Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reverend Wright redux

I hadn’t planned to stay away so long. I was somewhat downtrodden about Obama’s loss in our state, although it was expected. I am also somewhat disappointed that people (including me) are not interested in issues, preferring to speculate who would be more fun to have a beer with, the black guy or the old lady. Well, I have looked at the candidates’ websites, but not taken the time to actually read their policy proposals.

I had planned to write something on Sunday, but my wife wiped it out when she went to read her email.

Still, I am a bit inspired tonight, after watching the news about Obama’s press conference. Pundits and the like were annoyed that Obama had not done more to distance himself from Reverend Wright when those YouTube videos had first surfaced a couple of weeks ago. Obama had instead offered a complex statement about how he rejected the statements as edited, but understood the man. I can understand this idea. After all, Reverend Wright had no control over these videos, presumably edited from the church’s DVD.

But now Reverend Wright has embarked on what seems to be a speaking tour. Now the Reverend has complete control over his own words, even whether to say anything. And he is speaking up a storm, saying things that African Americans are perhaps like to agree with or at least understand, but that may chill or annoy white voters. Louis Farakhan (spelling?) is one of the great thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The US government is using AIDS to try to wipe out African Americans. Now, I would give Mr Farakhan his due, as a highly successful leader, but I suspect there are a lot of people who are as intelligent, and no small number more intelligent than him. And while the US government has a shameful record in using African Americans as guinea pigs in some experiments, the notion that the government is both smart and stupid enough to use Aids as a weapon against anyone is sheer fantasy.

So of course Mr. Obama did not say anything until now. He has to respond now, and he responded in a way that leaves no room for doubt, that makes it clear Obama shares the values of his white constituents with regard to African American radicalism. Some of his African American supporters may be a little disappointed, but they likely understand why Obama has to say that.

I had thought the first African American President might be someone like Colin Powell or Condi Rice. Like Margaret Thatcher, who did not have to prove anything about whether she was tough enough for the job, so too a Colin Powell would never be mistaken for a radical. But Barack Obama surprised me. It did not seem to be an issue with him. He convinced enough people that the number of people who felt the country was ready for a black President went from 50% to 75% over the last year (according to Meet the Press). But now the Clinton’s are trying to tie labels on him, radical, Muslim, weak. Now, I don’t think Obama’s lead of maybe a hundred and fifty delegates is a sufficient reason for Hillary to drop out of the race. But I am beginning to be convinced that her willingness to do the Republicans work for them and go negative is a reason for her to drop out.

I guess we’ll see.

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