The Election, that Speech, and that Church

So here is my take on the big Obama speech from yesterday. (I’m going to assume you’ve all read it or enough of it to get the gist)

1-it was brilliant rhetoric! I loved it.
2-people live in their own cacoons and think that everyone thinks the way they think
3-the speech missed at least one key ingredient

1- Really, it was a good speech. I didn’t listen to it, but I did read it and I really like it. A lot of people are reading into it “vote for me to prove that you’re not a racist”, but that’s not what I heard. He said that obviously things have changed for the better or he wouldn’t be where he is today. He gave credit to Clinton for climbing over her own struggles with sexism and he while he politically danced about some key things, he did it gracefully and well without fully ducking for cover.

2-Obama went to Wright’s church for 20 years and was surrounded by people like his wife and the parishioners there for all that time. This was a community to him and he was used to it and probably assumed all black preachers preached the same. I am getting this because why else would he think that tying himself to such a whacked out preacher would work well in a national campaign?? He just didn’t think it through because he thought it was normal behavior. That’s the only plausible explanation.

3-Point number 2 points us to point number 3. The speech missed the part where Obama mentions that his eyes were opened with the spreading of this story and seeing it from other people’s eyes. He never says – “Geez – you folks are right – Reverend Wright is over the top.”

No one thinks that Obama agrees with Reverend Wright’s ideas. No one. So why did he align himself with the preacher and donate tons of money? His discussion on race missed the part where somehow, many people (including him) think that the preacher’s rhetoric is normal and that’s why. [tangent: with this come to Jesus moment, that may well change]

Obama never says (though with much more flourish), “Of course the CIA isn’t spreading HIV/AIDs and of course the US didn’t deserve 911. I basically just filter all that stuff out out of habit without thinking how hurtful and wrong it is.”

He doesn’t ever say, “You’re right – I have been a bad example by continuing to sit there and just listen, but it just became a thing we did together as a family. The folks who go to that church are comfortable in that environment. I don’t hear it other places, I don’t believe it so it’s never been an issue and I frankly just never thought about it. Now that I am – I do need to apologize. Not just denounce what Reverend Wright has been saying and to a big extent stands for but also for never putting his words on the matter of America and racism at the forefront of my own search for truth. Obviously I don’t believe what he preaches concerning these matters, but I have not made that obvious to you and I only have myself to blame for that. Sometimes comfortableness gets in the way of righteousness.”

He doesn’t say: “I know it’s bizarre but I truly thank those of you who’ve brought this up so I have been forced out of my comfort zone to confront it.” “Obviously I’ve been going to church and not really thinking about what’s being said in many, many instances. I for one will do a better job in the future. I renounce and reject Reverend Wright’s thoughts on these matters and yet I will continue to love him as one of my own family.”

So essentially this now open discussion on race has a good start from a great speech. Now we are free to bring up the hypocrisy of this statement by Obama concerning Imus: (thank you bloodthirsty liberal)

“He didn’t just cross the line,” Obama said. “He fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America. The notions that as young African-American women — who I hope will be athletes — that that somehow makes them less beautiful or less important. It was a degrading comment. It’s one that I’m not interested in supporting.”

Why can we do this now? Because black rage has been outed. And pointed at and made hugely public. There might be this coming change Obama is seeking, but I would have more belief in that if he had been totally honest about his just ‘going through the motions of being a black man at church’ thinking that Wright was normal.

Now lets turn our attention to the other big article making the rounds yesterday. Shelby Steele’s WSJ column where he notes that Geraldine Ferraro was right. If not for Obama’s blackness he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Uh – BFD. If not for Obama’s speaking skills he wouldn’t be where he is today. If not for Obama’s whiteness he wouldn’t be where he is today. If not for Obama’s books, he wouldn’t be where he is today. If not for Obama’s campaign strategy he wouldn’t be where he is today. If not for his good looks…….

Similarly if not for Clinton’s marriage, she wouldn’t be where she is today. If not for Clinton’s law degree she wouldn’t be where she is today. If not for Clinton’s relatively attractive good looks she wouldn’t be where she is today.

That doesn’t mean as Steele notes that whites are voting for Obama to assuage their past guilt of slavery. Please. Now you’re insulting all of us!
Shelby notes that as a “bargainer” Obama has risen and has a shot at the Presidency whereas Jackson, being a “challenger” did not. Yeah – and?? We all learn how to get along in this world. We use the “tactics” that work for us to get us to where we want to be. Steele writes as if that’s wrong or somehow a secret strategy. No – it’s life.

There are a ton of reasons to vote for Obama for people who agree with the Democrat’s planks. Let’s see, Obama, or Clinton? Clinton or Obama? Bill back in the White House or the other guy? Everyone says that Hillary and Obama are pretty much similar policy wise, so why is it such a shock that experience is losing out to charisma?

I won’t vote for him. But I don’t agree with him. Not because I’m a racist. His speech yesterday did not cause me to think he would accuse me of racism because of this fact. It caused me to think that he’s getting himself a clue and he’s spreading that clue in a politically expedient way concerning this very real subject of racism.

Is it wrong he didn’t cover the subject fully? Hell no. He’s a politician. He did well to cover the subject at all!

UPDATE:
James Taranto picked up on what I’m trying to say here.

What it really demonstrates is that whereas whites are expected to be respectful, sensitive and fair-minded when talking with or about blacks, there is little expectation that blacks will reciprocate–to the point that a black presidential candidate doesn’t feel inhibited from making a statement about “a typical white person.”

To Barack Obama talking like this and like Reverend Wright is “normal”. He doesn’t feel inhibited and he didn’t think twice because he thinks it’s ok. It isn’t! And that is the beauty of this kerfuffle if and only if reasonable people can get a hold of this conversation.

12 thoughts on “The Election, that Speech, and that Church

  1. Nice post, but you’ve got to watch Newt on Fox News yesterday — sometimes you get reminded why his name sticks around — he can be very insightful. Obama will/should be held to higher standard on the Wright issue BECAUSE of his claim to transcend race. If all of his campaign rhetoric is true and to be believed, then why didn’t he ever take the opportunity over the past 20 years to minister to his own minister when he is wrong and immoral and foul. And if he can’t, how can he possibly unite all of us?

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/03/18/video-gingrich-lowers-the-boom-on-obama/

  2. I actually did see Newt yesterday. And I agree Obama should/will be held to a higher standard.

    The point I’m trying to make is he never thought of it because he thought it was normal. He thought this was still part of the higher standard.

    That’s what he’s missing. The part where he sees he was wrong about that. The part where he realizes doh – this isn’t normal behavior from black preachers. The part where he goes – “doh….the words meant something and I didn’t get that.”

  3. I don’t think Obama should be held to a “higher” standard, I think he should be held to the standard he wants to hold the rest of us and as such, he doesn’t make it.

  4. I should hope any presidential candidate is held to a higher standard than me. In many aspects.

    He doesn’t make it in this one, no.

    You seem to think I am excusing him. I’m not.

  5. You may not be an Obama supporter and will not vote for him but had he in his speech explained his position in the manner you said he should have explained it, the problem would have been solved and done with at that point, which it is not. Good job!

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