« Schadenfreude | Main | Obama And Wright 2: In A Better World »

March 14, 2008

Comments

Hillary never had a cab whiz past her and not pick her up because her skin was the wrong color

Nor have I, that I know of. Of course, I've never chased down a cabbie and asked, either, not being fleet of foot enough to do that.

I have been not picked up by cabs, though. Not sure what I ought to conclude from those occurences, though.

Slarti, that's the sort of comment that's begging to be misinterpreted, a misinterpretation that you will say was not intended, truthfully no doubt, and then there'll be some back and forth and hard feelings on all sides.

I could do the condensed version, but on second thought I'll sit back and see what happens.

...and, wow. Jesus was black. Jesus' enemies were the Romans. Hillary was never a poor, black boy.

Yeah, I think Obama needs to separate himself from Wright.

Slarti, that's the sort of comment that's begging to be misinterpreted

Let the games begin! Which part, though, is doing the begging?

Slart, it's pretty easy to interpret it as implying that blacks' complaints about difficulty getting cabs because of their race are unfounded. Not that I would do that, mainly because it will lead to an endless thread derailment, but then that's going to happen anyway at this point.

What a phenomenal post, hilzoy. I'm sending all three of my readers over here post-haste!

Wait, it's more offensive to say that Jesus' enemies were the Romans than to say they were the Jews? And is talking about a black Jesus really so much worse than depicting him as European?

Well, it sounds like you're equating your experiences with cabs with those of black men. You can probably type the rest of the thread yourself. I'm just trying to pre-empt it all. I might even be wrong about what would have happened.

The idea that Jesus was black isn't exactly uncommon, from what I've heard. Not true, but not uncommon. He was a member of a despised group that was oppressed by the Romans, and that part of the analogy is valid.

On the 9/11 issue, it is of course moral idiocy to think that the murder of 3000 people is some sort of just response to America's own crimes. But if Obama gives either of the hilzoyan responses, one about moral similarities between 9/11 and what we've supported, and the other about how our Middle Eastern policies helped create support for Islamic extremism, then he can probably kiss the Presidency goodbye. I agree with both points, but the only response he can make that won't lead to wild distortions would be a seemingly heartfelt rejection of any implication that the US has ever done anything even remotely as bad as 9/11 or that anything we did might have had anything to do with why we are hated.

Not that I'm recommending anything. It's nice, not having to run for President and worry about how some issues are supposed to be lied about if you want to have any chance of winning.

"Obama has to continue to repudiate this view clearly and in no uncertain terms. Because whatever Rev. Wright actually meant, this is being portrayed as his blaming America for 9/11. And that's just unacceptable."

Yet, earlier, you say:
"but that our actions were among the causes of the 9/11 attack, then we could have a long and probably unedifying debate about the role of US support for repressive regimes in the Middle East in the genesis of terrorism. Personally, I doubt that that's what Rev. Wright had in mind. Even that, however, would not involve any actual blame."

Am I the only one who fails to see the difference in these two points, and how one can reconcile them? How one can insist that we are partly responsible for outcomes while insisting that we share no blame for those same outcomes? It seems like, at best, a profoundly silly excersize in semantics. Can someone help me understand what this point is really supposed to be?

Reject, denounce, renounce, repudiate, excommunicate, fire, disavow.

With friends like these...

This is a remarkable post. And, Hilzoy, I thank you for it. Honestly, I couldn't bring myself to grapple with the finer points of Wright's rhetoric. The implications of his words for the Obama campaign and for our broader discourse about race unsettled me too much. But I'm very grateful that you, and others, have taken the time and energy to think this through. Again, thanks.

halcy0n: I think there are all sorts of cases in which something I do is among the causes of something, but in which I am not to blame for it. Suppose I say something snippy to you, which causes you to pull out your Uzi and kill me and everyone else who happens to be around. Was my action among the causes of what you did? Sure. Would you have done it had I not said what I did? Suppose the answer is 'no'. Does it in any way follow that I am to blame for what you did? No.

As usual I agree with hilzoy, but this ongoing story has triggered a thought...

Disown, disavow, deny, denounce, reject, repudiate, obliterate, EXTERMINATE!

Where are the Daleks when you need them?

[Ugh, you made me do it!]

Gee, a black man is finally a serious candidate for the presidency, and suddenly the media and the public are all sorts of interested about what his pastor has to say from the pulpit. Who would've guessed that would be the case?

Jesus was black. Jesus' enemies were the Romans.

So, Jesus was not executed by the Roman authorities in Jerusalem? Huh.

Wait, it's more offensive to say that Jesus' enemies were the Romans than to say they were the Jews?

No, not more offensive. Just that the reality of the situation is that Pilate offered to release Jesus, but the Hebrew authorities demanded that he be crucified. Who's the enemy, here?

There's also an odd resonance in Wright's remark that points up the problem this creates. His "chickens coming home to roost" is presumably a reference back to Malcolm X's famous comment about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Considering how Obama has been noted to remind people of Kennedy, the fact that the speaker is this time one of his advisers suggests, as you said, that there's a certain kind of baggage that Obama has to escape to be true to the theme of his campaign.

