Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Obama speech

Race again. The candidacy of Barack Obama always wore two aspects: the first as an unconscious acknowledgement of historical guilt and the second as an implicit offer of redemption. The catch was that both aspects would be embodied in one man. Obama's election to the Presidency would simultaneously be Calvary and Easter. It would be both death and resurrection; something would fall and something would rise. What would fall into nothingness would be racism. What would rise was a new future, symbolized by Barack Obama.

These are the themes of  the speech he gave (below) in order to explain his meaning in current racial debate now wracking American politics. Obama's candidacy itself brought many of these issues to the fore, partly by the inevitable process of semiosis and partly through the effect of people like Jeremiah Wright and Geraldine Ferraro. But now in his person, in which a  "a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas" are sacramentally and genetically united,  does the nation have an opportunity to move on.

The one constant of the Democratic nomination of 2008 is that it will simultaneously be about 'getting beyond race' while being about race. But Obama tells us not to be afraid because we must be confounded before attaining ultimate understanding. One of the themes of his speech is that 'we the people, in order to form a more perfect union' must first divide in order to unite; and only by acknowledging our differences can we overcome them.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

Barack Obama is a complex subject. He is at once a vessel and a message and he subtly reminds us of that fact. And taking him at his word it's not impertinent to suggest that the only way to understand a complex subject is through a layered set of faculties. For example, in my youth, while standing on the periphery of many a crowd listening to speakers invoking the tragedy and glories of the past as a redemptive prelude to a epiphanic future, it was necessary never to forget to keep an eye out for the pickpockets and the first signs of an impending riot. You listened with your ears and the hairs on the back of your arm. The message was in the man, the speech and his millieu;  in the whole experience. To listen only to the words was to misunderstand everything.

That's why there is more than just semantic information in Barack Obama's speech. Reading the speech alone doesn't convey the half of it. Traffic analysis tell us something too. The text says that Obama has "already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy"  but the timing of the denunciation, coming after 20 years of attendance at Wright's church conveys a message too. The text says, "some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable". Yes; and the fact of the speech tells us something about constancy of someone who was once Wright's friend, once Rezko's friend, before that friendship became inconvenient. Only when a message is placed within its traffic can it be properly understood.

Message and vessel, tempter and savior, Obama is a subject as convoluted as the subject and history of race in America. That complexity doesn't imply that either the man or his subject are demagogic inventions. But it does mean that both are condemned to be full of contradictions.

The place to understand a speech is afterward, when the words have burned away, leaving only their lasting ghosts. And in that quiet it sometimes seems that the greatness of every real speech varies inversely to the largeness of its promises. All political oratory finally leaves us alone with ourselves. The greatest of speeches are those that offer nothing. "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." Those that offer redemption -- at the pull of a lever -- are too facile to bear inspection. The best orators avoid that problem by leaving their listeners with a breadcrumb to accompany them in the silence. So Obama, like a good community organizer, closes his speech with a special, specific dream which everyone can transmute into his own; to bear away like a little cross we can carry to lend the moment authenticity. He describes Ashley, a white woman volunteer, who ate mustard and relish sandwiches to save money to pay for her mother's medication. And from that particular he shifts the focus of his rhetorical camera to one of Ashley's co-volunteers.

And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

But the credits roll and magic moment moves on. And Barack Obama's speech takes its place in the signals stream; in the conversation which never ends, where its meaning lies embedded not only in its text but in its context, some place further than Andrew Goodman's grave; some words more distant from Jeremiah Wright and some time closer to November. To paraphrase Hemingway, all political stories, if continued far enough, end in taxes and elections, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you. After the elderly black man who was there because of Ashley fades from our mind we are left with the question of what Obama and the Democratic Party were there for. The answer is complex, but that's life.

 


“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. 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 – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

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.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

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.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

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.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

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 racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

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.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.




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138 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

April 30, 2007

A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith

Still, Mr. Obama was entranced by Mr. Wright, whose sermons fused analysis of the Bible with outrage at what he saw as the racism of everything from daily life in Chicago to American foreign policy. Mr. Obama had never met a minister who made pilgrimages to Africa, welcomed women leaders and gay members and crooned Teddy Pendergrass rhythm and blues from the pulpit. Mr. Wright was making Trinity a social force, initiating day care, drug counseling, legal aid and tutoring. He was also interested in the world beyond his own; in 1984, he traveled to Cuba to teach Christians about the value of nonviolent protest and to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views.

It also helped give him spiritual bona fides and a new assurance. Services at Trinity were a weekly master class in how to move an audience. When Mr. Obama arrived at Harvard Law School later that year, where he fortified himself with recordings of Mr. Wright’s sermons, he was delivering stirring speeches as a student leader in the classic oratorical style of the black church.

But he developed a tone very different from his pastor’s. In contrast with Mr. Wright — the kind of speaker who could make a grocery list sound like a jeremiad — Mr. Obama speaks with cool intellect and on-the-one-hand reasoning. He tends to emphasize the reasonableness of all people; Mr. Wright rallies his parishioners against oppressors.

While Mr. Obama stated his opposition to the Iraq war in conventional terms, Mr. Wright issued a “War on Iraq I.Q. Test,” with questions like, “Which country do you think poses the greatest threat to global peace: Iraq or the U.S.?”
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J. Random American said...
Sen. Obama and Rev. Wright are saying the same thing:

"What their audience needs to hear.
The difference in meaning is due to a difference in audience not to a difference in the men.

If you view them from a different perspective, looking at the audience instead of the orator, then perhaps Sen. Obama and Rev. Wright are saying the same thing after all. They are both saying what the crowd needs to hear. Sen. Obama is saying what will get him votes in the Democratic Primary. Rev. Wright is saying what will put butts in the pews and dollars in the collection plate.

If you assume that the most important thing about what someone says is its meaning then the disparity between what Obama and Wright say is mysterious. But if you think that the most important thing about what someone says is how it motivates the listener to do what the speaker wants them to, then the similarity in their ability as orators is obvious
."
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Both using race to further their own self-interest.
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Biggest joke so far in this miserable affair:
His multi-degreed Ivy League wife making 300+ a year, plus her husbands griftings, lecturing to young people not to pursue middle-classness!

3/18/2008 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Services at Trinity were a weekly master class in how to move an audience. When Mr. Obama arrived at Harvard Law School later that year, where he fortified himself with recordings of Mr. Wright’s sermons, he was delivering stirring speeches as a student leader in the classic oratorical style of the black church. "

3/18/2008 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Obama speaks about children joining his campaign to help there aprents, but attends a church where his mother would be spat upon.

Nice speech.

I judge politicians by their actions, not there rhetoric. The single most corrosive idea in liberal belief systems is that blacks can't be racists, or are allowed to embrace racism because their ancestors were victimized by it.

Martin Luther King's vision of a society where all men are judged by the content of their charecter, not the color of their skin can never be achieved while people like Reverend Wright are encouraged to peddle their hatespeech.

3/18/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If Barry isn't a demagogue, I don't know who is, including Uncle Jerry.

3/18/2008 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger kilmer4 said...

I couldn't get through the speech. Sometime after his statement about how e pluribus unum was seared into his genes by his family on three continents of all races...--my mind drifted off. It just drifted away.

Yesterday, I saw this inscription in the small of the back of a woman. It read:
PÆT PE GARDE

There was more but it was too fuzzy for me to read.

Anyone know what it means?

3/18/2008 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ophra quit the Church, not wanting to taint her ever more valuable brand.
Barry chose to ride it all the way to the Presidency, if possible.

Perhaps the New Media will intervene on that dream.

3/18/2008 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...I think it means shes a slut.

3/18/2008 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think one thing Barry is calling for is for everyone to quit showing/watching those videos.
...because doing so is divisive and probably racist, and won't get us anywhere.

Not that doing so is bad for his dog and pony show, of course

3/18/2008 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Obama has only memorialized his duplicity and unworthiness for any public office.

Journalists like Andrew Sullivan who continue to fawn over Obama and call this speech "transcendent" irredeemably forfeit their credibility. Obama's rhetorical skills did not rise to even his ususal standards. Calling Wright his "former" pastor, implying that Obama has separated from him, rather than Wright retiring, is dishonest at best.

The moral equivalence between Jeremiah Wright the anti-American, anti-White very public hater to his own white grandmother's benign private comments is insidious. It seems most likely that Barack Hussein Obama is himself an anti-American racist trying to get the POTUS for who knows what reasons.

3/18/2008 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

I think the biggest problem with Barack Obama is that there is no way to definitively know from the combination of his words and current past, just who he is.

Most people are like that. We are ambiguous in youth. But age and accomplishment clarify us; what we are is what we become. It our track record which ultimately convinces others, and perhaps God, who we are. Many of the classics of 19th century literature. Crime and Punishment, Lord Jim, even the Four Feathers are about men redeeming -- definiing -- themselves through their lives.

I don't necessarily subscribe to the belief that Barack is a con-man. Though he could be. I don't necessarily buy the proposition that he is a new Lincoln. Though honestly, he might be. Just who is he then?

What is apparent from the record is that he is a liberal politician whose positions on the issues are known. Politically speaking that is who he is. That's what his past shows he is. And there's nothing wrong with being that in the political spectrum.

As to the question of whether he is a transcendent figure history has yet to judge. If his campaign is any evidence the jury is still out.

From Barack's point of view the moment to be President is now. From an analysts perspective, the best time to judge the quality of his mettle is a few years from now, when his record in the Senate and his political (as in ideational) accomplishments become more evident.

If the problem is to decipher the man right now the possible cleartexts admit of many solutions; some good, others not so good.

3/18/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Ursus Maritimus said...

"this nation’s original sin of slavery"

Is it possible for this to mean anything but "The world was an Eden where slavery was unknown until Amerikkka invented it!"?

3/18/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Glad Boston Pointed that out:

"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."
---
I guess he chose his Church on the basis how much it made him cringe?

3/18/2008 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Wretchard

If Candidate "A" spent almost his entire adult life as an active member in the Klu Klux Klan, donated tens of thousands to the cause, participated with his wife and children at Klan rallies, participated in Klan sacred ceremonies, and then said it really didn't represent his views, would you believe him? Would you still say that he was "undefined?"

Even though you are willing to cut him more slack I think that we know very well who Barack Obama is. Maybe some people will never admit it, but that does not change the facts best evidenced by his behavior.

3/18/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Senator Barack Obama’s political success thus far has been a blow for equality. But equality has its down side.

Equality means that a black demagogue who has been exposed as a phony deserves exactly the same treatment as a white demagogue who has been exposed as a phony.

We don’t need a president of the United States who got to the White House by talking one way, voting a very different way in the Senate, and who for 20 years followed a man whose words and deeds contradict Obama’s carefully crafted election-year image.
"

- Thomas Sowell

3/18/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Obama's speech said Black racism is OK. And if you criticize it your are a racist. And that he is the Messiah who will "fix" racist blue collar whites. And that, oh by the way, AmeriKKKa is racist.

He's toast. And so are Dems.

3/18/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

In reference to Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama said the following:

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…

This is a corrosive statement on many levels. Yet, some of his supporters are making far worse remarks. They claim the remarks of Jeremiah Wright are mainstream black opinions. Think about that.

If the remarks of Jeremiah Wright truly and accurately reflect the real opinions of black people, desegregation never had a chance. To claim that Jeremiah Wright’s statements are mainstream black opinions is to claim that black people simply aren’t interested in being citizens of the United States of America. Barack Obama’s demagoguery may very well put a stake into the heart of Martin Luther King’s dream.

It is flatly wrong for Mr. Obama to equate the disgust Americans feel about America’s racial classification system with the anti-American hatred of Jeremiah Wright. Racial discrimination is wrong regardless of whom the beneficiaries are. If we ought to live in a non-racial future, why not live it right now?

The principal reason why I don’t believe it is true that most black people don’t want to be fellow citizens is because I don’t want to believe it. I want a future where one is judged by the content of one’s character and not by the color of one’s skin. And yet, if rejecting Jeremiah Wright on the basis of his character truly means rejecting the entire black community, the choice to many non-black Americans is obvious.

Mr. Obama is effectively raising the ante of his political campaign. By equating a rejection of Jeremiah Wright with a rejection of black people in general, he sows the wind. His remarks are a complete repudiation of desegregation. If a majority of black people refuses to distance itself from Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright, the dream of integration is gone.

I don’t think Barack Obama is relying entirely on the ballot box to win this election. There is an element of intimidation. One consequence of running a messianic political campaign that raises emotions to a fever pitch is that the outrage of disappointed voters is a means to coerce votes. The implication is that American cities will burn down unless Barack Obama is allowed to win the election. This tactic has been used before – in the South during Reconstruction and more recently in Zimbabwe. As it is, I would be surprised if there were no race riots commencing on the evening of November 4 if or when Barack Obama loses.

Perhaps Barack Obama’s anthem can be “Joy to the World”.

Jeremiah was a bullfrog,
He was a good friend of mine,
I never understood a single word he said,
But I helped him drink his wine.

3/18/2008 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Caprice said...

"The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery,"

This is offensive, and stomach churning, beyond my comprehension. Why would this man want to be president of a country so tainted? Can't he find a country to lead that wasn't ever involved in slavery?
No?

3/18/2008 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The implication is that American cities will burn down unless Barack Obama is allowed to win the election.
This tactic has been used before – in the South during Reconstruction and more recently in Zimbabwe.
"
---
It was also rampant throughout the New Lefties, the very same leftovers Barry chose to associate with.
---
Radical Son by Horowitz is the best text I've read on that subject and the murder and hatred beneath the romantic veneer of the Black Panthers.

3/18/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

If Obama is NOT the candidate, the DNC will blame Hillary for the absence of Black folks on election day.

She's not going to risk that. There's too much squeeze left in being a senator, and she's got to see that neither her nor Barry are remotely electable.

Better for her to bow out, let the guy run and fail, and be able to point and say "See, those damned racists didn't elect a black man!".... and whisper "pin that one on ME, suckers..."

