DO YOU CARE?: The REAL Barack Obama

4 05 2008

Probably not.

    Young Obama

In other news, The Times actually has a really engaging piece that isn’t bias or laced with subliminal right wing messages!????

“Barack Obama was a religious sceptic with an identity crisis when he first heard the Rev Jeremiah Wright preach back in 1982.

During the sermon something strange happened: the pastor’s words of hope stirred Obama’s insight that the stories of ordinary black people were his own story, and he felt a profound desire to “give oneself up to God”. Tears streamed down his cheeks.

It may be one of fate’s cruelties that Wright, who became a father figure to the fatherless Obama, could go down in history as the man whose incendiary rhetoric helped to prevent the young Democratic politician from becoming the first black president of the United States.”

“Friendship with the 66-year-old Chicago cleric, who blessed the marriage of Obama and his wife Michelle, baptised their daughters and helped the young mixed-race man to understand himself as an African-American, is now taking a toll on Obama’s chances of beating Hillary Clinton to the Democratic nomination. Polls last week showed his once-formidable 20-point lead in North Carolina, whose primary is on Tuesday, had been cut to between 5-10%.

The falling out between the two men, after videos of Wright’s most outrageous utterances (notably “God damn America”) were spliced together and replayed in an endless loop on news channels, came to a head last week. The unrepentant pastor came out fighting, flanked by some of the most divisive figures in black America, including Marion Barry, Washington’s disgraced former mayor, and Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther party.

Wright defended his remark about “chickens coming home to roost” on September 11. He called Louis Farrakhan, the acting head of the Nation of Islam, “one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century”. He evoked whites going to morning worship and putting on Klan sheets at night. He defended his claim that the US government invented the HIV virus to decimate blacks.

Obama is reported to have felt stunned and betrayed, particularly by his mentor’s suggestion that the presidential candidate privately agreed with him. In March Obama seemed to have defused the uproar over his association with Wright by comparing him to an “old uncle” who sometimes says disagreeable things. His nuanced speech about race in America won praise. He refused to disown his friend, but last week he felt compelled to denounce him: “Whatever relationship I had with Rev Wright has changed.”

Wright, a leading exponent of prophetic oratory in the style of Martin Luther King, predicted the schism with Obama a year ago. “If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” he told The New York Times.

However, he appears to have been stung when Obama did just that. The disengagement began when Obama declared his candidacy in early 2007. Wright, invited to deliver an invocation at the event, was told the evening before that he was being stood down. According to Wright, Obama told him: “You can get kind of rough in the sermons. Rather than have you out front, we thought it would be best to not have you do the invocation.”

As he found himself edged out further, Wright directed his ire at Obama’s political adviser, David Axelrod, a white Chicago political operative.

Some commentators blame Wright’s ego for the spiralling row. “It’s easy to hurt his feelings,” said Richard Sewell, one of Wright’s deacons. After all, he has just retired after 36 years as pastor to the Trinity United Church of Christ in inner-city Chicago, during which time his congregation exploded from 87 to nearly 10,000, making it the denomination’s largest. A much sought-after figure, loaded with honours, he remains one of the country’s most dynamic preachers. Proud of having served his country, he was suddenly being cast as an unpatriotic pariah.

Others detect jealousy of his former protégé’s effortless rise. But at the heart of the estrangement lies a generational struggle in the black community. Whereas Obama exhorts Americans to heal their racial wounds and transcend their differences, Wright cannot forget them.

Like the Democratic activist Jesse Jackson, he repeatedly invokes perceived injustices. This can sound like paranoia – though Wright’s assertion of an HIV plot against blacks stems from the notorious Tuskegee medical experiment in 1932, when 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis were deliberately left without proper treatment.

“The whole generation that Rev Wright represents is expressing what they call a righteous anger, the anger from the failed promises of America,” said Dwight Hopkins, a professor at the University of Chicago divinity school. This plays to white fears of the angry black man and the economic competition he represents. But Wright does not focus exclusively on white America, according to Martin Marty, a retired professor of religious history: “He is very hard on his own people. He criticises them for their lack of fidelity in marriage, for black-on-black crime.” Wright, who is married to Ramah, has four daughters, a son and three grandchildren.

In his speech on race, Obama tried to excuse the minister’s denunciations of America by saying that for blacks of his generation, memories of “humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away”.

However, Wright’s background was one of comparative privilege.

