By now everyone knows that Barack Obama's longtime preacher said stuff.
Some of it was tinfoil theories:The Government created AIDS to kill people of color.
Some of it was racial resentment bubbling to the surface:The U.S. of KKKA.
And some of it was the unabashed truth that no one wants to face:
9/11 is America's chickens coming home to roost.
But there are several things that make this particular "scandal" a non-issue for Barack at worst, and a net gain at best.
Lets review them, shall we?1. The best possible response to this situation is the one that Barack himself gave in his race speech on Tuesday. It is the same response that anyone (including myself) gives when someone that they cannot separate themselves from, for whatever reason, says something of which they disapprove.
But what is even greater about Barack's response is that, because it is the common-sense response, it is the last thing I ever
expected to hear from a major political candidate in my lifetime.
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.
But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man.
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.
This part of his speech both touched me deeply and made me ashamed. I remember quite clearly the moment I realized that my Grandmother was racist. Barack's refusal to disassociate himself from his longtime friend at the moment when it seemed overwhelmingly expedient to do so, when it seemed that Rev. Wright may have the power to cost him the nomination (okay, my last post reveals that I know the nomination process to be over) or the general election, made me realize that my half-assed attempts to not speak to my Grandmother over her comments was not only cowardly, but watching Barack's very public stand,
stupid as well.2. As much as the Republicans would love to use this against Barack in the general election, they simply cannot. Why?
- Rev. Wright (and I can't believe Democratic circles aren't jumping all over this) is a former US Marine. That's right, this man took up arms for our country. Ask yourself this: If, as Hillary and (undoubtedly) the republicans would have us believe, actions speak louder than words, don't Rev. Wright's actions in the Marine Corps speak louder than "God damn America"?
- The Republicans are awash in insane, babbling, and astonishingly ignorant religious figures. Even their nominee isn't immune to it, having accepted the endorsement of John Hagee.
Now, I've already heard some conservative hack justifying McCain's relationship with Hagee as somehow "better" because he doesn't personally know the guy, and just accepted an endorsement while Barack has known Rev. Wright for 20 years.
But, any rational mind with more than 5 minutes to consider the issue, (especially if they've seen Barack's speech, which you can, here.
I highly recommend you do so) will come to the conclusion that if anything, Barack has every reason in the world to stand by Rev. Wright, the man who married him and baptized his children, and McCain's only excuse for having any association with Rev. Hagee at all is political expediency.
Barack can compare himself to everyone in this country that has ever heard a loved one say something offensive. McCain has absolutely no excuse.3. The Muslim rumors are dead.
There are only so many times the members of the public dumb enough to believe Barack is a closet Muslim can hear a man associated with words like: pastor, congregation, and church
before they abandon the notion.
His detractors can't have it both ways, he's either a member of a church, or he's a Muslim.
Presto! No sustainable controversy, and the death of a stupid rumor.