Barack Obama to speak about Rev. Wright, race Tuesday, March 18

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EXman

Lifer
Jul 12, 2001
20,079
15
81
Does any other Christian here find it destable that Obama still calls him a bible scholar?


And isn't this convienient that Wright is now retiring to shut him the heck up?
 

Corbett

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2005
3,074
0
76
Originally posted by: Dari
And like I said, someone can be negatively influenced or positively influenced. You are implying that the influence was negative. Either you're claiming that Obama cannot think for himself or he's easily influenced. Which is it? Why can't it just as easily be that he disagreed with the pastor on these divisive issues? Unless you know something we don't, you're not in a position to know, and neither am I.

Your view would be the equivalent of if John McCain were to go to a church who's pastor is a member of the KKK and preaches white separatist views. I'm sure you'd give him the same benefit of the doubt?

You choose a church to attend by finding one that matches up with what you believe. Catholics do not go to a baptist church because they do not believe certain things that Baptists do. Obama had the same choice, and from what we have heard already, while Obama's pastor I'm sure has some good qualities about him, his racist and separatist views overshadow any of that. You dont go to church to "challenege yourself" to deal with someone you dont agree with. You go to church to become inspired by the things your pastor says. So please, if you want to claim that Obama went to this church to only hook up with the positive aspects of this preacher's ideas, then please post some sort of proof, because right now, the evidence is much more in favor of this pastor spreading negative views of America and white people than you would suggest.

 

Robor

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
16,979
0
76
Originally posted by: Corbett
Originally posted by: Dari
And like I said, someone can be negatively influenced or positively influenced. You are implying that the influence was negative. Either you're claiming that Obama cannot think for himself or he's easily influenced. Which is it? Why can't it just as easily be that he disagreed with the pastor on these divisive issues? Unless you know something we don't, you're not in a position to know, and neither am I.

Your view would be the equivalent of if John McCain were to go to a church who's pastor is a member of the KKK and preaches white separatist views. I'm sure you'd give him the same benefit of the doubt?

Not. Even. Close. The KKK is a violent organization with a long history of atrocities including murder. Nice try though.

 

RightIsWrong

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2005
5,649
0
0

So much child-like reasoning in this thread.....

Why did I not see it until know so that I don't have to right so many responses to the same stupid talking points over and over?!?!

Originally posted by: Corbett

So then that leads us to the next question. If Obama KNEW of Rev Wright's past hateful views, why did he continue to attend his church for more than 20 years?

This seems like a good place to start. Maybe, just maybe.....he went to the church because it was a black church (I think I read somewhere that he was part black), it was in his community and he WENT TO HEAR ABOUT JESUS/GOD AND NOT THE PASTOR'S POLITICAL VIEWS?

Originally posted by: Corbett

Then I guess that shows an even bigger flaw in Obama's judgement. He attended a separatist church for 20 years and didnt even know the pastor's views for those 20 years!

I don't think that your point is as strong as you think. I would argue that it shows even better judgment that he was able to keep it on a professional level. That he was able to realize that the pastor was there to help him form a relationship with Christ and not to dictate to him the current state of race relations in the United States.

Originally posted by: Corbett

Because he could possibly become the spiritual advisor for the next possible President of the United States? Just for starters.

Do you expect the spiritual adviser of the the POTUS to be dictating public policy like the hardliners in Iran do?

Originally posted by: chowderhead

What's your option. Obama sat in church for 20 years but didn't inhale the message?

My option would be that he wasn't actually IN CHURCH for a great majority of those 20 years. Was he flying back every Sunday when he was attending college in NY (Columbia)? How about when he was in Massachusetts (Harvard)? What about when he was at Occidental College? Once he finally finished college and grad schools, was he regularly traveling back and forth to attend church while he was in Springfield as a state rep? what about since he has been in D.C. for the last few years? How many of the times that he was able to attend was there a "guest" pastor?

So many assumptions on your part with so little evidence. :roll:

Originally posted by: Jaskalas
Originally posted by: Sinsear
Yeah; maybe he just got carried away a couple of times. :roll:

The wife certainly doesn't feel he got carried away. She's ashamed of her country and that's the basic idea Wright is using. "God damn America". Same tune from both wife and mentor and we're to assume it isn't imprinted onto the man himself?

I think that you are confusing the tone with the message. The man was in front of a congregation and PREACHING in a manner that is consistent with many preacher's delivery methods (both black and white).

The message was simply one that America has failed the black community over and over for hundreds of years and still wants them to sing the praises of it. Frankly, I agree with it and anyone else that has a semi-grasp on reality probably should also.

