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Obama Distances Himself From Racist Pastor - But Did He Go Far Enough?

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In Philadelphia yesterday Barack Obama (D-IL) gave the speech about his core religious beliefs that presidential aspirant Mitt Romney (R-MA) should have given back in December. He unequivocally acknowledged that his some of his "former pastor's" (more on that later) comments were racially divisive and hurtful, and do not represent his feelings about the only country on earth in which "my story is even possible."

After thanking former Sen. Harris Wofford (D-PA) for his introductory remarks (which were a tad over the top for The Stiletto's taste, likening Obama to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln), Obama continued the historical riff ("Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy") before getting down to brass tacks:
The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least 20 more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations. ...

What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience, and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this presidential campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. ...

What was notable about Obama's speech was that – unlike Romney - he gave voice to the persistent concerns many voters had about him, his beliefs and the extent of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's influence over him, and dealt with them forcefully one by one:
I've gone to some of the best schools in America and I've lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave owners, an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters.

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I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue scattered across three continents. And for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible. It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional of candidates.

But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one. ...

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wild- and wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap.

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On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, 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 and that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy, and in some cases, pain. ...

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. 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.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive ...

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress had been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black, Latino, Asian, rich, poor, young and old - is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. ...

America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

Obama also took the $64,000 question head on: "Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place? Why not join another church?":
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. ...

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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 biases that make up the black experience in America. ...

Now, some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. ...

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 not yet made perfect. ...

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Victoria Knox (AKA The Stiletto) blogs about politics and ... you name it, since these days everything has become politicized..

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Obama Distances Himself From Racist Pastor - But Did He Go Far Enough?