Posted By WLS:
I’m in no way enamored of Obama — neither his style nor his politics.
So, I’m looking at his speech with a very jaundiced eye. And there are lots of things I don’t particularly like in the text:
I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together…
From what I’ve read over the last few days, he didn’t learn “togetherness” as a method of problem solving from Rev. Wright.
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
Which remarks have you condemned, and why did it take until this moment for you to condenm them? Were they not equally worthy of condemnation two weeks ago? Two months ago? Two years ago? Two decades ago — because he’s been saying them as long as you have been a member of his church. You are the one identifying — without specifying — that he has made comments in your presence that you disagreed with and considered controversial. Tell us which of his comments you consider controvesial — so that we will know which ones you DO NOT CONSIDER CONTROVERSIAL. That would tell the voters much more about you than you have told us in the 4 years since you hit that stage in Boston.
The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor.
Obama attended Punahou School in Honolulu. Punahou was founded by Congregational Missionaries in 1841. Today it is nonsectarian, but retains its Christian heritage, including a requirement that students attend Chapel services once every six day “cycle” of classes. Obama graduated from Punahou in 1979, but says it was approximately a decade later that Rev. Wright led him to his Christian faith? Is that to suggest that after attending a school founded by the Congregationalist Church for 9 years he had no Christian faith? Or is it that he found a different faith as he next described:
Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
Is it this vision of the black experience in America – one you never lived given your personal heritage — that drew you to and kept you at Trinity? Does the “cruelty”, “shocking ignorance” and “bitterness and bias” that you see there animate your policy views in the same way they animate Rev. Wright’s sermons and education of his flock? Shouldn’t someone have stepped up in 20 years and said, “Rev., I hear what you say. But what you are saying is WRONG. It perpetuates cruelty. It perpetuates “shocking ignornace. It perpetuates bias and bitterness.”
Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
So it would have bothered you if he had made bigoted and anti-Semitic comments in a one-on-one conversation with you, but as long as it was only in front of the a couple thousand people in during a Sunday Service it was simply part of the “black church experience?” Shouldn’t the leader of a congregation of 8500 people work to eliminate from his own vocabulary the “bad” of the community he has served. I’m having trouble picturing Desmond Tutu reading from the same script as Jeremiah Wright.
We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.
Wow. That’s all I can say to a comment that puts Geraldine Ferraro’s comment on the same level as the bile-laced hatred coming from Rev. Wright. How many Catholic ethnic female voters will he have punted away with that line if its seized upon by his opponents? Don’t give me semantics about that he wrote “some have dismissed”. He wrote this line and its completely gratuitous.
For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table….. And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.
Since you have obviously recognized the counter-productive nature of this anger, what did you do during your 20 years at the Church to impress your view on the other congregants? If its counter-productive as you say, why did you sit there passively and allow Rev. Wright to continue to fan the flames of hatred that would only stoke the fires of that anger to burn hotter?
Is it only now when your political fortunes are at risk that you find the moral courage to stand up in front of the Congregants and the rest of us who have now been given a look into your spiritual world, and say to them “What we are doing here is counter-productive and it is wrong. Its bigoted, its ignorant, and its cruel because it gives each successive generation who grows up in this church the excuse to blame someone else for their plight.”
Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.
There it is America — liberal pablum. Its what us skeptics always suspected was behind the curtain. Its McGovern/Carter/Mondale/Dukakis/Clinton/Gore/Kerry policy prescriptions for progressive politics in America. Nothing new here.
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
Now this can be read a couple of different ways. It could mean that you agree with your wife that the advent of your campaign was the first sign that progress has been made. Or, if these comments contemplated the progress that has been made over the past 40 years, then it reveals a real problem with communication in your marriage because that’s not a belief shared by your wife.
Frankly, I think its the former. You only see progress because of the way white liberal guilt has embraced you. Those of us that oppose your candidacy see the first fully formed campaign based on the politics of identity.
Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.
This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.
Didn’t you say a few minutes ago that the school system that is failing black children is the historical result of institutionalized racism? Now its the same for white kids, asian kids, brown kids? Which is it? Is “rich whitey” — to quote the Rev. Jeremiah — gettin’ their kids great educations while black kids are stuck with the vestiges of Jim Crow? Right there in Chicago? Chicago being a city run by the Democrat Daley machine for about 100 years?
I’ve never been one to sit and watch Obama’s great oratorical skills. By virtue of my profession I’ve got pretty high standards in that regard.
But I’m quite pained by the fact that so many of my fellow citizens can be taken in by the slick presentation of empty words written on a page.
But I guess that explains Dickie Scruggs.