Friday, March 21, 2008

In Defense of Barack Obama

I've been a critic of the cult of Obama as much as anyone, and not because of anything particular the man has done, but because I don't think it's wise to invest much faith in a politician, no matter how many times they may mention "change" or "hope" in their stump speech. That said, the made-for-TV pseudo-controversy over the comments his pastor Jeremiah Wright has made over the past few years is completely unwarranted (but nonetheless predictable), and demonstrative of how the media attempts to stifle any actual discussion of the realities of life in America. Unless your politics fall in somewhere between Newt Gingrich and Joe Lieberman, you are more or less a radical extremist in the eyes of our elite media outlets. Just ask Ron Paul.

By now you have probably seen Wright's sermons -- or at least the four second excerpts the cable news airheads will allow on television. And if you rely on these tabloid news outlets for your information, then you've probably already come to the conclusion that Wright not only hates white people, but he hates America (I addressed the phenomenon of so many Americans "hating" America two years ago).

Of course, that's what the kids these days refer to as "bullshit".

Wright's only crime is stating uncomfortable truths in an inflammatory manner. You know what? The United States government has imprisoned an incredibly large number of African Americans in the name of a failing crusade against drugs (I reported on the racist aspects of the war on drugs for Oklahoma Public Radio last year) -- part of the reason why this country leads the world in the number of people it imprisons. Not to mention the fact that the CIA looked the other way while its dear friends the Contras smuggled cocaine into the United States in order to finance its vicious war in Nicaragua. Of course, pointing out that the U.S. government has been less than angelic, particularly in regard to its killing of poor foreigners, is an unspeakable truth -- which explains the current two minute hate against Wright.

That said, there are still people out there who are willing to look at what the man has actually said before condemning him to Guantanamo. And surprisingly, some actually work for the aforementioned tabloid news outlets, such as CNN contributor Roland Martin:
As this whole sordid episode regarding the sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has played out over the last week, I wanted to understand what he ACTUALLY said in this speech. I’ve been saying all week on CNN that context is important, and I just wanted to know what the heck is going on.
Amazing, right? Martin does a public service by providing the actual contents of Wright's now infamous post-9/11 speech, in which he dares to mention that the United States government has killed a whole hell of a lot of people. An excerpt:

“I heard [former U.S. Iraq] Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday did anybody else see or hear him? He was on FOX News, this is a white man, and he was upsetting the FOX News commentators to no end, he pointed out, a white man, an ambassador, he pointed out that what Malcolm X said when he was silenced by Elijah Mohammad was in fact true, he said Americas chickens, are coming home to roost.”

“We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, Arikara, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism.

“We took Africans away from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism.

“We bombed Grenada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel.

“We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenage and toddlers, pregnant mothers and hard working fathers.

“We bombed Qaddafi’s home, and killed his child. Blessed are they who bash your children’s head against the rock.

“We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to pay back for the attack on our embassy, killed hundreds of hard working people, mothers and fathers who left home to go that day not knowing that they’d never get back home.

“We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye.

“Kids playing in the playground. Mothers picking up children after school. Civilians, not soldiers, people just trying to make it day by day.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff that we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.

“Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism. A white ambassador said that y’all, not a black militant. Not a reverend who preaches about racism. An ambassador whose eyes are wide open and who is trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised. The ambassador said the people we have wounded don’t have the military capability we have. But they do have individuals who are willing to die and take thousands with them. And we need to come to grips with that.”

The audacity of the man! To think, a Christian pastor preaching that "an eye for an eye" only begets violence, and that the United States should treat others as it wishes to be treated.

Why, he ought to be crucified.

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