Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can Everyone Just Take A Chill Pill- Please!!!


Primary Agent Saboteur Rick Warren is giving the Inauguration Invocation and the blogosphere has flewn into a tizzy. Yawn. He's not totally down with teh gay, but he's also not calling for a torch....or a noose. Unlike some other self-appointed religious 'leaders'. One could just go ahead and label him the Purpose Driven False Prophet but that would piss off a few million sheep. Baaah! Obama supposedly hasn't hired enough blue insects that mate once every three years. Or grandmothers who make flan. Or purple people. Or insert your own cause/group and more identity politic. 

We have far too many who've drawn a definitive line in the sand when it comes to forcing people to see things their way. Under the threat of retaliation. That's not the same thing as structured activism and fighting for justice. It's having standards versus being unyielding and close-minded. People fall too easily into disarray, anger and spiral into the distraction pit. Where's the agenda building, the focus, the seeing the big picture? 

We've got some white gays and their water carriers still playing the "we are victims" song instead of admitting areas where they've benefited from all the /isms. Try doing some soul searching! We've got the so-called liberal media and progressives ready to drop a dime on Obama for not meeting their unrealistic expectations of perfection and trying to tie him to every political lowlife who isn't Bush or Cheney. That is, when they're not running their never-ending "satires" that would get a compliment from the "real" racists. 

We've got those who've been burned by false religion give up on any spiritual practice but reacting negatively to those that haven't. We've got a lot of people in those Red States who are still skeptical that Obama must reach out to. People are being so reactive because they did little during the Bush years. You can't go back and change history. You can only learn from it and move forward. If everyone doesn't calm down how will we make it through the next 4-8 years?

I think it's time for a refresher of his Presidential acceptance speech. Write it down if you must because too many have already forgotten what he said:
"Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long."

"And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too."
Do we want to revert back to the Bush Administration and all of its secrets and lies, corruption and incompetence?  Heck no! We also can't club people over the head to jockey for a more favorable position. Legit concerns are ok, griping is not. 

Updated to add that in the brouhaha it seems no one is discussing that Joseph Lowery will also be speaking at the Inauguration, giving the Benediction. He is also a Gay Rights advocate and Civil Rights supporter and will have a much longer speech than Warren's opener, but that goes against the Obama + Warren = BAD argument. So is this about bigotry or is this about the few trying to call the shots as they see it? Like I stated above, I don't defend Warren or follow him but because a lot of people feel he represents them I'd prefer him to Dobson or some of the other right-wing aggressors. I just read a great piece by blog host Genia at Sistertalk asking if the religious right are being more tolerant than gays.

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Unknown said...

You speak power to truth! AMEN!!! Thank you for the blog links on the left i havent ever seen some of those blogs thank you for exposing me to them.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Welcome and thanks for visiting. Checking out other site's blog rolls are great for discovering great writers and think tanks.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Faith!

{excited waving}

To answer the question in the title of this post: "NO."

Although I am annoyed with the racism of both the White-dominated gay rights movement & the White self-proclaimed "progessive" media, I do admire their self-respect.

Unlike African-Americans, other constituencies are NOT going to sit back passively while the Obama-ssiah throws them & their concerns under the bus. So, no, these other people are not going to chill while Pres.-elect Obama screws them over.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Hi Khadija: I don't like Rick Warren but I also don't like the manipulation. We'll see if Obama decides to uninvite Warren. Every time he does something to upset the "Liberals" it just legitimatizes him to the rest of the country. You see self-respect and I see ME-ME-ME. But I agree Black people need to be focused. As far as Obama screwing Blacks over - there's not much left that hasn't already been run over.

Khadija said...

Good Morning, Faith!


You remember Bill Clinton's behaviors such as "triangulation;" and dissing Sista Soulja to prove to White racists that he wasn't beholden to Black folks.

Didn't Black folks scream about this when Clinton did it to us? We didn't appreciate Clinton visibly throwing us under the bus so that he could "legitimize" himself to White racists.

