Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why the Rev. Wright situation is a gain for Obama

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.


Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

You fucking rock. I am so glad you are here with us on WOS.

Oh, and getting PRYOR'D today was a nice kicker to yesterday's awesomeness.

::blows kisses::

8:54 PM  
Blogger teacherken said...

careful - remember we Marines include a wide diversity of people, including Ollie North and Jim Webb, who couldn't stand one another at Annapolis and have carried that forward 40 years.

Mark Shields, Jim Lehrer, Art Buchwald, Chuck Robb, Lee Marvin .. they too were Marines.

And if I think to the 70+ others with whom I graduated from Parris Island on Sept. 1, 1965, there were some outstanding individuals, but more than a few jerks as well.

Still, in our day, we did all volunteer.


9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might I remind you that Lee Harvey Oswald was a Marine. For that matter, so was the shooter in the tower at the University of Texas. The fact that Reverend Wright was once a Marine doesn't excuse him for his racist and hateful thoughts.


2:39 PM  
Blogger Thaddaeus Toad said...

Ah, good ol' Rowhey. Always good for a little demagoguery. Now he's comparing a former marine-turned-preacher who in sermons criticizes America's treatment of blacks, history of white-supremist racism, and foreign policy re: the Middle East to ASSASSINATING PRESIDENT KENNEDY. Just goes to show that conservatives will go to any lengths to miss the point or paper the tiger or ruddy the herring or stuff to the gills the straw man.

7:06 PM  
Blogger AhhYes said...

Believe me Rowhey, I need no reminder that there have been Marines that have done terrible things.

My point is that actions speak louder than words.

When those men committed those terrible acts of violence, their actions spoke. Just as their action to serve their country spoke.

Rev. Wright served his country. That action speaks. Rev. Wright has done countless things to help his community. Those actions speak.

Rev. Wright also SAID some pretty terrible/stupid things.

To me, his actions speak louder than his words.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Thaddaeus Toad said...

Jaime here - I don't feel like logging Thadd out of the dashboard.

AhhYes, you really need to click around on the blogroll and visit some of the other VA sites. Some are a trip. Some are informative. Some are both.


8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really love how take cover behind the service records of various public servants. In the case of Jim Webb, you trumpeted his very commendable heroism in Vietnam.

With regards to John McCain's five and 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton, you are silent. Very interesting.

Yes, Rev. Wrights service in the Marines praise worthy. The sacrifices of all veterans are praise worthy.

Actions do speak loudly. But, words also carry great power. Words have a cummulative impact. The writings, rants, and various venom spewed by Pastor Wright will unfortunately be remembered far longer than any of us can imagine. We'll be talking about this saga for generations to come.

And, Wright shouldn't given a pass just because of his service. Senator McCarthy served in WWII as a tailgunner. Should we give him a pass because of his service?

By your standard, actions speak louder than words. But, let us not forget that ministers essentially make their living by the spoken word.

10:11 AM  

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