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Whoa! The wheels are coming off Obama’s campaign

Looks like Reverend Wright is taking the gospel on the road. He gave a speech at the National Press Club today and the gaping maws on the TV will just not shut up about it.

Get over it already. Black Liberation Theology is all about confrontation and standing up for yourself. It takes its inspiration heavily from the rabble rousing, social activist side of Jesus’ ministry. Oh sure, Wright gets a little carried away and has said things I might have disagreed with. If I had been Barry, I might have cautioned him strongly to tone it down. But in the whole scheme of things, it isn’t Wright that gives me fits. It’s Donna Brazile.

Nevertheless, it’s all coming down around Obama’s head. It’s like, “We didn’t say it ws your fault; we’re saying we’re going to blame you”. Kinda gruesome to watch. I’m betting that debate is looking pretty good right about now, even on the back of a flatbed truck.

One more thing: If you guys haven’t read McCamy Taylor’s piece on the media playing the race card, get thee hence and read it. Today, the media is trying very hard to ignite another racial firestorm in the party. They are trying to divide us. We get a little snarky about the race issue here but sometimes humor is what it takes to diffuse a hostile situation. But we’re not into character assassination here. I might not like what Donna Brazile says and I blame the Obama campaign for starting the whole racial split in order to alienate votes from Clinton. But the genie is now out of the bottle and is serving the interests of the media and the Republicans by dividing us. Let’s not give them any more ammunition. We are all in the same party. The Supreme Court today should make us realize how vulnerable we all are. The last thing I would like to see is the African-american community suffer a backlash because the media has made a big deal out of a Reverend’s few intemperate remarks and it starts to scare people. Let’s get some perspective. This is a manufactured scandal. None of us deserve it.

80 Responses

  1. Rev. Wright: You are the gift that keeps on giving.

  2. Everytime he comes on tv, the more people get entrenched.

    Hillary up by 9 in Indiana-today’s SUSA.

  3. DCD: Yeah, butcha know what? They’re all getting a bum rap. Wright is a pretty decent guy. He’s served in the military. He’s broken a lot of barriers himself. Ok, he needs to work on gender sensitivity and shooting his mouth off when he’s on a roll. But I think it’s just really sad that his reputation is getting trashed like this. Yeah, he wouldn’t have been my minister either. I;m more into that whole traditional mainstream liberal presbyterian thing. But my mom, the hyperreligious one said it’s probably a good thing for African-Americans to face their frustrations in church.
    The problem is that people like donna brazile go threatening us with blood if we don’t give into Barry and it ignites this whole firestorm.
    But that’s just what the Rovians want. They WANT us to be at each other’s throats. Let’s not fall for that.

  4. I’m guessing someone at CampObama thought bringing the good reverend out now would help smooth the waters.

    Unfortunately for Barry, Rev. Wright is a loose cannon.

  5. My guess is that the good rev is fighting with the campaign. Because they definitely want this nightmare to stop, and he just keeps on yapping. Axelrod must be pulling his hair out by now. 🙂

  6. I’ve been requested by my local Hillary chair (our group meets weekly) to go out and ask everyone I know to donate $25 (or any amount you can). Our campaign’s end-of-the-month figures will be based on what is contributed by Wednesday, and we need to show that we are still in this race and in it in a big way.

    I’ve given more, my relatives have given, I’m asking friends, and I’m asking you to join all of us. Let’s go viral on this and get lots of small (and any large) donations.

    Hillary is the best candidate I’ve seen in a long time, and she just gets better. Although I’m not enthusiastic about the current party leadership, I don’t want the Democratic Party to implode with Barry. Vetting a candidate should be the first consideration of party leadership. Speaking out when the Clintons (of all people) are slandered with being racists shows leadership! Counting the votes in Michigan and Florida is leadership–better yet, don’t penalize Democrats who are being forced to hold a primary at a time set by Republicans.

    Leadership would not allow the undemocratic caucuses (representing 2% of eligible voters) to be gamed. And in the two-step state of Texas, Hillary won the popular vote, but the caucuses were unfair.

    What does the current Democratic Leadership consider to be leadership?

    I like the pay-to-view idea of a Lincoln-Douglas debate. It would be a great civics lesson.

    Thank you from an average citizen working for real leadership for our country.

    http://www.hillaryclinton.com

  7. Just thought you’d like to know that The Wilmington Star News reported a crowd of over 5,000 turned out to see Hillary in Wilmington, N.C. Yet, the news media wants everyone to believe that she can’t win North Carolina. YES SHE WILL!!!!

