Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Changes His Story


"Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy?” Obama said. “Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes."


“The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign.”

While these two statements don't exactly contradict each other, anyone can see that Obama is trying to have it both ways.

It defies reason to believe that over a 20-year period Obama was not present for a myriad of controversial, perhaps outrageous statements by Jerimiah Wright.

I understand that an intelligent guy like Obama couldn't possibly agree with someone as nutty as Wright, but an individual as smart as Obama, especially one who has ambitions towards the nation's highest office, should have left the church at the first sign of anti-American sentiment or racial animus towards whites.

Association with this type of individual, combined with a consistent presence in the pews in order to listen to his hateful rhetoric shows incredibly poor judgment on the part of the Democratic frontrunner.

One more thing that is incredibly disturbing about this controversy is how the black community is falling all over themselves in an effort to defend Wright and Wright's statements.

What we are seeing is that a large portion of the African-American community actually buys into this craziness.

Worse still for Obama is that this story is not going away anytime soon.

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Anonymous said...

There is more to come.
1. What is Obama's relationship with Odinga of Kenya and his radical Islamists?
2. What about the million dollar earmark granted to Michelle's hospital shortly before she received a $200,000. raise.
3.What will we learn about Obama's character during the Rezko trial?

There are too many associations with men of questionable character.

bartonb said...


I'm pretty sure that every politician out there has "associations with men of questionable character." Hilary's married to one. Bush IS one. Cheney IS one.

Obama is not changing his story - he's refusing to let the media take this shit out of context and make it their own little reductivist YouTube clip to toss around willy-nilly without any actual investigation/social insight/character study etc.

Instead of running away, he digs deeper -

"For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.
And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races."

Listening to a possibly "controversial" comment does not make one complicit in such beliefs. The key word here is LISTENING. Any American who gives a damn about America as a shimmering ideal should be totally jazzed that Obama made the speech he made. That he is willing to address the issue/topic head-on and to publicly embrace the contradictions, confusions, and frustrations of our sprawling culture. There's a hell of a lot more to America than big Texas ranches and a free ride at Yale.
Obama has made an inspired stride, refusing to let this pastor thing get reduced to a viral sound byte, a pathetic and myopic "guilty by association" chunk of pundit candy. He has chosen to NOT pretend that there is still many great divides tearing through our country. For Obama to turn away, to ignore, to dismiss and verbally slap Paster Wright on the hand would be a betrayal of everything Obama stands for.

"Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love."

..and he goes on and on..

Perhaps you can dismiss my fervor as "buying into the hype," but Obama's speech yesterday is easily the single most jarring, challenging, inspiring, and important speeches I've heard a living politician deliver in my lifetime.
It was a gauntlet thrown.

The insider said...

Obama's getting slippery.

Obama has poised himself as the candidate of racial reconciliation. That's essentially what he's getting at when he says "Yes We Can!"

How then can he spend 20 years sitting in the pews and listening to the hateful rhetoric of Jerimiah Wright?

How can he expose his young daughters to such rhetoric.

I also find it ludicrous that some, including the candidate are explaining this whole fiasco away by claiming that the media is taking Wright's statements out of context.

Wright clearly said that AIDS was injected into the black community by the government in order to kill them. How do you take something that insane out of context?

Through this controversy we are begining to see that the racial divide in this nation is no longer expanded and maintained through white racism as the media would have us believe, but instead has it's nucleus in the black community where the fires of hatred are fuled by guys like Rev. Wright.

By attending that church and lending his credibility to the congregation, Obama is complicit.

Shannonymous said...

I totally, whole-heartedly agree with BartonB. I’m sure that whatever church Bush and McCain go to, they’ve heard some biased, objectionable statements from their pastors or priests. It is the very nature of most leaders of organized religion to preach fire and brimstone, to condemn, to warn against the evils of those who are not part of their church. In the dozens of times I’ve been to a church, a synagogue, or any other religious ceremony, I have never agreed with every single word spoken at the pulpit or podium. There is always some statement about some sinner, whether it be a man, woman, black, white, homosexual, or otherwise; there is always some little bit of language that condemns those who do not sit in the audience.

Obama is doing the right thing: condemning the sin but not the sinner. Obama recognizes that most of us are imperfect people, with biases that should not be ignored but addressed, dissected, and hopefully abolished. My great uncle was like Obama’s grandmother: a wonderful provider, a kind person, but often guilty of some horrible racial slurs. Did I disown him? Did I refuse to visit him? No. He was my family and I loved him. And he was perfectly kind and courteous to minorities when he encountered them in the supermarket or on the street. As Obama said, most racism is not out in the public square, holding a huge sign; it is expressed quietly behind closed doors, in select circumstances, around like-minded individuals.

Obama need not distance himself from his church, only the hurtful statements of it’s reverend. And I’m sure, as many parents across this great nation, he does not tell his daughters to take every word of that man as gospel, but use his statements as a jumping off point for discussions at home. How many Catholics go to church but tell their children to ignore certain things said by the priest or in the Bible? For that matter how many people go to church but wouldn’t leave their children alone with certain priests? Just because they don’t agree with everything that is preached, doesn’t mean they stop going.

And again, I have to refer to BartonB’s correct assessment that there are PLENTY of men of “questionable character” that Bush, McCain, and MOST politicians are associated with; it doesn’t meant they have to necessarily distance themselves from such men, only their questionable behavior.

Anonymous said...

Oprah had the good sense to leave Wright's congregation a long time ago. She could not tolerate the hate. Why didn't Obama, who is certainly as smart as Oprah. Perhaps it is because he really agreed with him.

Shannonymous said...

NO no no no. Once again we have to tolerate b.s. from the "anonymous."

Anonymous said...

Bartonb and Shannonymous--neither of you know anything about what goes on in NORMAL Christian churches. You know nothing.

bartonb said...

I'm just dying to know how you know that we know - how did you put it? "nothing?"
How do you know that?
Talk to me.
Also - can you please define "NORMAL Chrisitan churches?"

Shannonymous said...

I know plenty. I've been to tons, I've even WORKED AT SEVERAL!!! How dare you tell us we know nothing?!? Who do you think you are?!? Yours is one of the most ignorant, ridiculous, arrogant comments ever made on this blog, and THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING! LOL.

Anonymous said...

i'm so sick of obama. and just as sick of those who constantly make excuses for him. i saw on another site that there's a word for it now - what obama really meant - "worm" - it's fitting.

Shannonymous said...

You're right, B, crickets!!!

"thine prof" didn't have sh*t to say to us!!!

the amount of people who comment on this blog who don't have the brains or courage to really stand up for themselves and put substance behind their skewers is just sad.