I am constantly amazed at the obscure details that politicians will dig up to cast aspersions upon the personal lives of their opponents in order to keep the people from looking at the issues. Lately we are being exposed to the "Preacher Scandal" where candidates are expected to tell their pastors to just shut up!
The good Rev. Jeremiah Wright is drawing fire, much of which is singeing Senator Barack Obama, because he is a prime example of what a black pastor is expected to be, an oratorical firebrand who inspires his people to hope for freedom and equality. In return, people are looking askance at Senator John McCain for accepting the endorsement of the radical fundamentalist ministers who are cheering on our wasteful Middle East war in the hope for Armageddon
The mainstream media is having a field day with this minutia while parading "experts" on both politics and religion across our screen. Hours of air time are spent on this trivia while our soldiers keep dying in Iraq, the criminality of the Pentagon policies are swept under the rug, and the brutal treatment, not only of our prisoners, but of our "all-volunteer" servicewomen, is conveniently swept under the rug and onto the back pages of the newspapers.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, homes are being foreclosed by predatory lenders, gasoline prices are in the stratosphere, and even the cost of food has become prohibitive. Meanwhile, the small amount of money that is left in the pockets of the working class is being rooted out to pay for health care, medications, and the very basics of life in order to enrich still further the corporate thieves in the boardrooms. Those scoundrels are aware that their time is short and they must gouge all they can from the working class before the current administration leaves office and their gravy train ends.
What will stop this debacle of democracy when the new administration assumes office? It is almost impossible to find out, since nobody is talking about the issues. We know that Senator Hillary Clinton can put on a phony rural accent on command and that Senator Barack Obama is an accomplished wordsmith, but what will they DO to correct the course of our nation? Both have tiptoed around the health issues, speaking of "tax credits" to "help with paying insurance premiums," but it is indefinite and brings to mind comments about "treating the symptoms while ignoring the disease."
None of them have even mentioned the Presidential signing statements and executive exceptions which have slammed the door to "open government" and effectively neutered the Congress and the courts. Would any of the candidates continue that policy? Who knows?
Plans to leave Iraq are "off the table" for McCain and amorphous in the proposals from the Democratic candidates. McCain wants to ameliorate the pain of gas prices by temporarily suspending the taxes paid at the pump at the risk of further deteriorating highways. Hillary Clinton suggests a "windfall profits" tax on corporations but Barack Obama is too busy defending himself from the charges against Pastor Wright to develop any plan at all that we have heard.
It would seem that the American voter would have the discernment to realize which way the smoke is blowing and to shout, "Enough!" This whole tragicomedy of a political campaign has descended into farce as the "pundits" mis-speak and mis-quote. The speeches in question were not "sermons" delivered in Wright's Chicago church as depicted by MSNBC's Chris Matthews and others, but speeches delivered at conferences and meetings of black leaders. If Obama had been sitting in that pew for every Sunday of his twenty-year membership, he would have heard none of them!
But we have all heard Jerry Falwell and John Hagee and their pronouncements about the wrath of God as the reasons for each of the disasters that have befallen our country as well as the other calls from the Fundamentalist pastors of divine retaliation for our failure to embrace their faith. They do not ask for God to damn America but tell us that He already has!
We should pay no more attention to the professional rantings of Pastor Wright than we do to those of the Fundamentalists and get on with the process of choosing the next leader of out nation. If we must pray for something, let it be that we still have a nation to govern in January, 2009.