Ari: thanks. (Stay tuned for Part 2!)

halcy0n, one more thing: I deliberately picked an example in which, depending on the details, I might legitimately blame myself for what I said (e.g., think that I had been much meaner than I ought to have been), but in which even so, the blame that would attach to me would be just swamped by the blame attaching to the person who chose to respond to this by pulling out his Uzi.

Nonetheless, supposing I didn't die in the hail of bullets, I might in some situations pay more attention to my own faults, not because I thought that God, or whichever cosmic apportioner of blame you want to imagine, would think that all those deaths were my fault, but because I am me, and thus I can correct my own faults in ways I cannot correct someone else's. My own moral character is my job; someone else's is not (except in the case of e.g. raising one's kids, though even that is different.)

It never ceases to amaze the people who think that if someone makes the point that "Osama attacked America because America did X, Y, and Z" that America is to blame, is at fault, or deserved it.

These same people go around saying things like "they hate us for our freeeeeeeeedoooooooooom!" As if that can't be construed in the same way.

It never ceases to amaze the people who think...

logic is not a major component of jingoism.

Slarti, you're apparently unaware of what a battle there is among New Testament scholars about exactly that point and many scholars (rightly or wrongly) think that Pilate and the Romans are painted in a better light than they deserve. The idea, I think, is that the Gospel authors were trying to make nice with the Romans by putting as much blame as possible on the Jewish leaders and that this has had the effect of causing 2000 years of Christian antisemitism. So it's a touchy subject.

Even if you take the NT accounts at face value, the Romans are still the ones who crucified him.

I don't know enough to be able to have an opinion about how much of this is political correctness, though when you read a little (which is all I've read) about modern NT scholarship some of it does sound like politics. To my mind it's not exactly unbelievable that both Jewish religious leaders and the Romans might both have wanted Jesus executed. Whether Pilate had any qualms would depend on what sort of man he was. Supposedly the extra-biblical evidence is that he wasn't the sort who had qualms, but I wonder if we have enough info about the man to be making judgments about what he would or would not have done in one particular case.

I think one dilemma that Obama faces is that he has to deal with Wright at the same time he has to fend off rumors that he's a secret crypto-Muslim Manchurian Candidate. Rev. Wright not only undercuts the rumors that Obama is a secret Muslim, but in addition, Obama has also credited the reverend with leading him to become a devout Christian. Antagonizing Wright could have short-term benefits, but long-term blowback. Of course, this is separate from considerations of what is the right thing for Barack to do from an ethical standpoint.

I don't think the Muslim fears are a big problem for Obama.

I do think the Wright situation is a big problem for Obama.

So, to the extent that people can say: "Oh, I guess Obama's not a Muslim because he belongs to a radical church that hates America", I don't see it as improving his chances.

And, while I agree with a lot of what Hilzoy says, I have to say that the level of hate and venom that Wright exudes really bothers me, more so than just the incendiary rhetoric.

And it's the top story on foxnews.com and abcnews.go.com right now.

What's wrong with you people? Do you know no shame?

Especially you hilzoy. Why are you willing to rationalize and excuse black racism? You think the ABC videos are cherry picked exceptions? Or the Louis Farrakhan endorsement by Wright’s church another cherry-picked exception? Wright has been making similar inflammatory and racist and anti-Semitic sermons for years.


The question that Obama needs to answer is why he waited this long to even slightly distance himself from Wright and his church?

Didn't Obama have a moral obligation to speak out against those kinds of outlandish and hateful sermons?

Are children at those sermons? Obama's children for instance? If so, doesn't it trouble you they'd hear this kind of racist blame-it-on-the whites rhetoric, year after year?

I'm not sure that the people who fall for the crypto-Muslim smears would make a significant distinction between that and the "radical church that hates America", which could just as easily be crypto-Muslim as well, assuming they even give that much thought to the matter.

I agree with Jay Jerome. I mean, what the hell did white people ever do to black people to deserve this?

Of course the ABC videos are cherry-picked. What else would they be? A statistically random sample from all the sermons Wright has ever given?

That doesn't mean they're not a problem, of course.

I'm pretty sure I said "I hate America" once in comments somewhere. Everyone better get in line to denounce & repudiate me.

I think it is indeed politically necessary for Obama to explain his relationship with Wright, to explain his profound disagreement with those statements & why he went to that church anyway, to provide the press with the full text of that "Audacity to Hope" sermon, etc. etc. I'm a little surprised their response has been a bit slow, because they had to see this one coming a mile off. I don't have a real problem with Obama asking him to step down from whatever official campaign position either, though I don't know if that would do any good.

That said, this story displays something really sick & awful about how the game of politics is played in America. It's not what you stand for, and it's not what you do; it's who you are, and who you associate with. Obama is scrupulously, scrupulously careful to be unifying instead of divisive about race, but he fraternizes with other black people who are too angry--look at his wife's thesis! Look at the worst 10 minutes worth of hundreds & hundreds of hours of his preacher's sermons!

