The Obama/Wright controversy has reared its ugly head again, concealing and distracting from other pressing issues that affect people much more globally. You know, hikes in gas prices, increased profits for oil companies, and the doomed housing crisis – but who cares about any of that right? Most people want to talk about the racist bigot Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And so do I. I realize it’s a distraction that’s taking away from the larger issues we should be concentrating on during this competition, but it’s also one interesting and peculiar happening that has shaken many people. There are people who are shocked and outraged at the comments made by Rev Wright. Then there are people who are appalled and outraged at these people’s shock and outrage. Then we have people throwing each under the bus left and right, resulting in a lot of anger, hurt, humiliation, and disappointment. Most people’s reactions to these events are a result of their backgrounds and views of America.
Those shocked and outraged by Rev Wright have a hard time believing that the American dream they know can be the nightmare Rev Wright describes it to be. While those who see, live, and experience the nightmare, are shocked that so many can be oblivious to the nightmare that is America for many of its people. It’s as if these two groups of people exist on two different continents with different cultures, backgrounds, and languages as opposed to being neighbors in one country, with one language, and history. There is a lot of uneasiness and resentment surrounding Rev Wright, and considering his latest statements at the National Press Club, it’s no wonder Obama is distancing himself from his incendiary ex-pastor.
From the beginning Obama has prided himself on running a clean debate that was uniting and not divisive. He has sought out commonalities for all people in order to inspire and create a movement for change. He has managed to give a “bitter” (you know I had to do it) people some hope that there are better times ahead with him in the Oval office. It was his intention to create a campaign that strayed as far away from race as possible, so as to avoid being considered “the Black candidate” as opposed to a phenomenal candidate who just happens to be Black. And even when he was FORCED to address the issue of race, he came out with minor wounds. His speech transcended, and managed to unite in a time when it was expected he would fall on his face, lose sight of his campaign strategy and become divisive. He stood by the man who was being vilified by the media, a man who officiated his wedding, baptized his children, and mentored him into and on his path to Christianity. But now things have changed.
When Rev Wright threw Obama under the bus, by dismissing his excellent speech as political fodder, he started a war that no one would have expected would escalate to this level. Immediately after his appearance on Bill Moyers many people became uneasy and feared that Rev Wright was not helping but hurting Obama instead.
But after his appearance with the National Press Club, many people including Barack Obama became certain that Rev Wright was a liability, and would most definately harm Obama’s campaign and ruin his “real chance” at the presidency. He used the same tactics that Obama has resisted and spoken adamantly against from the other campaigns and harped on the negative, a strategy contrary to that of Obama’s campaign. One key point that Obama made regarding Wright’s comments is the following:
His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate…
It’s not so much that what Wright said is wrong, but that it will be used against Obama, whether he likes it or not.
After Wright threw Obama under the bus by calling him dishonest and a political posturer, Obama was soon behind throwing Wright under the bus, and finally to the relief of many who encouraged but would not vote for him regardless, he denounced the man. Because Wright instead of making things better, keeps making things worse for Barack. And the easiest and possibly best solution for everyone is that he should shut up, go away somewhere, and hopefully people can forget about the mess he has created.
And these sentiments are expressed forgetting that Wright did not set out to destroy Obama, nor was he the one who made himself an issue within Obama’s campaign. Obviously his self-defense isn’t doing Barack much good, but neither is the mis characterization Wright has received. He has gotten the same treatment Jessi Jackson and Rev Al Sharpton have now had for years, where they are portrayed as looney, misguided, sensationalist wackos, while the history and experience they speak from is systemically erased.
But should Obama have repudiated the man and should Wright shut up? Obama has to do what he needs to do to win, and that means distancing himself and repudiating any source of negativity from his campaign, including his former pastor Rev Wright. However, Rev Wright also has the responsibility to hold political candidates to higher standards and stomp out corruption. Obama is not immune. One misconception many people seem to have is that Rev Wright some how owes Barack Obama something, where if he makes a public appearance to clarify his statements and defend himself, some how he needs to do it in a way that benefits Obama.
But should Wright compromise views he has held, convictions he has expressed for who knows how long, just to help Barack Obama? Or should he be true to himself and his beliefs and let the chips fall where they may? Again, Obama doesn’t have to accept this, and he has exercised the option of repudiating the man. No negativity or divisiveness should come from his campaign whatsoever. Unfortunately it’s not just between Obama and Wright alone to settle. No matter how far Obama distances himself from Wright, no matter how shocking the reality that Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright are not the same person might be for those “stuck on stupid”, Obama is forever linked to Wright by a media, and opponents that are set on crushing him into the ground, even for reasons as silly as who he associates with and not whether he would be a good president or not. Both men are receiving the short end of the stick here.
And guess what, we still have rising gas prices, job losses, and a crumbling housing market to worry about! But how dare we talk about those things instead of tearing both Barack Obama and Rev Jeremiah Wright down or more slick, position them against each other, and watch them destroy themselves?