3/18/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One more thing – imagine if Jeremiah Wright were a white man saying nearly exactly the same things about America. There was once a white man who preached a radical America-bashing social gospel. His theology and rhetorical style were very similar to the theology and rhetorical style of Jeremiah Wright. He became a major power broker in San Francisco and was courted by the city’s Democratic Party establishment. His name was Jim Jones and his church was the People’s Temple.

If a white candidate for the Presidency of the United States spoke of his proud association with the People’s Temple or the Church of Satan and his good friendship with its pastor, it would be difficult to imagine the public reaction being any different from the blowback Barack Obama is presently experiencing. Barack Obama plays up his mythical role as a race healer. He now sounds more like a quack who is guilty of political malpractice.

3/18/2008 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Aslam said...

A very moving speech in which there was something for everyone.

But, if you really loved America, Barry, you wouldn't need to be a contortionist. You wouldn't need to -- or even be able to -- stomach the vitriol of black victimology.

But, and I'll give you this, you are a masterful contortionist who can agree with people even while you are peeing on them.

I am proud of America everyday. But I will be proudest of her on the day she sees through you, Barry.

3/18/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

There is no there there in Obama and that means racism too. If you are to judge a man by the content of his character, then what exactly is the materiality of Obama's crime? What is the inherent and latent threat in Wright's church, or Don Imus' radio show for that matter?

There is none. It's just offensive, bigotted, racist speech, and none of you were outraged three weeks ago, because, as you'll all readily admit, the predations of racism don't particularly concern you on a day to day basis.

All you are is outraged. You thought Barack Obama was going to make it all better and now you are profoundly disturbed that he's not carrying the burden of fixing the race thing for you.

Awww.

3/18/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

wow is obama one slick son of s gun...

the issue aint RACE...

the issue is hatred by his Minister directed towards the USA, it's being and others (including israel and the general western point of view.

Excellent kudos to barack for changing the issue.. and turning it back around on to "race in america."

3/18/2008 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

It's a good thing that real life race relations are nothing like Obama, or the NYT for that matter, would lead us to believe. Reflect on your own personal daily experiences over the past several years. The overwhelming possibility is that you, like almost all other Americans, go about your daily life with the race and ethnicity of the people you deal with of no consequence.

That's not to say that it's Happy Times everywhere in the USA but it is fair to say that institutional racism is dead and buried. There is no law, ordinance or regulation anywhere in the US that could block any person's personal ambitions if they are willing to work to achieve them.

Plus, I think people are getting more than a little PO'd that the professional race baiters so conveniently minimize or ignore entirely the personal sacrifices that so many millions of white Americans have made to end racism.

Generally, I think a good 20% of the population is deranged or nearly so, and if you encounter one of those folks, there's nothing that can be done about that.

3/18/2008 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"All you are is outraged. You thought Barack Obama was going to make it all better and now you are profoundly disturbed that he's not carrying the burden of fixing the race thing for you.
Awww."


You cannot cheat an honest man cobb, and the honest voter for Obama is not seeking a referendum on American race relations.

Nor is the honest critic.

So who honest remains?

3/18/2008 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

good one elijah. now where have i heard that before? should i be stung? i hope not. please qualify 'you', i don't presume that all the honest critics have fled.

3/18/2008 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Doug said:

"If Barry isn't a demagogue, I don't know who is, including Uncle Jerry."

Barack Hussein is very scary. The system has had a serious malfunction to allow such an obvious demagogue to get this close to being President.

3/18/2008 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Aslam said...

Cobb, the "materiality of Obama's crime" is that the central promise of his campaign (we can be one, we're in this together) is the one that he has rejected and mocked by association for over 20 years.

He wants to be our President and claims to love this country but his spiritual mentor -- and indeed his wife and his congregation -- feel little love and lots of hatred toward America. That is either duplicity or stupidity.

If there were a long record of him saying to Wright and to others in the congregation -- publicly -- that this stuff was appalling and unconscionable, that'd be one thing. But, no. He talks of not being willing to disown Wright.

My question is this: Is there a long and public record of him disagreeing with Wright on these topics? If there is not, why not? Because he could "identify" with the bawdy anger? Because it was comfortable?

I can buy that Wright may be a good man who has helped many people. But, his words are not the words of a man who sees all people as equal and America as essentially good.

And, I don't want as President any person who only rejected Wright's message of victimhood and hate when it became politically inconvenient to do anything else.

3/18/2008 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Benj said...

Race Again? Yup. Because it's America's dilemna. And not until THIS moment in time has a mainstream politician spoken so honestly and intelligently and comprehensively about the double-truth at the core of our history. I'll take Wretch's acknowledgement that Obama is a "complex subject" as a backhanded acknowledgement that Obama just reached for (and attained) a high level of discourse about "history and history in the making." (Much higher than we're used from modern American politicians.) Yet this was not a professorial performance. Obama was addressing the felt quality of America's racial divide as he was cultivating the desire in most Americans to overcome it. The speech is at once REAL and extraordinarily generous. See how gently he dealt with Ferarro (and Hil) And (most importantly) with Mr. Wright too. On this score, Wretch's line re the "constancy of someone who was ONCE Wright's friend" is just not honest. Obama made it clear that Wright remains his friend. He was not only not throwing the guy under the bus, he was daring America to imagine from within Wright's experience. (Think on it guys - Wright was a Marine! If anyone's gotta right to sing the blues about America!) He wasn't EXCUSING Wright's opinions. He expressed disdain (and that is the word) for some of Wright's words. But he wasn't there to piss on Wright from a great height - he was out to explain (to all of us) what was wack about the "static" quality of Wright's vision of America. O's clarity about (sorry to repeat) "history in the making," deserves a nod (I believe) from someone like Wretchard (or anyone) who has the capacity to see the past AND future in the present.

To Clubbers who are invoking the spectre of a meeting between Wright and O's Grandmother - not to fret - You can BET if O's GM came to Trinity church at ANY time in the last 20 years, she would have been treated like a queen. Not because she was B.O.'s grandma, but because black folks tend to be extraordinarily responsive to Others who cross-over (even for a moment). Also, just to help some of you ease past the kinds of caricatures that O is trying to get us all to transcend - His Granny would NEVER have used the n-word but that does not mean she wasn't at the mercy (occasionally) of racial stereotypes - O writes memorably about one telling incident on this score - but it doesn't involve anything so melodramatic or TWISTED as hearing your granny use a word that suggests she HATES your kind. The particular moment that OBama recalls was hurtful but it wasn't the kind of thing that breeds killer-anger. Be cool guys, - What you see is what you get, if O becomes pres he's not going to rip off his mask and say NOW'S THE TIME to paint the White House black. I'm just thinking back now on my recent exchanges with a number of Clubbers who probably would never use the N-word but still have offered up comments that indicate they're locked on fearful racial projections. Obama isn't going to throw you/them under the bus either!!!!!!!! Listen in...(As I said to Fred (?) and USAF and...This guy knows how to LISTEN:

"In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time. 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 racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism. Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding."

But there are folks he's NOT going to give an inch to. Early on in his speech he defined one common enemy:

"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."

I think Wretchard has already linked to Andrew Sullivan's old Atlantic piece explaining why Obama promises to be the strongest ideological opponent of Islamism - this speech provided further evidence Sullivan is right about that.

Though, I'll admit, right now I don't even care if the guy goes all the way. He just justified his existence for All TIME. Having said that, I want to come back to Wretchard's closer - "All Poliical speeches finally leave us alone with ourselves." This speech didn't leave me alone. I called up my wife and Mom, emailed my brother and friends, including an an 80 year white southerner who was in the Civil rights Movement. When I got him on the phone we both started in laughing/crying. Amazed at what he'd lived to hear...

3/18/2008 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

there, there, benj - mummy obama gonna kiss it all better for ya.

3/18/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

...a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many.


Mr. Obam meet Mr. Marx.

Let's eliminate private enterprise and those elements of society that would dare block progress by criticizing the Obama Administration and we will have only Happy Thoughts. No different from Chavez, or Castro, or Stalin for that matter.

We already had the New Soviet Man, at least the 80 million or so that Marxim didn't butcher, what do we get now - the New Obabman?

3/18/2008 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"explaining why Obama promises to be the strongest ideological opponent of Islamism"
..................................

...In an insightful essay exploring the alliance between the left and Islamic jihad, the socialist author Paul Berman suggests in Sayyid Qutb's writings about 'social justice' he was inspired by the 'universal declaration of human rights. Qutb did not incorporate the Marxist view of class conflict into his doctrines. However, a decade later Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini took this step of transforming Shia islam into a revolutionary force.

Khomeini introduced into radical Islamic thought the Marxist concept of a world separated into oppressors and oppressed.

The goals of radical jihad are purification and social justice, both of which are to be achieved through the institution of Islamic law, via capitulation or by the sword.

As long as America and capitalism continue to protect what the leftists, Marxists, and Islam regard as the global order of social injustice, all reforms and social advances within the existing structures of American democracy are illusory. No?

Again benj, who are the captors, the strong, the powerful from Obama's perspective?

or using the terminology of others,
who are the the oppressors, the subjugators in an oppressive American society?

3/18/2008 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

If you want a president who will stick up for the National Interests of the USA, Sen. Obama is not your man. We are told the worst criminal in the world is due a fierce advocate, but not our own nation.

A President Obama would be like the lawyer who stipulates for the record that his client is indeed guilty of genocide and mass murder; that on the good days he oppresses the poor, exploits the workers and sows the seeds of racism. His client forces old people to eat dog food and children to go to bed hungry. And now, in its unilateral greed, his client is destroying the entire world and human civilization to boot. And all this happens when the Democrats are in charge. With the Republicans? You don't want to know. Time for a change.

So after admitting guilt to the worst crimes his client has been accused of, he says: How can we make it up? Pay a fine, do some community service?

Somehow, I don't see it working. Perhaps the good Senator wants to preside at a hanging? Well, I'm not for taking the chance.

3/18/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

I was on IM yesterday with someone who had a long history in the Civil Rights movement. That struggle was not about freeing a particular ethnic group. It was about people freeing themselves from an historical prison. It wasn't about the Whites doing it for the Blacks. It was about people doing the right thing.

And a subconscious part of the resentment against Obama's Messianism is the implication that he in a privileged position -- as Benj is in a privileged position -- to lecture everyone about race and freedom. This is really what is meant by "entitlement"; the unspoken assurance of superiority. There is nothing wrong with Obama running for office. Hell, McGreevey ran for office. But there is something creepy about him running for Savior, and then discovering how long he sat at the knee of Jeremiah Wright.

Talking about his fearful white grandmother only compounds the mistake. It's not that it's offensive, which it might be; it's irrelevant. Most people look for simple competence and tolerable honesty in politicians; lecturing about your special moral place in the political profession is slightly out of place.

It's not entirely Obama's fault he is seen as the One. I think the market for Prophecy rather surprised him. One of the key properties of a democracy is the attitude that leaders are essentially no better than the people themselves. If people believed in aristocrats they would have stayed under King George. And ordinarily we look for people not much worse than ourselves when shopping for politcians. When people start talking about the Face, and the One Who Will Change Us or Protect Us From Radical Islam, its time to worry.

3/18/2008 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

The Left has foisted a marvelous strategy on the nation, to kick sand in the faces of the public. It knows it can't win on its statist and socialist ideas on the national level. So, how do you overcome this serious disadvantage in the realm of ideas? You have to package it somehow, in a manner which confuses, deflects, and takes advantage of some psychological disadvantage of the other side. In Barack Obama the American and International Left have found someone who just might pull it off, although my hope is that Whiskey_199 is right on this one (he's toast).

The Far Left already knows what it's getting in Sen. Obama. The "soft Left" and what can be peeled out from the center are reeled in by his rhetorical skills, and perhaps their "white guilt" can be exploited.

3/18/2008 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

"This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit."

There are soooo many things wrong with this statment, it'd take an hour to write about it. As I don't have time, let's leave it at this:

Companies do not exist to provide jobs for people. Jobs are the by-product of a successful company and that success is measured in PROFIT.

3/18/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I have not read the speech and I have no intention of reading it.

Anyone who declares that America "deserved" 9/11 is unhinged and anyone who nods approvingly when someone declares that has no right to the Presidency of this country, let alone the office of dog catcher.

Race is nothing to do with anything.

The man learned at least part of his craft at the knee of a hater of America and a hater of people of pallor. Why on earth would anyone believe a word he says, read his propaganda, or vote for him to be ANYthing?

3/18/2008 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The place to understand a speech is afterward, when the words have burned away, leaving only their lasting ghosts.

Very few people will read the speech, but it will leave a "ghost" of the righteous history of civil rights advancing in the benighted USA over the last cupla centuries.

This is the BEST analysis of this speech I've read. Then again, I'm a Belmont/Wretchard homer, like a Boston fan. Excellent work, we can expect the impenetrable American independent majority opinion to follow these logical lines.

3/18/2008 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

I'm surprised at the number of people who are evidently certain that Obama is as wreckless as claimed vis a vis his association with Wright and internalization of such vile values. How does someone like this pass the scrutiny of the US Senate?

Or is it reasonable to believe as Wright might suggest that the US Senate is full of racists?

3/18/2008 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

cobb said: "How does someone like this pass the scrutiny of the US Senate?"

Listening to the political shows over the weekend I was really very surprised while listening to the democratic power brokers. They all seemed to want to move on and "talk about the issues". Even the Hillary camp treated this whole thing as radioactive, when to my mind they should be capitalizing on it.

I found myself wondering what's up?

3/18/2008 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

1
"How does someone like this pass the scrutiny of the US Senate?"

Scrutiny by the U.S. Senate does not determine entry into the Senate. If so, please provide the evidence to support your view.

2
"Or is it reasonable to believe... as Wright might suggest... that the US Senate is full of racists?"

With this rationale then...Wright might suggest...