Originally posted by: Jaskalas
Originally posted by: Sinsear
Originally posted by: Rainsford
The rhetorical power of eye rolling aside, I'd rather base my decision about a candidate on facts...not inference. If somebody can produce anything that demonstrates Obama holds those kind of radical views, I'm on board. Other than that, you'll forgive me if I don't find your FUD particularly convincing.


I can't

You don't have to, the man married the evidence.

Am I to believe that you are the only person that has found someone that you agree on every topic with 100%? Congratulations. We need to get you and your wife into the lab for some studies and experimentation.

I know that I sure haven't. My wife is a wonderful, smart, beautiful woman. But damn it if some of her views aren't just whacked out. There is no way that I could ever agree with them. But I still love her and I am still very happy to be married to her. I'm sure that she feels the exact same way about me (that I have whacked out views also).

Originally posted by: Corbett

Like I've said before. Obama was either influenced by this pastors black separatist views, or he was too naive to even realize his pastor preached the hate that he did.

OR, unlike you, he was smart enough to realize them for what they were and chose to ignore them because he didn't feel that they were the correct views to hold?

Originally posted by: EXman
Does any other Christian here find it destable that Obama still calls him a bible scholar?

The fact that you are going to try to play the "Not a real Christian" card shows that you have no understanding of what a true Christian is. A true Christian is someone that attempts to follow the word of Christ and is also accepting of other people's fallibilities. Pretty much like what Obama is showing he is and exactly opposite of how you are speaking.

 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
20
81
Speech supposed to start at 10:15 right? Anyone have a link? I'm at work so no tv

ED: NM, found it.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,377
126
I think it's unintentionally hilarious that this has been made an issue. In any national election, people furiously dig for scandal in order to tear down opposition, or to further a particular agenda. In this case, you can see the people who were already against Obama coming on in droves on this issue. It's pretty silly, because Obama has never espoused or encouraged racism or intolerance.

Even funnier : I've read, thanks to this stupidly hyped situation, tons of the cherry-picked comments by Wright that are the most 'controversial', and you know what? His views are far less intolerant and separatist than most of the Christian right. I, for one, think it only patently obvious that 9/11 was blowback for our role in the world. I don't think it was right or just that it happened, in fact it was one of the most heinous crimes in contemporary history. That doesn't change the fact that our actions as a nation, and position on the global stage engendered the situation.

Contrast that with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They didn't blame the terrorists for 9/11. They didn't look at the reality that we had a hand in building the hate that bit us. They blamed Gays/Lesbians and the ACLU for inciting God's wrath against innocent Americans. And, of course, we have another Presidential candidate who has flip-flopped on his position with the far-right Christians. The kind of Christians who think being gay/etc means you're going to burn in hell, and not only that, you're the reason for every American failure or tragedy. These kinds of people can only spread their message by a base of fear, hatred, and intolerance.

That's a pretty big difference compared to Wright, whose core message is that the Black community owes it to itself to pull itself together and upwards. I think his worst crime is that he's still stuck in the '60s. You must remember, this is a man that saw the race riots and civil rights struggle up close and personal. When you could be brutally attacked or killed just for being black. When a huge portion of our nation thought that Blacks were almost subhuman, and treated them as such.

I think Obama will speak on this matter, and it will close the issue. You notice McCain's silence on this situation, I'm sure he's all too aware of what his relationship with the Christian right means in the big picture. He's in between a rock and a hard place on the situation. If he comes out to attack Obama on this, Obama's campaign can point out that McCain has ties to the fundamentalist Christian right, and then McCain can either deny and lose that voting bloc, or affirm and prove himself a hypocrite.
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
20
81
Originally posted by: Robor
Originally posted by: sirjonk
Speech supposed to start at 10:15 right? Anyone have a link? I'm at work so no tv

ED: NM, found it.

Link?

Cnn.com frontpage, big banner up top.

Still hasn't started, 15 minutes late now. Obama isn't helping fight the stereotype that blacks are always late :)

Sheesh, kidding! *ducks*
 

Tab

Lifer
Sep 15, 2002
12,145
0
71
So, if I become a member of any organization I must agree with 100% of everything they say?

:roll:

This is so absurd if you guys actually cared about politics you'd be nitpicking his health care policy how it's just like Hilliary's.
 

Dari

Lifer
Oct 25, 2002
17,134
38
91
Originally posted by: sirjonk
Originally posted by: Robor
Originally posted by: sirjonk
Speech supposed to start at 10:15 right? Anyone have a link? I'm at work so no tv

ED: NM, found it.

