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
The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign.
So he heard them or he didn’t? (check out Mikes post below on this lie)
“Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety“
“These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America“
“As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me“
“I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community“
Well, there ya go. It was a remarkable speech……remarkably middle of the road that is. Obama tries to be all things to all people here, on all sides. It contains a bit of distancing from Wrights remarks, a bit of condemnation. He also embraces some of Wrights comments and explains some of them.
Typical politics my friend:
But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.
As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.
But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. 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. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. 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.
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. 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.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.
Problem is, as he writes in his book, he did disown his white family
A racial group is a large extended family, and Obama’s book is primarily about his rejection of his supportive white maternal extended family in favor of his unknown black paternal extended family.
For the few willing to read all 442 pages, he offers important testimony about the enduring glamour of anti-white anger. It’s a bitter counterweight to the sunny hopes so widely invested in his candidacy as the man whose election as president would somehow help America finally “transcend race.”
In reality, Obama provides a disturbing test of the best-case scenario of whether America can indeed move beyond race. He inherited his father’s penetrating intelligence; was raised mostly by his loving liberal white grandparents in multiracial, laid-back Hawaii, where America’s normal race rules never applied; and received a superb private school education. And yet, at least through age 33 when he wrote Dreams from My Father, he found solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against his mother’s race.
Even his celebrated acceptance of Christianity in his mid-20s turns out to be an affirmation of African-American emotional separatism. As I was reading Dreams, I assumed that his ending would be adapted from the favorite book of his youth, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which climaxes with Malcolm’s visit to Mecca and heartwarming conversion from the racism of the Black Muslims to the universalism of orthodox Islam. I expected that Obama would analogously forgive whites and ask forgiveness for his own racial antagonism as he accepts Jesus.
Instead, Obama falls under the spell of a leftist black nationalist preacher, Jeremiah A. Wright, who preaches African-American unity through antipathy toward whites. Reverend Wright remains a major influence on the presidential candidate. (The title of Obama’s second book, The Audacity of Hope, is borrowed from one of Wright’s sermons.) Ben Wallace-Wells notes in Rolling Stone: “This is as openly radical a background as any significant American political figure has ever emerged from, as much Malcolm X as Martin Luther King Jr.”
The happy ending to Dreams is that Obama’s hard-drinking half-brother Roy—“Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage”—converts to teetotaling Islam.
Although the biracial Obama is frequently lumped with the multiracial golfer Tiger Woods as evidence of the socially healing power of interracial marriage, their attitudes are quite different. Woods turned down Nike’s suggestion that because African-American celebrities are so popular today, he should identify himself solely as black. He didn’t want to disown his mother. Woods instead calls himself black and Thai, or, at times, “Caublinasian,” in tribute to his Caucasian, black, American Indian, and Asian ancestors.
From the age of ten onward, though, Obama desperately wants to be black: “I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant.” Honolulu’s paucity of African-Americans means he has to learn to be black from the media: “TV, movies, the radio; those were places to start. Pop culture was color-coded, after all, an arcade of images from which you could cop a walk, a talk, a step, a style.”
He cherishes every cause for complaint he can discern against white folks. He is constantly distressed at being half-white. Obama says he “ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites,” even though he surely realizes that his media-sensation status stems from how much white people love highly accomplished blacks who speak with white accents.
He did decide to attend a church filled with so much hate of the white race. He did decide to marry in the church, to have his kids baptized there. He made many choices over a 20 year period to befriend a man who, contrary to Obama’s assertion, did more then give a few cherrypicked quotes. Hell, just look at that Black Power Manifesto Wright put up on his Church’s website and you get a great idea of the character behind that man.
And Obama loved it.
Or he wouldn’t have chosen Wright as his mentor.
Mike makes some great points:
Throughout the speech he made references to the poor quality of education available to African Americans. Yet, throughout his campaign he has embraced the teacher’s unions which continue to block any and all effective solutions put forward to deal with the problem.
He complained that “the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.” But he had a choice on whether or not to attend that church. And he denies poor families the choice of where to send their children to school. If you want to help poor families educate their children, embrace school choice, not the current apratheid of government run schools.
He denounced evil corporations and their “short-term greed” and went on to condemn the current political culture as “a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many.” He goes on to suggest that this and lingering prejudices has left us with the resulted that “black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations.” And yet, Democrats like him have voted consistently to block the transfer of wealth to future generations through their insistence on the death tax, which strikes hardest at the small business owner.
But, at least for now, ABC News isn’t buying the speech:
More From Obama’s Pastor: U.S. a Racist Superpower
”I think the caricature that’s been painted of him is not accurate,” Obama said Monday. “And so, part of what I’ll do tomorrow is just to talk a little bit about how some of these issues are perceived from within the black church community, for example, which I think views this very differently.”
Sen. Obama last week denounced two of Rev. Wright’s sermons blaming the 9/11 attacks on “U.S. terrorism” and calling on blacks to sing “God Damn American” instead of “God Bless America.”
But Obama defended Rev. Wright’s “social gospel” and said he agreed with some of his points, including issues relating to Africa.
Other sermons reviewed by ABC News, from videotapes sold by the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, reflect Rev. Wright’s repeated attacks on the U.S. government as a “racist and arrogant superpower” that does not value its black citizens.
In one sermon in October 2005, Rev. Wright addressed the racial elements at play in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
One of the more sickening examples of class warfare and schmaltzy emotion tugging I’ve seen in a long time can be found at the end of his speech:
There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.
And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.
She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.
She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.
Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.
And this excuses Wrights hate and Obama’s embracing of that hate how?
Last point….kinda funny how he now wants to God Bless America?
Tell me, who in the right mind is going to believe this passage?
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.
Are you joking? A man who called this nation the US of KKK, who belittled whites at every opportunity, never ONCE treated whites with anything but respect?
And we’re the problem you see:
Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racismwhile dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.
Because we all know there is no such reverse racism right?
This satire from Scott Ott actually hits the nail on the head:
In a landmark address on race, which has already eclipsed Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream‘ speech, Democrat presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama today said the U.S. can achieve the Founding Fathers’ vision of “a more perfect union” only if black and white come together to overthrow the bourgeoisie who run the military-industrial complex and control the means of production.
In distancing himself from the “wrong” and “divisive” racially-charged preaching of his long-time pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Obama simultaneously defused America’s racial tensions, while filling his listeners with “the audicity to hope that the empire of American military and economic might would soon come to an end.”
An email to The Corner:
I’ve always known that Obama was a con artist because when you don’t offer up ANY specifics during a campaign it’s usually because you either don’t have any core beliefs or your core beliefs are nutty. His speech today will do nothing more than further convince people like me, who wouldn’t vote for him anyways, that he’s a fraud. The MSM will glorify his passion, hope, outreach… whatever you want to call it… for a more perfect union and Rev. Wright will fade from the headlines like so many other liberal scandals. Remember Sandy Berger? Remember “no controlling legal authority”? Remember questionable Nevada land deals? The list goes on and on. Wishful thinking my fellow conservatives. Wishful thinking.
Very true….those who supported him will forget all of this. Those who didn’t won’t.
But its those middle of the road types who were agnostic about him this may effect but as the emailer stated, November is a long ways away.
Kathryn at The Corner:
The more I think about this speech, the more I think Obama said: Damn straight, Rev. Wright is angry. That’s how I wound up at his church. That’s why I stay there. I’m mad too, I just control it better. Now let’s get electing me president so we can all feel good.
Any hopes anyone had that Barack Obama would be a gift to civil rights in America — that he would shake hands with Ward Connerly and really be a change died today, I think.
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