Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What is Obama Thinking?

A campaign that is faltering clearly and needs a new strategy that he is beginning to embrace, he chooses to embrace homophobia. See this video on what Don McClurkin said at the Faith concert embraced by the Obama campaign. Now, let us also be clear. This is not Jerry Falwell preaching hatred of gays. He indicates whatever people do in their bedroom is their business and that is how he plans to vote, however he preaches God delivered him from homosexuality and says if we all had "faith" in Jesus we can have the same salvation. I am paraphrasing, but this is the message.

I waited yesterday for Obama's repudiation. This is what we got this morning: “It’s true we had a controversy…a gospel singer was singing at a gospel concert on our behalf, he was one of many, and he had some views that were anti-gay,” the Illinois Democrat said during an MTV/MySpace forum. “I am disturbed by those views and I have said publicly that I have disagreed with them.” Ok, not bad, what else ya got? Obama then defended his campaign's affiliation with McClurkin, saying, "I have also said we have to reach out to those who have a different attitude on these issues to try to teach."

That's it, Mr. Obama? We have to reach out to homophobia? Ok, you are not a bigot, but you want to reach out to people who are and try to teach what? To try and teach us? Or to try and teach them? Who is teaching who?

This is another way to have it both ways. I know Obama is a good man and know he feels in his heart that we are all equal - that to me is obvious. But, this is pandering at the expense of people's rights. At the expense of subjugating populations of people and I am ashamed for him. Of course you cannot help who supports you? But, you can clearly repudiate someone's beliefs withouth offending anyone or if you offend someone, who cares? God delivering someone from homosexuality is offensive - pure and simple. McClurkin may even truly believe this, but that does not mean a Presidential candidate should give it any credence.

Unless Mr. Obama is subtly telling us something and I am ignoring it? I am not seriously not excited about any of these candidates except of course for Dennis Kucinich who stands not a shot in hell. I guess my vote will again be wasted and I will be marginalized and said to be on the fringe left.

If he doesn't repudiate this further he is the leading candidate for assclown of the week.


LadyLiberal said...

But wait, he said he's disturbed by McClurkin's views and he has stated publicly that he disagrees with those views. The fact that he wants to reach out to people with differing views is not a problem for me. In fact, it makes my allegiance to Obama stronger. He's not saying that McClurkin's views are accpetable, he's merely saying that we need to reach out to people who believe differently than us so that we can teach them about tolerance and acceptance.

I'm sorry, Kid Radical, I don't see how this in any way makes Barack a homophobic sympathizer. If anything, it makes him the total opposite of the insane ignoramus currently occupying the White House. Bush is never interested in reaching out to people of differing view points - you're either with him or against him. With Obama, he's ready, willing, and able to bring this country together again - not to appease the radical right and homophobes, but to bring everyone into the debate - this grand marketplace of ideas - so that we can all get a better understanding of each other.

Anonymous said...

so, you are saying if Barack Obama decided to embrace someon who hates that is ok? If he decided to embrace david duke? I just want to reach out to the other side...isn't that what we don't want. Hate has not place in the dialogue. Barack obviously does not hate, but he is in a way embracing it. He disagrees, but hey let's all get along.

I don't think it works that way. Anyone else?

LadyLiberal said...

He's not embracing anyone, though. In fact, he is repudiating the hate by saying that he's disturbed by the views and that he disagrees with the views. How can those statements be seen as embracing anything? And no, if Barack embraced the statements of hate I would not support him, but that's not what he's doing here. He has stated simply and honestly that he doesn't agree with the opinions of Mr. McClurkin and that he is disturbed by them. He's merely saying that cutting people out of conversations or debate because they happen to believe differently than us will no longer work in this country and I applaud that after 7 LONG years of stifling debate and dissent in America.

Anonymous said...

I completely understand what you are saying...and Obama has said he disagrees (though not repudiates) the statements.

But, this was his event. This guy McClurkin (who has been saved from homosexuality) was on Obama's faith tour. I think there is a difference between embracing others beliefs (which you are right this administration has been abmominable) and embracing those that think "homosexuality" can be cured.