  8. RD: It’s not that Rev. Wright is wrong, it’s that he’s political kryptonite.

    Anyone who wants to run for high office needs to distance themselves from radicals of all stripes.

    Personally, I’m more concerned about Obama’s political instincts and judgment than his political views (partly because I don’t know what his views are.)

    First he talks about his close relationship with Wright and Trinity UCC then he claims he never heard the sermons? That’s just dumb.

  9. I am sorry. I have to disagree RD. Indoctrinating men, women and children with stuff like italian “garlic noses” killed jesus, and the government invented AIDS to kill black people is irresponsible at best. I don’t think he’s a “good guy”. I think he’s an egostical hypocrite. Hey, don’t strive for “middleclassness” but pony up so I can buy a mansion in a gated community.

  10. Melanie: I agree that he hasn’t always made sense and some of that talk can lead to resentment where none should exist. But the problem is that the media is trying to pit two parts of the Democratic party against each other. THAT’S what’s going on here.

  11. riverdaughter: It’s more than blood than should we not give O the nod. It’s a no-win situation, because were O to the nod, he would lose the GE, and afterwards, they will blame Hillary for not having thrown in the towel. The only way for Hillary to win is for Hillary to win the nomination and the presidency.

  12. RD, I don’t think Wright is very representative of black churches, and I think it was Obama himself who tried to change the conversation to race. And, it’s people like Brazile(and other Obama surrogates) more in their capacity as Party players than merely pundits that are trying to split the Party. This I know first hand from my correspondence with Ms.Brazile.

  13. Howard Dean is becoming a touch monomaniacal:

    Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Monday that either Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama must drop out of the Democratic presidential race after the June primaries in order to unify the party by the convention and win the election in November.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080428/ap_on_el_pr/democrats_dean

  14. I think there are very few Hillary supporters who have any interest in any kind of racial divide. However, BO surrogates need to stop talking about “there will be blood”, and the Clintons “owe it to us” because that is extremely unhealthy. I don’t think there is much we can do about it.

  15. I think that Wright may be a little peeved that Obama did not strongly support him, backing away as he did when he said that he was not present, etc. This was always something that was difficult to swallow. This may be just his opportunity to upgrade his image and to hell with Obama. But Riverdaughter is correct in that Donna Brazile is the issue. Her comments are outside the realm of decency in what she suggests. She is speaking to the Obama base and is almost suggesting that riots take place while warning the opposition of the possibility. These are scare tactics and I am waiting to see someone in the MSM to actually address this wrong. Rev. Wright is just another blowhard in love with his own voice but she is horribly divisive.

  16. Help, can someone tell me how to turn huge urls into tiny hyperlinks? Like those in the post above?

    I tried Tiny Url.cc but it’s not what I need. Sorry for the offtopic technical question. Thanks!!

  17. mélange: I am not disagreeing with you. Wright represents a certain strand of Christianity that is unique to but not representative of the black church. But unfortunately, the media seems intent on blurring the lines and with negative affect, that is joining Obama And Wright at the hip and taking the entire AA community down with him. And I’m saying to you that I dont think it would be good for us as Hillary supporters to pile on. We want Obama to lose for legitimate reasons: because he’s not ready to be president. If we give into temptation to pile on we a.) exacerbate the split in the party and b.) you strengthen the median hand. In a way, all of the fawning over Hillary this morning makes sense in retrospect. The media is not our friends. We cannot trust them. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep pinging him on the debate issue.

  18. Yes, I agree. I am just not sure what our role is here. I mean, personally, I think BO’s continued relationship with this man, and his attempt to steer the conversation from anti-americanism and propaganda to race are an example of his ill-preparedness. I think Hill is campaigning with african americans and has laid out a domestic agenda, which rightly disporportionately effects poor african americans. Not sure what more she or we can do. I think you’ll find a number of AA churches will seek to distance themselves from Wright’s theology, as many already have. I do not trust the media. I have long said they are seeking to play up fissures in the Party, with the help of people like Brazile. I want no part of it.

  19. You nailed it, Melanie. I think HRC being involved w/ AA w/out saying a word about this trainwreck is the best medicine. She conveys that she encompasses all people w/out highlighting the ridiculous spin this issue has generated.

  20. Happy Birthday, Pat!

  21. I think, underneath it all, Obama’s problem is not Reverend Wright. It is “bait-and-switch”. He roared onto the national stage in 2004 as a transcendent, above-the-divide candidate, able to inspire us all to overcome any lingering prejudices we may have harbored, consciously or unconsciously, and just to be as good and smart and nice and bestest as we’d all like to be. And, if he’d been able to romp to an early finish, we might never have thought critically about his actual bio or track record.

