Monday, December 22, 2008

Sharing some thoughts on the upcoming inauguration

I wanted to share this, which was written by Lance Helms who is the Gulf Regional Director for PFLAG:
Subject: another view of the Inauguration plans

As a native Atlantan, I'm somewhat sorry to see the choice of Rev. Warren overshadow the choice of Rev. Joseph Lowery, who will give the benediction -- which is an ecumenical way of saying "the last word". Rev. Lowery, considered the dean of the civil rights movement by many, supports same-sex marriage and to this day doesn't shy away from controversy, as we all know from the controversial eulogy he delivered at Coretta Scott King's funeral -- a eulogy in which, incidentally, he cited Coretta's own stance against homophobia.

Having heard Rev. Lowery speak, I know what he's capable of. The man is an agitator and always has been. It's a mantle he's carried since the early 1960's, when the local newspaper in Mobile, Ala., first labeled him as one. He recalls being offended at first, but he loves to tell the story of a local woman who helped him view it in a different light:

"... She took me home with her and told me not to be offended and showed me this brand new washing machine that she had in her house and she said, 'You see that red, round thing in the middle?' She said, 'That’s an agitator... no matter what kind of detergent you use, no matter what brand of washing machine, nothing happens positive until that agitator does its work.' "

For my part, I'll be tuned in on January 20th to see one of my favorite agitators do his work.

Lance Helms
Gulf Regional Director
Atlanta
*~*~*~*~*~*

And this was filed by Michael Crawford on The Bilerico Project today:
Forget Rick Warren, Joseph Lowery is the voice our country needs to hear


And yet, there is this letter I found, written Saturday by Carol Steinel
Dear Mr. President Elect . . .
| posted by PortlyDyke | Saturday, December 20, 2008

You don't know me, but I voted for you.

I'm 52 years old, and I've been waiting for your inauguration day since I was old enough to understand what institutionalized oppression was -- perhaps longer, without really being conscious of it.

As I grew older, and gained more life experience, I think that I grew increasingly impatient in my waiting, as I began to understand more about what might actually help dismantle the systems of privilege that keep institutionalized oppressions alive.
and
I took a cautious, hopeful in-breath when you actually said the word"gay" in the section where you detailed the diverse groups that played a part in this victory. I didn't notice it before I heard the word, but I think I had been waiting for that word for a long time, too -- yet I had been hopeful, not expectant (a habit I've developed over the years -- perhaps a defense-mechanism against disappointment).

You see, I'm old enough and savvy enough to understand that there will be times when mention of a person like me will be omitted -- because there are elections to win, and assumptions about what works and what doesn't work in political tactics, and polls that indicate the "safe" course that must, perhaps, be steered in the present, in order to make gains in the future. I understand this. I really do.

That's why, when I watched your infomercial the week before the election, I wasn't surprised to see that there was no one like me featured as one of the "average Americans". Yes, I'm a small business owner who can't currently afford health insurance, a person who has raised kids, and who is coupled in a stable, loving relationship, a person who currently faces big challenges in earning enough to simply cover rent, utilities, and groceries for my family -- but I would never be featured in your examples of working folks in this country -- because I'm a lesbian -- and that wouldn't poll well.
and
I understand that you may have selected (or allowed the selection of) Rick Warren to speak the invocation at your inaugural as part of a plan to demonstrate that you are not closed to the concerns of those who embrace a conservative Christian lifestyle. I understand that, regardless of what your real personal feelings about gay marriage may be, you were probably advised to say that you didn't support it, in order to get elected. I understand that you may have made choices in the past two years which were politically expedient in the short term, with the intention of serving an eventual greater good. I understand all this. I really do.

And when I read about the honor that Pastor Warren is being done in being allowed to perform the spiritual opening for your inaugural ceremony, I was surprised that I didn't feel angry -- instead, I simply felt . . . . profoundly sad.

I believe that sadness is to the heart and soul as hunger is to the body -- and I believe that my hunger is this: I want to be included in your diverse, but United, States of America.
There is much, much more to Carol's incredible, sad and powerful letter.
Please read it all: Dear Mr. President Elect . . .

I hope that President Elect Barack Obama does.
I hope he is able to let her words all the way in.
For her, for me, and for all of us.

1 comment:

therapist said...

I am just glad that we have finally spoken with one clear voice as Americans that we are ready for a change in this country and I just know that with Obama it is going to be a change for the better! He clearly has the best interests of every American in mind regardless of race or sexual preference or even income level and I am happy and proud to call him our next President! I cannot wait til January 20th makes it official!