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Inauguration Committee May Try To Fix Robinson Snub

Jim Burroway

January 19th, 2009

We reported earlier on a statement released to AmericaBlog from the Presidential Inauguration Committee communications director Josh Earnest. In it, Earnest described Bishop Robinson’s omission from the live broadcast of the Inaugural concert as an “error in executing this plan.” According to the statement, “We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program.”

Now AfterElton is reporting that insiders are saying that Rev. Robinson’s invocation might be broadcast tomorrow on the Jumbotron screens placed around the mall for the inauguration ceremony. Even if true, it is not certain that broadcast outlets would necessarily pick it up, as they almost certainly will Warren’s invocation.

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was remarkable for its sterling attention to message. An “error in execution” like this would have been simply unthinkable. It’s astonishing to see such an impressive media savvy operation make such an colossal mess of things, and this dissonance will make just about any explanation of what happened difficult to swallow. After all, if Rev. Robinson’s late inclusion meant that people inside Obama’s clique heard and responded to the outrage over Rick Warren, then it’s difficult to understand how the ball could have been fumbled so badly in the simple act of adding Robinson to the bill.

But people really do screw up, sometimes royally. Barack Obama is only human — and a politician at that. I always knew he would disappoint us. I just didn’t think it would happen before he even took the oath of office.



January 19th, 2009 | LINK

I was hoping that the issue with the sound (which I’m willing to believe was just very, very unfortunate luck) was in some way the reason they didn’t broadcast it. That’s pretty much the only story I would have been ok with. ::sigh::

Bene D
January 19th, 2009 | LINK

If there is an up side to this is HBO doesn’t own the rights to Sarah Pulliam’s video on YouTube so they can’t yank it for copyright violations.

Bene D
January 19th, 2009 | LINK

Oh shoot – sorry about the link. Here it is in tinyURL.

David C.
January 19th, 2009 | LINK

I always knew he would disappoint us. I just didn’t think it would happen before he even took the oath of office.

I’ll start keeping score after the inauguration.

Timothy Kincaid
January 19th, 2009 | LINK

So let me see if I have this right…

As those who attend the inauguration are showing up and finding their place, talking to their neighbors, discussing the upcoming event, etc. in the background they will broadcast the concert. And for those few there at the very beginning of the re-broadcast, they may hear Rev. Robinson. Maybe. If they aren’t talking to each other.

Not exactly the same thing as the HBO free show on every television in the nation, is it? And it certainly isn’t comparable to the invocation.

It’s pathetic. That’s what it is.

January 19th, 2009 | LINK

So…whats everybody going to do about it?

Is this what its going to be all about for the next 4 years? Perhaps the republicans will have their revolution next election and we can continue doing this for 12 years. ENDA, the Matthew Shepard Act remain out of sight, DADT and DOMA remains in sight and the public continues to not take LGBTQ people seriously and our community, so fractured, will continue falling all over themselves getting up in arms over slights in entertainment, races pitted against each other and busy tying the gay rights movement with the atheist movement.


David C.
January 19th, 2009 | LINK

So…whats everybody going to do about it?

It is much easier to just sit around and complain but that will get us precisely nowhere.

My suggestion is that we pay attention to what matters. Right now we have a barely functional economy, and perhaps soon a barely functional nation. At the same time, the call for universal civil rights is gaining in strength, and we should join in that steady drumbeat, without emulating the shrill demagoguery of the enemies of freedom that would divide us and instead working to unite all people in the noble cause of freedom and inclusiveness.

We must tell the truth in measured tones and with clear conviction all the time, proclaiming it persistently, and with intent, in every forum to which we can gain access, never allowing lies about us to drown out the truth. Know what half-truths and distortions are being circulated about LGBT people and make sure that no one gets a pass on a lie about Gay people. Blog, e-mail, write op-ed pieces and letters to the editor, plaster posters in the public square, and don’t stop for one minute proclaiming the cause of universal civil rights for all people.

We must join forces with those that share the common cause of freedom. Build bridges with anybody that can be induced to reach out to us by our own reaching out. Be exemplars of citizenship and participate in our communities, not just the LGBT communities, but everywhere opportunity manifests for that participation. It’s time to end the selfish expectation of being handed our rights for they must be earned every day by good deeds and responsible behavior that everybody can’t help but see.

Continue supporting Gay supportive elected officials and let them hear from us constantly by taking the time to carefully craft our communication with them, building their understanding of the need and urgency for redress, and offering what help we can give. Look for opportunities to participate in political activism and volunteer to help LGBT organizations to mobilize those that support the cause of full civil rights for LGBT people everywhere.

People are only ever truly known by what they do. So what are you doing to be free?

January 20th, 2009 | LINK

I like David C’s message (rhetorical flourishes and all!). Rep. John Lewis’s steadfast support for gay rights (mentioned in a contemporaneous post) lends powerful support to the importance of our making a sincere and sustained effort to empathize with and reach out to all the minority and disadvantaged communities that are still struggling to participate fully in American society.

January 20th, 2009 | LINK

“I always knew he would disappoint us. I just didn’t think it would happen before he even took the oath of office.”

I’m afraid you had much more faith in him than my wife and I did. He has merely lived down to our expectations of him with every slap he has delivered to our faces.

January 20th, 2009 | LINK

Let’s see what he’s done on this so far. First, he invited a notorious homophobe to give the “big” prayer. He excused that as “dialogue” even though no dialogue is taken place just an honor bestowed on the bigot. In addition, we know he wouldn’t have tried that excuse if Bush had, at his inauguration, brought in a notorious racists to pray. Then dialogue wouldn’t excuse it. This only works for antigay bigots.

After the big controversy that his decision caused, and only when it wouldn’t go away, did he then ask Robinson to do a similar prayer in some much smaller event which will barely be noticed, unlike Warren who will be given a prominent position exceeded by only a handful of people — like Obama, Biden, etc.

And then they “accidentally” flubbed up the Robinson prayer so it didn’t get broadcast. Right. I believe it.

The gay vote is seen as “safe” and so, when it does them political good, the Democrats are happy to shaft gay supporters. Obama is just another politician not the messiah. Some people will take a long time to figure that out.

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