    As a political career path, Obama chose (in his mid-twenties, never having lived with or among African Americans) to pursue a career in community development in a depressed and overwhelmingly African American area of Chicago. Attending Reverend Wright’s church gained him street cred. That career step only lasted three years, and then to Harvard Law. When he returned, his next step up was as a “civil rights” lawyer. Again, good street cred among his chosen base. He then ran for the Illinois State Senate. His time spent in the AA community was important to him succeeding in the race.

    Fast forward to 2007-8 and the demo primary. All of a sudden, Obama’s AA street cred might not be seen as the best prep for the job of C-in-C. All we’re presented with is “transcendence”. And it worked beautifully through Super-Tuesday.

    When the race came down to a one-on-one with Clinton, it got a little iffy, and Obama’s campaign tried to up his margins by appealing to the AA community. In AA circles, they touted his long devotion to AA causes and labled the Clintons racist. His AA support skyrocketed, and, gradually, the overall voter population noticed that maybe it wasn’t all due to agreement on policy positions.

    The very newly-minted transcendent candidate began to appear not as convincingly transformative as he had initially. (After all, the south side of Chicago is not substantially better off than before Obama arrived, and what has been achieved cannot realistically be tallied in the Obama column.)

    So, for me, Reverend Wright is only symptomatic of a much greater problem for Obama: authenticity. That is what voters are catching on to. That is what will bite him in the ass.

  22. What we are seeing could be the begginning of the high price of Barack Obama’s national ambition experiment. I do not want the scab torn off of race relations in America. I do not want every white person believing that Obama’s church, characterized by Rev Wright’s youtube snipetts, is indicative of all black churches. And i don’t want Obama’s supporters, particularly the young voters (even though their immaturity, atleast of many, has shown quite clearly during this primary) to lose hope ultimately because their candidate was not ready for primetime. Lets hope we can get it together in time. Obama is a smart guy, even though his ambition has clearly cluoded his judgement, perhaps he can read the writing on the wall before the price is just too high to bear.

  23. Just flew into the TPM blog and they are posting that Hillary is 9 points ahead in Indiana. And keep in mind that Josh Marshall is solidly in Obama’s camp. Huff Po has nothing so far. Nine points guy! Go Hillary!

  24. Pat,

    Terrific news but why is it that my first thought is “they’re tricking us” when I read your post. Shameful isn’t it?!!!

    It’s amazing how the tide has turned.

  25. Wasn’t Oh! bama leading in Indiana just a couple weeks ago?

    If this poll is correct that is big news.

    If it’s correct.

  26. Elixir, I kind of trust it since Josh Marshall is so solidly behind Obama. All his articles and bloggers are solidly Obama. TPM is right up there with HuffPo and Daily Kos with their unyielding support with the only difference being that TPM is not as harsh as the other two. It also indicated that she was up to 9 points over McCain in the general but I prefer to take one step at a time. I want for her to win so badly that I go a little nuts every now and then!

  27. Yes, SUSA has her 9 points ahead. No, she was never behind in SUSA, unless you include the poll they did for some university. Yes, AP reports she is 9 ahead of McCain nationally.

  28. Elixer

    The HTML trick is as follows:

    [a href=”URL”]Link Title[/a]

    Just replace the [ ] with

  29. replace the [ ] with the greater than and less than symbols. (Shift comma, Shift period)

  30. Yes, AP reports she is 9 ahead of McCain nationally.

    Holy mother of Pete! That’s splendid news. Here’s hoping it translates to some contributions.

    I personally am maxed out, but my husband is not. Heh.

  31. Aeryl,

    Thanks!
    Elixir

  32. It’s official!

    Rev Wright hates Obama (who likes being under the bus).

    He has certainly decided to come from under the bus and destroy Obama’s candidacy. And se seems to be having a lot of fun doing it.

    Just watch this video and tell me if you think otherwise.

    PS: As always, this graph gives us the magnitude Rev Wright on Obama’s coverage.

  33. I’d be happy to vote for Wright. Outside the American Empire, many people would. The reason why I would not vote for Obama is because he betrays every liberal cause there is, pretending to be progressive and in fact distancing himself for real progressive statements and positions. In terms of real life policies, it is Hillary who has the most to offer working people in the USA – and so she would get my vote if I had one in this election.

    Just a word in favour of the Roman Empire – it made all its subjects citizens eventually. I’d have a vote in that case. Instead I have to hope (audaciously) that the American electorate gets it right for the rest of us, finally. And resent that my life is governed by such a hypocritical and self interested power.

  34. One more thing:

    Did anybody else notice we are now up to 350,000 hits?! After we did the happy dance for 200,000 last week?