I don't embrace that, I never will...and I do not want to reach out to people like that. Of course he is free to believe whatever he wants - he is a citizen of the states and a human being. But, I would not have this guy as a part of my campaign. And I think it is a big mistake. The lefty blogs are going crazy.

philasurfer said...

I think you both make valid points, but neither focus on the larger concern. Why is Barack Obama on a gospel tour in the first place and what does that say about modern politics? Im slightly disturbed by the whole thing.

I do have a question for Kid Radical though. We are not allowed to speak to, engage with, work with or akcnowledge someone who believes that homesexuality is a choice? Can we, as progressives, share a stage with someone who believes in god? what about Jesus? Do they have to believe in evolution? Must they accept that global warming is a problem? Can they hold legitimately conflicting scientific, personal or spiritual beleifs from our own? Who exactly can share the progressive stage?

With regard to McClurkin as a person, I agree that hate should not be permitted into the debate. However, there is a big difference between advocating for government policy that would punish or subjogate homosexuals (which would be hateful) and carrying a personal belief that homosexuality is a choice (which is simply not what you or I believe). McClurkin was stating the latter, which may be ignorant and wrong, but does not rise to the level of hate. Carrying different personal beliefs does not mean someone is preaching hate.

As far as how this reflects on Obama, it shouldn't reflect on him at all. We are picking a President, not a Preacher! We have to seperate personal beleifs from policy. The fact is that Barack would advance policies of tolerance. We all know that. To consume the red meat of mischaracterizations that arise through media hype and guilt by association would be to do a dissersivice to the elevation of politic debate that is so desperately required in this country. We should be evaluating him on his merits, beliefs, policy positions, critical decisions and analytical thinking skills, etc.

To draw the conlusion that Obama is a hate-monger, anti-gay or unqualified to be President because he shares a stage with an ignorant gospel singer would be to reward the politics of small-mindedness, sound-bytes and anti-intellectualization.

Anonymous said...

good points Philasurfer. Your viewpoint is missed here. 'mon back...I am obviously not saying Obama is a hatemonger. But, you articulated my point...why is Obama on a gospel tour?

Would you also say though, Philasurfer believing in global warming, Jesus, God, whatever is different than subjugating people that are gay...one can easily wittle the argument down to policy, but it is not just about policy, this is about people. And someone who is preaching being healed from homosexuality is extremely problematic and one can say I don't discriminate, but is it not in itself discrimanatory?

What do you think other gay folks feel about it? I think that is really the bottom line. As a progressive person I have a problem with it...do I think it will ruin his campaign...I hope not, but it is problematic.

I found this on open left this morning and it is what got me thinking:
Obama's campaign now says that McClurkin only wants to cure the unhappy gays. (The rest of us are, I guess, fine to continue trying to kill America's children.)(…)

So David Duke's only problem, per the Obama campaign, is that he villifies the happy Jews and the happy blacks?

Keep digging, guys. Obama keeps making clear that he hasn't learned his lesson, he doesn't understand what he did wrong, and he will continue to coddle those who attack our community so long as it wins him votes and money. His own staff admitted as much to the Washington Post:

R. Thelonious said...

Let's take Obama's statement on this: “I am disturbed by those views and I have said publicly that I have disagreed with them.....I have also said we have to reach out to those who have a different attitude on these issues to try to teach." I think we are misconstruing his words if we say that Obama is embracing McClurkin's statements and opinions. By "reaching out" I think Obama is saying he believes that he can talk some sense into knuckleheads by bringing them to the table to educate rather than marginalize by (to pick up ladyliberal's point) labeling them the axis of homophobes and telling them you want nothing to do with them. Ignorance, pride, etc. don't respond well to "my way or the highway."

Does the Faith concert embrace or endorse McClurkin or is the stated message or purpose of the Faith concert different from that which McClurkin espouses? If the answer to the former is "no" and the answer to the latter "yes", has Obama transgressed and endorsed a bigoted opinion? Is the question then did Obama satisfactorily express a belief that homosexuality is natural?

philasurfer said...

It just really sounds like "gotcha" politics and it is not what we should be about. We should be debating policies instead of discussing how Barack is caught in an awkward situation where he is trying to be inclusive and tolerant.

