Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday with Paulie or Barack?

Obama addresses Rev. Wright and Race
Candidate of change now just another black candidate

Today was a big day in the life of Illinois senator Barack Obama and his bid for the White House. Last week the mainstream press took a page from the "new media" and began reporting the anti-America hate rhetoric from Obama's spiritual advisor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Questions about why Obama would belong to a church led by a racist hate-filled Pastor surfaced and his poll numbers began seeing a decline. After attempting damage control last Friday with a 90 minute meeting with the Chicago Tribune, it appeared his attempts had failed and his campaign deemed necessary for him to address the controversy in a speech given this morning in Philadelphia.

After viewing the speech and reading the transcript, it is clear that Obama is not a candidate for change, but in fact the black candidate, a notch better than Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Saying that is hard for me to do. I may not agree with Obama on policy, but since he won his senate seat in 2004, I so badly wanted him to be a black politician who wasn't defined by race, used race as a crutch and had a "blame whitey" mentality. After his speech today it became clear that my hopes were not fulfilled.

Some may say that a black politician in America is always defined by race. That is not true. Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. never made race the centerpiece of his time in office. His pragmatic approach to issues defined him, not the color of his skin. Today Obama followed in the footsteps of Jackson and Sharpton by spewing the notion that we have to have a conversation about race in America. The truth is that we do not. The only people who want to talk about race are those who profit from orchestrating bigotry and oppression. That is what Jackson and Sharpton do, I'm worried that Obama is following the same path.

Does racism exist? Sure it does. So does sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and xenophobia. These forms of discrimination will always exist at some level. You will never rid 100% of the population of bigotry. What you can do is not let it dominate your life, use it as a crutch and help combat it by leading a respectable moral life. Laws and speeches don't end discrimination, people living exemplary lives do.

Obama's rationale for his church membership and relationship with Rev. Wright didn't go over well. In fact it may be deemed offensive by some.

About four minutes into the speech Obama says, "Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely — just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed." What an asinine statement. My previous Rabbi who I never agreed with politically never spewed hate or damned America. If my Rabbi ever showed disdain for America or hatred toward anybody, I would leave my synagogue in a heartbeat. End of conversation.

Obama tries rationalizing his relationship with Wright and membership at Trinity by stating that there is more to the man than the "snippets" that have become public. "But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another, to care for the sick and lift up the poor," Obama said.

That is all well and good. However Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam run excellent social programs as well. The Ku Klux Klan did so for decades in south, especially during the great depression. Al Capone fed thousands of Chicago residents during the depression as well. Would you excuse them and permit these people or groups to be an influence on your children? God I hope not. Do the ends justify the means?

Arguably the most ridiculous comment was when he compared Wright to Geraldine Ferraro. "We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated bias." Nobody in their right-mind would claim Ferraro is a bigot. She has a forty year public record of fighting discrimination, while Wright has three decade record of anti-Semitism and race-bating.

People already in Obama's corner will compare the speech with Dr. Martin Luther King's "I had a dream." Media outlets such as the voice of the Democratic Party, MSNBC are already airing pundits making the comparison. Conservative talk-show hosts are dismissing the speech, but people such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved are echoing many of the same opinions your brilliant blogger.

What makes this whole matter so sad is that is the concerns expressed by the media and blogosphere had nothing to do with race. The issue at hand was the horrific statements by a Pastor that Obama praises and made an advisor to his campaign. It wasn't about being African American or the black community. Race only became an issue when Obama found himself in a corner and needed to pull an ace from his sleeve. Better known as the race card.

Up until now everyone from Fox News, the Sunday morning talk shows and your brilliant blogger had praised him for not making race a campaign issue. The Clinton camp led by Bill first brought the matter up during the South Carolina primary. Obama handled that situstion with class. But that was then. Today Obama decided to bring up skin color to distract attention away from the real issue of having a hate-filled Pastor as a spiritual advisor.

Obama hasn't sunken to the race-baiting, poverty pimping level of Jackson or Sharpton. However the idea that he is a candidate for change, running on ideas and not his skin color is not the reality either. The biggest issue regarding Obama is his judgement or should I say lack thereof.

The electorate has to decide if Obama has demonstrated the integrity, intellect and judgement to be President. One thing is for certain, he gets an "F" in the judgement category.



At 3/19/2008 9:38 AM , Anonymous Joe said...



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