Is it also reasonable to believe that the "enemy" is "white society".

This is the view as expressed in his statements. Would you like a link to the video?

Also, since ...Wright suggests it...whites created the AIDS virus.

Could you please provide the scientific literature to support Wright's claims.

Wright suggests it...so it has to be true, correct?

Two other senators are running for POTUS - can you kindly provide examples of their statements, writings, or links that suggest racism.

Thank you for the discussion.

3/18/2008 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Hillary's strategy has been to get a series of surrogates to set fire to Obama's house, while she stands back in the shadows and feigns disapproval.

The reason it's working so well is that Obama chose to inhabit, politically and religiously, a house of cards.

There was a risk to Hillary in playing the race card, principally in terms of lost votes in November, so she tried to defeat Obama without using it. Once it became clear that was unlikely to work, the scruple was tossed aside.

3/18/2008 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

OK Benj, you want to be honest. Let's be honest.

Honestly, most Black people are like Jeremiah Wright. Most Black people HATE America. Most Black people were happy about 9/11 (Will Smith said famously he couldn't care about the people in the twin towers because "no black people were involved") which was by the way, false. Most Black people like Barack Hussein Obama and Rev. Wright hate the Flag. Most Black people find nothing good about America and everything evil. Most Black people hate all whites. Most Black people think ALL the ills of Blacks stem from Whites. Including especially drug use, anti-education views, disdain of reading, black-on-black gang violence, and the plague of illegitimacy.

If we are going to be honest, most Blacks blame EVERYTHING on Whites and evil KKK of A. This is the view of around 90% or so of Blacks. It's racist. It's pathetic in it's scapegoating. And it's why there will be a continued racial divide.

Barack Hussein Obama says it's OK for Blacks to be racist and stupid, conspiracy theorists. Because of past Jim Crow and Slavery. That it's once again ALL WHITES FAULT.

Let's be honest Benjy. MOST WHITES ARE SICK OF THIS. Pissed off. Most whites have no connection, living or dead, to Segregation let alone Slavery. They are tired of being told that going to work every day, trying to make ends meet marks them as evil and irredeemably evil. With a taint of racism. Because of their skin color. Most whites DO NOT FEEL A SMIDGEN OF GUILT over past racism. And they resent the hell out of Blacks, particularly rich Blacks who make far more money than they do, lecturing them about the evils of racist White America.

Do the math. Blacks make up about 12% of the population. Rich white yuppies filled with guilt over tremendous (mostly unearned) wealth perhaps another 12-20%. By contrast blue collar white men make up 25% of the electorate, the largest demographic slice.

Do you HONESTLY think a blue collar white construction worker enjoys being lectured by Barack Hussein Obama on how HE is racist and ought to hand over more of his paycheck to Blacks who mostly say "God Damn America!"

Hell no. Welcome to the tribal future that Farrakhan, Wright, and yes Barack Hussein Obama helped create. Most Blacks do not consider themselves and will likely never consider themselves Americans in the future. So most Americans would invite them to leave. Or shut the heck up. Whichever suits them the most.

Just being honest.

3/18/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

I think many conversations supposedly about justice in this world are really about revenge. Revenge for the unendurable; payback for the unforgiveable. And if that emotion can be found in the Middle East, among Australian aborigines, in Kosovo or Tibet, why not in America?

Why isn't it possible to think that at least some part of the race conversation is implicitly about reparations; about getting even; about watching people experience the slights long borne? I think that for Jeremiah Wright getting even is part of his concept of justice. That in his universe only vengeance will make the world whole.

The desire for revenge is one of those appetites which can be given no rational satisfaction. It's a dark impulse that we can only hope will go away or eventually be forgotten.

It's not implausible to think that Barack Obama has looked that abyss in the face and turned away from it. Rejected it. Felt sorry for his crazy "old uncle" while evincing an understanding the craziness. And I suppose this speech was to sort of, kind of, somehow connect the dots between anger and hope.

Barack till now has downplayed the anger in favor of the hope. But it makes you think: what were his thoughts when he looked into that abyss? Andrew Sullivan once wrote that we can't look into Barack Obama's heart and therefore must give him the benefit of the doubt.

But that's illogical. Since we can't look into a man's heart we therefore elect politicians whose hearts we have discounted; we don't select Messiahs. This election should be about things you can measure. As to the rest only time and the care of time will be balm.

3/18/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

a. whiskey echoes the 'racial realist' position. it is the basic understanding of race in america as discussed at a highschool level. it is the very sort of logic that assures political correctness and multiculturalism will remain permanent.


b. i should speak more directly because elijah isn't getting me at all.

to your points.
1. i have no doubts that wright is a racial bigot. america is full of them and always will be. it is a testament to the strength of our individual characters to resist such people.

2. i have also no doubt of barack obama's ability to resist the racist bigotry of men like wright. i think it's as easy for obama as it is for john mccain to stay out of the entire nastiness of this discussion. ie i give obama the benefit of the doubt. i think he can keep his head while all about him are losing theirs.

3. mccain's ethics on the entire matter are exactly the same as andrew sullivan's which is that obama should not be tarred in guilt by association - he is not responsible for wright's views. this is the proper example for all republicans and i am dismayed that it hasn't been followed.

4. the greatest gripe i have over this matter is the insult to obama's character which i think originates from the 'racial realist' position, that he and every other black man in america is incapable of resisting the radical rhetoric of men like wright who harp on historical wrongs etc. just like huckabee shouldn't have made hay over romney's faith, neither clinton nor the republicans should make hay over obama's.

however i expect that some fraction of knucklehead americans play in that sort of sandbox. i'm not upset by it.

--
on this last matter, i find this piling on as disingenuous as the same treatment which was accorded don imus - this character assassination model over outrageous statements is petty and ultimately counterproductive. it enables the fatheaded logic of 'racial realism' because it refuses to acknowledge the subtleties wretchard and many others have recognized.

specifically, if wright is the worst kind of racist and obama hangs on his ideological coattails, how is this only now controversial? in other words, where was the beef three weeks ago? similarly, where was the beef on don imus before his outrage?

i happen to know that certain loyalty oaths and interviews are given to members of congress as part and parcel of their swearing in. a friend of mine worked for one of the agencies that does the polygraphing. the reason these procedures are done are to assess the extent to which these officers of the government are subject to blackmail.

i defy anyone who believes the worst of obama to show where his 'hate' and 'treason' have put him outside of the good graces of his fellows in the us senate. in other words, where is the censure? where is the clear and present danger with this seated senator? it is the same question i would ask of strom thurmond were he seated, and i have. where is the beef?

3/18/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think absolutely tht part of the victimhood quest of blacks in America is the hope for "reparation". Forget that they were sold by their African families to Arab slave traders before they were brought to the West. Forget that both Africans and Arabs *still* own slaves.

And, forget that according to census figures, whites are now outnumbered by browns and Asians (and what about the Slavic newcomers). Our black brethren like Messers Obama and Wright are bound and determined to wrest their quart of blood in the form of financial "gimme's" from Rich White America. Just like they're trying to do in New Orleans even as we speak.

Other thing that no one has mentioned is that, at least in Los Angeles, Latino's are currently waging genocide against the blacks. The government is keeping the number of Mexican murderers currently in jail across the country a secret but we know elsewhere they're also murdering. And at least in LA the Mexicans are actively driving into black neighborhoods and targeting black men, women and children.

You'd think Mr. Wright (and Obama) might have a few words to say about that, too, but then Obama wants their votes and Wright knows the Mexicans have no money to pay guilt reparations so ... never mind. Fire when ready, Senor Gridley.

3/18/2008 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

1
"i should speak more directly because elijah isn't getting me at all."

well benj, this is due somewhat to your inconsistency. For example, you wrote -

You cannot cheat an honest man, and the honest voter for Obama is

...not seeking a referendum on American race relations...

Nor is the honest critic.
3/15/2008 12:24:00 PM

3 days later your discussion and Obam's speech today deal directly with race relations.

Does it not?
...........................

"i defy anyone who believes the worst of obama to show where his 'hate' and 'treason' have put him outside of the good graces of his fellows in the us senate. in other words, where is the censure? where is the clear and present danger with this seated senator? it is the same question i would ask of strom thurmond were he seated, and i have. where is the beef?"

with this statement your are attempting to "frame the debate" and shift the focus to "other senators".

First, i would ask you to kindly provide an analogous senator who has a comparable race-based religious value system which specifically groups individuals into clasifications based on race(i.e.captors and captives).

Could you kindly provide this example?

Second, you write
"i have no doubts that wright is a racial bigot."

With this statement then, can you provide the readers with an analogous senator who has stated that a "racial bigot" is his spiritual advisor and mentor?

Third, if such senators attempted to censure Mr. Obama, do you think such individuals would be labeled as racists?

3/18/2008 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Obama demanded Imus firing for racist remarks. But he defends those of Black racists.

Americans will NOT support a special privilege for Blacks to be racist while condemning white racist remarks. Want and get Imus fired? Then Obama must be "fired" off politics too. The racism card only works if those who play it on behalf of their community are free of racism themselves. Something Dr. King understood and Malcolm X could not.

Whites, almost all of them having no connection living or dead to racism, are SICK of this double standard. Whites mostly don't feel guilty. Don't feel a need to be "punished." Are sick and tired of being lectured. Particularly by Blacks of whom let's be honest, most are like Obama and Wright just as racist as the KKK.

Obama's granny, who is still living and he called "racist" was afraid of a black bum threatening her on the bus for money. On her way to work to support Obama. This is "racist?" It's the mark of a drama queen and grievance theater race-hustler. As is calling Geraldine Ferraro and her remarks (that Obama would not be where he is without being black) demagogic. It's contemptible.

Grievance and vengeance and payback may be all well and good, but do the math. Most whites who make up 70% of the voting public are not racist, feel no guilt for racism, and resent being told it's time for them to be punished for the sins of America by Rev. God Damn America and his protege.

Furthermore, most Whites are likely to conclude that the 20 year plus deep lasting loyalty filled association of Obama and Rev. God Damn America shows that most Blacks are racist, hate America and Americans, and don't consider themselves part of America.

Rev. God Damn America packed em in for decades. Including Obama and Oprah who found his hatred to their liking.

3/18/2008 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kurgan said...

Two Issues -

As a candidate for change, it is ironic that Mr. Obama is quickly morphing into the ordinary polictican who will do or say anything to get elected.

On CNN, Barack Obama swore that Sgt. Shultz had heard more inflammatory comments in the sermons than he had. Today however, we have admissions that he had heard some comments (trying to beat the rush of the inevitable contovering video, no doubt).

Secondly,

Mr. Obama is making this about race. It is not. It is about the generational gap between the Clintonites and the Obamaniacs.

You have 18 year old voters that do not even remember Bush I. They do not care race and are embracing a personality and what appears to be an equitable ideology.

The only question that remains is whether the MSM will call him out for these contradictions.

Kurgan

3/18/2008 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Craigicus said...

An excellent speech, by an excellent orator.

He was never going to pick up the armored souls that read this blog (except maybe a few of us).

He strengthened his connection with blacks. He strengthened his connection with liberals who have utopian desperately guilt-free dreams. He strengthened his connection with luminaries in the greater international marketplace of ideas.

Some see something to fear with a middle name of Hussein, but wouldn't it take the hammer out of the hands of many islamists around the world?

Some fear he'd effectively give away USA security to it's enemies. But would he really?

What if he is the uniter that he appears to be? G. W. Bush has already spent all the money.

Do you really want to be talking about 75 y.o. McCain in 2011 who has already said he'll only run one term?

What if Barak Obama embarrasses the USA and blunders and creates false displays of weakness in the USA? Wouldn't that be a lovely opportunity to take over for four terms (for the Republicans?).

Sometimes you can't win by shooting straight. Some times you have to bank the shot off the bumper.

Hat tip to Wretchard, who was intensely ambiguous and ambivalent in his Obama commentary.

Wretchard, you really are my most ever favorite current events writer. You should have a large room full of prose awards if you don't already.

3/18/2008 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Whiskey, you have the proportions reversed. About 90% of black Americans believe strongly in the message articlulated by Martin Luther King, Jr and strive, imperfectly to be sure, to realize The Dream. About 10% are bitter and resentful as you described. Clearly, I count myself among the former group, the 90%.

By the accident of birth, my normal social intercourse, and my chosen associations, I have regular occasion to cross paths with members of the other 10%.

They are the most vocal and the most strident and suffer from the delusion that they speak on behalf of all black Americans. They are mislead into believing that their voice is authentic, their experiences typical, their outrage justified.

Interestingly, the most articulate and well-educated among this group have discovered that they can profit very handsomely from their moth-like attraction to public office, microphones, and the glare of spotlights. A high proportion of the members of the CBC would fall into this camp, along with the likes of JJackson and ASharpton. A not-small proportion of the black glitterati fall into this radical camp, as well.

Despite his protestations to the contrary, BHO belongs to the latter 10%. He differs from the rest of the 10% in one important way: he is perhaps the most well-educated, articulate, and politically-savvy of his generation.

And as evidenced by his speech yesterday in the City of Brotherly Love, he is able to convince a sizeable proportion of people (most of whom want to be convinced) that he didn't sip the Hate-o-rade that was served up in the place of wine by Rev. Wright at Communion for 20 years. But I'm not fooled- not for a second.

3/18/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Having listened to Mr. Obama's speech, and (noting the differences of political philosophy I have with his chosen party) That while I remain steadfastly unconvinced of his readiness to be President, I am impressed with "O"'s mettle.

Please note, the speech may have been initiated by conversations about his minister an his church, but the speech is about much much more. Mr. Obama may very well have enabled us to initiate the kinds of discussion necessary to move past the failed experimentations of racial politics and get on with being Americans.

It is a very dangerous position that "O" has started to carve out, because it is in many areas a direct challenge to the basic philosophy on with the Democrat party is currently campaigning. That is a hopeful sign, IMO. Getting past the Political Correctness and getting over the fear of Hate speech is necessary to even have the conversation. Invoking his Grandmothers statements and his ministers too, is required to shed the fetters that thought PC puts upon the nation.

