There’s huge debate today about the fact that Barack Obama picked Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation. It’s a good thing, but it’s something that we all have to get used to.
Over the last 8 years, at least, we have become a nation of increasingly polarized opinions. You’re “red” or “blue,” you’re “conservative,” or “liberal.” There is very little room in popular media and popular opinion for middle ground. I think we are lately uncomfortable with middle ground because our compromising muscles are starting to atrophy. We’re not used to compromise and middle opinions. The Bush administration and the Republican government was not very good at listening to contrary opinions and governing from the center. They issued autocratic executive orders, executed illegal actions and got retroactive laws passed to make the actions legal, and generally did whatever they wanted. In that kind of climate, you were either with them or against them.
Enter Barack Obama. He understands what it is to be in the middle. If you have someone truly in the middle, you will be sure to make some people mad some of the time. That’s what happens. Obama is proving that he will not only accept the existance of contrary opinions, he will give them airtime. This is not wrong. This is something to be proud of. Plurality of opinion is an American ideal. In America you’re welcome no matter what your beliefs.
Some of us find certain beliefs repugnant—so repugnant that we argue vigorously against them. Good. But I, for one, am glad to see a President who is not off-the-deep-end liberal and not off-his-rocker conservative. Even though I agree with Obama more than I disagree with him, I don’t want him to be as autocratic as his predecessor. Let the conservative message be heard. Let the liberal message be heard. For goodness’ sake and for our country’s sake, let’s all listen to both and take the best approach for most of the people.