I haven’t commented on the Obama speech on race and his relationship with "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright because, well, it was thoroughly chewed-over just hours after its delivery. And, to be honest, the issue already starts to bore me. The Wright Affair, when taken with his evasions regarding Tony Rezko and his position on NAFTA, tell us all we need to know about Senator Barack Obama (D-Hope and Change): he is not the Prophet of the new, post-racial politics. He is not the Leader who will end our divisions and heal our souls.
No, he’s just a typical Chicago pol who cynically says whatever he thinks will get him elected, which isn’t necessarily what he believes. Other than being an exceptionally gifted speaker, he’s really no different from the average career politician. I opposed his election before on policy grounds, and that hasn’t changed. Race (a biologically meaningless concept) has nothing to do with it.
But there are two things I can’t let pass. First is this passage about Jeremiah Wright’s background, the context for his bitter racism:
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.
Umm…Senator? Segregation was not the "law of the land" in the US at that time. In fact, in that period, the tail-end of Jim Crow, segregation was the law in a minority of states, limited mostly to the states of the old Confederacy. I grew up in the Sixties in a mixed-ethnicity neighborhood in California, and I went to school with Blacks and Hispanics. We weren’t segregated, nor was most of the nation.
This isn’t to minimize the national shame of Jim Crow, which was nothing less that an apartheid and, at times, terrorist regime. (For a good overview, look at the history of …ahem… the Democratic Party) Far from it, but don’t slag the many people across the rest of the nation who may have been imperfect but still opposed segregation.
Then again, you seem to specialize in the art of moral equivalence. From later in the speech, again regarding Jeremiah Wright:
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.
Oh, give me a break! You’re equating the occasional bigoted slips of your grandma to the hateful, racist filth your pastor (of over 20 years!) spewed on a regular basis? (To see examples, look here, here, and here.) How dare you? You put the woman who raised you in the same category as a guy who claims AIDS was created by the government to kill Blacks? (Maybe he should get a Nobel Peace Prize?) You ungrateful creep! Whom do you throw under the bus next? Your wife? (Nah. She apparently buys into Wright’s garbage.) Your daughters?
I used to say that, while I opposed Obama on policy, I thought he was an okay guy I wouldn’t mind talking with over beers.
I’ve changed my mind.
LINKS: There are plenty of reactions all over the Web. Here are four — two in favor, two opposed. In favor: Andrew Sullivan and Glenn "Sockpuppet" Greenwald. Opposed: Victor Davis Hanson and Bob Owens. And one more at Fausta’s blog and Hot Air. Okay, one more after that. I can’t leave out Melanie Phillips dismantling of The Speech.