Thursday, May 1, 2008

Will the Real Reverend Wright Please Shut Up?

Over the last weekend the Reverend Jemimah Wright came out and did a little knife work on his parishioner Barack Obama. Senator Hope then came out dazed and bleeding at a press conference and finally said the magic words to distance himself from his former pastor. Too bad Groucho Marx was not there or a least his duck. Since Mr. Marx had a previous engagement with the grim reaper, the best substitute for the duck falling from the skies was supplied by the usual suspects.

The fan-boys at MSNBC were there to provide the hosannas and both Daily KOS and the Huffington Post were there to render unto Obama their undying love. Even even-headed types like Thom Hartman and Rachel Maddow were trying to push the good Reverend off the national stage. Small problem, the good reverend was not quite ready to go gently into that good night. The man keeps resetting the fifteen minute clock of his notoriety. The man keeps providing those 15 second sound-bites that add fuel to the fire.

Some out there keep telling us that those snippets do not represent the "true" Reverend Jemimah Wright. Taken in context those quotes are not so bad. This is a meme especially beloved of Thom Hartman. Just listen to the five minutes before the GD America blast and then listen to the five minutes after goes the arguments. Sorry Thom, the unwashed masses are not going to hear the ten minutes in context. What they will hear again, and again, and again is that small snippet. The regular voter is not going to order Wrights collection of sermons from Amazon and ponder the deep truths of those musings. No, they are going to unplug their brains and watch Deal or No Deal. And when the 527 ads featuring Wright come on they will be convinced that Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Black Panther.
Not having the time, inclination or ready cash to actually buy Wrights books or his DVDs most of us do not have the deep knowledge of Reverend Wright's body of work like Mr. Hartman does. No, we just react viscerally to some one saying that 9/11 is America’s chickens come home to roost. We just remember the 3,000 lives snuffed out that day by an act of criminal barbarity. There is a time, a place, and a way to talk about blow-back from evil, stupid, and counterproductive foreign policy; Reverend Wright struck out on all three. What Wright did was dishonor himself and the memories of those who died that day. There are better ways to make sure your congregants are not sleeping in the pews.
As much as Hillary is pushing her response for all the political gain she can; it is at base a true and honest response from a white, middle-class, mainline Christian. Remember Hillary is not only a Methodist (and it is harder to get more white bread than that) but also a deeply religious Methodist to boot. I really could see her fiddling with her string of pearls before stalking out on such a ministerial diatribe as Wright delivered. I could see her in the Woman’s auxiliary discussing a way to give the offending minister the boot from the church. If someone would bring up the argument of context she would most likely laugh or roll her eyes and respond “please, some things are just out of bounds in this church.” I could see her doing this even if all she did for living was be a lawyer for Wal-Mart and harbored no political ambitions at all.
Some things are just wrong; they are out of bounds and hurtful. Wrights GD America was that; Pastors Robertson’s and Fawell’s comments on 9/11 were equally appalling. The “Values Voters” Debate Choral rendition of “Why Should God Bless America” was also a new low in pandering to the baser instincts of the Right-Wing Evangelical set. Wright has no monopoly on distorting the message of the good Rabi from Nazareth but that does not excuse him from doing so.
Wright would better serve his mission and his parishioners if he just stepped out of the limelight. Now would be an excellent time to go on a journey of self discovery in Africa. Yes, he could get reacquainted with the mother land and bask in the unfiltered African experience. A proudly black man he can walk with other proudly black men; he could re-connect with the African rhythms and the African soul. He should probe deeply into the real Africa; the remote villages far from cities. There he can find the authentic African core and bring it back to the American Diaspora; sometime after 04 November 2008.
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