    Sounds like we’re not alone in being hacked off over the treatment of Hillary in general at the hands of folks who ought to know better.

  35. Did anybody else notice we are now up to 350,000 hits?! After we did the happy dance for 200,000 last week?

    All together now: Rise Conflucians! Rise!

    🙂

  36. So Sen. Bingaman endorses Obama. Why is it all these SD’s from states Hill won endorse him, particularly now?

  37. Obama has a secret list of superdelegates that he trots out whenever he is in trouble.

  38. Yes, I know, but don’t they ever rethink?

  39. I blame Wright on Obama. Obama failed from the outset to pretend that we are a post-racial society when we very clearly are not. Are we ready to be? I think so. But that is significantly different than actually being where we would like to be. Obama could have been a person to really help us make gains. But he didn’t even try and has intentionally used race as a weapon. For that, I’m going to have a hard time ever forgiving/forgetting.

  40. Yes, I know, but don’t they ever rethink?

    Melanie, I suspect many of those SD are secretly, DESPERATELY hoping Hillary somehow manages an upset in the remaining contests. One which, at the very least, gives her the lead in popular votes.

  41. Addendum re SD: Because I don’t believe they feel trapped or hardened against the Clintons. Either way, her appearing the more “electable” of the two won’t suffice their “criteria”. C’mon Hillary – make history happen!

  42. “Whoa! The wheels are coming off Obama’s campaign”

    Well, they were only ever training wheels anyway. Weren’t they?

  43. correction: (typo) “Because I don’t believe they feel trapped or hardened against the Clintons.”

    That should read: Because I believe they (many of the superdelegates) feel trapped by their previous decision, or hardened towards the Clintons.

  44. Hee! Touche, Katie.

  45. jackyt, you know what the saddest part of this is for me … He could have gotten “street cred” with the AA community in Chicago by actually helping people. Rolling up his sleeves and achieving things on their behalf. TAKING ON slumlords instead of cozying up to them. He wanted to gain cred without doing the hard work, so he picked a church and sat in it for two decades, while doing next to nothing for the people in the surrounding area.

    If he wanted street cred so badly, he should have worked for it. He would have had a real, verifiable list of accomplishments to his name a real allies that he could count on instead of a bunch of disgruntled ex-friends ticked off that they were used or brushed off.

  46. The Obama surrogates has made race as an issue in this primary (with the blessings of the Obama campaign?) and race bait, too ,maybe as a counterpoint to whatever future controversies and scandals that Obama might have in the future. He has made race and race baiting the central portion of his campaign. It is with a certainty that Obama surrogates(with the blessings of the Obama campaign?) will answer every controversy and scandal with statements pertaining to race.

    Remember the time when the Somali tribal dress that Barack wore in 2006 and was leaked thru the Drudge Report? David Plouffe immidiately accused the Clinton team of ’shameful offensive fear-mongering’. Then there is the op-ed of Orlando Patterson in the NY times which tried to put race in the 3am ad of Sen. Clinton.To qoute the 1st paragraph of the op-ed:

    “On first watching Hillary Clinton’s recent “It’s 3 a.m.” advertisement, I was left with an uneasy feeling that something was not quite right — something that went beyond my disappointment that she had decided to go negative. Repeated watching of the ad on YouTube increased my unease. I realized that I had only too often in my study of America’s racial history seen images much like these, and the sentiments to which they allude.” And that is only the 1st paragraph.

    Then there is the “brushing the dirt off the shoulder” incident which the Obama surrogates(?) has linked to the Jay Z song, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, a racially charged song (see this web link or google the song title and judge for yourself.)http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jayz/dirtoffyourshoulder.html

    This can be construed as race baiting tactics of the Obama team and surrogates. It only needs a spark.

    Please forward to your friends because it is imperative that the American people know who the real Barack Obama is and the way it is seen by me is he wants the race card to be front and foremost always. This could be his strategy up to the GE ( in case he wins the primary) and, heaven forbid, up to the presidency ( in case he wins it.)

    In order for me to change this perspective on Obama, he must prove to me by his actions that this perspective is wrong.

  47. I came home today and read this post and thought wow. This is about the most comprehensive, level headed, even handed treatment of the whole issue I have seen in a while. I have often thought about attempting to explain it but I doubt it would have been so clear.

    For a few of the posters in this thread I think it is worth highlighting some historical circumstances. For a long time under Jim Crow much of southern black religion preached hope; hope for a better life in heaven. Many of Rev. Wright’s statements are rightfully criticized but a splash of history adds a little context. The large variance in educational quality and the Tuskegee experiment go a long way towards explaining some of these notions.

