Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reverend Wright Ain't Right ... But What Is?

"Crazy-eyed man with a shotgun.
Hot headed creep with a knife.
Love and peace and harmony,
Love you could cut with a life." — Under The God, Tin Machine

What the hell is everyone’s fixation with Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Someone tell me how in the wide, wide world of sports this became the most pressing issue in the country?

Yes, the man has some racial tendencies in some of his ideas and theories. And he’s a pastor in an all black church. Take a look at some of the southern or less contemporary white evangelical congregations, and trade out “white” and “America” and exchange that with a group of color – Arabic being the most frequent target of choice in today’s USA – and exchange that with any other country, or for that matter, liberals, gays, poor and indigent people who are minority, or going back a ways, hippies and college radicals.

Now explain to me how this differs so widely from what you hear from Rev. Wright after exchanging the contexts?

Yes, there’s the obvious: it doesn’t attack America (more precisely the government). I’ll grant you that. Additionally Rev. Wright chose to be as audacious and sensationalistic as possible to – surprise – draw attention to himself! It’s a trick you can find from Rev. Pat Robertson too. Remember his comments about feminists and gays being the cause of 9/11? Sure, it didn’t attack American government, but it did attack blocks of American citizens. Even Rush Limbaugh pontificated that if you want to be noticed, you must be outrageous. Otherwise, you blend into the scenery.

Who’da thunk it? Someone working hard to draw attention to himself!

It’s a certainty that in any election outside of an overwhelmingly black electorate, Rev. Wright won’t win an election. His high-contrast bombast ensures that.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, though, he’s not running for election. Sen. Barack Obama is.

Lest we forget, Obama isn’t the only presidential candidate who’s been tied to controversially polarizing religious leaders. After blasting religiopolitical evangelicals as being agents of evil, Sen. John McCain himself sidled up to Revs. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell this presidential season, even speaking at graduation ceremonies at Falwell’s Liberty University. George W. Bush managed to be elected after speaking and forming very friendly relations at the controversial religious Bob Jones University in South Carolina.

One of Bilerico.com’s bloggers, Rev. Irene Monroe, took Obama to task in “Obama's Chickens Have Come Home to Roost” by first quoting Rev. Wright’s speech at the National Press Club:

"We both know that if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected. Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls -- Huffington, whoever's doing the polls. Preachers say what they say because they are pastors. They have a different person to whom they're accountable. As I said, whether he gets elected or not, I'm still going to have to be answerable to God, November 5th and January 21st. That's what I mean. I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do."

Rev. Monroe, from what I can surmise, possibly a Clinton-supporter, then muses:

Where Obama ran afoul is that he didn't think his involvement with Rev. Wright would collide with his carefully crafted post-racial electable message

But maybe there's a bigger lesson here that Obama is now learning. And it's this: whether he dons the face of a Christian and/or the face of a politician in this bid for the White House - no lie lives forever. Like chickens, they eventually come home to roost.

Yes the chickens do come home to roost, regardless of whether you’re black, white, conservative, female, gay or whatever. Sure, Obama’s not dealt with this issue well and it’s exposed some weakness and possibly not complete honesty. Yes, that’s disappointing and I’m saddened. But does this mean I’m going to change votes?

To whom?

Take a look at Hillary Clinton issues with honesty. Before anyone begins to defend the Kosovo “misremembering,” that’s not going to impress me! I’m very acutely aware of her “open letter to the GLBT community” where she tried to play up her long-time support of the transgender community (wrong!) and even went so far as to claim she was so supportive of we trannies that she was signed on to co-sponsor the upcoming ENDA bill in the Senate! Too damn bad it’s the House version which has no coverage for transgender!

How about the robotic maverick, John McCain? He’ll say whatever he’s programmed to say. Get Rover or the right RNC person on the line and McCain will sing like a bird on a wire. Mr. No-to-tax-cuts-for-the-rich just loves them tax cuts now. Of course, we should remember his big dust-up trying to convince Obama to join him in signing up for federal financing (thus limiting his campaign donations severely), then shortly after eschewing the same financing after pulling in loans based upon accepting said fed campaign financing as collateral.

And hey! Don’t forget McCain’s big TV news opp down in New Orleans saying “never again” …. One question to that: where the hell was his voice speaking out while all that was going on before God and the world? Tell us, Mr. Maverick ….

Ultimately, we’re back to electing a group of less-than-perfect, less-than-fully-forthcoming individuals who are “politicians” with all the unctuous trappings of all the other “politicians” who’ve occupied the White House. If you wanted someone who really cared and had the best message for all those being trampled in America, you’d have voted John Edwards as your Dem nominee – but notice the collective yawn for that campaign from the voters!

We’re getting the candidates we deserve.

In my estimation, with the crop of candidates we have left, Obama is still the best of what we have. He’s not perfect. So what? Hopefully he doesn’t take the continued believers’ support for granted or become arrogant in thinking we don’t matter, and instead learns from this and becomes a better, more aware and more human candidate. Fallible and all.

One thing that’s certain: this Rev. Wright stuff’s gotta stop. Not only is it inflammatory, objectifying and pernicious, it’s not the most pressing problem we’re facing!

Has anyone looked at the economy? The escalating prices and the flat wages and layoffs? The geopolitical instability due to food shortages or unaffordability? How about the ever-popular Iraq War? Or any of the others Bush / Cheney are trying to cook up and leave us with (yeah, we need another war, right?)

Yeah … thanks for focusing on the important things, folks. Where’s Britney Spears when you need her?

“Washington heads in the toilet bowl
Don’t see supremacist hate.
Right-wing dicks in their boiler suits
Picking out who to annihilate.
Toxic jungle of uzi trails,
Tribesmen just wouldn’t live here.
Fascist flare is fashion cool.
Well you’re dead, you just ain’t buried yet.” — Under The God, Tin Machine

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