I don't know if Obama is for real, but this speech was a start. I do not yet trust his zeal, nor his zealots, but I am willing to watch as they present proof of their beliefs. I do not trust that a man whose home was paid for by "Saddam's Bag Man" is presidential timber, but he may be someone who can help us determine the measure of government intervention in private lives, and the level of self determination required and expected of all citizens.

The speech itself is a maze of recognizing conflicting themes and conflicting passions and conflicting motivations. It is a plea to renew real debate, and recognize the flaw in us all. I will be watching the Dem response to the challenge. And monitoring Conservative dialog as well.

3/18/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

..."and recognize the flaw in us all. "

truer words have not been written

it is my belief that regardless of the next POTUS, the journey ahead is going to be very difficult for America, and its enemies

if perception is reality, a uniter may be the single most important attribute of the next POTUS

3/18/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...


You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
is a 1939 comedy film starring and scripted by W.C. Fields.

Fields plays "Larsen E. Whipsnade", the owner of a shady carnival that is constantly on the run from the law. The whimsical title comes from a line in an earlier film, in which he says that his grandfather's last words, "just before they sprung the trap", were "You can't cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump."

3/18/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Randall said...

Before Obama began his campaign, the most powerful and recognized African-American in the world was Condi Rice. A Republican.

That was a very threatening situation for the Democrat elites as some young African-Americans might lose their way. They had to make race an issue in a way that they could control the converstion. Obama is their point man.

3/18/2008 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Kurgan said...

The only one who gets it is whiskey. He just gets it for the wrong reasons. He doesn't "get" that manipulation by one of the most skilled orators of our time.

Although framed on the issue, thiswas not about race, it was about anti-americanism, patriotism, capitalism and fitness to be President.

Make no mistake folks, the economic policies of Mr. Obama reflect the hatred of Rev. Wright.

Look, there can be complex reasons why thing happen and countries evvolve, but justification of Rev. Wrights words are just echoes of the Southern Democrats blocking of Civil rights legislation at the end of the day.

The battle that we see is the battle of a generation with a dying memory not recognizing what was desired has largely been achieved.

In the end, every great quarterback will revert back to that "money" play. Barack reverts back to the speech.

Game over, buddy.

Kurgan

BTW, do we recall the lies and denials that lead up to this point or do we allow the manipulation to continue? Dudes(or dudettes, apologies), Barack was lying because he knew what had transpired was wrong. How many tmes did he tell MaAjor or Anderson that the Rev. was retiring?

You are being played.

Where is the debate on that?

3/18/2008 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Starling --

Evidence shows that the proportion you suggest is reversed. That is, only 10% don't Hate God Damn America, etc.

1. Rev. God Damn America's megachurch is the largest in Chicago's South Side, attracting not only Barack Hussein Obama but Oprah.
2. No Black minister, preacher, etc. has come out to condemn Rev God Damn America or rebut any of his assertions: Whitey and the CIA created AIDS to kill the Black Man, the KKK of A ordered Mandela imprisoned and Sharpsville massacre in SA, etc.
3. The Rev God Damn America sold his sermons on DVD and VHS for nearly twenty years to the point where he lives in a
mansion and drives a Mercedes.
4. You can see the same reaction from the Black Community time and time again: celebrating OJ's acquittal by an all-Black jury (because it was "good a Black man finally killed two whites and got away with it"), the near murder of Reginald Denny and celebration of his assailant's acquittals, the lionization of the Jena 6 (thugs all, Bell the worst who punched a girl in the face and assaulted the white boy for no reason -- the victim had no connection to the noose hanging MONTHS EARLIER).

Yes most Blacks think the way Rev God Damn America thinks. Express the same opinions. And suffer like Bill Cosby suffers when they express publicly contrary opinions. There are constant tests and measures for orthodoxy, "acting white aka liking education and reading" and "being black enough."

As noted by reporters on scene in Philly for Barack Hussein Obama's speech, nearly ALL the Black men and women in the audience AGREED with EVERYTHING REV GOD DAMN AMERICA SAID. That is the most damning thing of all.

Frankly the hypocrisy and race baiting of Barack Hussein Obama disgusts me, and so does that of the Black Community. Barack Hussein Obama and the Black Community demanded Don Imus be fired for the words "nappy headed hos" yet lionize and excuse the 20 year record of bigoted hate uttered by Rev God Damn America and lapped up like milk by the Black Community and Barack Hussein Obama.

I understand the "rules" of racism as laid down by Obama-the-Messiah: Black Racism and Bigotry = OK, White racism = greatest sin in the world. He explicitly rejects Don Imus, and considers him a non-person, but embraces Rev. God Damn America.

THAT is likely to produce a wipe out of not just Barack Hussein Obama, D-Hate Whitey, but the Dem Party as a whole.

3/18/2008 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

All The News That's Fit... [Byron York]

Greetings from the train to Philadelphia, where Barack Obama will give his big speech this morning. In advance of the speech, the Jeremiah Wright story finally got big-time coverage in the Washington Post, with a front-page story headlined "Congregation Defends Obama's Ex-Pastor." Reading the story, however, you wouldn't know that Wright had said the words "God damn America." But you would learn that Wright has on occasion been "overcome at the pulpit by a righteous rage about racism and social injustice."

Speaking of "God damn America," if you read only the New York Times — if that were your only source of news — you might not even know that Wright had uttered those words. A Nexis search shows that the only place Rev. Wright's "God damn America" proclamation has been reported in the Times was in Bill Kristol's column yesterday. That column was noticed mostly for a factual error — Kristol repeated a claim from an inaccurate NewsMax report — but as serious as that was, it seems that Times readers should at least thank Bill for telling them what the news pages would not. [from The Corner of the National Review]

Obama is clever and persuasive, no doubt. But he doesn't fool me any more than he does Starling.

We wouldn't even be debating the issue if it were McCain, with Fred Phelps as his "spiritual mentor" and pastor of 20 years.

I have the strangest feeling reading the reactions of many folks in the blogosphere, even conservatives, who find themselves succumbing to his spell: it reminds me of the reactions of Gandalf's companions to Saruman's voice:

"...another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them.

"Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise and reasonable themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell.

"For some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spoke to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler's trick while others gape at it. For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured while they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them.

"But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it."

He's not evil, but he's mighty slick, and anyone who would make a man full of such hatred his "spiritual mentor" has serious darkness in his soul.

3/18/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

elijah, i am not benj, i am cobb, and i did say that 3 days ago. but obama has been forced into making the speech by people who are convinced he is a racist, in the very same way that romney was forced to have his mormon moment. i think both issues were unfairly pressed precisely because both call into question some basic assumptions that no publicly elected leader should have to prove without evidence to the contrary.

--
if obama called for imus' resignation then he was wrong.

3/18/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

the most powerful and recognized African-American in the world was Condi Rice.

I call bullshit. It used to be Mohammad Ali. It's currently Oprah Winfrey.

Obama is a pusillanimous wannabe known ONLY within the United States and bits of 4th tier Kenya.

3/18/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

apologies for incorrectly identifying you cobb

my mental agility is slipping it seems

3/18/2008 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Starling:

I am inclined to believe you, as that which you say conforms to my personal experience.

I would add that the black racists are not only more vocal, but tend to be more educated. I have noticed that the level of grievance people feel is usually inversely proportional to how much they have been victimized. The real victims just want the abuse to stop. In contrast, the real bullies sanctimoniously call themselves victims and then get wildly upset if other people dare to question their exalted position of victimhood or claim the mantle of victimhood for themselves.

The problem comes when the majority of that 90% of black people who believe in the dream of Martin Luther King Jr vote for black racists, for while that 10% may be a minority, it is rich and powerful and literate and loud and organized. Overwhelming black support for Barack Obama, while perhaps understandable on the basis of ethnic pride, is having the perverse effect of turning BHO into a de facto spokesman for black opinion. Unless BHO is repudiated by that 90% of MLK supporters, BHO will create the impression that nine out of ten black people not only support him but also support what he stands for.

I am concerned that most black people are so scared of being called Uncle Tom that they’ll let themselves be called Uncle Jeremiah instead.

3/18/2008 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Benj said...

Couple quickies - Elijah you've mixed me up with COBB and I'm flattered. His rejection of the "realist" view of race was inspirational. Re your invocation of Paul Berman - I know him a bit and he would not call himself a "socialist." More like an "anarcho-liberal."

Wretch - Your comments suggest a certain movement when it comes to O. Allowing "honestly" (all irony registered) that Obama might just be Lincolnesque is a pretty far piece from where you were a couple weeks back. I hope you'll go even farther and bring (some of) your readers with you...But you've got to be a little more honest: "there is something creepy about him running for Savior, and then discovering how long he sat at the knee of Jeremiah Wright." That's not dead on it. You didn't start suggesting there was something "creepy" when you "discovered' the Wright stuff. You were in full mock mode before that. As I said back when I started posting here on O - You sponsor phobia about "WHO IS BARACK OBAMA?" - yet you seem never to have taken the time to check his memoir. You insist he is (chiefly) a liberal pol. But there are LOTS of them. None of em has been given a speech that could compare with the one he gave today. And it didn't come out of the blue. It's right in the flow of "Dreams from My Father." You say there's no way to know who Obama is. But in fact - it IS written. (If I wanted to get all, ah, Messianic on you, I'd say that speech was the one he was born to make.) But don't take my word for it. All you need is the courage to read his "Dreams" and weep...Course it's not easy for anyone (especially an intellectual) to change his/her mind. If it gives you any comfort, believe me I was on the verge of changing mine about O. after his AC 360 performance...Oh me of little faith.

You link me to O and to a supposed sense of moral "superiority" - But there's NOTHING in my mix-ed up personal situation that makes me feel morally superior to anyone cept stone racists, Buckleyites and Leninists. Just so we're all clear, in my 50 years, I've committed just about every possible race-based sin of obliviousness (and most others too!) Only thing I can say to the Judge is I've tried to be a lifetime learner...And when it comes to race in America, there's a LOT to learn...On that score, I was happy to hear about your encounter with the Movement guy. Sounds like he was right on about the HUMAN nature of that struggle. But we probably do have to allow for the double-truth again (as per "O's vision of black yet universal Christianity"). I really would urge you and everyone here to try David Halberstam's "The Children" and here's a link to one of the best things I know about the Movement http://www.firstofthemonth.org/archives/2003/06/the_politics_of.html-

REALLY underscores the human dimension and gets all up in the arguments that undermined the Southern Freedom Movement. (And Guess what - just to complicate things further, those arguments were NOT chiefly about race!!)

I think Obama has already made an extraordinary contribution to America. And his add-on may go against your sense of political narrative as per Hemingway. Doubt the story of Demos in America always comes down to elections and taxes. Culture matters more (sometimes) than votes/money. And Obama is modeling a sort of social imagination - an ethic of generosity that enhances our democracy. (And promises to strengthen us in the ideological battle against Islamism.) Back when I started posting here Buddy Larson allowed OBama's campaign MIGHT be able to take America's cultural/political disourse back from the "lung-rippers" of the right and left (with a lot of help from McCian who's an honorable man). Hope he's right. The choices those guys make in the upcoming campaign might be more significant than any hard call either one makes in office...

I'm going to end on a familial note. I think Wretch gave me license to go there by invoking narratives and calling me out for my supposed sense of entitlement. Truth is, I did get fucking lucky a few times - my pop went south in 66 to do some teaching in a summer tutorial program for black kids who were going to be attending desegregated schools for the first time. He came back Changed and everybody in my family felt it. If you get through this account of an essay my pop wrote back in the day, you might get a sense of why Obama's words today were so moving to people who were touched by the Movement. My pop's piece was called "Mississippi Learning" - He's the DeMott referred to below...

"Mississippi Learning" detailed DeMott’s silent struggles with a young, charismatic black tutor (C.J.) who was less than enthralled with white do-gooders (who were “always going to be leaving”). When DeMott taught a class the day after a student has been killed in a car accident that may have been caused by redneck tailgaters, C.J. sat in the back of the room, staring down at a comic book. DeMott talked through poems with his new students, trying out one by Langston Hughes.

Florida Road Workers

I’m making a road/For the cars to fly by on,/Makin’ a road/Through the palmetto thicket/For light and civilization/To travel on.

I’m makin’ a road/For the rich to sweep over/In their big cars/And leave me standin’ here.

Sure,/A road helps everybody!/Rich folks ride –/And I get to see ‘em ride./I ain’t never seen nobody/Ride so fine before/Hey, Buddy! Look!/I’m makin’ a road!

I asked for some readers, and all the readings were straight. The taunting ironic thing in the worker’s voice – “Hey buddy!” or “Sure” – wasn’t in the room. So I started on a lad in the front and asked if he means what he’s saying, this worker, when he says a road helps everybody…C.J.’s head was up, listening. I didn’t show I knew this. Yes, the youngster said, he means it. He does? I said incredulously. How so? Why? What do you mean? Well, the boy said, it’s just true, that’s all. The road is good for the white man to drive on, and it’s good for the Negro to look at him. I was stopped momentarily. Was the boy putting me on? No, clearly not. I looked up; C.J.’s eyes were down again, but I thought I’d touched some fury in him.

Now the class started, I tried to get somebody to feel that the man is not in love with his job or with the world. It took time and teacherly moves and hints and leads and lots of lousy stuff and some breaks, and I felt everybody holding his temper and patience, including me. We were all relieved as hell when at last a student said the worker is mad: It’s not the same to ride on as to watch; he’s making a mad joke; you could make “Sure” pretty fierce and sneering – “really hot” and be right. And when all this came, it came with a lovely breaking surge. When they saw, they saw. They turned around and looked at each other, absolutely delighted; they were in the game, impressed – very up. I felt exhilarated in their exhilaration. It mattered.