    This situation is an interesting development. At the end of the day I want to win, much more so than I want Obama to win. Incredibly insightful post.

  48. jackyt, on April 28th, 2008 at 2:27 pm Said:

    That is EXACTLY how I feel…great post.

    I love ya RiverDaughter (creepy over the net, I know), and I completely agree the media is NOT OUR FRIEND, but I think you’re too swift to give Wright a get out of jail free carr.

    He’s part of the reason races are still so divided; I understand AA’s have different viewpoints, but not all 45 million black folk have the same viewpoint as this Wright character does. He does the whole population of the US a great disservice to stand up and say the “black church” is being attacked; BLT is far from being the dominant form of black worship.

    The President of United States should be free and clear of any special interest/religious association as possible…Obama is not, and his decimation of the only successful Democratic President’s administration in recent times is not very Democrat-like in my book.

    My support for Obama dried up the moment he failed to stand up and denounce any suggestions that Bill and Hillary are racist; Wright is irresponsible, but very artful in his linking of the US Government to whites, and associating an “evil govt” with whites in general.

    How in the flying freak is that good for America?

  49. Did anyone see Kilpatrick yucking it up with Wright? Just: wow.

  50. My support for Obama dried up the moment he failed to stand up and denounce any suggestions that Bill and Hillary are racist;

    There you go, Ryan! That was surely the ‘point of no return’ for me, personally.

  51. Gov. Easley of North Carolina to endorse Hillary

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080428/ap_on_el_pr/clinton_easley;_ylt=At8rEXfGitnPDWJ4JTdcZbGyFz4D

    I hope he has a machine to work on Hillary’s behalf.

  52. I don’t think Wright is representative of AA ministers any more than I think Fred Phelps is representative of white ministers. But I think both are filled with hate, and neither represents my idea of what a religious leader should be.

    The thing that most repulsed me about Wright is not just the God damn America stuff that everyone focused on. Somewhere in the videos of him he talked about the fact that when a white woman is abducted, the media sometimes provides so much coverage that you hardly hear anything else, but when a black woman is abducted or assaulted, you hear nothing. He was and is absolutely right and had he gone on to attack the media, I would have been in total agreement and cheered him on (at least on that subject); as far as I’m concerned nothing he could have said about them would have been too bad. But what he actually did was go on to attack the character of Natalee Holloway, the young woman who disappeared while on a class trip in Aruba, and used such crude language to describe in sexual terms what in his lurid imagination he had conjured up that she had been doing, that I will never use the word “decent” when describing him. No woman of any race deserves something like that; he is a sexist, racist ass.

    I don’t ascribe all of Wright’s crude remarks or hateful beliefs to Obama, but if they end up biting Obama in the butt, excuse me while I laugh.

  53. Gov. Easley of North Carolina to endorse Hillary

    WS: CBS News (w/Katie Couric) just confirmed the report. C’mon Hillzzzz and Easley, let’s win every vote towards victory!

  54. edwardian, or anyone in NC:

    Does Easley have much of a political machine there to throw behind Sen. Clinton?

    That could make a bit of a difference.

  55. melanie, about Senator Bingaman–my guess is that he’s playing to his own core constituency, which is northern New Mexico (Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos), who went solidly for Obama.

    It was the rest of New Mexico that brought the win for Hillary.

  56. i’d sooner vote for rev. wright than obama

  57. Riverdaughter – I am so proud of you for your main post and your comments above. You are a great person.

    I listened to Wright and what hit me was this – what if Wright thinks that his Church and his movement are more iportnat than bs’ing the media and getting Obama elected? What if he isnt out to get Obama, but just refuses to step down and hide and pretend he doesnt think what he thinks? While I do believe it will damgae Obama, I do not think it is deliberate.

    The press is in the tank for McCain, not Hillary, and I for one dont want to give them a cookie when they act like unfair jerks.

  58. I want to be clear here – I am talking about what I heard in the NAACP speech and the half of the press speech today. i didnt hear him say anything like he has in the past re Governent giving AIDs to Black etc – did he do so and I missed it? Because that stuff was toxic.

  59. BREAKING NEWS!!!

    Obama to give historical speech tomorrow confessing to the nation that he never knew Rev. Wright in the first place.

    Hillary tortured him with the threat of a debate and that’s why he falsely proclaimed that he knew him.

    Keith Olberman to do a special comment about Medusa Hillary.

    Developing… Impacting…

  60. (giggling madly) O, MABlue!

