Monday, April 28, 2008

Jeremiah Wright Takes Over the Election

Kennedy: "Hey Osama, hea's my plan. We throw Wright in the trunk of my cah and then we drive him off the bridge. No questions isked"

Obama: Great! Do you know any bridges?"

Kennedy: "I got it covahed."

Make no mistake about it. Jeremiah Wright is back on stage and enjoying every minute of it. Not being satisfied with 15 minutes of fame, the radical pastor is taking over the Democratic Primary and making himself the number one issue. Subsequent to his interview with the sympathetic left winger, Bill Moyers, Wright appeared over the weekend before the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP and followed that up with an appearance before the National Press Club in Washington today. In the process, he is virtually destroying the Obama campaign.

Since Wright and his supporters have complained about people condemning him based on soundbites that were excerpted out of entire sermons, I tuned in to last night's CNN coverage of his entire talk before the NAACP. It seemed only fair. Now that I have heard an entire speech, I have come to this conclusion:

The man is a racist and a nut-as I had thought. While he was able to play warm and fuzzy to Moyers' softballs, he came across in Detroit and Washington as an arrogant buffoon and a total jerk. At the National Press Club, he treated the young lady who had to act as moderator in a condescending and humiliating manner.

Some of Wright's Detroit speech was actually interesting. He made a couple of valid points, namely, that different cultures should be considered not as deficient, but simply as different. He also made the point that different cultures have different learning styles. That is also true.

As someone who teaches English to students from all over the world, I have learned that different cultures from different parts of the world do indeed have different learning styles.

For example, our Arab students, who come from a strong oral tradition, typically arrive here in America with better speaking and listening skills than most Asian students, who come with a better grasp of grammar. Most of the large Asian societies like Japan, China and Korea emphasize rote memorization of grammar rules. By the same token, most Asian students come from learning environments where class interaction is rare. The professor lectures, the students listen and take notes. Questions and comments from students are generally not part of the program-in contrast to the American teaching/learning style. This is not to say that the American style is better; it is just different.

Where Dr Wright lost me is when he started explaining to his NAACP audience how whites and blacks are different in being dominant on different sides of the brain. Now this is beyond my expertise, but I am very skeptical that left-brain dominance vs right-brain dominance breaks down along racial lines. There are white people who are right-brain dominant and others who are left-brain dominant.

In defending blacks against charges that they speak deficient English, he mocked the accents of the Kennedy family, from JFK to Teddy Kennedy.

Wright also spoke in mocking terms of the differences by which white people and black people worship in church.

Another whopper was his opening statement that the NAACP was not a partisan organization, neither Republican nor Democratic. Well, officially not, but in reality, the NAACP, once a great organization that did great work before and during the Civil Rights Era, is now an unofficial arm of the Democratic Party. Roy Wilkins would be turning in his grave.

In front of the National Press Club, he claimed that attacks on him were really attacks on black churches. He then launched into a litany of political observations about race, America and Israel. He said he had told Obama that if he got elected president, he (Wright) was coming after him (Obama) because the American government "grinds people under". When questioned about his patriotism, he quoted his 6 years in the Marines, comparing himself to people like Dick Cheney and other critics who used their status to avoid military service. (Fair enough, but he wasn't talking about this critic because I also served in the military.)

Yet, this is the same man who told the unquestioning Bill Moyers that he never talked politics with Obama because Obama was a politician, and he was a pastor.

Jeremiah Wright, in spite of being a Man of God, is nothing more than an opportunist who is putting himself on center stage-and to hell with Obama's campaign. Wright is also one who hates-notwithstanding his protestations to the contrary. This is a man who says that the American Government deliberately introduced drugs and AIDS into the black community. That, in my view, makes him a nut. He is educated enough to know better. He described 9-11 as a case of the chickens coming home to roost. He rails about "Rich White People" in his sermons, but is building a 10,000 sq foot home (courtesy of his church, I wonder?)in a wealthy suburb of Chicago so he can live with "Rich White People". That makes him a hypocrite.

Wright can no longer complain that someone is taking his words out of context in "sound bites". He is what he is. His words are the same as his idol, Louis Farrakhan.

Unfortunately for Obama, Wright is not about to go away. For Rev. Wright, it is all about Jeremiah Wright, and he is going to go on trashing his country throughout the campaign. Do I feel sorry for Obama? Not really. He chose this pastor and this church 20 years ago, and now, in the words of Dr Wright, "the chickens are coming home to roost."

It is sad how this campaign, which started out as one that would "bring us together", is now only further dividing us. Much of the blame for that must go to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.


Lance Christian Johnson said...

I'm thinking that the "Hey Osama" part of the opening to your blog was a genuine slip. Please tell me it was.

I haven't listened to his speech, but after reading your comments, I couldn't help but zero in on, "Jeremiah Wright, in spite of being a Man of God, is nothing more than..."

