Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama/Wright redux

In a press conference today, Barack Obama denounced his pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, and expressed how "outraged" he was at Wright's recent controversial comments at the National Press Club. All of this is not surprising. Obama, after all, is the quintessential politician (sorry Obamaphiles), so the fact that Wright has made some acerbic (and accurate) comments on the nature of the U.S. empire and American imperialism made it near-certain that he'd be tossed aside at some point. The fact that Wright didn't call for the immediate lynching of Louis Farrakhan when prompted by a reporter at the press club only sealed the deal.

So, again, the fact that Obama would dump his pastor in his quest for political power is not surprising (worship of power having replaced religion). However, what is surprising is just how craven and dishonest some of Obama's comments were:
When he (Wright) suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.
First off, all those who think Obama represents some sort of fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy should take note: "there are no excuses" for equating "United States wartime efforts with terrorism," at least in the mind of this Democratic hopeful (savior?).

Translation: questioning the murder of innocent civilians by the U.S. government -- as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq -- is beyond the pale. Killing of innocents, if sanctioned by a more-or-less democratically-elected government, is a legitimate, if unfortunate, consequence of "war" -- "war" being a useful term used by the State to cloak the true nature and immorality of armed conflict; what is rightly called "mass murder" in peacetime soon becomes "collateral damage" if carried out by someone wearing a uniform of the U.S. government.

For context, here is what Wright said at the Press Club that set Obama off:
Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic divisive principles.
See the problem? Jesus can only be referenced when debating gay marriage or abortion -- and never, never, when it comes to all that "love thy neighbor" and "do onto others..." hippie crap. Of course, as demonstrated by McCain supporter Rev. John Hagee, citing Jesus to call for a preemptive military attack on Iran doesn't raise an eyebrow among the mainstream media or the political elites, if only because militarism and the concept of "American exceptionalism" is the predominant American religion.

It should also be pointed out that, contrary to what Obama states, Wright did not praise Louis Farrakhan as "one of the greatest voices" of the 20th and 21st centuries. Here is what he did say:
What I think about him, as I said on Bill Moyers and it got edited out -- how many other African-Americans or European-Americans do you know that can get 1 million people together on the mall? He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century; that's what I think about him. I said, as I said on Bill Moyers, when Louis Farrakhan speaks it's like E.F. Hutton speaks. All black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen.

Now, I am not going to put down Louis Farrakhan any more than Mandela will put down Fidel Castro. You remember that Ted Koppel show where Ted wanted Mandela to put down Castro because Castro is our enemy, and he said, "You don't tell me who my enemies are; you don't tell me who my friends are."

The difference -- "important" vs. "greatest" -- is subtle but meaningful. One can say that Stalin and Hitler were "important" voices in the 20th century without endorsing either Stalinism or Nazism. To state they were important is merely to say they had a lot of influence and their actions had a profound impact on history. In this sense, Wright is merely pointing out that by getting hundreds of thousands of people to turn out for a march on Washington, DC, Farrakhan had demonstrated that his importance in a certain section of the American public.

In distorting his (now former) pastor's words, Obama shows that either he wasn't actually familiar with the Wrights comments, or more likely, he doesn't care. He realizes that the vast majority of Americans aren't ready for any demystifying of the U.S. empire, much less from a black man. Hell, Obama -- a middle-of-road, bland politician -- has himself been accused of being a stalking horse for radical islam.

But that doesn't excuse his misrepresentations of Wright's comments or his nationalistic claptrap that argues nuking hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians is morally superior to the killing of 3,000 innocents on 9/11. His willingness to denounce a friend and mentor of two decades for political gain speaks volumes about his character and desire for power, and it isn't positive.

Could it be that the savior of American progressives is just another politician?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:08 PM

    I must admit that I am a bit perplexed by Wright's latest comments. Why now? His spotlight in the media was begining to subside, and then more acerbic rhetoric. I thought he was supposed to be an Obama advocate, not an adversary. What is Obama to do? When he refutes the comments made, he is labeled a sell-out politician. On the other hand, if he embraces what Wright said, he could consequently loose the white vote vote.