  61. I am not sure whether to be surprised or not by a few of the comments here. The effects of poverty are toxic. Our educational system is funded in a way that benefits the wealthiest the most. We have some of the best schools in the first world… and some of the worst. Legislation like No Child Left Behind punishes the poorest schools for doing the worst. Things like inadequate healthcare compound these problems. Poverty perpetuates… poverty. Many of the post civil rights years have seen backward slides in social progress.

    Poor people have a right to be angry. Many poor people happen to have darker skin (some do not). Are all poor people dark, are all poor people angry? No. Still, angry people say crazy shit. The critical thing to keep in mind is that at the core; the grievance is legitimate and the anger is justified. Yes, some of the comments are crazy and angry. Is the anger helping? No. Has this country done enough to help many of its citizen’s? No. Do the Clintons have a history of helping our least fortunate while working to fix our problems? Yes.

    It just feels like some (not all) are having trouble keeping some of these factors in mind. It is fine to disagree with right (I do). It is, at best, uninformed to parrot his most controversial statements.

  62. Hey Charles – ok – so he did not repeat the earlier claims in his speech. Thank you.

    The last sentence in this was strange – I saw it erlsewhere and I dont get it:

    Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn’t make me this color.”

    Does he realize how his is putting his color in a negative context? Odd.

  63. Hi Ryan,

    I enjoy reading your comments.

    But Reverend Wright has done quite well, has he not? So I dont understand his proclivity for making such really negative statements about being Black in America – how is a young Black person supposed to take in the idea that their gov’t created AIDs to kill them? How does a young Black person interact and succeed if s/he believes that? i dont think he is harming me by saying it – I think he is harming them!

    Just my take.

  64. Ryan, I just.. I don’t know what to say, I’m answering with another gross generalization here but growing up in a pretty poor area of the country, in my experience it’s mostly been determination not to depend on anyone & trying as hard as you can to not let it show that you’re poor. I do not recall encountering anything like angry or crazy. in fact what I think is insidious maybe is people blaming themselves and being angry at themselves for it. in my opinion a good deal more anger at unequal opportunities in education, job opportunities, society in general would be more positive but in this country it’s seen as shameful to be poor.

    as far as Rev. Wright’s church, isn’t it a relatively upper middle class, affluent church? I wish I could remember where I read that. Yes, I know it’s located on the south side. That’s not what I’m saying, it was how it was regarded in the city as far as who was in the congregation.

  65. Judith, I am uncertain of Rev. Wright’s financial status. According to Wikipedia it sounds like he did/does not suffer under extreme poverty. The thing that gets me is that he is a pastor for 30+ years and the Rev. Wright montage is not that long. I am not even 30 yet; I’d hate to see some of the things I’ve said dragged up. These clips really tell me nothing about his body of sermons except that he does get pretty fired up.

    If you were to suggest that leaders should be held to higher standards I would agree. While he certainly is not helping to eliminate an AIDS/Government connection (he is promoting it) it is not rational to suggest he is responsible for it. I did a quick Google to recheck this and got Study: Many Blacks Cite AIDS Conspiracy as a top result. As I understand it many people also believe that crack was invented by the government.

    The relatively high rates of AIDS and drug use in the AA community are likely major contributors to those ideas. How does a young AA interact and succeed if he/she believes that? Short answer is that they probably do not succeed. The longer answer is that if they were given a better education and better healthcare they probably would not believe that. To me, the largest problem is not that some people hold this belief (though it is detrimental) but all of the misery and disadvantages poverty brings. Like I said, this talk is not helping and it may be hurting. Even so, I would bet that the net result of Rev. Wright on the black community has been positive (just speculating). It is also probably not helpful that Rev. Wright is claiming to speak for the “black church.”

    Ultimately I just feel that the media’s focus on this is not helping. It is more than that though, it is hurting. Those statements and beliefs are really the product of our domestic policy and history. The sound bites incense people and in no way encourage any discussion about the issues that could have produced them. Worst case scenario this is going to encourage among many the idea that blacks are somehow the only things holding themselves back. If only they would just stop believing crazy stuff and see the light, right? It just ignores all the complexity and culpability that perpetuate the sad state of social justice.

  66. Ryan, the AIDS conspiracy thing—it’s crap. And I would have hoped a man as accomplished as Rev. Wright would attack the irrationality of this garbage vigorously.

    But he doesn’t. I don’t believe in sin, but I do believe in irresponsibility. It is irresponsible for a man who claimes to be educated to peddle such shit.

    Which leads me to your larger point.

    Our public schools are a disgrace. We have a population of people who believe in ANGELS—I have a set of statistics that would make your eyes pop right out of your head regarding deeply cherished beliefs in the face of overwhleming evidence. But I’ll hold back.