DeMott then brilliantly imagines C.J.’s complicated responses to the students’ joy – “to the spectacle of the white man ‘explaining' – to the Negro – the Negro’s helpless self-mocking rage.” “Mississippi Learning” might once have seemed a shade self-involved. (“[The teacher] feels himself being read as he reads.”) but, 40 years on, DeMott’s clarity about the “crowded quality” of his classroom captures the moment of its moment. “I needed the 60’s” DeMott once said. He knew he’d been gifted with the “infusion of certainty” that flowed out of (even relatively genteel forms of)struggle.

'You understand for the first time – clearly if you’re like me – that there are some things on earth that must be changed…You see that revolution is not a word but a pointing toward what obviously, absolutely must happen, and you are lifted up by this sight, by the freshening awareness of how criminally wrong a wrong can be known to be by a mere human being – namely, yourself. And knowing all this, knowing the real ‘success” for the white teacher is to end up for a while on the receiving end of hate, you plan to work out a way to come back…

My pop died in 2005 - but he'd already seen enough of Obama to believe he'd "go all the way." O did just that today - whatever happens to his campaign...

3/18/2008 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Benj -- Obama will NOT go all the way.

Because he is the Black Racialist candidate and nothing he can do now will change that. Maybe at the start of his campaign had he told both Wright and the Black Community to drink a nice cold glass of STFU about their idiotic conspiracy theories and God Damn America. But not now.

Simple math: Most Whites don't feel ONE BIT GUILTY ABOUT Racism. They make a hell of a lot less than Barack Hussein Obama and his grievance theater shake-down routine. Rich guilty white yuppies maybe. But while Apple and BMW make lots of money their market share is small. Toyota people movers and PCs make up the majority.

Barack Hussein Obama is not going anywhere except dragging down the Blue Dog Dems (which is likely the point for Pelosi and Co.) and a massive defeat. Middle and working class Whites WILL vote for a non-racial candidate who is Black. They won't for someone who guilt trips them on slavery.

That's a load of garbage.

Barack Hussein Obama is a niche candidate for Blacks and rich white yuppies. End of story. President McCain.

3/18/2008 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal Fervor said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/18/2008 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

benj - one thing that first rate lawyers understand is that the devil is in the details.
your comments, for example, strike me as sincere but fuzzy - good on general atmospherics but prone to fatal error.
take a look at this post by steve sailor and read the quoted passages very closely: http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/03/obama-throws-his-own-living-grannie.html

what do they tell you?

as someone who is practised in tha art of reading closely they tell me a great deal about Obama's flaws and why I wouldn't trust him anywhere near the presidency.

3/18/2008 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

benj:

Have you ever watched one of those commercials for the Bank of Scotland?

3/19/2008 01:02:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I reread Obama's speech a few times and every time I went through it the more apparent it became that Obama is not just a race hustler - he is a race provocateur.

He may have "disowned" Wright's most belligerent statements but he did not make any attempt to distance himself or his personal philosophy from Wright's black victimhood-liberation rant. Who does Obama blame for Black victimhood - corporations and Republicans that's who. The money quote for me was Obama's insidious attemtp to equate his white grandmother with Jeremiah Wright.

Why is that important? Because Obama makes no distinction between what Wright said (action) with what his grandmother is (status). That tells me that Obama thinks white people are vile, repugnant and racist just because of their DNA. That also tells me that an Obama presidency would be about teaching Whitey a lesson and making Whitey pay. No thank you.

I do think that we need a discussion about race. But stupid me. I thought that conversation would be about character and why race and ethnicity don't matter. The mere fact that somebody like Obama is being pushed by Democrats and could be POTUS tells me that dumb, fat, and happy middle class folks should be more concerned about watching their backs. The irony is that the middle class people who should be most concerned are Blacks whose very success is a sign of disloyalty and apostasy to The Race.

3/19/2008 02:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Can we spell "Hubris," class?
Condescension, I think we all know well.

3/19/2008 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Amazing link, ex-dem, thanks so much.
(amazing and sad)

3/19/2008 03:48:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Comment #1 to ex-dem's link:

"It's always bugged me that the focus of his obsession and attention was a man who abandoned him as young child, and not his white grandparents who raised him. But this is just contemptible.

His grandmother was afraid of a black thug once, so naturally she's tantamount to that race hustling pastor Wright?
"

3/19/2008 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

and a later contribution:
---
annon said...
"There is nothing more painful to me [...] than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.

-- the Most Reverend Jesse Jackson, March 10 1996, US News & World Report.
"

3/19/2008 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

Alexis said, 'If the remarks of Jeremiah Wright truly and accurately reflect the real opinions of black people, desegregation never had a chance....The principal reason why I don’t believe it is true that most black people don’t want to be fellow citizens is because I don’t want to believe it...."

Why do you think it ever had a chance? Is the real reason simply your subjective state of mind ('I don't want to believe it')?

The fruits of desegregation are all around us - massive relocation of whites (50 million +) to the Interior West and away from all cities, collapse of any meaningful public education, upsurges in drug addiction and crime, logarithmic increases in Federal spending with at least 5 trillion dollars in transfer payments since 1965.

How could anyone believe, any more, that it could ever have worked?

3/19/2008 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Lots of very interesting comments here.

But no one has to wonder about B. H. Obama. His record is recorded and consistent and reported. He says he is pro-life but everytime he votes he votes pro-death. This can be examined by anyone who has an interest in checking it out. If this is not a litmus test of the man, what is? He's a liar. He's a big time liar. An honest man would say, "I'm for abortion"! But he doesn't say that.

He also spouts victimhood Marxist rhetoric by the gallon. Why does he say those things? Why does he set people against one another in the name of unity? Because he is a far left, lunatic fringe Marxist, Socialist. Does he really think that Marxism will lead the black and whatever other people there are to the promised land? If he is educated at all he is well aware of the failure of socialism everywhere. So why does he peddle this stuff? It would impact the "poor" people who are shouting and fainting for him the most. That's cruel.

He plays the racecard; he lives the racecard; it's always on the table. He's counting on it. Race is his ace in the hole. He and Hillary are two faces of the same thing: Socialism. She rides gender and he rides race. Together they drain the souls out of people. They both want to destroy America before they have something better to put in its place. They have no practical wisdom to offer.

To me the Civil War was always about the free North crushing the Socialist "Big Daddy" South. The slaves were freed along the way. Both Hillary and Obama and Castro and Mao and Jefferson Davis and Jimma Carter all have the same political theology: Socialism. It is socialism as a religion. Maybe they believe it. Who cares? They would not be the first and wouldn't be the last. But that doesn't matter. Lots of people make lots of mistakes and do it over and over again. The important thing here is to be clear about what is being offered. The Democratic party has its valid points to make but Socialism as a religion is poisonous to America. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. The spirit of Obama's "church" is Socialism which is just another name for slavery. There are always lots of "Big Daddys and Big Mommys" ready to take over in the name of Christ. The Old South was full of churches preaching slavery. I'm a Christian but, no thanks.

3/19/2008 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"For all the wonderful rhetoric and tantalizing promise of Obama and his speech, there’s not much that is actually new here. This was largely a restatement of Jeremiah Wright’s indictment of America, delivered in University of Chicago parlance instead of South Side Chicago diatribe.

The old baggage has been replaced with shinier suitcases, but the contents are the same as ever. Black America’s problems can be solved by spending more money on the same old Great Society programs. Any talk about black America’s problems that takes the eyes off that prize is a “distraction.” And, yet again, white Americans can prove their commitment to racial justice by going along with more big government. My hope for something better proved too audacious in the end.
"
- Goldberg

3/19/2008 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

LAPD: Jump in killings not due to racial strife

Dealing with a nearly 35% rise over last year, the department contends no single factor can explain the increase.
---
Of 57 Latinos killed this year, 87% are believed to have been struck down by other Latinos, the LAPD data show. (Those statistics do not include several cases in which the race of the suspect is unknown and one case in which the assailant is white.)

Nearly two-thirds of black homicide victims, meanwhile, are suspected to have been killed by other blacks. In about one of every three cases, the killer is thought to be Latino -- up from 14% over all of 2007.
But even in instances in which a Latino is believed to have killed a black person or vice versa this year, police insist that there is no evidence that points to race being the primary factor in the homicide.
---
Latino on Black murder only up a little more than 100% in one year:
Taint no big thing.

3/19/2008 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

Whiskey, I appreciate more than you know how you lay out your case. I think some of the points are disputable but I admire your willingness and ability to list specific events and facts that support your thesis. In my experience discussions of this kind are best done in real-time and in high-bandwidth. If we ever find ourselves in the same place at the same time, I'd welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation.

3/19/2008 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

doug - at 16-18 years old, he "reassured [his grandfather] that Toot's fears would pass and that we should give her a ride in the meantime."

bullshit.

3/19/2008 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/19/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

3/19/2008 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

ex-dem,
OTOH, he IS good at taking folks for a ride.

3/19/2008 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

Gang,
This is not about how "most black people" feel, nor whites for that mater. This issue should be about the potential affect of 20 years of "hate-o-rade"* being consumed by someone that may potentially lead a country. How could any of us listen to Mr. Wright's messages and not be affected? Who sticks around and listens to messages for 20 years that they do not agree with or share?
*ht starling.

3/19/2008 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

who stays catholic when their priests rape?

3/19/2008 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Some adults can distinguish between institutional values and the individuals who transgress. And then again some cannot.

Obama can dance away from the personal statements of Jeremiah Wright but he cannot dance away from his 20 year participation in the black liberation ideology of Wright's church.

3/19/2008 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

liberation theology may be leftist but it is not racist. there is no news in that obama is leftist.

3/19/2008 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger buffy said...

cobb...okay since you asked:
"i defy anyone who believes the worst of obama to show where his 'hate' and 'treason' have put him outside of the good graces of his fellows in the us senate."
How about this example of collegial interaction...

excerpted:
On Monday, McCain unleashed an unusually biting and blunt broadside against Obama, accusing the freshman senator from Illinois of backtracking on a previous commitment to work with McCain in developing a bipartisan proposal for lobbying and ethics reform.

In a letter to Obama on Monday, McCain -- upset by his colleague's support for a reform bill put forward by Democratic leaders as well as a suggestion that McCain's approach might delay the process -- accused Obama of "self-interested partisan posturing" and "disingenuousness."

McCain also told the Illinois Democrat that "I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's efforts to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness."

"I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics, the public interest isn't always a priority for every one of us," McCain wrote. "Good luck to you, senator."
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/07/mccain.obama/


While it's not the bomb throwing false dilemma rhetoric on "treason" that you have suggested and such...it gives a fairly accurate view of how John McCain (and other senators I have come in contact with) views Obama pre-campaign. After hearing his speach it looks to me like Obama hasn't changed his tune on "disingenousness" or his "self-interested partisan posturing". 'Course when you have such big blinders on it's hard to see that isn't it.
One other thing...
Shame on him for throwing his elderly Grandmother (who raised him and sacrificed so much for him to go to the finest schools) under the bus. How uncaring and narcissistic can he be. How would your Grandmother feel if you did that on national TV...to deeply hurt an old woman who idolizes you just for political expediency.
Guess he has a little memory problem as well. From "Dreams of My Father" p. 46
H/T Steve Gilbert

"I took her into the other room and asked her what had happened.

“A man asked me for money yesterday. While I was waiting for the bus.”

“That’s all?”

Her lips pursed with irritation. “He was very aggressive, Barry. Very aggressive. I gave him a dollar and he kept asking. If the bus hadn’t come, I think he might have hit me over the head.”

I returned to the kitchen. Gramps was rinsing his cup, his back turned to me. “Listen,” I said, “why don’t you just let me give her a ride. She seems pretty upset.”

“By a panhandler?”

“Yeah, I know — but it’s probably a little scary for her, seeing some big man block her way. It’s really no big deal.”

A "BIG" man blocking her way..
Do you see anywhere in that passage about her mentioning the panhandler was black? No...his grandfather mentioned it later in conversation and since his grandfather is now dead we can't fact check it, can we.
Here is the greatest of insults.
He can't disown her...for what... for the sacrifices she made for him??? The fact that his elderly grandparents took in and raised a child from a wayward self indulged mother? Isn't that a phenomenon of the black community? I don't know of any blacks that I have in my realm of contact who would talk that way about their Grandmother. They revere and worship them. How noble of Obama to use her to make a racist point at her expense, don't you think? Is that the way African Americans treat their grandmothers? Shame, shame I say.
And one last thing:
"if obama called for imus' resignation then he was wrong."
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3031317&page=1

Guess that settles the "if" part. Have a good day.

3/19/2008 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Liberation theology as it has expressed itself in the African-American community seeks to find a way to make the gospel relevant to black people who must struggle daily under the burden of white oppression.

Nothing racial here. Move on now.

3/19/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger buffy said...

Cobb:
"liberation theology may be leftist but it is not racist. there is no news in that obama is leftist."

Since what we are discussing in not "liberation theology" which was instituted by the Catholic Church as a tool for liberation of the peasants in South America...then I'll assume you mean black liberation theology is not racist.

From the words of Wright's most noted authority, Cone:

Cone writes: "Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man 'the devil.' The white structure of this American society, personified in every racist, must be at least part of what the New Testament meant by demonic forces...Ironically, the man who enslaves another enslaves himself...To be free to do what I will in relation to another is to be in bondage to the law of least resistance. This is the bondage of racism. Racism is that bondage in which whites are free to beat, rape, or kill blacks. About thirty years ago it was acceptable to lynch a black man by hanging him from a tree; but today whites destroy him by crowding him into a ghetto and letting filth and despair put the final touches on death."
http://www.wfu.edu/~matthetl/perspectives/twentyseven.html

A little more research would serve you well.

3/19/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger buffy said...

Peter
We'll move on when you get it right.

Have a nice day.

