Saturday, April 5, 2008

"Get me re-Wright!"

"Over 600,000 Iraqis dead. Who are the terrorists?" Such was the maniacal sounding rant of Rosie O'Donnell in one of her final co-hosting appearances on THE VIEW. After this clear, well publicized attack on America and its military, Ms. O'Donnell was said to be in negotiations to host her own news/talk show on MSNBC - just one of the cable news outlets now playing snippets of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons on a continuous loop. Should these "news" outlets, now promoting Rev. Wright as 'racist, hate monger' decide to do even a cursory investigation, they will find that Rev. Wright has a plethora of like-minded Americans among the post Sept. 11th Hollywood Democrats - supporters and donors of both candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Beginning Sept. 12, 2001 the public airwaves were met with a barrage of celebrities blaming America's thirst for oil, greed for energy, uneven support for Israel in the Middle East and general overall arrogance as the reasons that 19 brainwashed lunatics committed an unforgettable mass murder as sanctioned by their organization's head lunatic. Yet these Democratic celebrity's "words" are not being repeatedly showcased nor are their candidates of choice being hounded about their affiliations, some of whom supported the Clintons for almost 20 years.

Though hailed as brilliant in many circles, Senator Obama's speech on race has not totally extricated the blood from the water as the hunger of the sharks has yet to be satisfied. Unfortunately it is the senator's desire to take the high road that continues to enable the Rev. Wright feeding frenzy. And it is that desire to try to move forward in a spirit of unity and understanding that encompassed his speech.

But it is exactly the lack of understanding of the pastor's naysayers who basterdize the context of his sermons. That is why Senator Obama's speech was correct to identify the era(s) of being black in America that influenced Rev. Wright and many of his age. To the pastor, the chain-linked dragging death of James Byrd in Texas is Emmett Till over 40 years ago. Learning about the sudden AIDS virus is the Tuskegee Experiment just 10 years later. Twenty years after Brown v. Board of Education and 20 years after President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, black parents and their children were being stoned and beaten in Boston, Massachusetts for trying to integrate the public schools. To Rev. Wright, seeing the senseless police assault on Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Dept. is akin to the Alabama state police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1967. And more than 30 years after Lee Elder broke the tinted-glass ceiling at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, there are less black Americans on the PGA tour now than in Mr. Elder's day.

What is being regarded as racist, hate-mongering is not just anger, as described by Sen. Obama, it is very much suspicion. Racial profiling and stop and frisk disparities are suspiciously like post Civil War laws that jailed blacks for being unemployed. The FBI, who repeatedly shadowed Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were suspiciously absent on the dates of their respective assassinations. And though a lack of and/or poor education are cited as factors of high black unemployment in urban centers, many of those unemployed are suspiciously able to find work as inmates earning slave wages in many of America's correctional institutions producing materials, for profit, for companies trading on Wall Street - all while we hypocritically denounce China for using prison labor on products sold in the USA.

The Rev. Wright controversy has obscured the fact that this campaign to be the Democrat's nominee for president has exposed a closeted bigotry that exists within that party. And it has compelled some black, former Clinton supporters to switch their allegiance to candidate Obama and others to hedge on their support of Mrs. Clinton. The Wright obsessed media confound themselves by focusing on Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and a whole host of highly successful blacks on the American stage who are admired by all as antidotes to charges of racism. However, these stars existed, as well as endemic racism, during the time of Rev. Wright's youth also. He just called them Joe Louis, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr., Duke Ellington and Ray Charles.

Marching bands of Klansmen and skinheads shouting expletive laced epithets denigrating persons of color because of their color is hate speech by hate mongers. Pointing out, in the press or in the pulpit, a deleterious history of violence that has spanned one's life is not. And having lived that lifetime witnessing the same barbarities and discrimination as existed 10, 20, and 40 years before, suspicion becomes an inherent Sixth Sense. Some degrees of those suspicions may properly be seen as character flaws, but they are not hate. And for many people of Rev. Wright's era, race, and background, those suspicions have been well-earned.

Barack Obama did not go from editor of the Harvard Law Review to presidential candidate, with impressive stops in between, locked in a vacuum. The Obama who is inspiring millions to believe in the possibility of a better America is neither the student nor the parishioner of a teacher of hate. This regrettable castigation of the 20 year relationship between Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright fails to realize that it has helped shape the candidate admired by millions.

As many suggest he should have, Mr. Obama could very well have walked away from Rev. Wright. And instead of being that voice who inspires more millions than any politician in two decades to believe in that better America, he could have been earning a huge salary as part of any large New York law firm, but unable to catch a cab.

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