It would be a problem if he was nominating the guy to be his Attorney General or putting him in some surreal Bushian post like "Faith Based Community Outreach Officer" or something. Barack clearly doesn't agree with the guy, so I think there are many important issues in the campaign.

Anonymous said...

Philasurfer, I appreciate your compelling questions regarding who is eligible to share the progressive stage. Its ironic to me that the behaviors that we vilify on right (hate, intolerance for the beliefs of others, etc.) are the very ones we engage in when describing the 'opponent'. To me, Barak holds promise because of the way he seeks to unify. There is no way we'll have consensus these issues. Religious opposition to homosexuality does not have to equal hate, it just doesn't. Its a belief that its a choice--Obama stated he doesn't share that belief.

The bottom line is we need the Black vote, we need the Black churches, we need the Black community as a whole to get behind a progressive candidate if we'll ever get out of this political hell that we live in. Barack is being strategic here. Christianity (and other faiths, including Muslim) is a huge dimension of those cultures and communities. We can not dismiss someone so quickly as "wrong" when their views are different than ours. We have to stay the course, stay in relationship, keep learning and keep moving forward. Otherwise, we will remain stunted, polarized and on the fringe. That ultimately won't serve anyone.

Anonymous said...

I will not repeat what I have previously argued, but R. Thelonious point - has Barack clearly repudiated the statement that homosexuality is a choice? That to me is the question and there answer so far is no. We shall see tonight. And I appreciate everyone's analysis on this issue, but I also want to pose this question:

Would it have been ok for John Kennedy to have stood on stage with Governor Wallace of Alabama (or others who espoused women needed to stay home) and said we need to embrace all opinions on integration/segregation? Would that have been ok? I am positive that argument was made back then, but appears utterly ridiculous today.

And to me that is what a progressive is (as opposed to a liberal) one who can see that the overriding opinions of today, the hegemony that so infiltrates the debate, is wrong and should stand up and say so. And not stand by something such as we need the black vote or the women's vote.

And then I think we should also wonder that if Romney, Giuliani or McCain did the same thing? Would we be so accepting? Would we criticize? I don't know the answer, but I think I do.

Should the races mix? Should women work? Is homosexuality a choice? To me it is all of the same stripe...conservative thought that will one day be repudiated...why not today?

magda flores said...

Ok. I'll admit. I only skimmed this whole debate so I may have missed the point I'm about to make. That said...

I believe all of the candidates, except for Kucinich, pander to the homophobes. Whether they say it out right or they imply it. The whole idea that someone can get up and say "We can give gay people some rights, but not all and oh yeah, I'm not a homophobe," really pisses me off. And that's what they all do.

So for Obama's anti-gay gospel singing ex-gay...it's just more of the same bullshit. I don't think he would be reaching out if one of his daughters was gay.

And that my friends, is my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it guys, but Barack is not interested in appealling to any of you in particular. He is interested in winning, in creating consensus, and getting, especially blacks behind him.

And here is a point that maybe it is not acceptable to discuss: many blacks, just like whites, who don't consider themselves, right-wing bigots, are, deep-down, a little homophobic (or a lot) and Barack, who is a very smart man, is not saying that he is, but is admitting that his consituency is not made-up of solely readers of SG.

Philasurfer said it very well when he stated that we need to focus on issues, and not pigeon-hole Obama, but we also need to realize that he is a centrist in many ways, and not at all a traditionally-defined liberal or progressive.

A winning candidate, and one that can challenge Hillary, has a tight-rope to cross. Barack is trying, and he slipped in this situation. But it may have been a calculated slip. I still would take him any day over Hillary. Let's hope he still has a chance in february.

Anonymous said...

quite frankly if that is the case he has no hope. Why would anyone vote for him if he is exactly the same as Hillary...

if he is as calculating...then why not just vote for Hillary? I have switched to Edwards for the moment. He is the only one with any honesty in the top 3.

Someone said it best at Daily kos when they said I am tired of being taken for granted. The black voters, the LGBT voters, the progressive voters...enough is enough.

Magda's point that if Barack's daughter was gay he would not be reaching out to homophobes is a good standard.

Are we all not tired of being taken for granted as voters and citizens? We have to pander to homophobes to be heard. If that is the world we have to live in - no thanks - you can keep the fuckin democrats!