Link?

Cnn.com frontpage, big banner up top.

Still hasn't started, 15 minutes late now. Obama isn't helping fight the stereotype that blacks are always late :)

Sheesh, kidding! *ducks*

:laugh:
 

Capt Caveman

Lifer
Jan 30, 2005
34,547
651
126
Originally posted by: Tab
So, if I become a member of any organization I must agree with 100% of everything they say?

:roll:

This is so absurd if you guys actually cared about politics you'd be nitpicking his health care policy how it's just like Hilliary's.

Except, you consider this individual your spiritual mentor and moral compass then add him to your political campaign staff.
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
20
81
McCain has loose "ties" to the Christian right as every republican does.

But Pat Robertson and Falwell were not his spiritual advisors, did not have appointed positions on his campaign, they didn't "bring him to christ", he didn't name a book after one of their speeches, they didn't perform his wedding, they didn't baptize his kids, he didn't attend their church for the last 20 years.

Die hard Obama supporters can shrug this off and pretend it's not a big deal. But it isn't Clinton or McCain that's kept this story alive for 5 days now. Obama's credibility and judgment are being called into question. As well as his honesty. He didn't know Wright was this divisive or held these attitudes? Really?? That strains credulity.

Cry 'guilty by association' all you want. When the association with the person in question is a choice, goes on for 20 years, and that person is brought into the innermost reaches of a person's family, it's not longer a fallacy to raise questions based on the association.
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,918
20
81
Originally posted by: Tab
So, if I become a member of any organization I must agree with 100% of everything they say?

:roll:

This is so absurd if you guys actually cared about politics you'd be nitpicking his health care policy how it's just like Hilliary's.

Strawman thanks. No you don't have to agree with everything the organization says. No one thinks Obama believes these things. This is about his judgment to voluntarily associate with someone who does believe these things.

If you're running for president as a uniter and you have a choice which Church to join, and the one you pick rails against America and whites, and you stay a member for 20 years and foster close personal ties with the head of the church, then people have a right to ask you WHY?
 

Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
50,415
14,305
136
Originally posted by: Arkaign
I think it's unintentionally hilarious that this has been made an issue. In any national election, people furiously dig for scandal in order to tear down opposition, or to further a particular agenda. In this case, you can see the people who were already against Obama coming on in droves on this issue. It's pretty silly, because Obama has never espoused or encouraged racism or intolerance.

Even funnier : I've read, thanks to this stupidly hyped situation, tons of the cherry-picked comments by Wright that are the most 'controversial', and you know what? His views are far less intolerant and separatist than most of the Christian right. I, for one, think it only patently obvious that 9/11 was blowback for our role in the world. I don't think it was right or just that it happened, in fact it was one of the most heinous crimes in contemporary history. That doesn't change the fact that our actions as a nation, and position on the global stage engendered the situation.

Contrast that with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. They didn't blame the terrorists for 9/11. They didn't look at the reality that we had a hand in building the hate that bit us. They blamed Gays/Lesbians and the ACLU for inciting God's wrath against innocent Americans. And, of course, we have another Presidential candidate who has flip-flopped on his position with the far-right Christians. The kind of Christians who think being gay/etc means you're going to burn in hell, and not only that, you're the reason for every American failure or tragedy. These kinds of people can only spread their message by a base of fear, hatred, and intolerance.

That's a pretty big difference compared to Wright, whose core message is that the Black community owes it to itself to pull itself together and upwards. I think his worst crime is that he's still stuck in the '60s. You must remember, this is a man that saw the race riots and civil rights struggle up close and personal. When you could be brutally attacked or killed just for being black. When a huge portion of our nation thought that Blacks were almost subhuman, and treated them as such.

I think Obama will speak on this matter, and it will close the issue. You notice McCain's silence on this situation, I'm sure he's all too aware of what his relationship with the Christian right means in the big picture. He's in between a rock and a hard place on the situation. If he comes out to attack Obama on this, Obama's campaign can point out that McCain has ties to the fundamentalist Christian right, and then McCain can either deny and lose that voting bloc, or affirm and prove himself a hypocrite.

:thumbsup:
 

RY62

Senior member
Mar 13, 2005
864
98
91
A couple of excerpts from the upcomming speach:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.

I can actually respect these statements.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Originally posted by: Farang
"Lying" is a strong term open to debate in itself, so let's set that aside. He is spinning more aggressively than I'd like. I'd like him to address this issue head on as one that doesn't matter, and that is why I'm giving him tomorrow's speech as an opportunity to convince me he hasn't soured.

