Archive for the ‘Dreams From My Father’ Category

The Audacity of Obama-Wright Rhetoric

March 30, 2008

By Thomas Sowell
The Washington Times
March 30, 2008
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It is painful to watch defenders of Barack Obama tying themselves into knots trying to evade the obvious.

Some are saying that Senator Obama cannot be held responsible for what his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, said. In their version of events, Barack Obama just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — and a bunch of mean-spirited people are trying to make something out of it.

It makes a good story, but it won’t stand up under scrutiny.

Barack Obama’s own account of his life shows that he consciously sought out people on the far left fringe. In college, “I chose my friends carefully,” he said in his first book, “Dreams From My Father.”

These friends included “Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets” — in Obama’s own words — as well as the “more politically active black students.” He later visited a former member of the terrorist Weatherman underground, who endorsed him when he ran for state senator.

Obama didn’t just happen to encounter Jeremiah Wright, who just happened to say some way out things. Jeremiah Wright is in the same mold as the kinds of people Barack Obama began seeking out in college — members of the left, anti-American counter-culture.

In Shelby Steele’s brilliantly insightful book about Barack Obama — “A Bound Man” — it is painfully clear that Obama was one of those people seeking a racial identity that he had never really experienced in growing up in a white world. He was trying to become a convert to blackness, as it were — and, like many converts, he went overboard.

Nor has Obama changed in recent years. His voting record in the U.S. Senate is the furthest left of any Senator. There is a remarkable consistency in what Barack Obama has done over the years, despite inconsistencies in what he says.

The irony is that Obama’s sudden rise politically to the level of being the leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination has required him to project an entirely different persona, that of a post-racial leader who can heal divisiveness and bring us all together.

The ease with which he has accomplished this chameleon-like change, and entranced both white and black Democrats, is a tribute to the man’s talent and a warning about his reliability.

There is no evidence that Obama ever sought to educate himself on the views of people on the other end of the political spectrum, much less reach out to them. He reached out from the left to the far left.
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That’s bringing us all together?

Is “divisiveness” defined as disagreeing with the agenda of the left?
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Who on the left was ever called divisive by Obama before that became politically necessary in order to respond to revelations about Jeremiah Wright?

One sign of Obama’s verbal virtuosity was his equating a passing comment by his grandmother — “a typical white person,” he says — with an organized campaign of public vilification of America in general and white America in particular, by Jeremiah Wright.

Since all things are the same, except for the differences, and
different except for the similarities, it is always possible to make things look similar verbally, however different they are in the real world.

Among the many desperate gambits by defenders of Senator Obama and Jeremiah Wright is to say that Wright’s words have a “resonance” in the black community.

There was a time when the Ku Klux Klan’s words had a resonance among whites, not only in the South but in other states. Some people joined the KKK in order to advance their political careers. Did that make it OK? Is it all just a matter of whose ox is gored?

While many whites may be annoyed by Jeremiah Wright’s words, a year from now most of them will probably have forgotten about him. But many blacks who absorb his toxic message can still be paying for it, big- time, for decades to come.

Why should young blacks be expected to work to meet educational standards, or even behavioral standards, if they believe the message that all their problems are caused by whites, that the deck is stacked against them? That is ultimately a message of hopelessness, however much audacity it may have.

Obama: Just An Extremist?

March 19, 2008

Senator Obama is certainly an extremist: labeled the most liberal Senator among the 100 in the Senate.  But apparently he may be a racist, or someone in his election campaign committee could be….

Because only 6% of U.S. media journalists describe themselves as conservatives, the liberal media has allowed Senator Obama to glide though the primary season without too much criticism.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 19, 2008

And I will certainly be called a racist and dismissed as a racist, if not by Senator Obama then by his campaign committee.  That is their modus operandi.  I know this because they have already accused and trashed President Bill Clinton (“The First Black President”) and Geraldine Ferraro (twice).

Geraldine Ferraro
Geraldine Ferraro

Last Tuesday, March 18, 2008, the candidate that promised to transcend race and racism and unite all Americans for change, spoke with admiration about his pastor, a man that brought him to Christianity, married him, preached to him for about twenty years, baptized his children, took his donations of more than $22,000.00 (in one year), and prayed with him before the good Senator started his quest for the White House.

That pastor, one might surmise, is anti-American and racist because of the now infamous comments he has “preached” from the pulpit of his church in the name of Jesus Christ and God Almighty.
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But don’t believe me, a White Man married to a “Person of Color,” just re-read some of the Reverend (some say Bishop) Jeramiah Wright’s sermons.  Or watch the videos and listen to the true bile this man has dished out for years in Christ’s name.

Reverend Wright told his congregation that the Government of the United States was waging a war of genocide against people of color using HIV/AIDS.

I tell you in all honesty: any person of any color who tells me the U.S. government is intentionally killing off its citizens by any means is divisive and deserves condemnation — unless certain proof can be put on the table. 

This came from the religious advisor of a candidate for President of the United States who told us he would unite us and rise above race and racism and condemn those that were divisive.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., ... 
Senator Obama and Rev. Wright.  Distance between them?

Rev. Wright called the USA “the KKK of A.”

