him. He is not a raving homophobe nor is he a dogmatic type who has to be right. He is thoughtful, bases his beliefs on what he understands the Bible to say, but is open to discussion and debate. Further, he is a man with heart for all people, gay, straight, rich, poor, and otherwise. He is not a hellfire and brimstone preacher and has angered the diehards on the side of the Religious Right far more than he has you.

The man is saying a prayer. He is not shaping policy, nor is he running for office. Let him pray. And listen. And talk. But do it with the goal of persuasion and openness, not exclusion and anger. Please. Let’s be the change we believe in and voted for.

This is Our Moment

On January 16, 2008 I chose to support Barack Obama for President. Today, my reasons ring as true as they did back then, but this one particularly stood out for me:

But Barack Obama has something more. He has the ability to transform the attitudes in this country from mistrust and fear to community and participation. He has the ability, more than any other candidate, to inspire the best in us, to call the GOOD in people out for the bettering of our country.

Now we are here. Tomorrow is Election Day. This is our moment. This is the time where we can stand up, stand in line if we have to, be vigilant and be patriots. Barack Obama has organized and run a transformative campaign. I have seen the transformation with my own eyes. I watched my oldest son, a veteran, change from a cynical and disenfranchised voter to one who is engaged and enthused. He was checking the poll opening times last night so he could be sure to be there first thing in the morning to vote.

This was a young man who swore he’d never vote again after 2000 (his first national election) and 2004.


I wrote this in February:

The foundation of this movement is NOT a cult of personality. It is the cry of people who have been disenfranchised and disconnected from the governance of this country. We are governed, but not represented. We are spied on and not defended. Our sons and daughters are sent to die or be maimed in Iraq but not cared for and abandoned by the very Administration that sent them there when they return.

We’re tired of what the politicians say “they” will do and are ready to show this country what WE can do as a collective group of energized voices ready to put our wallets, our voices and our feet on the line.

We are the new American majority. We have a voice. We walk streets, we make phone calls, we give what we can, even if it’s just $3.01 at a time. We are speaking for ourselves rather than waiting for someone to speak for us. We want our country back, and we want our standing back in the world. We’re tired of the naysayers who leave our fates in the hands of Wall Street and the Halliburtons, Diebolds and Blackwaters of the world. We are no longer going to stand idly by and have our lives and quality of our lives dictated to us by lobbyists and corporations.

This is not hate. It is democracy..

This is our time. This is our moment. We hold our democracy in our hands. Please, vote. Take tomorrow off, and make sure others vote. There are organized GOTV efforts in every neighborhood. Help where you can, but vote, foremost.

Democracy is coming…

And believe. Yes. We. Can.