Forget Hagee. Forget Parsley. Let's talk about Bush: does anyone want to disagree with me that the President has actually authorized certain things being done to certain people that are far more objectionable than what Wright said? Things that are actually serious crimes--as John McCain himself has acknowledged? Should McCain reject & denounce Bush and Cheney? What are the odds that THAT becomes a campaign issue? What are the odds that the press so much as mentions it?

It's not what you do that determines what's in bounds and out-of-bounds; it's who you are, and who you do it too.

Obama, of course, has to play by these rules. He can try to change them but anyone who seeks the presidency has to deal with the system as it exists now. And I want him to run a smart campaign, and a smart campaign requires reassuring people about his controversial, militant retired pastor--who in fact has said some genuinely offensive things; there's nothing wrong with Obama saying so. So I hope Obama takes hilzoy's advice. And yet, I have less than no interest in helping to enforce the current "it's not what you do, it's not what you say, it's whether you associate with Our Kind of People or not" rules of the game.

Jay, which of Wright's statements that hilzoy quoted is racist? I can see an argument for the claim that it's racist to dismiss Hillary's struggles because she's a white woman, but most of the other statements don't seem to be. Or are you thinking of other statements by Wright? Which?

btw, $5 to anyone who can cherry pick me a quotation like this from Hagee or Parsley:

The good news that's coming is for all people! Not white people - all people. Not black people - all people. Not rich people - all people. Not poor people - all people. I know you'll hate this ... not straight people - all people! Not gay people - all people. Not American people - all people ... Jesus came for Iraqis and Afghanis. Jesus was sent for Iranians and Ukranians. All people! Jesus is God's gift to the brothers in jail and the sisters in jeopardy. The Lord left his royal courts on high to come for all those that you love, yes, but he also came for those folk you can't stand."

Please be aware that some people apparently think it is racist of blacks to put greater emphasis on issues that affect them more on a day-to-day basis when it comes to preferring candidates.

hilzoy:

The odd thing is, I can't help but think I must be misunderstanding you, because I largely agree with the rest of the post. I keep coming back to this phrase: "Because whatever Rev. Wright actually meant, this is being portrayed as his blaming America for 9/11. And that's just unacceptable." And that's the part that I just can't get to make sense. *Why* is it unacceptable, if, as you say even in your hypothetical, some non-zero amount of blame can be apportioned to all actors?

This is the story I see in my head, as a parallel to your gunman story. Suppose I know that you spend your nights freezing because you can't pay your heating bill. So, I go to your house and light a bonfire. In your living room. To absolutely no one's surprise, your house burns down, and a portion of your neighborhood around it, and I, while acting with the most sterling of intentions, will receive no small amount of the blame for this situation, because I acted, and my actions affected the outcome. In a bad way.

Saying that it's "just unacceptable" seems to me to be similar to looking at something like the Cuban Missile Crisis and insisting that saying some of the causes of that might be American actions is similarly unacceptable. It only makes sense that we're not at all culpable if you deliberately ignore the broader context.

And, where you talk about our own moral character being our own job, I agree. And if the government is to act on my behalf, how can it be held accountable if to point out that it's actions might be to blame in a case is unaccaeptable, especially in a situation like this where it's not particularly hard to point out some instances where the US is, at a minimum, responsible for some questionable actions in the region?

[T]his is being portrayed as his blaming America for 9/11. And that's just unacceptable.

I beg to differ.

The greatest threat the United States faces is its citizens' refusal to recognize the fundamentally evil nature of the modern United States.

The see-no-evil pro-American jingoists (and in this category I include everyone to the right of Chomsky) need to face up to the fact that they're not 'moderate' or 'centrist'; their support for American exceptionalism sets them firmly in the right-wing imperialist camp, no matter how much they support same-sex marriage and universal health care. The problem is that American exceptionalism is so fundamental to the American zeitgeist that any alternative view is 'just unacceptable'. And so the Overton Window needs to be pushed hard to the left, and the best way to do that is to repeat 'unacceptable' statements like 'America is to blame for 9/11' as loudly and as many times as possible, even if they're not strictly accurate, until Americans grow inured to the reflexive patriotic shock they feel at any criticism of America and become able to calmly consider the United States' culpability in the many, many crimes against the Arab people (among others) that lead groups like al-Quaeda to see an attack on the World Trade Centers as a legitimate act of war.

That's not to say that Wright's comments aren't a threat to Obama's Presidential ambitions. They certainly are. But they also need to be said.

hacy0n: it might be just a matter of what one means by "blame". Normally, when I talk about "blaming someone for X", I don't just mean that that person had some role in bringing X about, and that what she did to bring X about is itself something she should blame herself for. I mean something more like: she is primarily to blame.