    Ignorance is NOT acceptable. When we have the tools to battle this scourge, we instead continue down a path of inherent inequity regarding the funding of our schools, the backasswards development of curriculum, and the failure to encourage more smart, creative people into the field of education.

    This is disgraceful. Disgraceful.

    I never lose sight of this. Poverty and cruelty and bigotry have to be fought vigorously and consistently, not with vapid words of hope and change but by tough and intelligent effort.

    Why in this country of such abundance do we have children who go hungry? Our local food bank has sent out a second desperate plea in the last four months for donations. My meth head neighbors are renting pieces of their five acres for people to pitch tarp-tents to live in because they’ve lost their homes. Last summer a woman with a newborn was living in one of these tarp tents because she had no where to go.

    This situation has got to change and it will only change by an excruciating effort. In the meantime, if you, like me, believe in the power of knowledge, if you believe that rationality is an important tool in fighting these fights, than nonsense like the AIDS conpsiracy must be challenged and rejected.

    We don’t solve problems by turning them into monsters. We solve them by solving them.

  67. Ryan –

    Thank you for taking the time to write a thorough post.

    If you google him you will find he has a rather huge mansion so it is fairly easy to see his lifestyle. Pretty sure he has a German made sportscar, too. So he lives very nicely.

    I didnt say anthing about holding him to higher standards – you did. He also did not say the govt created drug addiction – he said the govt created the AIDS virus. (Kind of ignore the orignal community that was decimated by it which doesnt impress me.) So if you say that a Black person who believes this doesn’t suceed then you are directly linking Wright to a statement he makes that leads to damage for Black people – which was my point. So we agree. There is enough to mourn in the treatment of Black people in our history and in our now that Black leaders – especially religious ones – dont have to make up stuff, imo.

    Your comment: “Worst case scenario this is going to encourage among many the idea that blacks are somehow the only things holding themselves back. If only they would just stop believing crazy stuff and see the light, right? ” I would never say anything so patronizing. I have no idea who, if any, of his congregation actually believes it. Might just be hyperbole for attention. He pulled back from the original statement in the q&a Charles posted.

    The media’s focus on this right now is Obama’s fault for having Wright be part of his campaign in the first place and not cutting the ties. He did it to himself. I dont think he thought the whole thing through – this was always going to come up. I dont understand how anyone thought this would be ignored. It really is a head scratcher. For all the talk of Obama’s brilliance and his awesome campaign, this is one dumb thing to overlook.

    Take care – I have enjoyed your comments. It is always nice to dialogue with someone who is thoughtful. And I agree with your that Riverdaughter’s post was wonderful.

    judith

  68. Ryan, many people are poor or have suffered some misfortune in their lives. It helps no one to blame other victims. And as a relatively well-informed person in a position of trust in the AA community, he should be doing better by them and us. Sorry if the media focus on something embarrassing to Obama is not to your liking, but Wright does seem to be bringing it up again himself — it’s not like the media is out there doing any real investigative work these days.

  69. Sorry, guys, I’m with Ryan. Yeah, Wright is mega wrong about AIDS and a good many other things. But I would hate to think that *my* entire life’s work could be summed up by a few hot-headed or stupid comments. I am willing to bet that Rev. Wright has helped a lot of his parishoners get through a difficult period of their lives when they did not feel the dignity of their humanity. If Wright is 90% wonderful and 10% off kilter, I think we should give credit where it is due. He wouldn’t have been my pastor for a variety of reasons but I am not in need of his message. If Obama had been a true leader, he would have spoken to Rev. Wright about the AIDS controversy and 9/11 and women. It should have gone both ways.
    But the problem is that we conflate Wright with Obama and they are two different people.
    As for Wright’s house, how do we know that he didn’t inherit the money to build it? I don’t really have a problem with people living comfortably no matter who they are as long as they remember those who have less. Do we have any information on that?
    Anyway, as much as I despise Obama for stirring up this tempest by having his campaign focus on manipulating Clinton surrogate’s comments to sound racist, I don’t think anyone deserves to be persecuted by the media unless they have broken laws. Neither Obama or Wright fall into that category. Don’t give the media more power than they need because it will come back to bite us later.

  70. Are either of them being persecuted by the media? I really can’t tell. I’ve heard some in depth background that doesn’t usually go with a full out attack. But, my attention does wander, so maybe I’ve missed some harsh stuff.

    Is it just the CONSTANT coverage that is persecution? Because I sort of think both Obama and Wright have a lot to do with that.

    Why did Obama go on FOX and say that it was a valid issue? This weekend of all weekends?

