The Campaign Trail of Tears--There's a great deal of disappointment in all of this, and while much of this rests with Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., the majority of the responsibility for this pseudo-controversy resides squarely with the mainstream American press. Wright shouldn't have accepted the invitation to speak before the National Press Club--this was not only ill-advised, it was unethical.
It's likely that Rev. Wright felt spurned by earlier comments from candidate Obama, he's still rising to the bait they're offering him, and the whole debacle has taken on a very personal quality between the minister and the senator. This was never inevitable, and it's a manufactured event by the media and known and unknown elements on the far-right.
The questions posed to Rev. Wright at the National Press Club were insulting and incredibly loaded, and he played into it. The man truly was in his element on Monday. Falling for this was a mistake and it was undignified of him. It really had many of the elements of grandstanding, and Senator Obama's obvious sense of being personally hurt by it all rings true. The presidential candidate's comments today were very dignified and clear. They were fair. That's a far cry from the media's torrent of abuse and exaggeration we're going to continue to see until at least May 6th. The stoking of this non-story right before the Indiana primaries can only be seen as part of an overarching plan on-the-part of many.
Nonetheless, there was nothing in the comments of the now former-pastor that this writer could find to be untrue or distorted. America isn't perfect by any stretch, and our foreign policy is not looked upon kindly throughout the world. The reasons aren't a mystery to the victims of America, only to a certain kind of American that either doesn't want to know or approves of the crimes committed in our name by violent statists. This writer found this exchange from the National Press Club to be very insightful on Rev. Wright's part:
MODERATOR: Can you elaborate on your comparison of the Roman soldiers who killed Jesus to the U.S. Marine Corps? Do you still believe that is an appropriate comparison and why?
WRIGHT: One of the things that will be covered at the symposium over the next two days is biblical history, which many of the working press are unfamiliar with.
In biblical history, there’s not one word written in the Bible between Genesis and Revelations that was not written under one of six different kinds of oppression, Egyptian oppression, Assyrian oppression, Persian oppression, Greek oppression, Roman oppression, Babylonian oppression.
The Roman oppression is the period in which Jesus is born. And comparing imperialism that was going on in Luke, imperialism was going on when Caesar Augustus sent out a decree that the whole world should be taxed. They weren’t in charge of the world. It sounds like some other governments I know.
That, yes, I can compare that. We have troops stationed all over the world, just like Rome had troops stationed all over the world, because we run the world. That notion of imperialism is not the message of the gospel of the prince of peace, nor of God, who loves the world. ("Transcript: Rev. Wright at the National Press Club, FoxNews.com, 04.28.2008)
Why else would Jesus have been crucified by the Romans? Sorry, the Jews didn't crucify people for heresy, they stoned them to death. Jesus was seen as a political threat to an imperial order, and he was executed for challenging the power of Rome. The Jesus movement posed a serious threat to the Romans--they were used to countering violence with violence, but the basically non-violent actions of this lowly carpenter and his movement were something dangerous and new. Sound familiar?
Aren't we doing what the Romans once did by occupying Iraq, slaughtering tens-of-thousands for economic-gain? The mass graves have returned to Iraq, and we're responsible for all of them. Our clients in the puppet Iraqi government are expediting much of this for us. The methods of imperialism haven't changed much since the time or the Romans. Resistance to occupation is also eternal, and there are only so many ways of going about it.
In genuine Christianity, there is an acceptance of the struggle against tyranny. It should be remembered that the Founding Fathers were quite obsessed with and fond of Roman culture, politics, and civilization, a culture whose economy was based on conquest and slavery. Another fact is that most of them weren't Christians, but "deists," individuals who believe in a higher spiritual power, but not in the divinity of Christ. A significant number of elements of our system of government are patterned after the Roman model.
All that aside, if we're honest with ourselves, we can admit that we know this is a settler state whose economy was built on genocide, human slavery, then wage slavery, which is our current anthropological crisis that began and was finalized in the wake of the Civil War. Perhaps one of the things that most Americans don't understand is that Wright is merely acknowledging that struggle is eternal. He's simply calling it as he sees it, and has been appropriately vocal about the war in Iraq as being imperialism. That's because it is.
This country began as a renegade nation, and while much of this is admirable, we defiantly assert that our law trumps international law and treaties. This refrain is echoed from the so-called "liberal left" of the Democrats in Congress, to the wackiest of GOP incumbents and the Libertarian right. Our own laws have had disastrous effects on ethnic and cultural minorities over much of our history, notably national drug sentencing legislation that results in markedly different sentences between those of white offenders and black offenders.
