Saturday, March 29, 2008

Together

 

I've been thinking. (Run for your lives! You've been given fair warning.)

Yesterday at work, my manager asked my pal Greg about what he thought of Barack Obama's self-destruction (or words to that effect). I happened to be standing close by and overheard this. Greg and I looked at each other, obviously a little puzzled, and Greg said, "Uh...I didn't realize he had." I said, "He still seems pretty intact to me."

My manager went on to say that more is coming out about the Reverend Wright controversy, that it's really hurt Obama's campaign, that there's no way he'll win the nomination now, and also no way she'll vote for him. Greg and I were still puzzled. Greg said he thought it was a non-issue, and I said that I'd heard just that morning that Obama's poll numbers were relatively unaffected. She said that's not what she heard, and said that she just couldn't support someone who went to a church like that or was friends with someone like Wright.

Now, I love my manager, I really do. However, I really disagreed with what she was saying, so do you know what I did? I quit on the spot! That's right. How could I continue to work for someone with whom I disagreed so completely?

There's that sarcasm again. Obviously, I didn't quit, but that's exactly how ludicrous this argument is. The fact of the matter is that people don't always agree with each other. Far from it. Obama has made it clear that he does not agree with some of the more outrageous remarks made by Reverend Wright, but that he is still a friend and that he values that friendship. I don't have a problem with that. John McCain doesn't have a problem with that. When asked whether a candidate should be held accountable for the views of his pastor, McCain said, "knowing Senator Obama... he does not share the extreme views..that I saw on television."

In doing some reading this morning, a couple of things about Wright's comments. First, it looks as if many of the remarks were taken out of context. In an interview with Charles Gibson, Obama said, "If all I saw of Rev. Wright … were the 30-second or one-minute clips that have been looped over the last two weeks again and again as opposed to the body of work for 30 years that he engaged in in building a church that is a pillar of the community on the South Side [of Chicago]....It's as if we took the five dumbest things that I ever said or you ever said … in our lives and compressed them, and put them out there, you know, I think that people's reaction would be understandably upset."

Second, I think it's important to remember that Wright is of the age where he saw first-hand much of the racism of our very recent past. As someone who has never been through such struggles, I feel I cannot pass judgement on the man. As for the comment about infecting blacks with the AIDS virus? While I don't believe that happened, have you ever read about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment?

Finally, Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald raised a very valid point. "...the idea that America deserves terrorist attacks and other horrendous disasters has long been a frequently expressed view among the faction of white evangelical ministers to whom the Republican Party is most inextricably linked. Neither Jerry Falwell nor Pat Robertson ever retracted or denounced their view that America provoked the 9/11 attacks by doing things to anger God. John Hagee continues to believe that the City of New Orleans got what it deserved when Katrina drowned its residents and devastated the lives of thousands of Americans. And James Inhofe -- who happens to still be a Republican U.S. Senator -- blamed America for the 9/11 attacks by arguing in a 2002 Senate floor speech that "the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America" because we pressured  Israel to give away parts of the West Bank."

While I believe it was important that Obama addressed these issues in his speech last week, I find it sad that we are focusing on the incendiary remarks made by his pastor, rather than on Obama's message in his speech: we need to move on and solve our problems together. "My argument is not that we should focus obsessively on race. My argument is, we should acknowledge the dangers of racial division, precisely in order to focus on those problems that we all have in common as Americans," he said. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Addendum

You might want to read Leonard Pitts' column about this. Excellent.

7 comments:

buckoclown said...

Some day, perhaps we can focus on the positive, versus the negative.  All the talk of religion, and here we have people trying to tear each other down, does not seem like a very Christian perspective to me.  Oooops, there is that Audacity of Hope :o)  http://journals.aol.com/buckoclown/Bucko

queeniemart said...

did you see Obama on The View yesterday? if not, you would have enjoyed it. He spoke for 15 minutes straight about Pastor Wright and that mans comments. he said if Wright had not retired, Obama would have left that church. It was an interesting 15 minutes. I personally can not stomach nor stand Elizabeth Hasselbach and she fawned over him, which amazed me.
You made some very interesting points today!
HUGS, lj

makemarc said...

In my opinion, people who reject Obama because of the Wright affair were looking for a reason to reject him.  There is a soft racism in America that doesn't look like the hard, obvious racism with which we associate the word.  It is a mindset that just can't forget that someone is black, that maintains a vague fear about blackness that just won't be shaken.  There is no conscious racial bias, the n-word would never pass their lips, but there is nonetheless, a great resistance to seeing Obama as above and beyond and before everything else, a VERY SMART PERSON, PERIOD.  Can't we all agree that after 7 years of idiocy, that's what matters most?

mpnaz58 said...

I had to go back and re-read the quitting part...until I read ahead and realized it was sarcasm!!  Work and politics don't mix.  I work with people who are very vocal, and I do have opinions, I'm not about to share in the workplace...I'm a weinie!
xoxo ~myra

luvrte66 said...

Myra, I try not to get into heated discussions about politics at work. We do talk about it, especially lately, but if it gets too heated, I sort of withdraw rather than contribute to any major discord.

I guess my philosophy is that while we may have differences--some minor, some major--about various issues, I think we all want to see our country and its citizens prosper, and I think we want to see America's good name restored in the world. I still think that's possible, and I hope I'm not wrong.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Beth

rdautumnsage said...

I'm floating this weekend....brain is on overload. Anyhow I'm going to send an email your way in regards to this. Yeah, yeah I'm sending another link for even more reading for you and perhaps Ken (winks). Did you know when you do research for a paper your brain goes on auto? See ya in the mail. (Hugs) Indigo

stratmanj5 said...

Q,
I have to admit that I was disappointed that Obama would attend a church that had a pastor who seemed to spew such divisive rhetoric.  I'm not up on all of the details, but I think he belonged to that church for quite a while and the pastor married him and Michelle?  Now, I've been waiting to vote for Barrack Obama ever since the 2004 democratic national convention, but hearing that he was close to a person who sounded so much like a Louis Farrakhan to me turned me off a little.  It won't keep me from voting for him, but I was disappointed.  
Of course, it would take a large miracle for me to ever endorse Hillary, so he's got a lot of wriggle room!  8 lives left.