Friday, March 14, 2008

"God Damn America:"
Wright, Obama, and the Presidency

"This blog isn't, as I've written before, political. But since politics affects America's decision-making process regarding the war on terror, the topic comes up. This is one of those times." Again. (From one of yesterday's posts.)

What people in national leadership, in a time of war, think is true, and what they believe about it, is vitally important.

Here's a quote I used last week, in "Ideas Matter" (March 7, 2008):

"The truth is that ideas are all-important. The massive and seemingly-solid institutions of any society – the economic institutions, the political institutions, the religious institutions – are always at the mercy of the ideas in the heads of the people who populate these institutions." Written by Irving Krystol in 1973, quoted by John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia. From John Howard's Irving Kristol Lecture - 'Sharing Our Common Values'," transcript in The Australian (March 5, 2008).

And here's something from today's news:

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes three-strike laws and wants them to sing God Bless America.

"No! No No!

"God damn America ... for killing innocent people.

"God damn America for threatening citizens as less than humans.

"God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and supreme." The Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr., spiritual adviser of an American presidential candidate, in a sermon delivered in April 2003.

And, The Reverend J.W. seems to believe that American foreign policy invited the 9/11 terror attacks:

"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," Wright said.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because of stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own backyard. America is chickens coming home to roost."

And, he thinks that America invented AIDS to wipe out "people of color."

"The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied."

These are the considered words, recorded and willingly sold on DVD, of a man who may have the ear of the next president of the United States. The Reverend Wright married Barack and Michelle Obama, supports Mr. Obama's candidacy, and is the presidential contender's spiritual adviser.

I am very concerned that a spiritual adviser like The Reverend Wright could be as wrong for his president, as Grigory Efimovich Rasputin was for rule of Alexandra and Nicholas II.
Update: Barack Obama has gone from rejecting 'some' of The Reverend Wright's statements, to calling them "inflammatory and appalling.."


Brigid said...

Ooo. Ouch. Yeah. Rasputin was a bad egg. But he seemed to have been rather more subtle and classier than this guy.

Brian H. Gill said...


More subtle, at least. I don't know how "classy" Rasputin was.

Ottavio (Otto) Marasco said...

Neither had class. I am not sure that the Reverends words will come to pass so easily. As i write Obama's party machine is in full throttle damage control as a result of the comments. Will this sink him? Some think so and I am inclined to agree, we shall see.

Jeff Wills said...

No man spends 20 years in a church and then says he doesn't know what type of man, or what beliefs his pastor holds. Especially when you call him your "mentor" and spiritual guide. Obama goes so far as to say Wright was “like an Uncle” to him. This story really has revealed something disturbing about Obama. The fact that he would be part of any radical church that preaches such divisiveness and distain toward one’s country and groups of people is appalling. Obama’s church is so radical it awarded Louis Farrakhan and achievement award. Farrakhan is a racist and an anti-Semite. No, this is an outrage! This is not acceptable. This is a story that should not go away. Democrats need to come to their senses and oust Obama. If not, then the republicans should use this story for all its worth to ensure Obama’s defeat in the fall. This really does reveal something disturbing about Obama. He says one thing but he has been doing another. He only rejects Wright now because he’s been found out. I certainly hope a very methodical investigation has begun to determine if Obama is telling the truth about not being present when Wright was on one of his hate rants. For Obama to say he was never there to hear any of these, I just don’t buy it.

As a proud American I will never be able to express, politely, just how much this story bothers me. I was impressed with Obama to a degree. Now, I see where and who he has been willing to associate himself with, and what he may stand for. Of course he rejects it now, he has too. This is actually sad but it needed to come out now.

Americans better wake up.

Brian H. Gill said...

American Interests,

As of Sunday night, March 16, 2008, the Clinton campaign is being very quiet, Obama is still putting distance (plausibly or not) between himself and this remarkable minister, and The Reverend "Damn America" Wright is claiming that news media has been engaging in character assassination against him.

Considering how blacks with politically correct beliefs are treated in America, there could be a winnable lawsuit here, and possibly criminal charges against the news media's "hate speech."

I hope not, though.

Dave Core said...

Here's an observation I've been nursing. This is what Pastor Wright said in his infamous sermon. These seem to be the hot-button words:

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes three-strike laws and wants them to sing God Bless America. No! No No! God damn America … for killing innocent people. God damn America for threatening citizens as less than humans. God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and supreme."

Now, here's a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

If you read through the rhetoric to the subtext, it seems to me that Jefferson and Wright were saying basically the same thing here, and for the same reasons.

Brian H. Gill said...

Dave Core,

I acknowledge that America is far from perfect, and that, as Jefferson said, "God is just, ... His justice cannot sleep forever."

However: "If you read through the rhetoric to the subtext" - I tried. And, although I could probably, in a sort of 'higher criticism' way, have The Reverend Wright say anything from that Jefferson quote, to a declaration that the Martians are coming, I try to be realistic: and give the man credit for having the wit to say what he means.

What comes out is a man who believes that blacks are downtrodden, and that the Civil Rights Act oughta be passed.

I realize that he's got a lot of anger, and that he probably didn't get all the benefits that he wanted. But that doesn't excuse his blanking out, during the last four decades: particularly since he's speaking in a forum where a reasonable person would realize that his words will be noted, and considered.

Dave Core said...

I'm not saying that Wright wasn't a little less eloquent than Jefferson, but then, Wright was speaking to a specific audience that understood and maybe even shared his anger. He wasn't advocating the overthrow of the government. He wasn't calling for a race war. He was saying exactly what Jefferson said. Both men can be paraphrased in the same way. "A country that treats the black man as a second class citizen and acts with such hubris deserves not God's blessings, but rather the disdain of a just God."

As for this: "What comes out is a man who believes that blacks are downtrodden, and that the Civil Rights Act oughta be passed." Um, okay. And what's wrong with that?

Remember in the movie Malcolm X where Denzel Washington in the title role said, "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us?" Who would we cast in the role of Pastor Wright in the movie version of his life? I'm thinking Danny Glover, but he may be too old for this shit.

Brian H. Gill said...

Dave Core,

I'm sorry. The Reverend Wright is, no doubt, black. Because of that he is, in some quarters, assumed to be in the right.

There is no doubt in my mind that he is quite sincere in his "God Damn America" statement and desire. This may not be an express desire to overthrow the government, but it certainly does not indicate any great preference for the government to remain intact.

Now, "As for this: 'What comes out is a man who believes that blacks are downtrodden, and that the Civil Rights Act oughta be passed.' Um, okay. And what's wrong with that?"

There is nothing at all wrong with that desire. The first Civil Rights Act was passed in the nineteenth century. The second was passed in 1964.

My point in referring to what apparently is an obscure historical detail was that The Reverend Wright does not seem to have left the early sixties, when there really were laws and practices which hurt blacks - and white trash.

Finally, this blog is about the War on Terror and related topics. For that reason, I'll be paying less attention to American cultural atavisms, except as they affect the conflict between a particular flavor of Islam and people who would rather live in the present.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.