I've never liked Barack Obama. I see his as a slick undertaker.
Now,.thanks to Reverend Wright, I see the freshman Senator as something else that might have gone unnoticed because I didn't care about Barack Obama. Wright has accomplished the impossible – he made me care, and I hope a lot of other people care too, because Obama isn't just an inexperienced politician, he's a bad guy.
If you think that's too strong, what kind of guy sits in a racist's church for twenty years and says nothing, but demands the firing of Don Imus for an inconsequential remark? Still not enough for you? What kind of a guy won't reject a racist outright, but is willing to use his living grandmother in a weak attempt to bolster his case?
Contrary to what Obama had been saying, his campaign is very much about race and very much race based. A February, 2007 Rolling Stone article, which I'd never have read were it not for Reverend Wright's hateful remarks, paints a picture of Obama manipulating and exploiting white women by playing to a segment of that group's fascination with black men..In the larger sense, Obama is appealing to white guilt: "Vote Obama and clear your conscience" could be his slogan
In 1996, many hoped Colin Powell would be the Republican candidate for President. Powell easily transcended race, and I believe he could have been elected. He had every asset that's being attributed to Obama and far more – Powell was accomplished, mature, and a war hero.
I dare say that race, if it ever reared its ugly head if Powell were the candidate, would have been quickly dismissed as irrelevant or absurd. Powell is a man who doesn't need his blackness to gain votes, nor could it be used against him since, for example, it is unthinkable that he'd have sat still for a moment during one of Reverend Wright's hideous sermons.
Barack Obama, on the other hand has shown he's not hesitant to use race when it suits him, and it suits him because that's about all he's got going for him.
He's being compared to a Rorschach Test, and Obama himself has said, "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." Shelby Steele says of that, "Human visibility is Mr. Obama's Achilles heel. If we see the real man, his contradictions and bents of character, he will be ruined as an icon, as a 'blank screen.'"
That's the invisible service Reverend Wright has performed, he's introduced us to Obama, the man, and he's rather unremarkable… at best. In fact, he's incredibly common for a Harvard educated lawyer. He's a man who sat meekly silent in tacit agreement with the evil rantings of a lunatic pastor, and he did that for 19 years and 364 days longer that I would have and probably 19 years, 364 days and one second longer than Colin Powell would have if you get my drift. Luckily, John McCain never visited. He may have just shot Wright where he stood.
Steel asks, "How does one 'transcend' race in this church?"
Perhaps even worse is the willingness of Barack Obama to drag his white and still living grandmother into the mess he created for himself, equating her with his minister and going so far as to relate that she's apparently made what he considers to be racist remarks about blacks.
And this man thinks of himself as a uniter.
Another thing I learned from this whole sordid matter is that apparently many blacks and many black preachers subscribe to the sort of philosophy that Reverend Wright espouses. That wasn't something I'd previously suspected. It wasn't even something I'd considered. My concept of the black church was one of joy and redemption set to up-tempo spirituals. Now my conception is that many black churches bear a closer resemblance to a Palestinian mosque.
As for Barack Obama's family, it's now perfectly clear what sentiments are behind Michelle Obama's remarks that America is just mean and that she's never been proud of her country, but while that's bad enough, consider what the Obamas have subjected their children to hearing and seeing – and probably not just in church.
According to Steele, "the floodlight of a presidential campaign has trained on this usually hidden corner of contemporary black life: a mindless indulgence in a rhetorical anti-Americanism as a way of bonding and of asserting one's blackness. Yet Jeremiah Wright, splashed across America's television screens, has shown us that there is no real difference between rhetorical hatred and real hatred…. there is already enough pathos in Barack Obama to make him a cautionary tale. His public persona thrives on a manipulation of whites (bargaining), and his private sense of racial identity demands both self-betrayal and duplicity. His is the story of a man who flew so high, yet neglected to become himself."
Obama and Wright have performed a real service. After this, I don't think white America will feel quite as guilty, and black America might understand that preaching hatred in any context is unacceptable. We can only hope (thanks again, Barack) they also come to believe it's wrong.
Unfortunately, I know it's too much to think that Democrats will finally realize that identity politics is divisive and ultimately self-defeating.
As I said, if Colin Powell had run in 1996, I believe he could have been elected, and think of what that could have meant:
– No chaotic second term for Bill Clinton and thus no Democratic abandonment of values and the rule of law,
– A general in the Presidency when 9/11 happened,
– No incumbent in 2004, but an incumbent in 2008 - so Obama, if he ran, would more likely be seen for what he is – nothing… and besides, America would then have already been there and done that on race – and way better.