Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wright and Wrongs and Right

I want to be weighing in on the Wright debate, which I am told continues by the polster who called me last night, though it's my sense that Obama responded adequately, and appropriately, and better, as Jon Stewart reported, "spoke to us [about race] like adults." But I'm in the middle of a big work project with a 5:30 deadline.
I will say this, though. As part of a multiracial family, and as a person who values both justice and grace, and believes in the value of righteous anger but not aggression and agitation, Wright is not for me and wouldn't be for my family. I wish he weren't for the Obama family.
And this: Why does the "scandal" have the structure of breaking news, when the remarks have been made over a long period of time?
The real issue -- apart from the striking timing of these "revelations" some seven years after they've been uttered -- is how bizarrely shocked white Americans have been by statements that, however wrong, someitmes make sense. It amazes me that local callers to talk radio are surprised that "'they' are so angry at us still." It reminds me of a South Park (generally a heinous show I know) after 9/11 when the boys ask why everyone hates us, and the response is "because you have to ask why everyone hates you."
I loved Obama's speech, found I couldn't contain my enthusiasm by my normal cynical mechanisms, worried about the failure of my cynicism, and quit worrying and started to feel hopeful that we can get away from infantile questions about "why everyone hates us" (regardless of the everyone and of the "us") and on to adult matters.

On that note, I can't wait to read Jeffrey Sachs's Common Wealth, his follow up to End of Poverty. In a nutshell, Sachs argues that doing the right thing is cheaper and better and more sustainable than war without end.


Erin said...

As I stated I think Obama's speech was brilliant and beautiful.

However it troubles me GREATLY that he sat under this man for twenty years. That he sought this man out, who preaches hate, anti-semitism, etc...

And I've heard a lot about Obama's anti-white rhetoric, but haven't yet researched it, so I don't want to make that judgment yet.

I just don't understand how you can sit under someone who makes such horrific statements for twenty years. If I was in a church one time and heard some of what this man was saying, I would leave right away.

His most inflammatory comments have not been released to the media in mass yet. I'm sure we will hear more and more as it goes on.

abebech said...

The comments that have been released aren't good, but this concerns me more:

"His most inflammatory comments have not been released to the media in mass yet."

Have they been released at all? What's the issue with the timing? Since these are public, doesn't it seem strange to be holding back?

The thing that bothers me most about Wright is Wright's support of Farakhan. In no way would Wright's church be right for me, but . . .

doesn't this timing thing seem intended to create not a series of conversations but a scandal?

Erin said...

I can't quite figure out the timing at this point. The media falls all over itself fawning over Obama and you seldom hear anything negative at all because they all love him so. So why cover this now? Why was it released? Where did it come from?

I find it INCREDIBLY awful that when Mitt Romney was questioned about the racist practices of the Mormon church from before he was born he was labeled a hater and putting up with racism, but that Obama is getting a pat on the back for putting up with and tolerating this for twenty years.

As a Christian, I find Rev. Wrights comments disturbing and the opposite of who Jesus is. I've listened to several of his sermons intact before they were removed from the website, and they are ALL like this. Every single one rails against white people, jewish people, Israel, and our very nation. This is not Jesus! This is not scriptural, and this is pure hate speech, it is awful.

I wonder how the media would react if a white man was going to a church that preached such things?

abebech said...

I'm not patting Obama on the back for this. I would have switched churches: however much he loved Wright as a person, (at least in those moments or sermons) he wasn't preaching the Word.

To be honest, I dismissed that particular charge against Romney, too, as a distraction from the real issues. Of course, where I am, it was easier to dismiss as the Romney thing was barely covered and this is being covered endlessly. But I think the real reason that the Romney thing is not an unusual scandal is that there is a history of discrimination within our Church, too -- as much as it has been an instrument of great social change, it has also been the impetus for great violence. And quite often I wonder, "do you think He can't see/hear you?!" So I'm not throwing stones at Mitt Romney . . .
I'm going to have to hear more than what is available now -- FOX had every reason to highlight what seemed to be the worst of his preaching (I don't know what he's said elsewhere), but what they chose to report just didn't shock me . . . probably saving that for closer to the PA primary . . .

Erin said...

So thinking about the ways of this for me has come back to the super delegates. Barak Obama is dropping fast among white males, and you have to win white males to win the election.

could this be the Clinton campaign trying to convince the super delegates that SHE is more electable than obama?