I think that it's time that we stopped treating every "man of God" reverently. Jeremiah Wright, the Pope, Pat Robertson, and even the Dalai Lama need to be judged on their words and actions just like everybody else. There have been too many supposed "men of God" throughout history who were evil for that title to even carry any weight anymore.

Gary Fouse said...

It was no slip, but perhaps you were not aware that in one of his "late night" speeches, Kennedy referred tro Obama as "Osama". It's a spoof on Kennedy, not Obama.

I have put up this picture 3-4 times with kennedy calling Obama "Osama".

As for Wright, he is what he is and has been for decades. Obama's speech today disowning Wright came years too late. To say that only now is he becoming aware of the nature of this guy is disingenuous in the extreme. He took today's step because he realizes that Wright is on a never-ending tour and the bleeding will not stop.

Wright and his church were just fine with Obama when he was a "community organizer" in Chicago-even when he ran for state senate from Chicago.

I could go on, but it will be in my next posting. Obama is a phony and a hypocrite.

By the way, how come nobody is asking Mrs Obama (who campaigns and gives speeches) what she thinks of Wright?

As for comparing Wright to other prominent preachers, I would not lump them all in one bag. The overwhelming majority of religious people are never heard of. Once they get in the public spotlight, it seems to go to their head. Wright is one example.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Okay, I do remember the Osama slip - just forgot about it.

Honestly, I have this feeling that Obama probably isn't that religious of a man, but since politicians need to show some religious cred nowadays, he latched on to that guy - and that was a bad choice, obviously. (This doesn't negate your point though - perhaps even supports it.)

I have to wonder though, as I saw The Daily Show did a bit on this where they skewered Wright. They also made fun of Fox News a bit, as Fox was really playing up the yellow journalism by playing dramatic music while playing a clip back and forth of Wright gesticulating wildly (while also showing the light flashing behind him, if I recall correctly.) Seemed a bit silly - I mean, aren't his words enough to make him look ridiculous? Do they really need to edit him into a cheap 80s style heavy metal video?

Anyway, I wasn't trying to lump Wright in with all the religious leaders. My point is just that "men of God" seem to get an automatic extra dose of respect. I say judge them the same way that we judge everybody else. (But to be honest, I don't think that Wright is any more bat-sh** insane than Pat Robertson is. Or Ted Haggard for that matter - a preacher who supposedly advised Bush on a weekly basis.)

Gary Fouse said...

I never picked up on the lights and music you refer to on Fox News. Subliminal, I guess.

As to why Obama latched onto Wright, I speculate on that in my last post. It may have been right in tune with Obama's role as "community organizer" in Chicago at that time.

I'm no admirer of Pat Robertson, but I think Wright is much worse. Just my opinion.

I think we do-and should expect more of a man of God than the average person. In Wright's case, I think he shows intolerence, self promotion and demogogery. I am not saying he doesn't have good points and due to his age, I am sure he paid his dues in terms of discrimination (certainly more than Obama ever did).

I just think he is full of bitterness and resentment. His recent actions show him to be a person who wants to cash in on his fame-and he doesn't seem to care a whit about how it affects Obama's campaign.

Maybe I shouldn't question Wright's beliefs, but I suspect that there are many pastors who went into pastorship as a vocation, learned scripture and followed a career without really believing in religion. For some, it's just a career path-for others a path to riches.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Wright is worse. I dunno. Try this Pat Robertson quote on for size:

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history."

That's a 10 on the kooky meter - not sure how to top that. It certainly isn't any nuttier than the claim that the government created AIDS. But I might be just splitting hairs.

Oh, and I'm probably not remembering the Fox News clip accurately. I do stand by the point that it was obvious editing to make him look even crazier (which is hard to do.)

Gary Fouse said...

Look, I agree that Robertson is a boob, and that sounds like a pretty crazy statement. But at least he didn't say "God Damn America" or call other blacks "uncle Toms" which Wright has. At least Robertson kinda likes his country.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I disagree. He makes claims that he does, but when he blames his fellow citizens for what happened on 9/11, basically agreeing with Jerry Falwell's statements, that shows a great deal of contempt that he has for this country.

He makes overtures of patriotism, but what he loves is an America that only exists in his head. At least Wright is more obvious about his looniness.

Gary Fouse said...

Since I don't follow Robertson, I am a little vague about his statements about 9-11 or Katrina. Don't forget that Wright believes that the US Govt invented AIDS to get rid of black people, poured drugs into the black community and other conspiracy stuff that he throws into his sermons. There is no religious basis for that talk.

And the Obamas took their kids to that church to hear this stuff?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Don't get me wrong, Gary. My point isn't to defend Wright. I'm just saying, push comes to shove, they're both just as bad - just in different sorts of ways. (And let's not forget the faith-healing hucksterism of Robertson, with his whole, "God is telling me that he's going to heal you...Susan...of your...cancer." In my mind, that sort of thing is downright criminal.

Now, if I wanted to be really annoying, I would say that there is religious basis for what Wright says. That's the thing about religion, you can say any crazy thing you want and get away with it. Ooops, wait, I just did!