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NickMorgan Donating Member (88 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:27 PM
Original message
The Historic Significance of the Wright Problem
The Wright story isn't about smearing Obama, and it isn't about good faith concerns about Obama's character or beliefs. It's about our public inability to respond to the sense of outrage and betrayal felt by many African Americans who believe, in many cases quite justifiably, that their country has not been there for them.

Immediate reactions to Wright were swift and unthinking: he's shouting racist, incendiary provocations and stoking the fires of black anger toward whites. Commentators were quick to note that, if this had been a white congregation decrying blacks, we would be unconditionally outraged. Indeed, outrage is much easier to feel than confronting the cold hard fact that the United States has treated black people like shit for nearly its entire history, and has only recently made meaningful progress in civil rights (the 1960s, for goodness sakes, were a century after emancipation).

Does this mean Wright's views and statements are acceptable? Of course not. Even someone in Wright's position, who grew up when civil rights were barely getting off the ground, and to much violent resistance, should be encouraged not to react with divisiveness and racially charged anger, but instead to be part of the solution. But his failure to do so is a very human, understandable failure, and it is hardly to be compared with the pure racist animus of bigotry.

So people can sanctimoniously fault Obama for refusing to break ties with this pastor, and claim that any right-minded person would refuse to attend a church whose pastor occasionally (or perhaps only once in a great while) gave wind to the rage of betrayal, but let's not pretend this is about Obama's character when, in reality, we are just changing the subject because the wounds of our nation's racism are too painful to confront.

Obama's career is the story of helping, giving, and bringing together, subject, of course, to his own mistakes and shortcomings. But there is simply no trace whatsoever of the racial anger and rage of his pastor to be found in Obama's accomplishments, his writings, his acts of public service, his innumerable speeches, or his treatment of his peers and opponents. If his association with Wright tells us anything about his character, it is that he was willing to forgive Wright his short-comings and embrace in Wright what was positive and inspiring -- something Fox News surely won't show you videos of. There is lesson here that all should be mindful of: let us not allow our disagreements to become walls between us, even as temperatures rise so high within our own Democratic Party.

Whether he saw it in Wright's sermons, or elsewhere in the country, Obama was certainly no stranger to this manner of anger and divisiveness, but tellingly, he never let those attitudes overwhelm his own love and hope for the United States -- a country whose history he reads with remarkable optimism not as the story of helpless oppression and violence, but as a history of social movement toward justice and equality, and beyond the divides that have plagued us from the founding of this nation. If there is one message on which Obama has been consistent since long before his presidential candidacy, it is this message: that unity is the key to progress; that togetherness makes us powerful; that political divisions and fear set us back; that we can only overcome the wounds of history as one.

I will not abandon my support for Barack Obama at this critical moment, when the forces of fear, guilt, and divisiveness are flaring up, and neither will the Democratic Party. Already he is responding with the kind of leadership that demonstrates his ability to bridge divides, not aggravate them, a leadership that rises above blame, finger pointing, and the expression of anger, and instead shows that we always have the choice to respond with an open heart to those we disagree with, for the greater purpose of embracing our shared destiny.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. Fabulous post! Thank you, and welcome to DU!
:toast:
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NickMorgan Donating Member (88 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thx
Thanks!
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. I second that n/t
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Frances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
3. Obama is our leading candidate
and I don't think anyone should abandon him because of Wright.

But I do think that Obama has to handle this issue very carefully.

Of course, African Americans got (and get) a bad deal.

But their best chance to get one of their own into the White House and thus get a better deal for themselves in the future is not to look back, but to look ahead as Obama is doing.

I remember Martin Luther King saying that even if you don't believe in nonviolence for nonviolence's sake, use it as a tactic.

So, even if you don't trust white America's past or present, look to the future as a tactic.
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tabatha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:36 PM
Response to Original message
4. Great post!
Most reasonable, open-minded people can see that.
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. Nick very good points....the problem is that in this day and
age of attention spans of almost nothing....people don't get Historic significance....they have bought into the Republican media machine that doesn't pay attention to History and the direct impacts of those legacy's.

Further more Obama is not Wright....it's America...it's Free Speech....

Wright has every right to say whatever he wants.