Right here in Indiana, the first eugenics laws sterilizing minorities, the poor, the mentally handicapped, and prison inmates, began 101 years ago. This is said by scholars to have in-part inspired the eugenics policies of the National Socialist state under Hitler. The Nazis also admired our Indian reservations, and modeled certain features of their concentration camps after our own. Then there are the thousands of lynchings from the end of the Civil War until the 1930s. The last publicly-held lynching occurred right here in Indiana in August of 1930 in Marion, a town that Senator Obama has spoken at.
America's racialist record against Black Americans goes without saying, and it's still a poor one. The recent verdict exonerating the police in the shooting of unarmed groom Sean Bell in Brooklyn should be viewed as the opening-shots of a second phase civil rights movement, it's here. The reactions to these events tends to be catalyzing, it brings people together in common cause, as it should. Then there's the ongoing mistreatment and exploitation of Native Americans (Canada's record is no better). No, years after the fall of Apartheid in South Africa, America doesn't look particularly progressive, and is more of an embarrassment throughout the developed world. This is a very simple fact that shouldn't be ignored, and we do so at our peril.
None of this is exactly Barack Obama's fault, nor is it the fault of Rev. Wright for making what this writer considers to be very subdued statements on where America really has been, and what it has done to the lives of millions across the globe for a century. A time will come when the world has had enough of the misbehavior of the United States, and the results are likely to be catastrophic for everyone. That's the tragedy: we're blowing it by allowing the media to tell us the real nature of Rev. Wright's statements, and dishonoring the victims of America. They are many. America should also be ashamed that she imprisons so many for so little.
In the context of this very short list of our nation's shortcomings, it's wrong that Barack Obama has been forced into a corner in all of this. He did not make the statements, and the musings of the Reverend aren't factually incorrect. The media will continue this story into heavy-rotation, and it's role is to serve the other two candidates. The public needs to begin openly asking why this is so, and the onus is on media spokespeople and ownership. They have a lot of explaining to do.
Why is this story being covered so heavily? Decide for yourselves, but the effect is obvious and calculated to aid Hillary Clinton, then John McCain, who she's going to lose to if she wins the nomination. Neither Clinton or John McCain are reasonable alternatives to George W. Bush's mismanagement of government, and are likely to bring more of the same to the common good--a death-blow. Again: what is this campaign against Barack Obama? We've heard it before--it's the Republican echo-chamber that downed Howard Dean, John Kerry. So why would Hillary Clinton want to put her own interests above those of her party? Yes, it's personal ambition, but Senator Clinton's voting record and her public statements on public policy frequently echo those of GOP incumbents.
If Clinton was any more establishment, her last name would be Rockefeller. Likewise for McCain, that privileged lily-white admiral's son who bombed women and children from the air like a videogame over North Vietnam. At least he didn't dodge the draft like the current sitting president and vice president. Somehow, the GOP is "stronger on national security," even after failing to properly protect New York City and Washington D.C. on September 11th, 2001. They couldn't have done it without the help of a heavily-concentrated corporate media. They say you become a Republican when you become rich. There are no liberal media outlets, and scarcely ever were.
The goal in all of this manufactured controversy is to detach traditionally conservative white voters in states like Indiana, causing them to become afraid of Barack Obama and to shift their votes back to Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and the GOP in general. The media will have been instrumental in this if they are successful, and their role has been an inappropriate one. Rev. Wright is probably just doing what he thinks is right in all of this, and he is speaking the truth.
He just needs to pick the time and the place for it a little better.The best thing Rev. Wright can do now is to apologize to Senator Obama for the timing of his comments at the National Press Club, and to keep a low-profile until the elections are over. Please. Go have a good vacation somewhere quiet Reverend, away from the right-wing partisan press. Obama has to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. The rest is between him, Rev. Wright, and his God, not the media or the public. This is just another lynching, turning two Black men against one another. Welcome, to the United States of America. It's a mess, isn't it?
Transcript of Rev. Wright's comments at the National Press Club on Monday: http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/28/transcript-rev-wright-at-the-national-press-club/
06/09/2008 Postscript: Besides, he's likely to be just as much of a sellout as anyone. All the more reason to watch him and to pressure him to do what we--the people--want them to do. Nothing much, just meeting basic human needs, promoting stability, the common good--boring shit from civics class, I know, but still important to all of us having a future.