3/19/2008 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

good stuff buff.

that's where i would expect a reasonable debate to go, things based upon obama's actual conduct, like his ignoring of nato despite the fact that european defense affairs are part of his job. i'm pleased to know that mccain is accustomed to slapping obama around, because the real debate i want to see is between he and mccain on national security.

i predicted that obama would pull a cablinasian hat trick in this speech, so putting his grandmother in the mix was inevitable.

i wrote this last week:
I think it is unfortunate the Obama campaign has to bear the burden of an important discussion about the evolution (or not) of black nationalist politics in America and the role of the black church in it. But it's like that and that's the way it is, and in the end I think this, more than anything will be how Obama's blackness will be judged. That is because the rhetoric of Wright, decontexutalized as it may be, is immediately recognizeable as the subtext of black politics for the past 40 years. You cannot talk about 'Amerikkka' and be forgiven, but all black activists know somebody who talks just like that. Dennis Prager was all over it this morning. Rush Limbaugh was all over it as well. I wonder if The Field Negro will be keeping his head down.

The problem is very simple. Pretty much all black church activism is liberal / black nationalist activism. The black church has bitten off more than it can chew, and every American who doesn't understand the subtleties of that nexus and where it does and does not break is going to be perplexed and skeptical about how (and if) Obama can wriggle out of it. I say he can't because Wright married the man, and Michelle Obama's UCLA speech is the first 1 of this equation. 1 + 1 = 2. Michelle Obama + Jeremiah Wright = Unpatriotic. And don't be surprised when Wright is labeled racist. There is no escape here, there is only confrontation. So how does one distinguish doing good for blacks from doing good for America when so much of the rhetoric of black self-help is unpatriotic? That's the question Obama, of all people, somebody very fresh to the scene, is going to have to answer. Or else.

What do I think he'll do? I think he'll pull a Cablinasian trump card out of his pocket. And I think people who already support him will grudgingly accept it, people who never did will dismiss it and people who oppose him will call it an evasion. That will substitute for a substantive discussion on race. However, somebody ought to get Jeremiah Wright an hour on primetime TV.

As for the duality of the black church where the meat of this discussion oought to lie, I am hopeful that Obama's inevitable concession to the mainstream will help black ministers recognize their insufficiency as political leaders. I hope black churchfolks' willingness to take political cues from black ministers is diminished by this episode. Here again is Obama doing the right thing the right way as a mainstream political candidate and he's going to have to focus. That means that Wright will get the same treatment as Tavis Smiley. It will be tougher, but if I know Barry as a BAP, this is exactly what he's going to do. And Jeremiah Wright is going to have to sit down, shut up, and hope for an invitation to the Rose Garden someday over the rainbow...


I didn't expect that his speech would be so frothy and delicious for his base and so contemptuous to his enemies.

3/19/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

buffy.

i would indeed love to debate liberation theology with you. your paragraph does nothing to convince me that it is anything but cone's obiter dicta. i find it very difficult to believe that cone buys into any theories of racial supremacy and that burden would be on you. if you think that it is racist to have a liturgy and theology created for and centered around specific interests of blackfolks, then i think you are making a grave error.

aside and apart from any reactionary justification for a black church in america, i believe cone's theological premises are what cornel west says they are, organic and addressed at certain existential burdens many blackfolks carry. i've only read west on cone but not cone himself - never got around to it.

are american seminaries compatible with racist theology? are west and cone, finally exposed?

3/19/2008 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

Mr. Cobb having occasionally read your blog after following a link years ago from Ms. Barber's Corner I did not expect a response such as this:

"who stays catholic when their priests rape?"

Do you think a soul has left the Catholic church over the molestation and hypocrisy?
Do you have any links to video of catholic priests preaching rape...or hate that I could send to parishioners in order to convince them that they too should seek spiritual guidance elsewhere?
I guess I could delay my concern until I started seeing the "God Damn America Obama 08" bumper stickers, Yah Think?

3/19/2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger buffy said...

Cobb
“i find it very difficult to believe that cone buys into any theories of racial supremacy and that burden would be on you.”
Once again…it’s black liberation theology and not liberation theology…please stop trying to confuse the two.


“Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.”
Black Theology & Black Power 1969

"Black suffering is getting worse, not better. . . . White supremacy is so clever and evasive that we can hardly name it. It claims not to exist, even though black people are dying daily from its poison" Living Stones in the Household of God-2004

"The time has come for white America to be silent and listen to black people. . . . All white men are responsible for white oppression. . . . Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man 'the devil.'. . . Any advice from whites to blacks on how to deal with white oppression is automatically under suspicion as a clever device to further enslavement."
Black Theology & Black Power 1969

I could go on all day with these…but you get the point. If you want to truly do research on this subject matter and not just be spoon fed then I suggest you get at it.
Here is an excellent treatise from H. Wayne House
An Investigation of Black Liberation Theology
http://www.hwhouse.com/aninvestigation.htm

(H. Wayne House (ThD, JD) is distinguished professor of biblical studies and apologetics at Faith Seminary, Tacoma, Washington, and a professor of law at Tinity Law School, Trinity International University. Dr. House is past president of the Evangelical Theological Society.)

“if you think that it is racist to have a liturgy and theology created for and centered around specific interests of blackfolks, then i think you are making a grave error.”

On the contrary, Cobb, I think that Scripture has established doctrine that ALL who are called are to follow. You are making the “grave error” of spitting in the face of God by your denial of Him and attempt to affirm the corruption of His Word. But I can understand your reaction if you are influenced by West.

"are american seminaries compatible with racist theology? are west and cone, finally exposed?"

No..that is a hasty generalization on your part. It does expose the deviancy of teaching Christian Theology and doctrine at Union Theological Seminary where both Cone and West are/were instructors. West is influenced by Rority, the late atheist pragmatist who along with Chomsky did more to screw up the past academic generation than anyone else I can think of.

Now once you actually do the research I will be glad to debate the fallacy of Cone and Hopkins and how their theology of hate as preached in the black pulpits is tantamount to the Cretans and the misleading of the flock.

3/19/2008 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

i think there are a large number of very good reasons to vote against senator barack obama, but that doing so on the basis of his religious associations is one of the worst. it degrades the quality of political debate and this particular fight has done damage to the christian aims of liberation theology and the black church.

how various traditions within the black church have been so haughtily dismissed is disturbing. even christopher hitchens has been kinder to al sharpton than many of you here have been to obama's faith. i'm merely disgusted, and this debate makes me lament the late william f. buckley even more.

3/19/2008 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger buffy said...

The reason you are disgusted is because you cannot respond coherently and that self refuting incoherency confuses you as it should.
Many here have given you various citings on a variety of items (EX. Obama throwing his Grandmother under the bus for his own racist political purposes) which have nothing to do with Black theology or the teaching of it's false doctrine.
You are the one who has set himself up as the authority of black liberation theology without the facts. When confronted you are emotionally reactionary. You can't support the facts and offer nothing other than arbitrary opinion.
I suggested that you do the research so that you wouldn't make yourself look even more foolish. Apparently you have no desire to know the facts or the truth. Pity. It is the same intellectual vapidness that plagues the Democratic party. All emotion...no coherency. When you lose the argument you call on emotionality and victimization to sway opinion. It is childish and without merit in true debate. If you can't support your argument with the facts...best not to start the argument..just a little advise.

3/19/2008 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

ah. buffy slipped in.

good. i am satisfied that cone was off his nut in 1969. if he hasn't reformed from there then you are correct to put your boot deeply in his backside, and for that task i will buy you new hobnails.

what i recognize in cornel west goes precisely to the heart of this matter which is that a substantial fraction of african americans require for their own sanity some identity cookies which often take precedence over enlightened self-interest. the mainstream debates this most often in terms of 'self-segregation', which is also an axiom of racial realists and multiculturalists. so it is true that many blackfolks do not participate in american society and require as much self-help as the size of any barnes and noble section bearing books of that nature might indicate.

it is a puzzle that few people have honestly tried to solve, but i believe that the black church makes an effort, even though as many have noted, various jacklegs pervert the process. as many of us are skeptical of dr. laura schlesinger, so too we must admit that if it weren't for her scolding, then *we* would have to deal with all the misery she does. wright's great error in my view is the extent to which he is enabled to hold his flock hostage and in opposition to the mainstream.

let me also say this, which is not often said enough, while we are speaking of the odd ministries. if you are so unfortunate to be a black man who is a convict, there is no greater protection from rape in prison than joining the nation of islam.

you have established for me a reasonable doubt in the prospects for black liberation theology and i now have to go to my episcopalian bishop to catch her take on union and cone.

it doesn't surprise me that rorty was an atheist. my attraction to pragmatism is found precisely in its privileging of works over epistemological manipulations of meaning - thus the value to me of west's 'american evasion of philosophy' and a fundamental reason for my distrust of the post-modernists, and not coincidently why i recognize obama in his semiotic slickness.

what i expect of provincial black churches and of all churches is that they prepare one to fix an individual's sins through whatever methods are appropriate to ultimate salvation and that at a certain level of spiritual maturity one becomes more or less free. i've granted that maturity to senator obama and have no reason to believe, as his repudiation clearly states, that he has a need for such elementary identity cookies. his identity crisis exists at a much higher level. indeed in running for the highest office it is being tested at the highest level.

3/19/2008 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

slow down buffy. you can't chew me up and spit me out as quickly as you think. i'm only typing in lower case. you think this is all i've got?

i've been disgusted before and will be disgusted again. so what? i'm not being intemperate.

3/19/2008 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger cscrio said...

"who stays catholic when their priests rape?"

Catholics would argue those priests were an abberation and a complete turning away from Christ, not acting as Gods prophet like Rev. Wright claims.

3/19/2008 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

What is "Occupation" is exactly correct.

"the issue is hatred by his Minister directed towards the USA, it's being and others (including israel and the general western point of view."

How can one parse Wright's Pearl Harbor conspiracy statement except that America is always bad? It certainly has nothing to do with slavery or race.

3/19/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

Catholics would argue those priests were an abberation and a complete turning away from Christ, not acting as Gods prophet like Rev. Wright claims.

indeed, which is why it would be useful to hear from others at trinity, including the current rector, instead of allowing the predjudiced presumptions against the laity stand.

3/19/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger kepa poalima said...

i came away from the obamanal showman's speech with confirmation that barama is a liar, a con man, a racist, maybe a closet racist whose door is cracking open, an arrogant bully trying to intimidate the public to stop looking at his true nature and flaws, calling us racists for investigating him, a demagogue who is scary and dangerous. i prefer to read him rather than listen to him. you get to the kernel without the perfume mask of his oratory skills covering up the stink. but i heard some of it on the radio and he had me yelling back at the radio. i was incensed by his lies, his veiled racist intimidation and his theatric arrogance, an empty arrogance. its one thing to be arrogant based on your successes or accomplishments. a stud athlete, a rich successful businessman, the tough thug who can take on all challengers at least have something concrete, even though it might not be admirable, to base their arrogance on. like an actor playing a role, like a weenie, girlie-man tom cruise playing a tough guy. he's only believable if you can overlook the actors true persona.

3/19/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger cscrio said...

"indeed, which is why it would be useful to hear from others at trinity, including the current rector, instead of allowing the predjudiced presumptions against the laity stand."

The reactions of Trinity attendees speaks volumes. And even if there were no reaction on their part the silence amounts to tacit consent just by staying associated with someone spewing such vitriol.

I can't imagine catholic laity applauding a speech from the pulpit about the merits of pedophilia.

3/19/2008 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

and you'll not hear anyone from trinity testify to the merits of racism - which only goes to show that there is a great divide amongst americans as to what comprises racism.

who's to blame for that and who has a solution? it is a question for the church or for politics?

3/19/2008 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Can we agree that what preacher Wright was (is) spewing is racism?

3/19/2008 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

sure. it's racially offensive, outrageous speech. and a case could be made that wright's version of liberation theology is racially exclusive, perhaps even to the point at which maybe the synod of united church of christ ought to see if he's running off the rails. unless, of course the ucc itself fails to see what the big deal is, in which case more digging might be appropriate. the ucc was founded in 1957 as a merger between a couple others with about 1.2 million members nationwide.

is that bigger or smaller than don imus' radio audience? just curious.

3/19/2008 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Hypocrisy?

Just curious.

3/19/2008 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"I don't want to be an enabler or encouraging of unbelievably offensive statements... in any way"

Interesting dichotomy.

3/19/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

standard double standard hypocrisy. i'm not surprised.

is this really and genuinely combatting racism? i don't think so. it's just more soundbite drama appropriate for.. youtube.

3/19/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/19/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

it's just more soundbite drama appropriate for.. youtube."

Nah, it's just chickens coming home to roost

3/19/2008 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

As in...

Amerikkka's chickens coming home to roost

- Mr Wright

"I don't want to be an enabler or encouraging of unbelievably offensive statements... in any way"

- Mr. Obama

Collective punishment for the oppressors
Change we can believe in

3/20/2008 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

I realize I've missed the party but whiskey, unfortunately you are clueless about Black America. I think you are ultimately right on this question, but you obviously don’t know the black community. I understand that you aren’t inclined to believe me on this. Well and good.

Evidence shows that the proportion you suggest is reversed. That is, only 10% don't Hate God Damn America, etc.

1. Rev. God Damn America's megachurch is the largest in Chicago's South Side, attracting not only Barack Hussein Obama but Oprah.


So what, do you have a clue how many churches there are in the Chicago area? The United Church of Christ is not a black denomination; it is a white liberal denomination that is dying out and has been dying out for decades. So what if Rev. Wright has a big black megachurch within this denomination. It is obviously far outside the mainstream of Black America.

2. No Black minister, preacher, etc. has come out to condemn Rev God Damn America or rebut any of his assertions: Whitey and the CIA created AIDS to kill the Black Man, the KKK of A ordered Mandela imprisoned and Sharpsville massacre in SA, etc.

This is a consequence of people firmly believing there are “racial teams” vis-à-vis politics. There obviously aren’t but most of Black America believes there is. This is also why the herd stampeded for Obama after white midwesterner’s in essence gave the okay. Until Iowa, the black community was very skeptical about Mr. Obama and was rolling with Hillary Clinton. How does that play in your insistence that African Americans hate the country and white folks?

3. The Rev God Damn America sold his sermons on DVD and VHS for nearly twenty years to the point where he lives in a mansion and drives a Mercedes.

Okay, his message sells to a dedicated group of believers. So what and B.F.D.?

4. You can see the same reaction from the Black Community time and time again:

celebrating OJ's acquittal by an all-Black jury (because it was "good a Black man finally killed two whites and got away with it"),


has it really never occurred to you that most black folks were really cheering Johnny Cochran, a black attorney who won the so-called trial of the century after a white attorney had apparently botched the early procedures? Has that really and truly never occurred to you? This was the first time a black attorney had such a national stage – and he did well. Say what you will of whether you respect the verdict or not but Johnny Cochran unquestionably did a good and professional job. That’s really what all the cheering was about. Nobody gave a damn about O.J., then or now.

the near murder of Reginald Denny and celebration of his assailant's acquittals, the lionization of the Jena 6 (thugs all, Bell the worst who punched a girl in the face and assaulted the white boy for no reason -- the victim had no connection to the noose hanging MONTHS EARLIER).

I’ll grant you this point; sad examples of an easily manipulated herd mentality, as was (conversely, in the racial categorizations) the absurd acquittal of the cops in the beating of Rodney "Can't We All Just Get Along" King.

No, whiskey, most of us most assuredly do not think the way Rev God Damn America thinks.

We are, however, deeply suspicious of white people capable of painting with the broadest of brushes -- who speak absolutely of what we do and do not think.

We are all racists, whiskey. Each and every human being. Our discriminatory instincts have kept us alive as a species. Dealing with, and sufficiently finessing this ingrained mechanism is what the social contract and civilization is all about -- is it not?

This is our challenge and I don't think Obama has added a damn thing to the process. I'm with Starling.

3/21/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

I should have also added that I think I agree with Kurgan:

this (for me, the furor over Reverend Wright) was not about race, it was about anti-americanism, patriotism, capitalism and fitness to be President.

Amen.

By trying to make this about race, Obama is engaging in a switcheroo. How in the hell can the Commander-in-Chief have been counseled by such a man so intimately?

It's impossible and absurd on its face. I simply cannot imagine him as Commander-in-Chief.

No way.

3/21/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Say what you will of whether you respect the verdict or not but Johnny Cochran unquestionably did a good and professional job. That’s really what all the cheering was about. Nobody gave a damn about O.J., then or now.

You're wrong.

1. They were lining the freeways cheering him during the slow speed Bronco chase ... BEFORE Cochran was involved.

2. The black ladies of the jury refused to believe that spousal abuse could lead to murder. They refused to believe that that particular black man could have done what he was accused of. In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, it was OJ and they REFUSED to believe the science. That's personal.

3. They're still paying good money to buy his autograph ... and Cochran is dead. That's hero worship.

Cochran *did* do a good job, but the fact that it was OJ Simpson gave the black community what they thought was an excellent out to acquit him.

BTW, I think the demise of Affirmtive Action can be directly attributed to white reactions to watching all those cheering black people after the "not guilty" verdict.

As in, "if you people are *that* stupid and vicious after years of preferential going to the head of the line, then forgedabboudit. We're not playing that game any more and sure as hell not funding it."

Be interesting to see what sort of a trial Las Vegas can come up with to try to convict his skanky ass this time. For one thing, I bet the jury won't be all black, since as a group black people have proven themselves to be too racist to be viable jurors.

3/21/2008 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

I don't take issue with you, NahnCee, on your point. Yes, there were idiotic Californians out there cheering the SPECTACLE.

But that's all they were cheering, NahnCee -- because there were quite a few white folks and Mexicanos out there with them. That was most definitely not a black throng out there cheering on "our hero" O.J.

It may be news to you and many white folks but O.J. was not popular in the black community then and he is not now. They thought he seemed far too dismissive of black folks and far too fawning of things white.

That's not speculation, that's fact.

And you don't have to believe me about the cheering associated with the verdict -- most black folks couldn't even express it this way at the time, but that's what the cheering really was about: Johnny Cochran beating the system and getting a black man off. The black guy just happened to be a TV star and former football hero.

That's what made it the so-called trial of the century. But they (we) were cheering Johnny Cochran getting him off. A lead defense attorney doing his job competently in the so-called trial of the century.

The effect was the same though. White people were horrified, and there were many black people who wanted them to feel that way. In late April 1992, the cops were acquitted in the Rodney King beating. I can't begin to tell you how shocking this was in the black community. Rarely have I been so at a loss to understand just what the heck was going on in my country. It was absolutely inconceivable that these guys were acquitted.

Just two years later, O.J. killed the mother of his children and the Goldman guy. Equating the two is ridiculous and absurd, I know, but that's what happened with many black folks. Add in certain select folk fanning the flames of past injustices, many of them of the most horrendous nature -- and you get what we got.

But the folks lining the roadway weren't a black throng, and they weren't cheering O.J. per se -- it's a crazy place and Californians love spectacle.

Didn't a dedicated, racially diverse group do something of the same thing during the Michael Jackson trial? I rest my case.

3/21/2008 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Thank all of you for the astounding level of this recent discourse. My brain has stretch marks from trying to wrap itself around all these huge thoughts.

Cobb, you seem to be deliberately steering a course that forces people to be more precise and thoughtful in articulating their assertions.

Maybe I just haven't absorbed your writing yet, either the sense or the particular wording. I have to admit this discussion of Obama's racial attitudes is one of the most arcane I recall seeing in Belmont's comment stream, involving occasional "words of art" from several learned contributors' studies of law, philosophy & religion, which are evidently being used with special meanings for specific contexts.

I've spent most of my life mastering animation and music --- crafts to which I migrated in struggling through an undergraduate degree program at a certain college in New Haven; I felt utterly at sea trying to make sense of Spinoza and John Dewey as a freshman, and I have to run to the dictionary every single time someone uses the word "epistomology" or any of its variants. Reading through the exchanges between Cobb and Buffy is for me like being a backwoods tinsmith eavesdropping on a conversation between two metallurgists.

Maybe someone could summarize, please. This is not a plea to avoid using specialized vocabularies, just to remember that there are readers who may need an occasional explanation.

I thought I knew something of Cornel West, but I see my familiarity is extremely superficial. Thanks for prompting me to do some research.

I guess after all, that's the real value of a lot of our exchanges here.

3/21/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Gator, I still think you're wrong. I can't find any pictures on the internet now of the Bronco chase but I'm remembering rather vividly tht a large percentage of the spectators were black, and especially that they were hanging signs off the freeways that said, "Go, Juice, Go!". I could be wrong but it's my impression that black people called OJ "Juice" and not whites.

Furthermore, I will call foul on your assertion that Mexicans or Asians or other hues of Californians hurried to the 405 to watch the chase. There may have been a few, but it was mainly a black spectacle.

Finally, if you're familiar with Los Angeles, then you'll know that the 405 freeway goes through heavily black areas such as Inglewood and South Central LA, and it's only when you get up north or further down south that you get into where the rich white folks (and retired black athletes) live. And you know damned well that none of OJ's neighbors went to the freeway to wave at him.

I just think you're wrong about the depth of personal support for him in the black community both in Los Angeles and across the country. Since one of Cochran's ploys was to replace all of OJ's pictures of his white friends and associates in his house with pictures of black people for the jury visit, then I have to wonder just how familiar black people as a whole were with his social life to fall for that gambit.

3/21/2008 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

By the way, Cobb...

You asked how someone who is as reckless as Obama is being accused to be, could have gotten into the Senate.

As far as I know, there are very few restrictions on a person's qualifications to serve in the Senate, certainly nothing in the U.S. Constitution's enumeration of the qualifications for the Congress or the Senate preclude service after conviction of a felony.

States may pass laws defining how political elections are run, but state law cannot supersede the Constitution in defining who may or may not serve in Congress or the Senate. If a candidate is actually in prison in a different state from that which would be electing him/her at the time of filing or election, that seems to disqualify...

Perhaps the authors of the Constitution recognized that politics can occasionally lead to unjust criminal convictions.

3/21/2008 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

fiddler. yeah things get interesting.

race is one discussion in which i find whitefolks and blackfolks fairly consistently like to keep anti-intellectual. people who are usually fairly demanding tend to like to shoot from the hip. in my 15 years online there are few folks who will take it to the literary level, so when i see it, i tend to jump in...

here's the thrust of my beef here and discussion with buffy, and keep the above in mind: (in fact, i'll simplify it to 'gotcha' language)

white people are acting like the black people they hate. they are jumping up and down screaming 'racism' about jeremiah wright, and tarring obama with guilt by association. they cannot believe that obama is not racist because they prejudicially believe that black people are all unavoidably swayed by racist preaching and/or racist thinking. that is because they believe blackfolks carry an unfulfilled grudge against whitefolks and it is this grudge which is at the bottom of the problem of race relations. whitefolks thus believe that all differences between blacks and whites are due to blacks failing to achieve the norm of white life which is 'normal'.

it is for this reason (which is just highschool thinking) that anything blacks do to advance their causes, whatever those may be, which doesn't incorporate something immediately recognizable to whitefolks as suspect. which is to say if blacks don't assimilate to the white norm, then something's wrong. black diversity is not ok. the reason for this is that whitefolks desire a proxy to make blackfolks easily understandable because of whitefolks belief in this inherent threat.

black race hustlers do everything in their power to keep whitefolks on edge and in this highschool state of thinking. they have manufactured a powerful weapon called white guilt. the motto is 'never let whitey off the hook'. the reason they do so is that they get to aggregate whatever power over actual black diversity can be accorded by a white concession.

enter obama. is he a race hustler or not? he clearly doesn't appear to be until you hear about wright, who displays the classic attributes. so whitefolks who let their guard down are doubly angry and their white cousins are piling on with a bunch of i told you so.

in order to get above the highschool level of thinking (this 'racial realism' i've been speaking of) you have to get down into the history of the intellectual movements of black struggle, of which there are many threads. one of them is black liberation theology, and it applies to wright's church.

so when i hear obama, whom i do not support in this presidential race, being unfairly criticized as a racist, and his fate being indelibly tied to wright, and farrakhan and this week oj. i know exactly what's going on - it's the highschool thinking taking over.

this thinking will remain in place until all the crappy stuff from the 60s gets replaced in the universities, because there essentially is no non-multicultural / leftist approach to thinking about race in america, and very little of it comes from folks like me (and you can consider me, for shorthand, a black equivalent of david horowitz - an insider to black power politics and culture who has moved to the right).

secondly, there is an overwhelming desire for everybody to throw up their hands and say 'cant we all just get along'.

of course this problem is way too complex for that kind of wishful thinking to prevail. in the end, people are going to have to read the books and thrash out the discussions.

back to buffy and me.

i am firmly convinced that some of the strongest black families in america are deeply invested in many of the threads of black struggle. it is impossible to dismiss them. i understand condi rice perfectly, and i understand obama very well too. some of those most recent and powerful threads need updating. in particular black nationalism needs to be rid of its marxist economics and its racial separatism. if that could be reformed (and i say it is in the majority of black conservatives) it would be a huge boost to the strength of america.

i have an interest in goosing this problem along. and i know it cannot be done by a wholesale dismissal of various black power movements, especially at the shallow finger-pointing level of 'ooh he's a racist.. ooh he hates his grandmother'. you cannot dismiss a church like that, and you cannot dismiss obama like that.

so this is why i invite people to study the movement, not the personalities.

3/21/2008 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...which is just highschool thinking...

Would you care to comment further on how arrogant condescension towards us dumb whitefolks will advance either Obama's cause or the cause of other melanin-enhancd Americans?

(A majority of whom, I might note, at least finished high school.)

3/21/2008 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

i'm suggesting that people might read one or two college level books on the subject. which two do you suggest?

3/21/2008 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I found Vincent Bugliosi's "Outrage" edifying, as well as Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird".

A third look at race relations in America can be found in "Gone With the Wind", which featured a heroine who went out and dug her own turnips, rather than waiting for someone to bring them to her like many of the Katrina victims have done.

What would *you* recommend that would make me be more inclined to be sympathetic to Reverend Wright and his Church of Hatred?

3/21/2008 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

that's not my suggestion at all - to make one sympathetic to wright or his church, but just to establish a common baseline about what Americans are all trying to do with regard to eradicating, or limiting the influence of racism.

about wright and his church specifically, i would consider the books buffy mentioned. the question about wright is whether or not he's doing liberation theology properly.

what i'm asking is why we only have the naacp and maldef, for example, as american organizations we might trust to be the watchdog on racism. we clearly know that they are actually black and latino self-interested. we also know that the aclu is nearly always left-biased and goes overboard with multiculturalism. so are people on the right all racist? if not where is our anti-racist agency? the right has defaulted, and thus become brain-dead and left american anti-racism to the moonbats. nobody trusts institutions on the right to fight racism. this is an intellectual failure which is inexcusable.

3/22/2008 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

by the way, er uhm. those books are pathetic. gone with the wind? holy crap!

i imagine you are familiar with 'the bell curve'? on which basis would you accept or reject the premises and conclusions of that book? i don't mean to pick on you, but you provide a perfect example of why race hustlers win, you've got the ammo of a romantic polish calvary soldier against the blitzkrieg of modern racist propaganda.

3/22/2008 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Whatever.

It's your fight - you fight it.

I'm just a dumb white Republican neo-con taxpayer who has opted out.

Emphasis on the word "taxpayer".

How far do you think you'll get in your fight against whatever it is you think you're fighting for without my tax money, not to mention my moral support?

Which you are NOT going to get any more if I have a chance to vote on it, just like you are NOT going to enjoy Affirmative Action any more.

Arrogant condescension. Go for it.

3/22/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger buffy said...

Cobb wrote:
"white people are acting like the black people they hate. they are jumping up and down screaming 'racism' about jeremiah wright, and tarring obama with guilt by association. they cannot believe that obama is not racist because they prejudicially believe that black people are all unavoidably swayed by racist preaching and/or racist thinking. that is because they believe blackfolks carry an unfulfilled grudge against whitefolks and it is this grudge which is at the bottom of the problem of race relations. whitefolks thus believe that all differences between blacks and whites are due to blacks failing to achieve the norm of white life which is 'normal'"

Once again you use a logical fallacy to make an invalid point. “white people are acting like the black people they hate”…I want you to prove that statement. Using “white people” as a mass noun asserts that all white people hate “the black people”. It is a blanket racist statement. How do you know what all white people think? Do you know all white people? Have you spoken with all white people? Have you read everything that white people have written on the subject matter? If you can’t support the statement, I suggest that you revise it to being your arbitrary opinion unless of course you are God Himself, which I don’t think that even you will assert. And if so being just your personal conjecture then you have also exposed yourself as well.
Secondly, do you speak for “the black people”? Do you know all the black people? Have you spoken with all “the black people”?
Obviously not:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/03/18/race_and_politics
Do I make my point?

I am a white person. I do not hate black people. My statement alone proves that you are wrong. You casually submit a word to solicit the basest of feelings as if you are throwing a banana peel into the garbage bin without the least bit of care. You apply the same tactics of Wright and Obama. It is inflammatory rhetoric meant to silence and cockle intellectual discussion of a problem that you seem to deny. You use code words like “the struggle” and “unfulfilled grudge”. Then you surreptitiously couch them in a façade of free expression. The problem that you sidestep is not the fact that there has been a expose of Wright’s (and yes Obama’s) racists views but the fact that the problem lies in the very heart of black community and that it is masked by a cadre of pseudo religious leaders in order to gain and retain power over their flock. And that politicians use that misguidance for their advantage…just as Obama used it when joining the movement at TCC and subsidized the vulgarity spewed by Wright for the past 20 years. He is no different that Sharpton or Jackson…just better packaging.
The church leaders of the black community on whole (ex. Donna Brazille in her statement about black churches:

BRAZILE: We’ve known, I mean I've known Jeremiah Wright and actually Jeremiah Wright is one of the more moderate black preachers. Just go to the church down the street from my house and I see women coming with their hats on the other side of their head [as Donna demonstrates in the screencap] because they have been lifted up.
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2008/03/16/brazile-wright-one-more-moderate-black-preachers)
consciously chose to take the W.E.B. Du Bois route to empowerment through forced radical political steps rather than through B. Washington’s call to work, educate and assimilate, and look where it has gotten them. Look how other minorities such as Koreans have prospered while the black community has languished. I have as yet to witness the Korean/Chinese/Hispanic/etc population burn down parts of a US city. I have witnessed the burning of Watts (East LA) twice by black mobs in my lifetime.

>> whitefolks thus believe that all differences between blacks and whites are due to blacks failing to achieve the norm of white life which is 'normal'

As “a typical white person” who has a modicum of judgment left when pondering on racial issues, the one thing I can share with you is what I want for the black community…. I want them to take responsibility for the multi-generational depravity and destruction of their families, communities and fortunes that their own hands have wrought over the past 40 years. Until they realize that they have brought their woes on themselves, repent and change then I see no virtue in further supplying the oil to grease their wheels. I want the black community to stop acting as children and become adults. It is as simple as that.

Just as the Rev. James Manning of the ATLAH Outreach Church in Harlem preached Feb. 18, 2008:
“They're looking for the easy way out. They're pimps and players. Black men, is who they are. Black women are player lovers. That's why you go to the churches that you go to. You're player lovers, rather than people of integrity, people of honor. You are the weakest people on the planet, and you have the audacity to accept affirmative action, which says that you are not as qualified as someone else, and you made it alone. You have accepted affirmative action and grinned and held parties to celebrate when the white man says we'll make a law similar to the Dred Scott decision that says that you are not as qualified as others because of racism and slavery, therefore what is required of the white race is not required of you! And you have applauded affirmative action. You are ignorant, you are despicable through and through!

I am the voice crying in the wilderness of planet Earth to the black faces, return and repent, saith the Lord of Hosts of your wicked doings. I got this word from God. It's in my mouth. The future of you African and African-American people is in my mouth! It's not in your hand; it's in my mouth! And I don't have to compromise with not one of you nappy-head people. The Word of God is in my mouth. Your health is in my mouth! Your ability to eat bread is in my mouth. If I don't speak, you don't eat. The Word of God is in my mouth.”

AMEN

Nahncee….

I recommend that you give this a try:

http://www.newcoalition.org/

and this:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0688048323/qid=1078172412//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i2_xgl14/002-8501622-9745631?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

3/22/2008 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

i'm just a smart black republican taxpayer who probably pays more taxes than you and doesn't require affirmative action. If you opt out, that's your prerogative. i on the other hand intend to have influence on the American scene, which is why i've been writing for 15 years on the web. i don't want dumb people getting in the way. so as hugh hewitt says, hang up on yourself. i'd rather you not quit in disgust but i am being combative over here. it's not personal. it's tough but it's fair.
--
buffy you need to calm down. i dumbed down the entire dialog for fiddler's sake. i read thomas sowell starting in 1982 and i have the only blog in the universe that has been talking about the fairmont conference complete with the youtube videos. you cannot get me with gotcha language. i am not dismissible.

in fact, the more you talk, the more you're going to find yourself in agreement with my fundamental principles, that's because i've been down this road honestly and with discipline. what i can tell you is that you are not going to get anywhere making an example out of obama, because as brazile correctly notes there are a lot of people much worse than wright.

sometimes i wish folks wouldn't be so dainty.

3/22/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger betsy784 said...

Watch Rev. Jeremiah Wright's 9-11 sermon in context

Already 180,000 people have watched this video


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOdlnzkeoyQ



Jeremiah Wright's God Damn America in context


Already 40,000 people have watched this video


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvMbeVQj6Lw

3/22/2008 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Cobb said...

if and when you want to get serious, get over to my blog where i'm writing for the record. with proper capitalization and more thought.

if you don't give me at least a couple hours of reading i don't need to care what you think. again, i've been writing on the web for 15 years challenging people to be serious. damn right i'm condescending - here.

3/22/2008 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Chavo said...

WOW! This thread is going on alot longer than I thought it would and
it seems everyone's getting a bit testy too.

Maybe, ya'll should take a deep breath before hitting the enter key.

Cobb, thank you for as you say "dumbing it down". Although in deference to the other reader's and posters on this blog, they're pretty smart too.

I happen to agree with much of what you say, for example Obama or any other candidate should not be judged by his religion, or that he should not be judged a racist because of the rhetoric of his preacher.

That said, given the nature of the rhetoric emanating from his church and the fact that he's been a member for 20 years, I think it's valid to question his authenticity as the candidate above race.

As a voter, I'd ask myself does he really believe this stuff? If he does, he may or may not be a racist (I know diddly about Black Liberation Theology), a conspiracy theory wack job, or a cynic.

My bet he's a typical Chicago pol. Workin' the church and consolidating a voting bloc in Chicago. To me authenticity is a valid concern.

We have saying in my family - "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining".

Is Obama pissin' down my back?

Which is why Obama's speech simultaneously fell far short of the mark, and did such a spectacular job of changing the subject.

Everyone in this thread is talking about race, when you should be talking about who the hell Obama is.

One last thought, when speaking about race, by defintion you're speaking in aggregate terms. I think that is very dangerous, I take people at arms length. In other words, everybody is different you have to take them one at a time.

Okay, one more thought - in my experience we all want the same basic things in life, a family, a home, a good job, et al. It doesn't matter what your race is.

Ciao!

3/22/2008 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

None of us should assume that (1) just because someone doesn't understand the particular language or phrasing you use in these comments that they are dumb; (2) just because they haven't studied the same subjects that have fascinated YOU for decades that they are dumb; or (3) just because they write in vernacular or informally that they are dumb.

Besides, even dumb isn't necessarily WRONG.

On the other hand, if you DO want to be understood --- assuming your audience is capable of grasping your elegant logic in the fullness of time --- that's best accomplished with carefully crafted sentences, paragraphs, logically sound construction, and explanations of "words of art" or specialized vocabularies.

Goes for all of us. There are entire libraries full of studies I ain't had time or inclination to delve yet. Some are ever beyond my puny brain's ability to absorb. For others I will have to be content with just being able to converse about the concepts because I haven't had the discipline to master the mathematics to be able to work through the proofs. Still others just piss me off and make me want them to not be.

But I hunger and thirst for knowledge and wisdom, or at least the superficial appearance of such. C'mon, guys. More Gruel, PLEASE!

3/22/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger cnulan said...

Here's where Obama should have spoken from, instead, this is where he and his handlers elected to speak from. In choosing the expedient of speaking from that conciliatory political shorthand - Obama reliquished the moral high ground.

It remains to be seen whether the continuing engagement leads onto an opening into which Obama can re-engage the poor, white, and pissed in the terms actually required by this moment. Candidate BHO knows that the overwhelming majority of Americans have neither the time, means nor inclination to watch Rev. Wright's comments in full.

Candidate BHO and his people, instead, chose to use "white" iconography (Bobby Kennedy, Grand Mama) to flip the script. It worked - but it left him in the position of having addressed a conversation about race - whereas King's rhetorical framing would have had him addressing a conversation about economics and ethics - and that's where he needs to be right now.

Effective as he's been (and Bill Richardson's endorsement is proof), had he invoked King's name, words and image from that 1967 speech, he could have eulogized Hillary the next day.

3/22/2008 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

i am in an agitated state, and i'm not trying to suggest that dumbed down is wrong, it's just not properly qualified and adequately contextualized. that's the price of text where you know people have a short attention span - which is why this year i have begun to make videos.

the subject of race relations is a compelling one which is actually not at all interesting to me. it used to be and i did the work. when it comes up, i engage without shyness, but i am a crusty old bastard about it and i'm mad that a lot of people have skated by which is why they are vulnerable to this crap.

i seriously don't want anybody to say that what they learned in this election cycle is that obama is a race hustler because he's not. i agree that we should ask exactly what kind of christian he is if we really care that much, but the very idea of having that barbara walters interview makes me want to puke. it's an improper subject. however the opportunists are out and somebody has to come with the hardline.

here's some stuff from dean esmay which might be interesting. ironically and i just noticed it, it's about chicago too. baldilocks is also a friend and member of my blog league.

cn old bean, if obama tries to make the connection between the real horror of race and economics he's going to have to channel loury. that would be an interesting trick. i know he won't, but that would be the breakthrough.

3/22/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger baldilocks said...

Finally, if you're familiar with Los Angeles, then you'll know that the 405 freeway goes through heavily black areas such as Inglewood and South Central LA

"Heavily black?" I guess it depends on who's asking. The area in question is quite middle-class and multi-racial. It's not far from my present abode.

3/22/2008 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger baldilocks said...

Thanks for the plug, Cobb. And thanks for fight the battle against the mindless anger that Obama and Wright seem to have stirred. I won't say that they *created* it because some of the stuff that I've seen here and other places has been under the surface waiting for an opportunity.

3/22/2008 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

Some thoughts here which may or may not be relevant to this topic.

3/22/2008 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cobb said...

chavo, hmm. that could have been the autobio of larry mantle, the radio host who grew up in baldwin hills. anyway that is my hometown near where i grew up. one correction: mlk blvd used to be santa barbara blvd, but there is a santa rosalia nearby, it's where the crenshaw ymca used to be. i'm still in touch with a lot of people from the old neighborhoods, and it's one of the places i love to take visitors to la.

i've written a fair bit on the people of the dons. very middle and upper middle class blackfolks, a lot of closet republicans and independents and a fair amount of respect for obama.

My old neighborhood? Holiday Bowl.

3/22/2008 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

Thanks Cobb, you're absolutely right! The memory gets fuzzy when you're 50.

Have a great Easter all.

Chavo

3/22/2008 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Old Neocon said...

After reading through some of Cobb's blog, as he invited, this part was the most helpful to me, and seemed the most succinct:

"What I have been doing at Cobb is attempting to rescue the strengths of what we learned from this history of movement and adapting it to the world as it operates today - to transform black nationalism, an old movement, to American nationalism. To rid black nationalism of its Marxist economic theory, and of its racial separatism, and to capture the imagination of the most successful blacks of my generation to participate in this update. To fix what's broken in the Talented Tenth and insure our best and brightest inherit what is proper in Western Civilization.

What I have discovered is that the quest to rid the planet of racism is vain and stupid if it cannot inherit Western Civilization, and those who would spite the material prosperity and infrastructure of the West are doomed. The conservative thread of African American struggle is self-reliance and not a vanguard, which is why I'm with Booker T and not with DuBois. It's why I reject Talented Tenth prerogatives. I believe in simpler hierarchies which do not require scientific Marxist theories of human organization, which I think have been adequately disproven. So what I have in common with other African Americans is a respect for the intellectual ferment of a vanguard without the arrogant presumption that a vanguard must lead African Americans through new kinds of identity, rather that you lead African Americans like any people, through economic, religious and political incentives. A clean fixed black nationalism becomes an American nationalism with black cultural flavor - not Diddy, but Hansberry.

I am a writer, first and foremost. I inherit a tradition from Jean Toomer, from Ralph Ellison, from Langston Hughes, from James Baldwin, from Gerald Early, from Toni Morrison, from H.L. Mencken, from Mark Twain, from Albert Murray, from many others to comment upon the American scene and to inform opinions with wit and candor and sometimes with insight. I want to be that writer. But I also want to live in a big house and drive a Porsche and provide for my kids, so I program computers and collect fat American dollars. My wife would say I'm a bit unbalanced, and now she's hitting me upside the head...

sorry i got to go shopping."

3/22/2008 10:29:00 PM  

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