Thus, in the example I used, it's one thing to say 'I shouldn't have been so snippy and dismissive', but (to me) another thing altogether to say: I am to blame for the deaths of all those people. That, to my ear, omits the fact that it's the gunman who is to blame for that. I might have done something that contributed to what he did, but he's the one who up and decided to get out his gun and start shooting. That's essential to what ended up happening, and I am not to blame for *that*.

hilzoy: re your response to halcyon:

Why are you flying off into the wild blue yonder? The issue is Obama’s continual acquiescence to Wright’s racist remarks, not the causal repercussions of using a Uzi.

You have read Obama’s autobiography, right?

In it he shows he’s willing to remain silent when blacks badmouth whites --like the barbershop conversation in Chicago filled with disparaging remarks about white people and rationalizations about reverse racism (just black people evening things out) and black political corruption being OK because ‘the white cats’ cheat ‘on every damn thing every minute of their lives.”

Imagine if that was a white barbershop, with a white barber and white customers saying the same things about blacks. Prejudiced race talk is wrong, black or white. But Obama didn’t say a word in opposition, just sat there nodding, having a good ole time, more worried about what his new black friends would think if they knew he was half-white, or how they would respond if his white grandfather walked into the barbershop.

Someone running for president should be better than a run of the mill 'brother' badmouthing rednecks, don't you think? Or at least change churches when he realized his was perpetuating negative white stereotypes on a continuous basis.

The greatest threat the United States faces is its citizens' refusal to recognize the fundamentally evil nature of the modern United States.

The see-no-evil pro-American jingoists . . .

Can we get a little daylight between "see no evil" and "fundamentally evil?" Thanks.

Or at least change churches when he realized his was perpetuating negative white stereotypes on a continuous basis.

Unless you can prove to me that you, say, urge people to change churches when they realize theirs are perpetuating negative homosexual stereotypes on a regular basis, I'm going to assume you're just being a tendentious yutz here.

Imagine if that was a white barbershop, with a white barber and white customers saying the same things about blacks.

And imagine if there were no power imbalances in American culture that would contextualize or ameliorate what you're talking about here.


KCinDC: "Of course the ABC videos are cherry-picked. What else would they be? A statistically random sample from all the sermons Wright has ever given?"

They were cherry-picked by Wright and his church, since ABC got them off a video the church sells...

But if you want to rationalize black hate speech against whites, that's your prerogative.

"And imagine if there were no power imbalances in American culture that would contextualize or ameliorate what you're talking about here."

I hope this isn't too hard for you to grasp, Phil -- but two wrongs don't make a right.

White racism wrong.
Black racism wrong.

Get it?

For anyone who's interested, definitions of "hate speech":

(1)"abusive, insulting, intimidating, and harassing speech that at the least fosters hatred and discrimination and at its worst promotes violence and killing."

(2) "Hate speech is a term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a person or group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, moral or political views, socioeconomic class, occupation or appearance (such as height, weight, and hair color), mental capacity and any other distinction-liability."

You're a true visionary, Jay Jerome.

"And imagine if there were no power imbalances in American culture that would contextualize or ameliorate what you're talking about here."

it's easy if you try...

hmm, doesn't quite scan.

I mean, a dumber person might not be able to see some nontrivial differences between black men doing nothing more than grousing in the barber shop or -- gasp! -- church about their station in white American, and the institutionalized prejudice and racism with which white America has treated black men and women for centuries.

A dumber person might not. But I know that you, Jay, are not that person. Even though you facilely distribute everything into two large boxes, called "white racism" and "black racism." No context or history for you!

Also, "'brother'?" Do you even know any black people?

They were cherry-picked by Wright and his church, since ABC got them off a video the church sells...

You believe that ABC selected a representative clip randomly selected from all the videos the church sells?

Donald, there's nothing in the New Testament that cuts the Romans much slack. If there's an attack dog on your block, and you feed your chihuaha to it, you've killed your dog. The attack dog was just the means you used.

That's how I look at it, anyway.

We could map this to the recent situation where the priest was sentenced for genocide, possibly.

IOW, I'll stipulate arbitrary amounts of brutality on the part of the Romans, but Jesus was handed over to the Romans by his own people.

Also, "'brother'?" Do you even know any black people?

Hoping he doesn't say, "Some of my best friends are black."

Not really disagreeing, Slarti, just telling you some of what I've read. I don't have any way of knowing if the NT authors slanted things a bit. To me, and quite apart from my religious beliefs, it seems entirely plausible that the power structure both Jewish and Roman in 30 A.D. would see Jesus as a threat.

Anyway, back to Obama and Wright. I don't have much to add to the thread, except carefully distributed "dittos". I even agree with ithaqua's sentiments, but I'm not sure that his proposed method would get the job done--I'd love to see Chomskyan style sentiments sweep the country, but Chomsky himself was pretty careful not to say that we had it coming, for the simple reason that the 3000 people who died didn't have that coming. You don't get people to see that terrorism is wrong by saying complimentary things about acts of terrorism. That was Ward Churchill territory and Ward doesn't seem like a very bright guy.

