Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack's Speech

Do you see what I see? Shelby Steele writes this before Obama's speech today. This is important stuff, people. What is articulated here has been what I've been trying to say for some time:

But bargainers have an Achilles heel. They succeed as conduits of white innocence only as long as they are largely invisible as complex human beings. They hope to become icons that can be identified with rather than seen, and their individual complexity gets in the way of this. So bargainers are always laboring to stay invisible. (We don't know the real politics or convictions of Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey, bargainers all.) Mr. Obama has said of himself, "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views . . ." And so, human visibility is Mr. Obama's Achilles heel. If we see the real man, his contradictions and bents of character, he will be ruined as an icon, as a "blank screen."

Thus, nothing could be more dangerous to Mr. Obama's political aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday -- for 20 years -- in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable. His pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a challenger who goes far past Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in his anti-American outrage ("God damn America").

How does one "transcend" race in this church? The fact is that Barack Obama has fellow-traveled with a hate-filled, anti-American black nationalism all his adult life, failing to stand and challenge an ideology that would have no place for his own mother. And what portent of presidential judgment is it to have exposed his two daughters for their entire lives to what is, at the very least, a subtext of anti-white vitriol?

What could he have been thinking? Of course he wasn't thinking. He was driven by insecurity, by a need to "be black" despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity. And anyway, wasn't this hatred more rhetorical than real? [Emphasis added, -ed. This, by the way, was the point I've been trying to make--this racism cant works rhetorically, but the real world where Obama succeeds integrates races.]

Now, read Obama's speech with that in mind. Here is what he says:

Well, I don't think Obama can disown Reverend Wright. This speech is about doing what he could do with the commitment he made to a church where the preacher inculcates, teaches, inspires and recommends anger and resentment. Reconciliation, Obama's subtext for being, plays no part in his preacher's perspective.

Tom Maguire says this:
Still, this will slide him past the Dem primary voters. For the general, time will tell.

OH, YEAH! Obama does summon the Dem dream of working class white and black (and brown and yellow) uniting against their oppressive corporate overlords.
Gateway Pundit is not at all impressed:
A few observations:

** "Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety"- Frightening.
** "As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me"- G-Damn right!
** "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community"- You're done.
** "These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America"- That's G-damned America, thank you.
** Man cannot live on bread alone- add mustard and relish.

Obama had some nice words but will it be enough to heal the damage done by his pastor?
And Ace has what everyone is missing, as per usual. The MSM will go back into their protection mode:

Who Put the Turtle on the Fence Post? I don't blame Hillary for pushing this story too the press, assuming she did, which I do in fact assume.

What annoys me is the MSM. No Republican could push this very legitimate story to the press because the headline would not be about Wright. The headline would read:

Republican Operatives In Whispering Campaign of Racial Code-Words and Hate

But of course if a liberal in good standing brings the same issue to the press, it's legitimate, and they run the actual story.

Note there is not a bloody word from the press about who brought this to their attention.

The implication seems to be the MSM discovered this on their own, dug it all up, tracked it down with their own dogged determination and love of hard, painstaking detective-work.

Dan Collins, blogging for the perpetually indisposed Jeff Goldstein says this and it's my conclusion too:
This still doesn’t begin to answer why it’s somehow excusable for a pastor to spew demagoguery and outright lies from the pulpit. You want healing? Begin with the truth.
And that leads me to my point. Reverse this. Reverse this whole situation. Imagine for a moment that a white man went to a church where it was preached that black people caused AIDs as a conspiracy to kill the race, that the white guy's white power preacher said "God DAMN America", that the preacher married him, baptized his children into hate-filled rhetoric. Just imagine all this. And now imagine the white presidential candidate saying that he refuses to repudiate his pastor because he's like family.

We will know America isn't cowed by race when a black man is held to the same standards as a white man and is judged by the content of his character. Right now, people are ignoring Obama's character, his lifetime of actions, and judging him by the hope of what they project onto his skin color.

Shelby Steele is right. When Obama becomes a complex man, he ceases to become the icon. Will people insist on keeping Obama simple? And how is that less racist than anything in the past?


carol said...

What a shame. He was in a position to be a truly transcendant figure, but he would have had to stand up to Wright and his ilk.

But it's hard to take a stand, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Watching the clip of Wright's sermon was like going back in time. His thinking was primitive and simple. His logic was way off. All it did was feed hate and more racism against the Whites. Watching the people in the congregation stand up in support of his ludicrous sermon, was frightening.

Hearing Obama's speech today was more encouraging. At least he condemned what Wright had to say. The question I had, however, was: how can an educated man sit under this kind of ministry for 20 years? He has been indoctrinated with this kind of philosophy, a philosophy filled with racism and hate, for 20 years. This also explained the anger that his wife has displayed towards America. And they want to be in the White House?

MaxedOutMama said...

Well, he did name what was wrong with Wright's thinking:
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, 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.

I think the country is going to have to make up its mind about whether Obama has been infected with the victimology of Rev. Wright. His wife clearly has.

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