Monday, March 24, 2008

Jeremiah Wright is Not the Problem

I read this article ("Jeremiah Wright is Not the Problem," by Gary Kamia, Salon.com) after I wrote the previous post. I thought about just adding it to the end, but I feel it deserved it's own post. It is one of the most thoughtful things I've read on the whole incident.

Here are the first five paragraphs.

Maybe we really are doomed to elect John McCain, remain in Iraq forever and nuke Iran. Nations that forget history may not be doomed to repeat it, but those that never even recognize reality in the first place definitely are. Last week's ridiculous uproar over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons proves yet again that America has still not come to terms with the most rudimentary facts about race, 9/11 -- or itself.

The great shock so many people claim to be feeling over Wright's sermons is preposterous. Anyone who is surprised and horrified that some black people feel anger at white people, and America, is living in a racial never-never land. Wright has called the U.S. "the United States of White America," talks about the "oppression" of black people and says, "White America got their wake-up call after 9/11." Gosh, who could have dreamed that angry racial grievances and left-wing political views are sometimes expressed in black churches?

It's not surprising that the right is using Wright to paint Barack Obama as a closet Farrakhan, trying to let the air out of his trans-racial balloon by insinuating that he's a dogmatic race man. But beyond the fake shock and the all-too-familiar racial politics, what the whole episode reveals is how narrow the range of acceptable discourse remains in this country. This is especially true of anything having to do with patriotism or 9/11 -- which have become virtually interchangeable. Wright's unforgivable sin was that he violated our rigid code of national etiquette. Instead of the requisite "God bless America," he said "God damn America." He said 9/11 was a case of chickens coming home to roost. Now we must all furrow our brows and agree that such dreadful words are anathema and that no presidential candidate can ever have been within earshot of them.

This is absurd. We're worrying about someone in Row 245 who refuses to stand up for "The Star Spangled Banner," while the people who are singing loudest and waving the biggest flags are the ones who got us into the mess we're in today.

Wright isn't the problem. Stupid patriotism is the problem.

1 comment:

sk said...

If someone who is supposed to be the Great Uniter is having this difficult a time getting *democrats* to unite, what are we to think of the rest of the population?

The problem is not whether a candidate wears a 99 cent made-in-China American lapel pin.

The problem has to do with BO being a member of a church for 20+? 30+? years where this guy was preaching divisiveness. It's about BO choosing to remain a member of the church, have his children brought up there and contribute - what? - $25000 ? That's not chump change.

It echoes Michelle O's comments about America as well - which leads me to believe that at some level, this is what BO believes in.

As I mentioned before, it astounds me that it's always conservatives that plastered as using race as a wedge....but liberals get a free pass.