I agree with almost everything you wrote Hilzoy. Though I can't be to bothered with someone in Obamas cycle being a bit radical. I actually had more of a problem with the anti-gay guy earlier in the campaign. But Obamas views are clear and differ from the pastors.

But I disagree with your example " Suppose I say something snippy to you, which causes you to pull out your Uzi and kill me and everyone else who happens to be around. ". To a lot of folks the USA is responsible for more that 'being snippy'. Comparisons for them might feel more like 'suppose I regularly transport violent pedosexuals to your neighbourhood and one of those abused and killed your little kid'.

Are we seriously discussing the Gospels as if they are literally true?

dutch: point taken.

If Obama's minister's point were, in fact, about the particular people who perpetrated 9/11, then one could argue about whether e.g. supporting the Egyptian government in some way made us to blame. And there I'd say: I don't even think the Egyptian government is to blame for 9/11; I certainly don't think we are. And the reason is the same, though the example is, as you say, way different in scale: it's because of the intervening choices of the persons who really are to blame. (Mohammed Atta et al.)

I didn't mean to imply that our support for the Egyptian government, let alone our support for the apartheid government in SA, counted as nothing more than "saying something snippy">

Oh, and a cartoon for Jay Jerome.

I think this is all bullshit. I refer you to the inimitable Arthur Silber who provides the crowning example of candidate purity.

Rev. Wright is not running for President. What Wright believes or says is completely without importance in choosing a President. Let's get off this BS and figure out how to beat McCain.

Jay—
I’m at a disadvantage, haven’t read the book, but I’m not sure in the barbershop case you weren’t intended to come away with the idea that Obama was a human being who had failed to stand up from time to time against dissing white folk. In fact in the bogus talk about his writing of his drug use, it was observed he may have exaggerated it.
This constitutes no great revelation, but speaks of ordinary humanity. It is not a history of calculated corruption. It is a familiar failing in most lives; it can be transposed to circumstances (at least) almost everyone has experienced.
As well, in the world of old-fashioned church-going, discontent with a pastor’s preaching is not only common, it’s proverbially endemic. Members of a church are committed to their congregation despite failings, including bad preaching. Forgiveness is after all central to Christian teaching and belief (however poorly practiced) and most congregations demand a lot of it, composed as they are of a diverse collection of normal people. A lot of tolerance for problematic preaching is also usually necessary.
Finally, church going is better conceived aa a commitment rather than a consumer choice. Satisfying preaching is desirable, but a place to be of service is more important in the world of church-going belief.
FWIW.

then one could argue about whether e.g. supporting the Egyptian government in some way made us to blame

Oh, but that is why I said 'might feel to them', to make clear it didn't have to be an objective truth. Though I can't help noticing that you have now confined the group who might feel victim to Egypt. I'm not sure (but tend to doubt) wether the persons flying the planes were doing so for Egypt.

dutch: I was just trying to think of which specific grievance might have motivated someone like Atta. As he was Egyptian, that leapt to mind. I didn't mean to so confine it.

for Egypt =/ for the Egyptian government, but = nationalistic feelings.

I didn't mean to so confine it.

Ah, good. Back to the real thread than ;)

"...and, wow. Jesus was black."

While scripture does not specify His skin tone, Jesus was a Mediterranean Jew. He spent the early part of his childhood in Egypt, where He and Mary and Joseph presumably blended in with the populace. The likelihood is that Jesus' appearance was more Nubian than European.

They are, as I said, in some ways the mirror image of Ferraro's comments, which I also found genuinely objectionable, and which made me think that Clinton should ask Ferraro to resign from her finance committee.

I just read Ballon Juice and read that she did resign but still repeated the comments, feeling that she should be able to make them if she was just a private person. (which is less than smart imho).

Appearantly, reading the comments, both F's comments and her resignation were all part of Clintons masterplan and show how vile she actually is for letting supporters play the race card. Since it is likely to backfire on Clinton too it can also be viewed as proof of her incapability to run a good campaign.


Can we get a little daylight between "see no evil" and "fundamentally evil?" Thanks.

Nope. That's the whole point. The United States government - and the social forces that give it its marching orders - is/are rotten to the core, ie, 'fundamentally evil'; the people who don't or won't see this are its enablers, and so 'see no evil'. The idea that the Democrats are better than the Republicans when it comes to imperialist foreign policy and economic exploitation is a symptom of this 'see no evil' mentality. [I'm going to vote for the Democrat, on the grounds that sometimes the lesser evil is the best choice, but we really do need an actual, viable left-wing party in America instead of Right and Righter...]

While scripture does not specify His skin tone, Jesus was a Mediterranean Jew. He spent the early part of his childhood in Egypt, where He and Mary and Joseph presumably blended in with the populace. The likelihood is that Jesus' appearance was more Nubian than European.

Jesus wouldn't have had to 'blend in'. The Roman province of Egypt was remarkably cosmopolitan - there were sizable populations of native Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Jews, especially in Alexandria, where two of the five districts made up a semi-autonomous 'Jewish quarter'.