Please correct me if I've misinterpreted your position about this:

Are you are saying it's just fine & dandy when Obama uses this same technique (appeasing bigots through triangulation)? In other words, that because it's Obama who's doing it, it's okay.

Or are you saying that this sort of political behavior is just fine & dandy as long as it's somebody else who's being tossed under the bus (in order to appease bigots)?

Wasn't the Sista Soulja incident about Bill Clinton "legitimizing" himself to the racists within White America? In general, Black folks didn't appreciate it when we were the human sacrifices that were being offered up to appease Red State America. I think we should have one yardstick for measuring behavior. No double standards.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Good Day Khadija:

I can always count on a rousing and spirited debate with you! No what Bill Clinton did was terrible and I don't condone it. I am reluctant to say Obama is throwing the entire LGBT population under the bus. He's already stated he doesn't support gay marriage. That's no secret.

Perhaps if I lived in another city and had different exposure I'd see things differently. But I live in SF as one of the dwindling Black population in the state of CA and I witnessed first hand the "white" heat against Black people who were completely ignored and were told we weren't needed to participate in "their" struggle until the votes didn't come out the way "they" wanted. Then even though it was a majority of other whites that helped Pass Yes on 8 somehow it's Black people's, specifically Black women's fault!

I am saying that some white people are attempting to paint themselves as victims because it's convenient for them to do so. If they happen to be gay then they choose to take on the mantle of oppression, equate it with the Civil Rights Movement and force a meme in their favor.

They don't include any non-whites into this equation and continually ignore the efforts and historical and current contributions of those PoC as well. Now there are individuals who are oppressed but from where I sit I see certain people at the top of the heap with their white privilege intact who do not care about advancing the collective - just themselves. The Gay Rights Industrial Complex is not looking out for mass collective.

They are not seeking balance, equality or fairness, They are jockeying for individual position. I also see the level of expectation being much higher for Obama to do whatever it is that a few want and the expense of everyone else.

Billy Graham didn't support Gay Rights but I don't remember hearing a peep out of anyone when it was him and all the other white guys. So while I appreciate the self-respect as well, I also view it as more tactics for white people to remain their power structure in whatever arena they pick that week.

Warren has apparently done a lot of work with AIDS that's been beneficial. As did Bush. I might be persuaded to say that Obama is coming dangerously close to triangulating but I still think he is being held to a different standard. I don't think he put enough Black people in Cabinet positions, though he has surrounded himself with some formidable Black women that he'll be in close proximity to at the White House. Perhaps this comes across as my defending him - and maybe I am from your perspective.

I just see some people trying to push him to lean in a certain direction that he doesn't want to go. You know the detractors like to mention that he won the popular vote by only 7-8% as if it was close instead of the Electoral College win which was more than 2:1. I think he is thinking about that 8 million difference and being ruthless about closing that gap as much as can.

I also think he has unique challenges that Bill Clinton didn't have. Bill Clinton shafted Black people left and right who were truly progressive and a challenge to the status quo. It was Clinton that passed DOMA as well. I don't see this as being close to the same thing. But Obama might change his mind and withdraw the Warren invitation. They didn't have a shot in hell with McCain, but the Log Cabin Republicans still voted for him anyway.

Bu the way Sister Souljah gave a rare interview on Blogtalk radio a few days ago.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Faith!

I enjoy talking to thoughtful people who disagree with me! It helps my refine my thoughts about various issues. Whether you realize it or not, you're one of the people who are participating in "The On-Going Education of Khadija!" LOL! And for that, THANK YOU!

[Warning: This will be very long because I'm seriously thinking through your response.]

Well...I think that there are multiple things going on with this particular issue:

1-Racist White gays trying to wrap themselves in our civil rights mantle. Doing so while they continue to discriminate against people of color (including gay people of color). Doing so while they do NOTHING to renounce their ill-gotten "White privileges." This is truly appalling.

2-Clueless, complacent White gays who were comfortable in their "Castro Street" and "North Halsted/"Boys Town" [in Chicago] enclaves. Such people never bothered doing any outreach to anybody/everybody else. And then were shocked to discover that the much larger world outside their enclaves doesn't see things the way they do.