And just for the record this doesn't mean I'm leaning at all towards Clinton.. I am severely anti-Clinton and will remain so. I'm just not liking how Obama is handling this situation.
I was going to write my own reply until I read yours. Farang has pretty much summed up exactly how I feel about this issue.
 

classy

Lifer
Oct 12, 1999
15,219
1
81
This speech is biggest crack of bullsh!t I have ever heard. You don't change racial the divide by hanging around racists and making excuses for them. I stopped listening to the garbage. Its a joke.
 

waggy

No Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
68,145
10
81
Originally posted by: classy
This speech is biggest crack of bullsh!t I have ever heard. You don't change racial the divide by hanging around racists and making excuses for them. I stopped listening to the garbage. Its a joke.

i agree.

i also wonder what would happen if a "advisor" of hillary or anyone else had said something like what was said but against blacks what would happen?
would so many be willing to dismiss it?
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
TRANSCRIPT
We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched Americas improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nations original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Pattons Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. Ive gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the worlds poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

Its a story that hasnt made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either too black or not black enough. We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, weve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that its based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, weve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as Im sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm werent simply controversial. They werent simply a religious leaders effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wrights comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isnt all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing Gods work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverends voice up into the rafters?.And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lions den, Ezekiels field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didnt need to feel shame about?memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild.

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinitys services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that weve never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, The past isnt dead and buried. In fact, it isnt even past. We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still havent fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between todays black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of todays urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for ones family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. Whats remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didnt make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wrights generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politicians own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wrights sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans dont feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as theyre concerned, no ones handed them anything, theyve built it from scratch. Theyve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when theyre told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments arent always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. Its a racial stalemate weve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wrights sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wrights sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. Its that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the worlds great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brothers keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sisters keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wrights sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that shes playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, well be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, Not this time. This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids cant learn; that those kids who dont look like us are somebody elses problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who dont have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesnt look like you might take your job; its that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never shouldve been authorized and never shouldve been waged, and we want to talk about how well show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didnt believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that Id like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. Kings birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and thats when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mothers problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didnt. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why theyre supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man whos been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why hes there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, I am here because of Ashley.

Im here because of Ashley. By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.
 

EXman

Lifer
Jul 12, 2001
20,079
15
81
Originally posted by: classy
This speech is biggest crack of bullsh!t I have ever heard. You don't change racial the divide by hanging around racists and making excuses for them. I stopped listening to the garbage. Its a joke.

Classy and I do not see eye to eye at all but I concur especially since he just worked gobal warming into this c'mon please...

Obama could have left that church. There are plenty of black pastors that despise race pimps like this guy Farakahn, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and preach a God honoring sermons. To the guy that said we are cherry picking that is garbage too. Even David Duke and the KKK don't spew hate 24/7. Does not mean they are great guys that you'd want to become a member of their church.
 

Dari

Lifer
Oct 25, 2002
17,134
38
91
Originally posted by: classy
This speech is biggest crack of bullsh!t I have ever heard. You don't change racial the divide by hanging around racists and making excuses for them. I stopped listening to the garbage. Its a joke.

Very good speech. To call Rev. Wright a racist is to define him by only what you've heard from these clips.
 

Bumrush99

Diamond Member
Jun 14, 2004
3,334
194
106
I've softened my stance on this issue. I accept his explanation and think we should all move on from this controversy. I know that won't happen, but for me this speech removed a lot of my concerns about his relationship with the minister.

The man is very articulate and made a strong case for his position. He had a lot of guts to stand up in the face of this controversy and proved to me today that he can be a leader. Doesn't mean I am going to vote for him, but he earned my respect today.
 

waggy

No Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
68,145
10
81
Originally posted by: Dari
Originally posted by: classy
This speech is biggest crack of bullsh!t I have ever heard. You don't change racial the divide by hanging around racists and making excuses for them. I stopped listening to the garbage. Its a joke.

Very good speech. To call Rev. Wright a racist is to define him by only what you've heard from these clips.

seems to me thats what happend to kramer and many others..
 

Dari

Lifer
Oct 25, 2002
17,134
38
91
Originally posted by: waggy
Originally posted by: Dari
Originally posted by: classy
This speech is biggest crack of bullsh!t I have ever heard. You don't change racial the divide by hanging around racists and making excuses for them. I stopped listening to the garbage. Its a joke.

Very good speech. To call Rev. Wright a racist is to define him by only what you've heard from these clips.

seems to me thats what happend to kramer and many others..

That was unfair as well. I understand why he got angry because my cousin is in showbusiness and they take hecklers very personal.