And on a side note, AFAIK, neither Mediterranean Jews nor Egyptians were particularly Nubian in appearance.

Let's cut to the chase.

In the naked calculus of winning elections, John McCain won this round.

Hagee and Parsley preach to maybe 20% of the American choir and McCain is not required to apologize.

Wright preaches to maybe 12% of the American choir, if that, if we don't count Thomas Sowell, who is willing to put up with the previous choir.

Obama is required to apologize, and I spit on the ground when I say it. He's going to be required to apologize for every instance of "outside agitation" in America for the last 250 years. By November, he'll be required to apologize for scalping Englishmen on Nantucket.

And he will, if he wants to win. Again, I spit, but I have bigger fish to fry.

And if Clinton gets the nomination, she'll be required to apologize for all of the above, too, because the masters of this horseshit will be at work. They've already started at NRO and Redstate, and cripes, everywhere.

There is a big difference in degree, of course, but I remember having a discussion circa 1967 with my grandfather (whom I adored) about how blacks had nothing to complain about. He used the "N" word regularly, being a product of time and place, though completely racist and wrong; he would, however, here me out.

He brought up Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the singer who became active in radical Leftist politics, including the Communist Party, and thought Robeson, the "N" who owed everything he had accomplished to America, should be the one to apologize.

Things change, but only by degree.

I hate this Presidential election even more than the last 50 or 60.

Look, when the Democratic primary is over, whomever the loser, he or she is going to join arms with the winner. And they'd better, because if their principles are so effing delicate as to divide the Democratic Party to let the Parsleys, Norquists, Hagees, Cheneys, and ilk take it another time, then nobody gives a crap about winning.

Yes, I know McCain is "moderate" compared to the other dopes he beat a few weeks ago, but the same old suspects are going to submit their chits and here we go again.

Jay Jerome, I see your point. I do. Now, what are you gonna do when Bill Clinton campaigns for Obama in September at black Southern churches doing his best Aretha Franklin imitation?

Conversely, what are Obama supporters going to do when Obama campaigns for Clinton arm in arm, should she win?

Suck it up.

An example of fish I wanna fry, and the aquarium is about full. On FOX, of all places, it was reported that the death rate among heart attact victims transported by ambulance to hospitals has risen by 48%.
Why? Because the ambulances are commonly rerouted to second hospitals, arriving too late, and even then the wait time to see a doctor in an emergency room has risen from eight minutes to 20 minutes, whether or not a person has insurance.

The emergency rooms are clogged by uninsured patients seeking routine care and the hospitals are going bankrupt serving this population.

I thank Republican William Kristol for this murderous little scheme, who said during the debacle over Hillary Clinton's botched health-care plan in 1993-4 that we don't need to reform our health care system. The poor and uninsured can continue to use emergency rooms, he opined.

I blame Phil Gramm, too. Chief advisor to John McCain.

Besides wishing that William Kristol's next ambulance trip involves two flat tires and a wrong turn, not to mention backing over Phil Gramm's colostomy bag, I want to defeat him and his Party and his ilk and his mother and most definitely his father.

I don't give a crap about much else.

Incidentally, did anyone notice today that there was a major run on a a big-name investment bank and brokerage firm -- Bear Stearns, the latest institution to go completely illiquid, overnight? The Federal Reserve took extraordinary steps to bail it out to avoid a bloodbath.

According to Republican Representative Jeb Henserling (Redstate's on it), all of the economic problems we've had lately are the Democratic Party's fault. Mortgage debt, oil prices at $110 a barrel, credit crisis, you name it.

Just like the 2001-3 recession and bear market were the fault of Muslim Democrat faggots. Even though it started the same week candidate George W. Bush layed out his tax-cut plans in year 2000.

They are already on it.

Note to self: fewer words, more outrage next time

"hear me out" not "here"

Well, of course Jesus was black--theologically--and every other skin tone as well. Consider the implications of the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe--the mother of god appearing to Mexican farmer in 1531 as a Native American, speaking Nahuatl.

Slartibartfast reminds us that Jesus was handed over to the Romans by his own people, but of course, they were all his own people, Jews and Romans both.

I don't really believe in this stuff myself, but if you're going to talk about it, get it right.

Can we get a little daylight between "see no evil" and "fundamentally evil?" Thanks.

Nope. That's the whole point.

Ah, OK. I can ignore you, then.

The United States government . . . is/are rotten to the core . . . I'm going to vote for the Democrat . . .

Participating at all makes you complicit, you know. So I guess you're one of the "see no evil" types, too. Fun!

"Ah, OK. I can ignore you, then."

How convenient for you.

"Participating at all makes you complicit, you know. So I guess you're one of the "see no evil" types, too. Fun!"