In their (understandable) rage & disappointment, they reverted back to their (not understandable) latent racism. Which led to them scapegoating Black folks for the voting patterns of their own biological relatives and straight White "friends"!

3-Regressive/reactionary Black folks who, instead of cleaning up our own moral house, choose to step on gays. It makes us feel "holy" & "righteous" even though we have a majority OOW birth rate.

4-Somewhat more "progressive" Black folks like me who, while supporting non-discrimination when it comes to gays, also feel that there are certain realities that White gays need to acquaint themselves with (since White gays appear to be the main ones pushing the gay marriage issue).

Such as the reality that all Abrahamic faith traditions are adamant about viewing homosexual activity as a sin. In my view, NOT a greater sin than the mass fornication/adultery that most straight Black folks are engaged in.

[Full disclosure: I have most decidedly NOT been exempt from fornication---LOL! I don't lose any sleep over this fact. I also don't feel that gays should lose any sleep over being sexually active within the bounds of a committed, serious relationship.]

They also need to comprehend that due to the above religious beliefs, most "mainstream" denominations within churches, mosques, and synagogues will oppose gay marriage. Period.

In terms of legal equality, this raises the question that perhaps the states need to get out of the marriage business & give everybody the same civil union certificate. I don't know. I haven't thought this angle through.

5-An opportunistic politician (Obama) who has probably calculated that, of all his constituency groups, the gays are the safest to backstab in the quest for Red State support. After all, they have no place to go except for a 3rd party. Large chunks of the Republican base loathe gays.

He has already shown his willingness to backstab us in order to get White support. They are bored with that; it doesn't have the same effect anymore. He needs fresh victims to offer up to the Red Staters. At this point, it's safer to offer up the gays than, say, organized labor.

I do understand that politics inherently involves unprincipled, opportunistic actions. My concern is that Black folks lose our ethical high ground when we enthusiastically support the same behavior that we (correctly) denounced when Clinton did it to us. I suspect that this will cost us later on down the road.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Welcome Back Khadija:

I think we should do a roundtable discussion of these intersecting issues within our communities. Thanks for letting me know I am helping you, because you're a little intimidating!! I have to be thoughtful in my engagement because these conversations are very important and they help me as well.

Pt.#3 - Yes, we absolutely must call out Black people on this. I'm engaging in an ongoing conversation (argument) at another blog with a BW about this. She wants to be able to lord moral superiority over gays and their supporters of a 'poor lifestyle choice' as she refers it. She said something about how horrible it would be for a child to be raised by gay people. I did ask her why I hadn't heard such passion about all of the children being raised by single mothers or left in foster care or on the streets and the absence of Black men but she wouldn't respond to that. Instead she wanted to claim I was trying to silence her opposition.

Pt. #4 - Yes, the gov't needs to make every "marriage" a civil union and people can attach whatever religious tradition separately. Yes a lot of people do and will always equate homo=ungodly/wrong just like a lot of people think religion=wrong and that is still not being acknowledged. There needs to be a way to work around that.

Pt. #5 - That's where I think Obama has tried to bring people together but it makes them uncomfortable nor do they want to do it! I added an update to my original post to mention that. I don't see Obama as being more opportunistic/calculating/shrewd or whatever description offered. He has less room to "fail". We know this. He knows this.

Are you are correct about the Black collective who focus on tying to be religiously dogmatic in their correctness are throwing stones in an ocean instead of building bridges.

But I am not of them. I also see this as a situation that those of us who are more "progressive" or realistic need to vet allies. I used to just give my support to lots of causes because it was the "right" thing to do and I want the world to be "fair".

I've come to realize that my support was not necessarily appreciated and also that I had not asked for reciprocity. I also used to feel betrayed when individuals let me know by their actions they were not my supporters. That applies to personal relationships as well as political/social ones. I'm working through the familial ties right now and the contracts I've made with myself.

Sooooooo although I do support gay rights, gay marriage, adoption, etc I will not give blanket support on principle because the organizations that hog all the spotlight and get funding do NOT support me!

I also look at it this way: if Rick Warren is that important a symbol pro religious right and con gay rights then they all have to come to the table to talk.

As I also stated in my update, those protesting have not discussed Joseph Lowery's participation and how supportive he is. How can that be an accident? It doesn't fit into pushing a specific agenda. It pokes holes in the credibility of the argument, which is the most important aspect of this to those with an agenda that isn't about securing gay rights, but is using it for other purposes.

So Obama would not be the only one who's being opportunistic, and again people don't question anything or strategize they just react. Which makes this entire scenario suspicious to me.

Unknown said...

he should have put Rev. Wright as the minister to do the prayer...

I never dug Rick Warren (as I don't dig most evangelical preachers ANYWAY), I just don't see why a politician would give someone like him love when the folks Warren represent didn't vote for Obama. doesn't make sense to me. Oh, my bag, Obama is playing it safe.

i forgot this is politics.

But you are right on two counts:

1. Billy Graham (who in the past has been very racist but began to mend his ways in the late 70s right before Carter put him on), no one beefed about him.

2. Joseph Lowry.. good choice

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Brother Omi:
You know why Obama chose Warren! We all know why he, er his Inauguration Committee chose him. All of the backstabbers get brought into the fold to flatter their egos and neutralize their influence. If they come across as combative or unaccommodating it reflects poorly on THEM. Supposedly Barack actually likes Hillpatine, but we'll see how long the truce lasts.

I would have loved for Rev Wright to have participated, but we know THAT wasn't going to happen!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate reading this discussion, and the clear and thoughtful breakdown you and Khadija are engaged in here.

In the Sunday open thread at JJP, one of the participants quoted my comment from yesterday that:

This may be part of it: I've been thinking the last few days that there may be a sort of white solidarity dynamic in whatever is going on. Like maybe those white gay people who position themselves and all other white gay people as only oppressed (and not also privileged) are also implicitly saying to white straight people: "You wouldn't let us be treated as bad as Black people are treated, right?" -- implicitly invoking a sort of white race solidarity under the guise of it being about LGBT issues.

And so if that is going on, white straight allies get cover for acting out of implicit white solidarity because it's supposedly not about that, but rather it's about justice for LGBT people. No need for self-critique because it's supposedly (defined as if it is) for justice.

But. I still don't know if I am naming this right at all.

Source where this is quoted is here

I read that and read the short discussion that followed and I posted a huge long comment that I decided to come over here to this discussion (which I read earlier today and have been thinking about).

Here's a link to my long comment.

There's something about the breakdown of the issues here in this conversation between you and Khadija that seems in my perception to intersect with where I am at in those comments ... and more generally where I am at now in some of my reflections about all the complexities of this stuff.

Maybe the resonance will only make sense to me, I don't know. Sometimes I speak in a sort of tip-of-iceberg fashion where it would only make sense if someone were me and thus living closely with what is under the water also. But here is my comment anyway.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Hello Michelle: Welcome Back

I saw your comments at JJP and if I could give give someone a virtual slap upside the head it would be White Rose Buddy who annoys me to no end. She insists her position is the only position and that's she right on anything she states as facts though they are opinions.

I also recall her insisting the former Editor In Chief of a magazine was the owner though 5 other people had corrected her - plus the person hadn't worked with the magazine in 3 years. This is indicative of people who make decisions base don misinformation of their own choosing.

I also noticed how amazingly humble you are which I also pointed out to WRB by comparison to her behavior and she's refused to respond. I noticed a few others have taken her to task as well. I'm glad we are self-policing because otherwise I would have said something to Baratunde or Cheryl about allowing hateful dissent to take root at their blog. 1-2 people can easily derail an entire board and destroy all good will.

Anyway, this isn't necessarily about us all agreeing either but about working through our differences and challenges we face. You are one of the few people I am aware of who consistently questions things and acknowledges their privilege.

Anyway, things will continue to play out but thank goodness for the blogs where many of us can go through the process of getting ahead of these challenges.

Isn't it ironic though that whites who identify as gay voted for McCain over Obama even though McCain did not make any attempt at having a gay-friendly agenda at all? And that includes the Log Cabin Rethugs as I mentioned in another comment.

So how can they (I'd include you as well but I consider you to be separate) be THAT concerned about their "agenda" when they voted for their enemy? But the evangelicals did vote for Obama more than any other Democrat so....I think he had to address a fractured support and reach out to everybody.

It sucks, but it was necessary.

Anonymous said...

Faith, about JJP, I don't think it's just wrb.

As a white person it is seriously not ethical for me to push any harder than I have so far (and even that may have gone over the ethical line, in some implicit ways at least).

As one who is compelled to critical questioning, however, I would have to go much harder against the areas of protection and (largely) unspoken harsh truths that are under the surface of those discussions about LGBT issues, Christianity, intertwining of white supremacy and European culture and ... whatever else.

At dailykos, I can be sharp because it is ethical for me to push on white supremacy and European cultural practices/dynamics as a questioner on a site like that. So I can continue to participate there when my stomach can otherwise handle it.

But I am at the end of my ethical possibilities at JJP. I can't push any harder because it is not ethical to me -- in a deep visceral way not ethical to me, for a white person to do what the questioner in me sees as necessary.

And at the same time, I can't pretend that that I don't feel that need, can't participate as if that need is not present. Can't act from that space either.

So I am stepping away from that site. Not because there is anything more wrong than anywhere else, but because of who and what I am and how I am located in relation to it.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Well don't be a stranger Michelle, I think you need to send some correspondence to the Blog hosts about this. We have full responsibility of who and what we allow on our sites. I tend to not read kos lately because I find the environment gets toxic and people are not actually resolving things, they're just spreading their confusion and dissent. Actually I suppose that's a greater internet problem as more people participate in blog conversations under the cloak of anonymity. You've always provided a lot of insight that I've found helpful.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to send some correspondence to the Blog hosts about this.

I don't see any basis for me to say anything to them.

I mean. I could hide behind a lie -- because it is coherent in the cultural language of this society. I could hide behind a lie that says that the situation I encountered on that site is primarily about me being gay and some people over there having issues with that.

But my actual lived reality is that this is not what was going on.

As I said in the comment I linked the other night, I place this experience in another category.

While I have never had my perception devalued and insulted on the basis of my sexual orientation like that, I have many times had it devalued and insulted whenever I get close to pushing on areas that people want to protect from real critical scrutiny.

I will not advocate for the "value" of what I am built to do. There is no point in advocating for that. Every piece of evidence I have in this life on this issue says that this society is hostile to it as an overall thing. A much larger and deeper system change would be necessary for this to shift.

In fact it would require change at the level of transformation into something that would be deeply alien to what we live in right now.

What I have been able to bring into better cognitive focus from the experience over there is this:

Over and over I encounter some people and groups in this society who have what to me at first appears to be an interest in critical scrutiny and stopping dissonance.

But on further attention, those people and groups are not so much loyal to critical scrutiny or stopping dissonance as the focus -- they are loyal to scrutinizing and stopping whatever particular forms of dissonance that they themselves can't ignore in a particular area.

And, when it comes to areas of dissonance that they do not feel, they respond very much like anyone else who is loyal to protecting the cultural/societal lies and hostile to critical scrutiny of those lies.

My problem is that how I am built sensitizes me to dissonance wherever it is, whatever its form, whatever the topic appears to be. Even in myself, there are things that over time fall apart because I can't bear to have them inside myself.

I understand that others' selective sensitivity to what I would call dissonance is normal and typical in this society, and I know it should not be so hard for me to understand what is going on. But there is a level at which I mis-construe cultural (for lack of a better word) cues on things because it doesn't make sense to me otherwise. So I have to learn through repeated experience and push myself to understand the rules from the outside

So you see, I have no language to say anything to the blog owners. Speaking from my actual real experience and how I perceive what is around me is ... not culturally coherent in this society.