  71. These are just questions — I don’t mean to sound like I’m attacking anyone.

  72. Riverdaughter –

    I hope you are not including me in the sorry – you are not disagreeing with anything I have said and I certainly wouldnt mind if you did. :-0

    If you meant my post though –

    I am not conflating Obama with anyone – he invited the guy to be the spritual advisor to his campaign thus linking the man’s attiudes to himself. If McCain had that anti Catholic nut as part of his campagin I’d say the same about him.

    But what does whether he inherited money to buy his house have to do with my comment that he has done well? In fact, you would be actually saying a relative did well enough to pass him the money. That would mean there was a history of doing well. I made no value judgement. But I do find it odd when someone so blessed isnt more grateful, frankly. I am.

  73. katiebird – I dint think you were attacking anyone myself. No, i dont think Wright is being persecuted – I think he is enjoying the opportunity to discuss his beleifs in a national forum or he would have just “retired”.

    I do think Obama has already pulled back from him and there it should end. If that is what Riverdaughter and Ryan meant, then I agree.

  74. Just want to clarify I was forwarding this a possible interpretation “Worst case scenario this is going to encourage among many the idea that blacks are somehow the only things holding themselves back. If only they would just stop believing crazy stuff and see the light, right?” Was not intending to suggest anybody here is subscribing to or forwarding that.

    MessyMarcy, Though I have not made much mention of it, I agree with the campaign analysis side of the posts here (for the most part). You’re right, I wish they would give it a rest. Ultimately, I just want to win in November. If he cannot take this heat… well what can I say? He needs to be able to. Still, I did not say those things just because I do not like the coverage (which I do not); they are issues I care a lot about.

    I followed some link here the other day to a Karl Rove advice piece for Obama. I kind of got a little sick feeling after reading it; I could not disagree on pragmatic grounds. Politicians often walk a fine line between principles and votes. If Obama falls off on the wrong side of the line… I’ll be a sad Clinton (kidding).

    Ohio, it sounds like we are in near total agreement. With better education we will see these things disappear.

  75. Oh, if anybody is interested this really sums up my (and probably others on this blog’s) feelings on the media. It is a clip of Jon Stewart (a comedian) on the show crossfire asking the CNN hosts why they are hurting America. It is also entertaining. RD said it well; the media is not our friend. Business is in the business of business.

    Jon Stewart’s America

  76. Ryan, I figured.

    The saddest part here is that there was a way for Sen. Obama to handle all of this. He could have been honest. He could’ve just said about Rev. Wright: I love the guy. He helped me find my faith and my identity. I don’t agree with everything he says, but isn’t that the point of education? To seek out people with different life experiences and listen to them? You don’t have to agree but you do have to listen.

    Oddly enough, Cruella Darth Voldemort (aka Sen. Clinton) appears to have learned how to listen. To all kinds of people. We all know she’s got her policy down and her brain is too big for her head, but she is connecting with regular people.

    That’s the hard way to do your politicking. It’s excruciating and exhausting. No wonder she gets less than three hours sleep a night. But with her high negatives, she still gets votes. It’s amazing.

    And frankly, I think she would risk a Clinton/Obama ticket. So what if the Wurlitzer of Hatin’ starts up—it’s going to anyway. We all team up and point and laugh—the combined coalition of her supporters and his supporters would be unbeatable.

    But I should put down the opium pipe because the hallucinations are making me dizzy. No use getting ahead of myself. She still has a steep climb to the nomination. I want her to win, but if Sen. Obama is the man his supporters think he is, he needs to get back on his Magic Unity Pony and do some fancy riding.

  77. <>

    Hi Ryan – I replied to this bit within the context of my own comments – meaning, I did not intend for my words to be used to support the idea in general or even specifically as true to the persons in his Church who heard him say it,

    However, if you agree that cerain points of view if held or ascribed to DO hold people back (i.e. even you own government wants to give you AIDS and kill you) then you would be saying Wright’s words might actaully do so – a point I thought we agreed on.

  78. Many Obama supporters are only Obama supporters. This is why they don’t have a clue. Also they do not understand that race is still a big deal in our country. Hillary supporters are not their enemy. If they think McCain and Hillary are the same, then they really are naive.

    All I want is a Dem in the White House. Obama will not win in November. All the racists aren’t dead yet.
    All along I wanted to see a Clinton/Obama ticket, but now I’m not sure it would be possible. Too bad. It would be a winner for sure.

  79. Downriver – you are right – racism does still exist. So does homophobia and all sort sof things. I am Liberal and am always suprised at the pcokets of sheer ignorance in this big country of ours.

    Dont rule out a joint ticket unless Obama completely implodes….I think, anyway.

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