This is a non-issue.
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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
6. Nice post!
Welcome to DU -- you've made some very insightful and important points in your OP, and did so succinctly. I hope others read and absorb the content. Kicked and Rec'd.
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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
8. K & R. We have a chance for great healing in this country.
This entire thing has made my support for Obama even more solid. He will help this country move forward.
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yes
It can indeed be a teaching moment for everybody that bothers to really pay attention, maybe Obama included. You have to truly understand what needs to be healed to be able to do it. Ignoring it, oversimplifying it, does not help.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
9. "a new consciousness"
Someone made this point yesterday and your post fleshes it out even more. That is why it is so discouraging to see our own party, especially the Clintons, distort this expressed anguish and exploit known sensitivities. They play on the known fears and biases for their own political gain, and it's just impossible that all of these intelligent people don't know what will happen when they do it. For those who were hoping the country would unite and denounce the true enemies of America, the bigots and warmongers, watching our own party become them is very discouraging.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. I think that this is part of why Obama runs on "Hope".....
and change; a new consciousness!
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
11. Kicked & Recommended
Good post!
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
12. If being Christian is a defacto requirement for the Presidency, and anyone who has heard
If being Christian is a defacto requirement for the Presidency, and if anyone who has heard this type sermon in their church is consequently not qualified for office, then nearly all blacks are not qualified for the Presidency

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boppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
13. K&R n/t
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
15. Wow! Just wow! Are you sure you meant to come to DU?
Great OP.
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NickMorgan Donating Member (88 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. I believe so.
Why, am I in the wrong place? :)
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. well, you are thoughtful, articulate and well-reasoned for starters.
a very big welcome to DU. hope you stick around. :hi:
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NickMorgan Donating Member (88 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. thoughtful types
Thanks for the kind words, though I'm sure there are plenty of thoughtful types hiding in the cracks. Unfortunately online forums can become a bit like a digital Lord of the Flies sometimes. Happy sailing.
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
16. Excellent commentary.
I am always pleasantly surprised at the reasonable and cool responses that Obama makes to all the manure that is thrown at him.

It isn't a case of having a "teflon" exterior. He is just so skilled at handling a situation, that it bodes well for an Obama presidency.

My original favorite candidate for president was John Edwards. I still have a high opinion of Edwards, and I was quite discouraged when the media short-circuited his campaign in a similar way that the media short-circuited Howard Dean's campaign in 2004.

Observing Obama handle himself, especially in the last three weeks, is very encouraging, and I wholeheartedly support his candidacy for president.

K & R.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
18. very nice
but I still disagree with this:

"Does this mean Wright's views and statements are acceptable? Of course not."

I didn't hear anything really unacceptable in either his views or statements (and you sorta imply that the statements being flashed around are representative of his "views")
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journalist3072 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
20. Here is the problem I have with Rev. Wright: He didn't tell the whole story.
First of all, as an African-American, there is no doubt in my mind that there is still a lot of pain associated with our past.

I was just thinking about this today. I am so blessed because I never grew up in a situation where I had to go to a Colored Only water fountain or bathroom.

I was never forced to the back of the bus.

And that is due to my brave ancestors who went before me. They paved the way so that I might enjoy a better life.

But for the people who DID have those experiences, there is still a lot of pain. And I think Rev. Wright is an example of the people who still carry that pain.

However, my main problem is that he didn't tell the whole story.

When he stood in that pulpit with his ignorant self, and said "Hillary's never been called (a racial expletive)," he didn't tell the whole story.

Hillary Clinton may not know what it means to be an African-American, but she knows what it's like to have your government make judgements on you, NOT based on the quality of your character, but on how you look.

When she was a young girl, she wrote to NASA and asked them what she needed to do to prepare to become an astronaut. She wanted to be an astronaut, so she wrote to NASA and asked them what types of courses, etc. she needed to take.

They wrote back and told her they were not interested in female astronauts.

So don't sit there, Rev. Wright, and say she doesn't know what it's like.

Because she does.

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emilyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Thank you.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
22. Welcome, Nick.
It is always delightful to meet someone new who dares to dream the dream and to hope. We will take this nation forward together.

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nsd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
24. Beautiful post. Very well done. /nt
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