In a sermon on the Sunday after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Rev. Wright suggested the United States brought on the attacks — by its own terrorism.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Wright said. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

In a 2003 sermon, he said Black people, African Americans, should condemn the United States.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

So, after participating in services orchestrated by Rev. Wright for twenty years, Senator Obama never said a disparaging remark about his pastor or made an effort to set the record straight.  Until Tuesday.

Senator Obama condemned his pastor for his less than truthful and uniting and honest language but he refused to distance himself by withdrawing from his church, the Trinity United Church of Christ in South Chicago.

And, while uniting us, Senator Obama, apparently seeking an excuse or some justification, invoked the names of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, his Grandmother, and Geraldine Ferraro (for the second time — but the first time since she resigned from the Hillary Clinton for President campaign).  He even made a veiled reference to “The First Black President.”

Win McNamee, Getty Images

The former President said during the New Hampshire primary about Senator Obama, “Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”  And for this, and comparing the Obama campaign to the campaign years ago of Jesse Jackson, President Clinton was attacked as a racist.

In his speech Tuesday Senator Obama grabbed all his White racist relatives, friends, and historical icons and threw them under the bus.

For what purpose?  The record of racism by White people is pretty well established, I think, and White America has gone out of its way to atone, I think.

The “Great Uniter” who said he would “Rise Above Race” has played the race card like a two bit Kansas City saloon gambler in 1880.  How many race cards does he have up his sleeve?  And when will we discuss in detail the real issues?

Race is important, sure, but Ken Blackwell of the Family Research organization says Senator Obama favors $1 Billion in new taxes.  In this recession, that will push my bride’s small business into the red — and there are no buyers right now in this economy.

Apparently, and I could be wrong, while Senator Obama was a student at Harvard Law School, he learned how to use slick language and give wonderful sounding speeches.  But he didn’t learn how to make good argument and he missed the chapters on honesty and integrity entirely, I think, if  Tuesday’s speech is an example of his thinking and logic.

But I could be wrong.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) ...
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia, March 20, 2008.REUTER/John Sommers II (Reuters)

Related:
Obama Camp Calls Ferraro Racist; She Responds “No Way!”

Bill Clinton Rejects Criticism Over Race

Michelle Obama Takes Heat for Saying She’s ‘Proud of My Country’ for the First Time

Media Still Mostly “Liberal Left”

Obama: Right Stuff or The Wright Stuff

March 19, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 19, 2008

Rationalization is a tricky thing. Those gifted in the use of language can take rationalization to a “higher level.” They often invoke God; add Satan to their description of evil ways; promise reform, recovery, repentance and atonement.

I have heard it a thousand times from those confessing, committing, re-committing and offering atonement.

I have made these arguments on occasion myself, because I am weak and I am a man and I stray from my own integrity on occasion.

And I always live to regret the twisted logic – and eventually those I have conned figure me out anyway.

And my God, in His all knowing and infinite wisdom, is not fooled for a second.

I can no longer support Barak Obama. When confronted with the certain fact that his pastor had uttered some hurtful, evil and flat wrong beliefs about his country and his fellow countrymen, the United States Senator told me and the world, in essence, “I didn’t hear it and I didn’t know.”

Then he said the pastor was like a ridiculous uncle that you tolerated, didn’t agree with, but loved none the less because he was ‘family.’

Well, we are all sometimes stuck with family. But you chose your friends, your prayer group and your pastor. And you can walk away.  And sometimes you should.

When a role model spews forth lies or even slightly twists the truth, it is particularly hurtful: because he is being watched by “believers,” even children not always completely prepared to unravel the twists. They buy into the lie, foster it, spread it and pass it along.

When the role model is in a position of authority like a pastor, or a Senator, or a president, the lie can become something others buy into and adopt as true and normal and real and worthy.

I guess it depends upon what your definition of “is” “is.”

Here is one of the most common examples of twisted logic that husbands offer to wives:

Yes I had an affair. It was wrong and I apologize. I am deeply sorry for hurting you and I will never do it again.

A man that cannot be true to his word, his oath and his commitment is not a man worth having – a man worth knowing.

A man that cheats on his wife is not the role model I want for you. That is not the husband I want you to know and see and love and rely upon. And that is not the man I want my children to look up to and emulate.

When my children, our children, graduate from high school and college, I want them to look at their Mom and Dad and say: I want to be like them. I want to be like them more and more every day. I want my children, their grandchildren to be just like them.

The love we share is a powerful force of good. It transcends the problems, the troubles, the rough patches and the bumps in the road. We have this love due to the grace of God and we need to honor that and cherish that and make it grow in wholesomeness and good. If not for ourselves then because it is right in His eyes and it is something we give to our children.

It is a love that makes me a better man and you a better woman. It makes us one in our God’s eyes and He will judge us both as individuals and as a union. Moreover, those individuals and that union will impact every other single person and couple we know: especially our children and grandchildren.

So I condemn and deplore my actions with and my thoughts for that woman. And I am sure with all the goodness I am committed toward, you will not object if I see her for lunch just once every week….

My problem with Rev. Wright and his friend and parishoner of 20 years is not about race: it is about racism and anti-Americanism and lies preached from the pulpit in a church and then whitewashed to the media by a U.S. Senator who made the issue race and dragged George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Geraldine Farraro into the cesspool.

I object.

I guess it depends upon what your definition of “is” “is.”

Excerpt from Barak Obama’s address on March 18, 2008 in Philadelphia:

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.
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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.
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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. .
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point.
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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.