“Change” Means Change

December 18th, 2008

As reported in Politico, gay activist leaders are very upset with President-elect Obama because he invited Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.  Warren is pastor of the Saddleback Church in California, one of the largest churches in the U.S.  He’s a high-visibility Christian leader–so much so, in fact, that he hosted a forum at his church with the presidential candidates during the election.  Here’s the rub:  Warren supported the constitutional ban on gay marriage recently passed in California.

As I wrote earlier,  I’m impressed so far with Obama’s selections of cabinet officers and other senior officials for his administration.  He seems to be going for competence over ideological purity, and that’s a good thing.  He also seems to be taking seriously his promise to try to heal partisan divides, and this is an excellent way to do it from the beginning.  Maybe there really was some substance in his promise to bring “change” to our politics.  I hope so.

One of the problems inherent in dealing with extremists of the left and right is they all think they’re correct in their thinking.  Their positions are the moral and factual baselines, and anything that differs from their orthodoxy is, by definition, wrong.  I have no idea what people like this are thinking when Obama talks about working with everyone in a bipartisan, or nonpartisan, way.  Do they think we can be brought together only if everyone else suddenly sees the rightness of their views and joins them?  That obviously won’t happen, particulary on defining issues like abortion, gay marriage, the death penalty, gun control, etc. 

So far, Obama is doing exactly what he should do if he really intends to work across the partisan divide between left and right.  Sure, he’s going to have mostly liberal people in his administration.  But there are also going to be some who are conservative, as he’s already shown.  And how does he reach out to those Americans on the right who are religious?  One way is to do exactly what he just did–give Rick Warren and others like him a prominent place in American political life.

The leftist loons who so ardently supported Obama are, I think, in for a rude awakening.  It’s beginning to look like “change” means, well, change.

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