I thought long and hard as to whether or not I wanted to write on this. I mulled it over for 24 hours, asked others to read this, and came to the conclusion that I couldn't let this one go. I stumbled upon a blog post Saturday that so angered me to the bottom of my cold, black, conservative (yes, you can flame me for that) heart that I felt the need to write on it. The topic of the post is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the comments that he has made concerning white America.
Let me start by saying that yes, race does play a part in the current Democratic race. There is no point in pretending otherwise. Race is still an issue for some in this country, although I believe that it plays less of a role than the media and blogosphere would lead you to believe. I don't support Obama, not because of the color of his skin, but because I believe that he is a fundamentally weak candidate with no real plans for change. That being said, let's move forward.
My first bone of contention with this post is the idea that the right wingers and Clinton supporters don't have a valid argument in that Obama's relationship with Trinity United or Rev. Wright needs to be examined. In my experience, people are members of a church for two reasons; it is their "family church" which they have literally attended all their lives, or because they like and believe in that pastor's/priest's/rabbi's message. I do know several people, my husband included, who have left their chosen church because they no longer believed in that person's message. Obama, if he felt that Wright's message was something he no longer believed in, could have left the church at any time. He chose to stay, indeed to be married within that church and to have his children baptized within that church. Obama has said several times that Rev. Wright has been a source of inspiration for him, and after 20 years of attending Trinity United I can't see Obama not internalizing at least some of Rev. Wright's message.
Here is the next problem with the argument presented in the post:
He has, in short, known an America where African-Americans were not just second-class citizens, but subhuman. He has watched that America change from one that kept black men from voting to one that incarcerated them over petty drug charges. He has eyes, and he can read, and he knows that African-American families were given a disproportionate number of sub-prime loans even when equally qualified as white borrowers. He knows that African-American families are still mired in poverty. He knows that when David Paterson takes the oath of office on Monday, he'll be only the third African-American governor since reconstruction -- and that the second, Deval Patrick, was sworn in just over a year ago. He knows that Barack Obama is only the third African-American to serve in the U.S. Senate since reconstruction, and that he's in the seat that was vacated when the second, Carol Moseley Braun, lost her re-election bid in 1998.
Yes, Rev. Wright lived through the Civil Rights movement. In order to accept this an an excuse for Wright's words though, one would have to ignore the huge strides the black community has made toward unity and equality since the 1960's. Barack Obama himself is an example of how far the African-American community has come in the last 40 years. Granted their work isn't done, but to ignore the progress the black community has made would be highly disrespectful to the African-Americans who have pushed forward to make a Barack Obama possible.
To address the question of why more blacks haven't been elected to public office, I ask how many have run for office? You can't elect someone who doesn't run. I think the problem lies not with Americans refusing to elect blacks and other minorities to public office, but of those communities not encouraging their young people to run. Barack Obama himself, as well as Deval Patrick, Bill Richardson, and Bobby Jindal are proof that minorities can and are elected to office. I hope their successes inspires young minorities to get involved politically and run for public office.
This is where the writer completely loses me though:
Jeremiah Wright has every right to hate how America has treated African-Americans, and he has every right to lay that at the feet of white America. Moreover, he is right to do so. From slavery to the 3/5 compromise to the corrupt bargan to the bombardment of Tulsa to the imposition of Jim Crow to the epidemic of lynching to the the Tuskegee syphilis study to Strom Thurmond to Bull Connor to George Wallace to Birmingham and Boston and Chicago and Selma and Detroit and Watts, white America has failed the African-American community, over and over again. Anger is not irrational; indeed, it is righteous.
Excuse me? Did the writer just make the argument that it's OK for one race to hate another race? Are you kidding me? There is nothing righteous about hating another race, nor is there any excuse for it. I find this so outrageous that I have trouble finding words strong enough to condemn it.
I don't know what's worse, the post itself or the commentators agreeing with it. To me, it's indicative of a disturbing trend on the Left; blindly going along with anything that Obama puts his name to. There seems to be quite a few pro-Obama people who don't want any kind of investigation into the ties that bind Obama and Wright, and that's a very dangerous mindset to have. Indeed their relationship is something that needs to be examined, not in an attempt to smear Obama, but to see where he stands on some very sensitive issues facing our society. You can't unite a country if you have a divisive mindset.