I really was hoping to head off the anti-Nader rants. Didn't expect to be the target of pro-third-party ones, but then, I guess I expected people to read what I wrote instead of arguing with the straw-me in their heads :P

For what it's worth: I proudly voted for Nader in 2000, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I held my nose and voted for Kerry in 2004, and I have no regrets about that either. And I'll be holding my nose again this November, because, really, the Dems and Repubs are both evil, but one side is worse, and keeping my hands clean isn't as much of an issue when there's actually a distinction, as there wasn't in 2000...

And really, Obama does seem to be a nice guy. Maybe he'll be open to at least consider some genuine change...

I love John Thullen.

I am triggered by the (forgive small errors in wording please) quote from Obama that he did not support statements that "denigrate our great country". I absolutely think he should say this etc. but I personally find statements to the detriment of one's own country useful and healthy. To quote Patrick O'Brian:

"patriotism is a word; and one that generally comes to mean either my country, right or wrong, which is infamous, or my country is always right, which is imbecile."

I, as a European, percieve this as a cultural difference. In America patriotism is much less suspect than in Europe. Not speaking specifically about Obama, but across the entire spectrum of candidates: I personally would give more credence to a candidate that was able to say that the US was not always great.

There are a lot of interesting comments above, but I've made my insights elsewhere (http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2008/03/barack_has_some.php) clearly.

I agree that one of the major problems is assessing the anger of this pastor and how that anger might be a reflection of his community's beliefs. However, I fail to see the connection that can legitimately be made between this Wright's anger and Obama's campaign.

Personally, as a PhD candidate in religious studies, none of this is surprising. We could find much the same if we looked at Hillary's past or McCain's (and people are dredging this up as we speak).

I think the bigger issue is the ignorance that people have in even trying to approach an interpretation of this sermon that is balanced or fair. My position is this: if you haven't read James Cone? If you have no idea what a "black Jesus" might be? Then you should shut up--your ignorance only fuels the fire. There are long-standing academic discussions and theological positions that are behind Wright's perspective. I don't expect Obama to share them. I don't have to believe in everything Wright says to agree with some of it.

Consider, for instance, G-dub. He speaks "on the behalf of Americans" every day. Do I believe that his inarticulate dribble is what I think? No. In fact, I think it's nearly always the opposite of what a reasonably well informed person would think. He's my President--but I don't need to distance myself from him in order to disagree with EVERYthing that comes out of his mouth.

Barnabas,

I totally agree with everything you've said. Unfortunately, I suspect that saying "Its ok to criticize America" will remain political suicide for any Presidential candidate.

I personally would give more credence to a candidate that was able to say that the US was not always great.

HRC and McCain are/might be able to articulate that the US is not always great because they speak from a position of the majority, so it is perceived as being magnanimous, while Obama speaks from the position of the minority, can't do that because he would be perceived as being ungrateful. Just as the high payed consultant can come in and make recommendations that would probably get the mailroom guy fired if he made the precise same recommendations, to make the example more mundane. Knowing this power imbalance is there is one reason the commentariat skews towards Obama and why you might feel we are not extending our full critical.

"I'd rather not get into Israel and Palestine"

It is a shame because outrage at US support for Israel's crimes motivated the 9/11 hijackers to attack the US.

And people know damn well that was the motive. Pointing out a motive for a crime does not mean you endorse the crime. I should not have to point that out but in an environment where people are unwilling to discuss Israel and Palestine, it needs to be pointed out. Israel supporters often resort to social blackmail of accusing those who tell the truth of "justifying" terrorism.

"I'd rather not get into Israel and Palestine"

It is a shame because outrage at US support for Israel's crimes motivated the 9/11 hijackers to attack the US.

And people know damn well that was the motive. Pointing out a motive for a crime does not mean you endorse the crime. I should not have to point that out but in an environment where people are unwilling to discuss Israel and Palestine, it needs to be pointed out. Israel supporters often resort to social blackmail of accusing those who tell the truth of "justifying" terrorism.

Barnabas -- you are the only person on here who has said anything sensible or remotely relevant.

The rest of you all are clearly white people, and a particular set at that: the ones who don't know or have any longterm intimate relationships with black people, who only bother to think about black people during Black history month, when worried about your personal or national safety or when there's a scandal, at which time you go to YouTube, CNN or another white friends' blog to find out a tidbit of what you want to know. Now, how far can we get with that baseline of knowledge? Not very...The best and worst thing about all this: you all are the decent kind. God help America. I am so pissed and disappointed in the level of the discourse on this issue that I think I will sign off until November when I go to vote.

Long Bench,
I*m a bit confused. Barnabas has been complaining that we have subjected Obama to a lighter treatment (or HRC to a heavier one). Now, I can understand that we might be subjecting Obama to the bigotry of low expectations, but many of us have argued that we have chosen to support Obama because of what we feel is a careful consideration as many factors that seem relevant.

Now, you may be arguing that because 'we' feel that Obama must distance himself from Wright, our understanding of the basic African American viewpoint is flawed. However, a number of people have pointed out that while we feel that Rev. Wright may be speaking the truth, the current political environment demands that Obama distance himself. In fact, a number of us have wondered why a black minister gets excoriated for this while a white minister gets a pass. Perhaps I am not understanding, but I'm not sure why this would gain your censure.

