Daily Archives: January 20, 2009

Text of Bishop Gene Robinson’s inaugural invocation from Sunday

Rev. V. Gene Robinson (Ret.) gives the invocation during 'We ...

Associated Press photo

Openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson delivers the invocation for the kickoff of the inaugural events on Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Via Salon.com:

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears — tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger — anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.

And God, we give you thanks for your child, Barack, as he assumes the office of president of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.

Give him stirring words; we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking far too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity, and peace.

Amen.

Barack Obama is not a messiah?

Oh, man — now you tell me!

But seriously, as invocations go (I am not a fan of organized religion), I like it.

I don’t agree with all of it — I’m not ready to make nice with the haters who reside within the red states, and to me to say that there are no red states and blue states is to miss obvious facts and truths, or to lie (or to be incredibly optimistically simplistic at best) — but I love the invocations to “bless this nation with anger” and with “discomfort.”

The Repugnicans and the wingnuts have made anger taboo — because anger potentially brings about change, jeopardizes the status quo — and we Americans are so much about comfort (not just physical comfort, but emotional and psychological comfort as well) that we are comforting ourselves to death.

I think that we Americans finally have some humility — the Bush regime has brought the American empire to the brink of ruin to the point that even the worst of the wingnuts aren’t really beating their chests over how we supposedly still are No. 1 — so I don’t know that the bishop had to ask God for that…

I like the idea of “freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences,” and clearly the openly gay Episcopal bishop’s invocation for God to “Help [Obama] remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims,” was intended to remind Obama that gay is the new black, that there’s still one more historically oppressed minority group that still does not have equal civil and human rights in all 50 states.

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There is little to celebrate today — unless you ignore the past eight years

Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States takes the ...

Barack Obama takes the Oath of Office as the 44th President ...

Reuters photos

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, at left in the photo at top, look on as Barack Obama, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, takes the oath of office today in Washington.

So today is Inauguration Day.

I am not giddy.

This is for several reasons.

First, I’m numb from the past eight years. I watched in shock and awe in late 2000 as Team Bush blatantly stole the White House and I was in the minority of Americans who thought that this was a problem.*

The majority of Americans were too fat and lazy from the excesses of the Clinton years to give a shit that the office of the president had just been hijacked. What possible harm could be caused by a group of people who were willing to put their man into the White House even though he had lost the election?  

That seemed to be the national sentiment in late 2000: Let’s just declare a winner already and be done with it. What does it matter?

Yes, who possibly could have known that it would end badly?

I won’t catalog all of the acts of treason, war crimes and crimes against humanity (and even crimes against the planet itself) that the members of the unelected Bush regime committed — plenty of others have been doing that as the Bush regime’s days have been winding down — but let’s just say that after such things as the bogus Vietraq War, which the Bush regime had planned to start long before Sept. 11, 2001 (after all, Saddam Hussein had tried to kill his Daddy, Junior once reminded us), and which benefited only Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton and the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp; the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors (and the torture and illegal detention and inhumane treatment of of Arabs and Muslims in general); the refusal of the Bush regime to do anything about global warming; and the record federal budget deficit (Daddy Bush held that record until Junior came along), I’m so thoroughly through with the Bush regime, the worst White House administration in the history of the nation, I am so numb where the Bush regime is concerned that I can’t even celebrate the unelected, treasonous regime’s departure. 

Nor can I celebrate Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Obama probably is a basically decent guy, but he has shown that he has no problem in selling out if he thinks that selling out is necessary. To give just two examples:

  • In 1996 Obama stated, in writing, that he supports same-sex marriage. Now, his public/official stance is that each state should decide for itself whether or not to allow same-sex marriage. Never mind that “states’ rights” is the argument that the fucking racists used to use to (try to) enable the most racist states to continue to get away with their unconstitutional, racist practices.
  • Obama used to decline to wear one of those fucking juvenile U.S. flag lapel pins, stating, correctly, that patriotism isn’t about wearing a lapel pin (I paraphrase). Now, of course, he routinely wears one. (It’s not about the pin; it’s about the principles, such as the principle that any asshole can slap on a lapel pin and call himself a patriot, no matter how detrimental his or her actions or lack thereof actually are to his or her nation, just as how any asshole can wear a crucifix around his or her neck and call him- or herself a Christian, no matter how un-Christian his or her actions are, and it’s also about Obama’s having caved in to political pressure.)

Also, while I am happy that we have our first non-white president, while undoubtedly President Obama has opened the door more widely for many others who aren’t stupid white men, let’s face it: a huge amount of the enthusiasm for President Obama isn’t really about him, but is about the contrast, the comparison, between him and George W. Bush.

George W. Bush was such a dismal fucking failure, our most incompetent, treasonous and felonious “president” ever, that Obama looks like a saint by comparison.

Thus far, from what I can tell, Obama is just what a U.S. president should be: Competent. Eloquent. Capable. Self-possessed. Decent. (Not perfect, but decent enough.) Oh, yeah, and let me add: Actually elected.

George W. Bush set the presidential bar so low that Obama looks like a saint just for meeting the minimum characteristics and qualifications for a U.S. president.

(Already the comparisons of Obama to Abraham Lincoln abound, a comparison that Obama fosters himself, such as his Lincolnesque train trip to his inauguration and his having been sworn in with the very same Bible with which Lincoln was sworn in, but does this mean that with President Lincoln II we are going to have another civil war and finally polish off the dumbfuck red staters who have been holding the nation back since the Civil War days? And does Obama really want to be comparing himself to a president who ultimately got popped?) 

Anyway, worshipping Obama for being what any U.S. president should be anyway is harmful to the nation, as it resets the presidential “normal” to the level of George W. Bush.

I am glad that I can write “President Obama,” that Obama was duly elected. I never could write “President Bush” because he was not elected. He was shoved down our throats. Al Gore won not only the popular vote by more than a half-million votes in November 2000, but he won the pivotal state of Florida, too. It was Repugnican Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, the five U.S. Supreme Court “justices” who had been appointed by Repugnican presidents, many other Repugnican crooks and the Repugnican noise machine that put George W. Bush into the White House — not the majority of American voters.

I never accepted George W. Bush as the legitimate U.S. president, which is why I always wrote his title as “’President’ Bush” — with quotation marks around the title “President.”

Otherwise, I knew, I would be giving into the lie, by omitting the quotation marks around his title I would be giving him at least tacit legitimacy, I would be caving into one of the biggest travesties of justice in the American democracy up to that time.  

So adios, “President” Bush and hola, President Obama.

I wish that I could be more excited about the departure of the former and the arrival of the latter, but after all that has transpired over the past eight years — most notably, my fellow Americans just allowing the presidential election of 2000 to be stolen and just allowing the bogus Vietraq War to be launched in 2003 out of some bullshit “retaliation” for (the preventable-in-the-first-place) 9/11** — I still am far too disappointed in my fellow Americans to be able to celebrate.

I know what travesties of justice and democracy my fellow Americans are ready, willing and able to swallow, and until and unless they demonstrate that they are through with that, I see little to celebrate.

*I was one of a rather small group of people who saw the next eight years coming; in early 2001 I participated in a “Not My President’s Day” protest rally at the California State Capitol (it was on Presidents’ Day, if memory serves). My protest sign read: “George Dubious Bush is not MY president!” Another guy there brought a sign that I had thought of creating: An image of the American democracy named as the deceased on a headstone, with the years 1776-2000 listed as the range of its birth to its death.

**I attended yet another rally at the state Capitol to protest the unelected Bush regime’s impending invasion of Iraq shortly before the regime invaded in March 2003. (This protest rally was in February 2003, if memory serves.)

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