Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's speech

In an article on today, Michael Medved analyzes Barack Obama’s speech. One of the points Medved makes is how “Obama many times references the 'comments,' 'remarks' or 'statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.' He speaks of 'the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube' as providing the basis for “the caricatures being peddled by some commentators….”

In response, Medved quote from an e-mail he received from the pastor of a large multi-ethnic church. That pastor wrote:
“What I heard coming from Rev. Wright was not just a phrase taken out of context, but a philosophy...And if you listen to all the different controversial statements, the GD America Sermon (not just a few statements) pretty much sums up the philosophy. And the way the congregation responds lets us know that the philosophy is not just the pastor’s, but the church’s. The point I’m trying to make is that making an inflammatory statement (or two) is not the same as a church’s or pastor’s philosophy. And if Obama didn’t know the pastor’s philosophy after being a member of the church for over 20 years…it speaks to the lack of judgment he has.”
Hits the nail on the head! Read Mr. Medved’s excellent article at Townhall.


L'oiseau said...

I would recommend reading this exclusive Obama interview about the content of his speech. It was very eye-opening for me about how the African-American community feels about themselves, and the country. I feel that after reading it, I (as a white woman) understand African-Americans opinions more (seeing as I have more than once talked about black racism in the way you are). I hope it's helpful.

I'd also like to pick out a paragraph that was especially meaningful to me and eye-opening:

"I think that -- you know, the African-American community deals with this, grapples with this in ways that the white community just doesn't. I mean, I think this makes the larger society nervous and it's easier to disengage from it. I think there are a lot of African-Americans who would love to be able to not worry about race, but somehow it encroaches upon them.

You know, it's the classic example -- and this is a common experience. I think most African-Americans will share it. If there is some horrendous crime out there, black people are always a little nervous until they see the picture, hoping that it's not a black person who committed it.

A white person never thinks that way, because you, Terry Moran, would never assume that if there is some white male who fits your description who, you know, went on a rampage that somehow people are going to think of you differently. Black people, they worry about that.

So that's an example of how those realities are different and it means that the African-American community views these things in a different way and feels as if talking about it is important."

I think that it is so brave and important of Obama to be pinpointing these differences, pointing out that they are not right, and yet they are how people feel. No more hiding from it! He also, in his speech, talked about how he understands why white people can have bad feelings toward blacks as well:

"Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've 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 they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time."

I think Obama understands more than you or I (or most of America) both sides of the spectrum, the racism of both whites and blacks (and it is there, oh yes) and he is the ONLY one with the courage enough to talk about it this way, so openly.

I admire him for that, and he still has my vote!

jazzycat said...

If he (Obama) understands so much and is so smart and courageous, then he should not have been a member of a church whose pastor spewed anti-American, anti-white hate speech to a congregation that received it by standing cheering ovation.

Obama had no problem denouncing and calling for the firing of Don Imus about one year ago. I am not defending Imus, but his comments were tame compared to what this hate moungering pastor at Obama's church was saying on a regular basis....

Dennis said...


I too thought Obama did a good job of pointing out race issues from both sides of the issue, and I think those of us who are white really need to recognize that life in America is often different for black people.

I was once talking with a black lady about my travels accross America (I've driving from coast to coast on several occasions). She said that she could never do that. She would be too afraid that being black could cause her to be attacked.

I thought that was so sad that someone would have to be afraid to see America just because of the color of their skin!

On the other hand, Jazzycat is right--there is no excuse for Obama to remain in a racist church for 20 years. There is really something seriously wrong with that. And besides, Obama's speech alone should not be the deciding factor in voting for Obama.

For example, as much as we may hate to be in Iraq, if Obama has his way and pulls out right away, there will be massive slaughter of anyone who supported America, and America's credibilty will be destroyed for decades to come, and all the American lives lost will have been pretty much flushed down the toilet. Regardless of how we feel about the war, we just can't let that happen.

Then of course there is Obama's total lack of foreign policy experience, or his support for the killing of unborn babies, or his ties to Rezko, or his proposed spending programs that will bankrupt the nation, or his support for supreme court justices who will read their own views into the Constitution rather than interpreting the Constitution light of the author's intentions.

I am convinced that an Obama presidency (if he also had a democratic majority in the House and Senate) would be the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.

Brent said...

"Then of course there is Obama's total lack of foreign policy experience..."

You're right, we'd be better off with John McSame, who clearly has a better grasp of foreign policy issues.

"I am convinced that an Obama presidency (if he also had a democratic majority in the House and Senate) would be the worst thing that has ever happened to this country."

Hyperbole much?

L'oiseau said...

Obama's speech opened my eyes to a sort of continual racism that exists in practically every black person and every white person in this country.

I have a problem when people take action on their racism (like the KKK, burning crosses on people's lawns, writing n***** on people's garage doors, and I don't want to know what else) but when someone simply talks about it from a pulpit, maybe we should listen.

Obviously, Barack's pastor believes some crazy things. (The 911 thing, etc.) but that doesn't mean that Obama does. It also doesn't mean that Obama couldn't have gone to his church for twenty years and disagreed with him. I don't agree with my pastor 100% of the time, I don't even agree with my husband 100% of the time! :) That doesn't mean I walk out on either of them.

I think Obama's speech was trying to make people understand that he knew where his pastor was coming from, he completely understood it, but he disagreed with it. He's being respectful because he UNDERSTANDS. Honestly, I just don't think most white people in this country do, and that's the real problem. (How can we? As you pointed out about your traveling across America story, we just don't know what it's like).

Obama is in a tough position. He understands how his pastor feels, but he disagrees and has a better way to deal with it. He even said he feels his pastor was "stuck" in his way of thinking because he thinks nothing will ever change. Obama is all about change and he believes that racism can go away! I think he handled it brilliantly, but I'm not basing my entire vote on this speech...I've been for Obama for months:)

Dennis said...


Just out of curiosity, would vote for a candidate who had, for 20 years, remained in a (non-violent) white supremacist church?

I couldn't.

L'oiseau said...

I debated even typing this...because you won't agree.

Black America and White America have a different history. So-called "black supremacy" is just different than the KKK and white supremacists. It just is. History matters. 50 years ago, we had segregated drinking fountains.

In an ideal world, yes, black hate and white hate would equal the same thing and both would be wrong. I look at it this way: if a Jewish person says they hate the Nazis, does anyone call it "hate speech"?

We have come a long way since the 60's, but we still have a long way to go. Anyone who can't admit that is foolish, blacks or whites.