I would also point out that there is a small but vocal Asian contingent here, of which I feel that I am a part of. So the 'the rest of you are clearly white people' is creating dichotomies that are not necessarily true.

"And I'll be holding my nose again this November, because, really, the Dems and Repubs are both evil, but one side is worse, and keeping my hands clean isn't as much of an issue when there's actually a distinction, as there wasn't in 2000..."

Ah.

Please bear with the fact that some of us are, clearly, confused and misinformed about that.

The rest of you all are clearly white people, and a particular set at that:

Hm. Don't think so.

Got our own set of problems, but not white.

I am actually (and this is my Irish mother's fault) so damn white that I can illuminate dim rooms and bright red in summer. I am however delighted to discover I make sense on occasion and almost worried to be in agreement with Mr Turbulence for the first time. Must become more contentious...

Liberal Japonicus -- Thanks for the correction. I was pissed when I wrote that; well, that's obvious. And its funny that you should be the one to respond, because it was supposed to say "besides Barnabas and Liberal Japonicus"; So, sorry about that. And Barnabas, don't let your head get too big. I got the poster wrong (looked at the top instead of bottom of message); I should have said "Dave". Note to self: don't write missives when you're tired and cranky.

I still stand by what I said though. We are part of the political environment shaping how this thing plays out, aren't we? The "chatter" on blogs count for a whole lot, and I haven't heard much nuance in terms of how Obama ought to respond. Distancing -- I don't know what that means, or how much more you expect Obama to do, given what transpired when he decided to push Wright off the podium when he was announcing his nomination. Maybe part of the change that we ought to be asking for is that a single black person not be held responsible or accountable for what every other black person does or says. It seems to me that this "distancing" argument only reinforces the problem.

And today, lordy, lordy, today all of the [white] press folks who gathered in church to get their scoop on TUCC, they got more than they anticipated. I can't wait to see the spins they put on what they saw/heard today.

Something from the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/obamas-minister-committe_b_91774.html

!! Long Bench, thanks for the link.

Maybe part of the change that we ought to be asking for is that a single black person not be held responsible or accountable for what every other black person does or says.

That's no concern of mine. I'm not exactly casting far afield to see what concerns other people have, but I haven't seen this one yet. I think the concern is more that Obama is a member of a church where rhetoric of this nature has been delivered.

Not quite as generalized a concern as if some random black person said it, I'm guessing.

longbench,
no worries. Certainly my view is not a clear one, as I live in Japan now (a country with a number of very strange fixations and notions about race and self-identity), but trying to get a fix on these issues, so I'm really hoping that you won't vanish until the election :)

Regarding:

Maybe part of the change that we ought to be asking for is that a single black person not be held responsible or accountable for what every other black person does or says.
Slart: "I'm not exactly casting far afield to see what concerns other people have, but I haven't seen this one yet."

And yet I daresay that the overwhelming majority of African-American citizens, and people reasonably familiar with their situation in American culture, would tell you that this is an incredibly widespread and powerful meme prevalent throughout our politics and polity, particularly the more rightward one tends to go.

They could all be wrong, and over-paranoid, and over-sensitive, and such, to be sure. And I don't intend to speak for, or imply I'm speaking for, anyone else: call my above a guess.

And yet I daresay that the overwhelming majority of African-American citizens, and people reasonably familiar with their situation in American culture, would tell you that this is an incredibly widespread and powerful meme prevalent throughout our politics and polity, particularly the more rightward one tends to go.

Truly. While influential, just how much sway do you suppose a pastor have over his parishoners, particularly in non-spiritual matters?

The concern over Wright's relationship to Obama as opposed to McCain's relationship to Dobson et al seems to pre-suppose that a partcular community thinks alike and acts alike and EXPRESSES themselves alike in all ways.

And I'm not sure people realize how that looks to other folks who don't share that particular concern.

Truly. While influential, just how much sway do you suppose a pastor have over his parishoners, particularly in non-spiritual matters?

I suppose it all depends on how disjoint his POV is from that of his congregation, in aggregate. It's possible, though, that the binding force of the black community manifested in that church might be sufficient to overcome any repulsion force due to disagreement, assuming there is significant disagreement. In any event, it's the question of whether there is, in fact, disagreement between Obama and Wright that interests me.

I suppose it all depends on how disjoint his POV is from that of his congregation, in aggregate. It's possible, though, that the binding force of the black community manifested in that church might be sufficient to overcome any repulsion force due to disagreement, assuming there is significant disagreement. In any event, it's the question of whether there is, in fact, disagreement between Obama and Wright that interests me.

In tone or in substance? And to what degree?

Because there are a lot of people, of every sort of color, that agree with the substance of what Wright said, and I think it's clear that Obama disagrees with the tone.

Somewhat tangential, but on black men in prison: While the statement is technically true, if you look at only college AGE black men (which of course, is the more relevant comparison) then it's supposedly false

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad