Showing posts with label Jeremiah Wright. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeremiah Wright. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Barack Obama as . . . The Soprano

This we may now assume: The next president of the United States won't know Shiite from Shinola.

ALL BECAUSE Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama -- obviously the innocent victim of some Looziana-style justice -- doesn't have the stones to deal with his Reverend Whack Job problem once and for all. And if how a man reacts when it all hits the fan shows us what he's made of -- and, indeed, where his convictions truly lie -- electing the doddering, ill-tempered Republican poster child for "senior moments" instead of yet another doctrinaire social-left Democrat probably will end up being a wash for the nation.

That, of course, is tragic in its own right. What can one expect, though, in a nation now politically riven between fascist-leaning, tinfoil-hat wearing GOP true believers and "progressive" Democrats who can muster true passion and outrage only when someone suggests women ought not have the "right" to murder their unborn offspring or, relatedly, suggests that f***ing is not an entitlement.

DO I UNDERSTAND this correctly?

Monday, not only did the Rev. Jeremiah Wright go before the National Press Club and defend some of the more offensive and crazy things he's said in the past, but then insinuated that Obama was disingenuous in the opprobrium he heaped upon his ex-pastor and spiritual mentor's rhetorical excesses.

And Wright couldn't leave bad enough alone, either. No, he had to stick the shiv in one of his own sheep's back as he threw Obama under the bus -- all the while clowning, mugging and mocking like some sort of ecclesiastical Huey Long in blackface. With security provided by the Nation of Islam -- that's Louis Farrakhan's Black Muslims to you and me.

Now, after all that, what you see in the above MSNBC video is all the fury Obama could muster?

Here's how The Associated Press reported the response from the junior U.S. senator from Illinois:

"I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday," Obama told reporters at a news conference.

After weeks of staying out of the public eye while critics lambasted his sermons, Wright made three public appearances in four days to defend himself. The former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has been combative, providing colorful commentary and feeding the story Obama had hoped was dying down.

"This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright," Wright told the Washington media Monday. "It has nothing to do with Senator Obama. It is an attack on the black church launched by people who know nothing about the African-American religious tradition."

Obama told reporters Tuesday that Wright's comments do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church.

"The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago," Obama said of the man who married him.

Wright criticized the U.S. government as imperialist and stood by his suggestion that the United States invented the HIV virus as a means of genocide against minorities. "Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything," he said.

Obama said he heard that Wright had given "a performance" and when he watched tapes, he realized that it more than just a case of the former pastor defending himself.

"What became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that contradicts what I am and what I stand for," Obama said.

In a highly publicized speech last month, Obama sharply condemned Wright's remarks. But he did not leave the church or repudiate the minister himself, who he said was like a family member.

On Tuesday, Obama sought to distance himself further from Wright.

"I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he's done enormous good. ... But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS. ... There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced."

"At a certain point if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally and then he questions whether or not you believe it — in front of the National Press Club — then that's enough," Obama continued.

OBAMA SAID he was outraged, but his demeanor and reserve belied that notion. Instead, Obama just looked whipped.

He looked like a man who was despondent over a political setback, maybe even a fatal one. He looked like a man who'd just been "owned" in an argument. He looked like a man who just got his ass whipped.

That's the problem. His is the "outrage" of personal setback; it is not the outrage of someone who has seen something bigger than himself attacked and trashed. It is not the outrage of someone who fights for something dearer to himself than himself.

Lord knows it wasn't the righteous fury of a committed Christian who'd just seen the gospel cheapened and violated by the hateful, crazy antics of one of its ministers. Perhaps Obama might have summoned that kind of righteous anger if Rev. Wright had attacked "reproductive rights" instead.

AND ISN'T THAT just the problem with "progressives"? In what do they believe apart from "Do what thou wilt"? For what are they willing to die? For what do they live?

Sadly, for the Democrats and for America, it has come to this: Not only can't the Dems beat something with nothing, they can't even beat nothing -- and that's exactly what the Bush-McCain GOP represents -- with nothing.

It takes a Democrat to lose to this GOP

Barack Obama is going to grow a pair, right now, and deal with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- his posturing, egomaniac ex-pastor -- or we're going to be in Iraq until we have no army left and America is left as a broke, broken and beaten country.

And if Hillary wins, things could be even worse.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank
weighed in Monday with a most depressing blog post:

Should it become necessary in the months from now to identify the moment that doomed Obama's presidential aspirations, attention is likely to focus on the hour between nine and ten this morning at the National Press Club. It was then that Wright, Obama's longtime pastor, reignited a controversy about race from which Obama had only recently recovered - and added lighter fuel.

Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.

In front of 30 television cameras, Wright's audience cheered him on as the minister mocked the media and, at one point, did a little victory dance on the podium. It seemed as if Wright, jokingly offering himself as Obama's vice president, was actually trying to doom Obama; a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.

Wright suggested that Obama was insincere in distancing himself from his pastor. "He didn't distance himself," Wright announced. "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American."

Explaining further, Wright said friends had written to him and said, "We both know that if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected." The minister continued: "Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls."

Wright also argued, at least four times over the course of the hour, that he was speaking not for himself but for the black church.

"This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright," the minister said. "It is an attack on the black church." He positioned himself as a mainstream voice of African American religious traditions. "Why am I speaking out now?" he asked. "If you think I'm going to let you talk about my mama and her religious tradition, and my daddy and his religious tradition and my grandma, you got another thing coming."

That significantly complicates Obama's job as he contemplates how to extinguish Wright's latest incendiary device. Now, he needs to do more than express disagreement with his former pastor's view; he needs to refute his former pastor's suggestion that Obama privately agrees with him.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if Obama manages to save his campaign from Wright's one-man wrecking crew -- Live! In a speaking engagement near you! -- and if he manages to survive the John McCain (expletive deleted) storm that's headed his way, he just might end up being as spectacularly bad a president as Jimmy Carter. At best, there's no way he can live up to his billing as some sort of political messiah, which will leave his delusional hordes with a bad case of disillusionment.

Color me Not Optimistic, no matter what.

If and when the Democrat presidential candidate manages to get blown out by the GOP's McCain -- The Republicans! George W. Bush's Republicans! The morally, intellectually and spiritually bankrupt Republicans! -- this election year, I'm going to try to buy up the FDR memorabilia at the Dems' estate sale.

I'll be there early.

The Post's Eugene Robinson nails another aspect of this silly, sickening and sad spectacle.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Southerners know exactly what this is

Andrew Sullivan, over at his Daily Dish, thinks the above anti-Barack Obama video is an instance of GOP "swift-boating" of the Democratic presidential candidate in the wake of the hullabaloo over his ex-pastor's sometimes-incendiary sermons.

It's not that.

"Swift-boating," named for the ginned-up controversy over 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry's days as a Navy "swift boat" commander in Vietnam, is an ideological assassination. The above hit on Obama is racial.

That makes it race-baiting, not "swift-boating." Down in Oxford, Miss. -- home of one of the video's creators, former Laura Ingraham Show producer Lee Habeeb, now an executive with the right-wing Salem Radio Network -- there is a more "colorful" term for the tactic, which is as old as Jim Crow.

The difference between "swift-boating" and race-baiting boils down to what we don't see in that odious little YouTube offering -- a single white face.

IF HABEEB and his cronies merely meant to send the message that the U.S. senator from Illinois is a wild-eyed, unpatriotic lefty, why not juxtapose the video of Obama's interviews and Wright's red-hot rhetoric with egregious clips of at least a few egregious white people through the ages?

You know, like hippie anti-war protesters from the '60s waving Viet Cong flags. Like Abbie Hoffman. Like Jerry Rubin. Like Jane Fonda in Hanoi. Or Sean Penn with Saddam.

Like the Dixie Chicks on foreign soil cracking on the neocons' lord and savior, George W. Bush.

No, instead we get "unpatriotic" images of "ingrate" black men -- Tommie Smith and John Carlos, fists raised at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City . . . Malcolm X . . . all to a Public Enemy rap soundtrack. All we needed to make the argument ideological and not racial was just a single honky.


We didn't get one.

And Habeeb and his fellow anonymous White Citizens' Council wannabes aren't fooling this Southern boy with bull hockey like this. From Jonathan Martin's blog on the Politico web site:

Asked directly if he believes Obama is a patriotic American, Habeeb said "absolutely." But he added that "his patriotism is not my kind of patriotism."

"I believe he is hiding his Marxism from the American people," Habeeb said.

And despite the inclusion of Malcolm X, the black Olympians and a rap song by Public Enemy, Habeeb claimed he was not being suggestive.

"I didn’t do this to make him like a scary black man."

LOOK FOR the head fake. The White Citizens' Councils were all about fighting commies and pinkos . . . whose tactics, we were to believe, centered on wrecking America from within through the mixing of the races.

This YouTube video was all about the "scary black man." And you can blame it all on some scary white men.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jeremiah Wright is not 'out there'

This guy in Harlem ATLAH is the real Out There deal.

the Hon. James David Manning, Ph.D., really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY hates Barack Obama, whom he calls a "long-legged freak," adding "Obama pimps white women and black woman."

Not that that's casting aspersions or anything. From the video:

I haven't trashed Obama. His African in-heat father went a whoring after a trashy white woman. He was born trash. I said he was born trash. I didn't trash him. I'm speaking the truth about him. . . . I got a word in my mouth. I said I got the word of God in my mouth. And God's not afraid of Obama or anybody else.
AND AS YOU MAY have noticed above, Harlem isn't Harlem anymore. God said.

The good reverend tells us that Harlem is now ATLAH, which means --
at least according to the Deity -- "the land where the people shall walk barefoot, because the land is holy ground."

Well, at least the Apollo Theater.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back when I was 4 . . . and cruel

I am why the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is so angry.

I also am why it's such a tragedy that Barack Obama's friend and former pastor has let his anger -- and he does have every good reason to be damned angry -- define him.

I am white. I grew up in, and was indoctrinated by, the segregated South. I went to a legally segregated public school until fourth grade. And, as a child, everybody I knew was about as racist as a late-June day is long.

Black folks were "niggers" -- at least in the lexicon of the common . . . like me and mine. You didn't go to school with them, it was illegal to marry them, they got all the jobs that were "beneath" white people and -- when it was your time to go -- you didn't get sent on your way via the same church, funeral home or graveyard.

It's just the way things were in Baton Rouge, La., when I came on the scene 47 years ago next Monday. It remained that way, in slowly diminishing thoroughness, up to the time I reached adulthood. And some of it hangs on to this day.

THIS MORNING, the Democratic presidential candidate -- in so much hot water over what his pastor said and when did Obama know he said it -- gave a masterful speech on race relations in America. It may have been the most blunt and honest speech on the matter I've ever heard a politician give.

Louisiana Gov. Earl Long may have given a more succinct, more colorful, more imperfect and more courageous version of that speech before a wild-eyed bunch of segregationists in the state Senate, but that was nearly two years before I was born. It got him thrown in a Texas nuthouse . . . so he couldn't exercise his gubernatorial power from his rubber room.

Barack Obama, at long last, has said what so long has needed to be said . . . in the manner it needed to be said. It's important, and his life -- and my life -- testify to why it's so important.

Having been born into a racist family in a segregated state, I was indoctrinated into America's original sin from my first moments of awareness. I did about the worst thing you could do to an African-American man -- at least, the worst thing short of murder or extreme physical violence -- by the time I was 4 years old.

I remember that I was sick, and that the doctor had called in a prescription to Andrew's Rexall Drugs. In the mid-1960s, drugstores still delivered. And we all know who the "delivery boys" were, at least in the segregated South.

SOON ENOUGH, there was a knock at the door. Back then, our house had no air conditioning. On that warm day, all the windows were wide open, and there was little fear that someone was going to burst through the screen door to rob, rape and kill you.

So the delivery man heard well when I ran toward the kitchen, yelling at the top of my lungs.

"Mama, the drugstore nigger's here!"

I think my mother had decency enough to be embarrassed as the man took her money and handed over the prescription as he muttered, "I'm not a nigger." I wonder what that poor man must have felt -- what a man old enough to be my father felt -- when this little white boy was blithely, naturally as he breathed in the air, running around the house announcing the presence of the fill-in-the-blank "nigger."

What does it do to a man to be so cavalierly dehumanized even by a small child? What does it do to a small child to so cavalierly dehumanize a man he ought to be calling "sir"? At least in a more rightly ordered society.

What does it do to a country when so much of what is considered "normality" is in reality cruel and inhuman?

It warps it, is what it does. It perpetuates an endless feedback loop of dysfunction.

I grew up in a sick society, as have many in this country. It takes a lifetime of hard work, introspection and (frankly) grace to overcome that. I'm still working on it.

Barack Obama's working on it, albeit from a different angle than I am. So is, I suspect, Jeremiah Wright, who comes from the perspective of that ill-fated drugstore delivery man . . . though it's obvious he has more work to do. Hurtful things -- the immense human tragedy of America's original sin -- have molded the retired pastor and led to anger that is righteous . . . to an extent.

BUT WHEN IT defines a man -- when it defines large segments of society -- it is no longer righteous. It just adds to the tragedy. Like the tragedy of a presidential candidate potentially going down in flames because he gave an angry old friend the benefit of the doubt.

Race (and racism) always has been a complicated matter in this country. And nowhere in this country has it been more complicated than in the Deep South.

I, the Caucasian son of racist children of racist parents in a racist land, just might be -- for all I know -- related to the angry (and black) Rev. Wright. I mean, if Barack Obama is kin to Dick Cheney, anything is possible.

A great uncle of mine was disowned by his family for marrying a Creole woman in New Orleans. Disowned by my grandfather who, I'm told, used to laugh about sleeping with black women who were good enough as sexual playthings but just not good enough to be a wife.

Or to treat as a human being.

I JUST FOUND OUT I have a black first cousin on the other side of the family. I wonder how many African-American aunts or uncles I might have on the philandering grandfather's.

And I wonder whether, in some cruel twist of fate, I might have been calling my own flesh and blood "nigger" when I was 4 -- back when evil was normative.