Monday, March 17, 2008

Jeremiah Wright: What is the Big Deal?

We just posted this comment over at 2 Political Junkies, and we thought ultimately it deserved its own post.

Who cares about the Rev. Wright's comments? I mean, aside from the fact he denounced them.

I mean, is what he was saying even that far outside of the mainstream?

Seriously. If you listen and understand it in context -- sure it's a little volatile, and sure it's a little provocative, but none of it is exactly new or not-acceptable. Like black Americans don't have some reasons to be upset, looking back. And not even looking that very far back ... dude was old. How many Republicans should resign because they were friends with Strom Thurmand?

That hardly puts them in KKK country ... it's ironic anyone would even equate the two.

Two points.

Number one, it is pretty reprehensible, in our own humble opinion, that a preacher speaking from the pulpit would choose to say the words, "G-d Damn America." Very bad decision.

Let's not disqualify him as a human being, or declare him toxic.

Number two, the whole Strom Thurmond thing got us thinking. Generally, we make allowances for people who have reached a certain age. Who among us does not have some people in our own family, or dear loved ones, who are good people but sometimes say things that make us cringe?

Remember, this fellow is sixty-seven years old. He was a young black man during the Civil Rights era, and a younger black man growing up in America before it. His father also was a preacher. He hails from Philadelphia, actually. And now, one of his favorite parishioners is running for President, and he got all excited.

And now, we're gonna pin these few chosen words on Barack Obama like a scarlet letter? Like he's some kind of dark automaton, plotting and scheming his revenge against America?

Bottom line: this is nothing!!!

If Barack Obama says the Rev. Jeremiah Wright helped make him who he is today -- and if who Barack Obama is is the same person who has acted with seeming grace and decency and measured judgement at all times over the past two years during which we've all scrutinized him -- then the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is okay with us.


  1. Teacher Wordsmith Madman blogs:

    "I've spent the last few days thinking about all the people in my life I've known for twenty years years or more. About all the people in that group who've been mentors, advisors, confidantes, and inspirations to me. About all the people in that group to whom I could talk and listen for guidance on life and love, work and wisdom, family and spirituality. And I could not, in all that time, even in my weakest moments, convince myself that I would not know, that I would not at least have a suspicion of an inkling of a clue, if one of those people were as much of a divisive, racist, paranoid nut job as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    But then maybe I'm just a little more perceptive than Barack Obama."


    Divisive, racist, paranoid nut job. Really?

    First of all, my contention remains that his remarks were not very far outside of the mainstream -- let alone hate speech.

    Number two, if you think you know everything about this particular human being from that 3:00 lifted out of a much longer talk (about African-Americans who resent Barack Obama for not being "black enough") -- then Mr. Hermann has a VERY high opinion of his own perceptive ability indeed.

  2. I'm going to go ahead and say Ruth Ann Daily agrees with me.

    "Comedian Chris Rock declares there's "nothing more racist than an old black man. You know why? Cuz the old black man went through some real racism.""

    She then goes on to describe what why Rev. Wright said was wrong. It was largely legitimate. I never said he was *right* about everything, but Daily also jumps to the conclusion that this is what Rev. Wright is all about all the time.

    "On Friday Mr. Obama denounced his pastor's more outrageous statements, saying Rev. Wright was only his pastor, not his political adviser. But Rev. Wright doesn't separate politics and religion, and neither, judging from their hallelujahs, do his congregants.

    Why should a concerned public be expected to?"

    Well, a concerned public should do the best it can, to put things in perspective. We should have a conversation, maybe, about the race of Jesus and whether that matters, and what is the role and responsibilities of religion in a democracy. But we don't need to bring the race for President screeching to a halt.

  3. Of course, its possible that Ruth Ann Dailey has an agenda of her own. As a religious conservative, I suspect she has never had a desire to vote for Barack Obama. So for her to presume to judge Obama by the company that he keeps (or suggest others do so) is fairly hypocritical. If you weren’t going to vote for him anyway, don’t tell us you are “concerned” by what his pastor said. If there’s nothin’ more racist than an old black man, it also seems there’s nothin’ more judgmental (in a self-assured way) than a religious conservative.