He was born in Philadelphia on September 22, 1941, the son of Jeremiah, who for 62 years was pastor at Grace Baptist church in Germantown, a racially mixed area of largely middle-class families. His mother, Mary, was the first black to teach at Germantown high.

Rather than attend the more racially mixed high school where his mother taught, Wright travelled a few miles to the elite Central high school. The student body was then 90% white and about three-quarters Jewish. Former students attest to the absence of racial tension. One of them, the black comedian Bill Cosby, said Central was “wonderful”.

School reports noted that Wright was “the epitome of what Central endeavours to imbue in its students”. In 1961, after two years at Virginia Union University, he was inspired by President John F Kennedy’s challenge: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Waiving his student deferment, he left college and joined the Marine Corps as a private. As he pointed out last week, this was in stark contrast to Vice-President Dick Cheney, who in the same period received five deferments.

In 1963, after two years of service, Wright transferred to the US Navy to train as a cardiopulmonary technician. He was assigned to the medical team charged with the care of President Lyndon B Johnson after his surgery in 1966 and received three commendations before he left the next year.

Wright enrolled at Howard University in Washington DC, earning a master’s degree in English before studying at the University of Chicago divinity school. In his memoir Dreams from my Father, Obama painted an intriguing picture of Wright “dabbling with liquor, Islam and black nationalism in the Sixties” before his faith reasserted itself.

He became pastor at Trinity in 1972, quickly galvanising a small, demoralised congregation and bump-starting an outreach scheme that spawned 70 programmes targeting youth and the community. Under Wright, Trinity was a progressive church that welcomed gays and lesbians while embracing Aids sufferers at a time when many black churches shunned them.

In his autobiography Obama recalled their first meeting. Then a young community organiser waiting to go to Harvard Law School, Obama was contacting a number of ministers, but was struck by Wright’s apparent ability to hold together conflicting strains of the black experience. “ ‘We’ve got a lot of different personalities here,’ he told me. ‘Got the Africanist over here. The traditionalists over here. Once in a while I have to stick my hand in the pot – smooth things over before stuff gets ugly’.”

Things have got ugly, and the question for Obama is whether his old friend will continue to stir the pot. Republicans are resolved to remind people of Wright’s provocative comments if Obama wins the Democratic nomination. And many believe that Wright is not about to leave the stage quietly.”

News VIA The TIMES

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9 responses

4 05 2008
My new WordPress MU Site » Blog Archive » DO YOU CARE?: The REAL Barack Obama

[…] CapnAmerica wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptRather than attend the more racially mixed high school where his mother taught, Wright travelled a few miles to the elite Central high school. The student body was then 90% white and about three-quarters Jewish. … […]

4 05 2008
ton mow

This is an issue you dope. It means if Obama wins the Nomination he will lose the General elction you scum.

4 05 2008
schildan

“In other news, The Times actually has a really engaging piece that isn’t bias or laced with subliminal right wing messages!????”

I love it! Lefty’s just can’t take it when their guys get hammered by the same media machine that always hammers Republicans (i.e. Goerge Bush- Oh wait, he doesn’t count ‘cuz he “deserves” it).

I think it’s funny how both the Hillary and Obama camps are getting hammered hard right now (by each other) and they both blame it on the right wingers. Sorry folks, but right wingers have to put up with these kinds of attacks all the time. It’s nice to see the Dems doing it to each other for once.

4 05 2008
rantersparadise

@ Schildan

Ha-funny!

Right Wingers THRIVE off attacks! It’s how they survive and get their juices flowing! Without attacks or being on the ‘bad guy list’, you guys wouldn’t flourish!

Anyhow, I’m a realist-not a lefty. Both camps are full of shit in my eyes but at least left wingers are nice people-not sensationalist fuckers like the right wing camp.

Anyhow, this whole Obama and Hilary thing has shed a lot of light on the supposedly ‘left wing brigade’.

4 05 2008
huntingdonpost

This is an interesting post. I don’t think the controversy about what Wright said, as much as it should be about what Obama thinks. One thing that is clear to me at least–he chucked aside a man he said he would never denounce as soon as it became apparent he couldn’t win if he didn’t. That says “no character” to me. In the race speech, the tried to explain, and I thought his explanation was relatively good. Obama cannot win the GE, but when I read things (not in this post) that compare Hillary to the poor Eight Belles and make a mockery out of the death of a horse to further their political agenda, I don’t see hope or change in this political season. I see bitter people, and not the rural Pennsylvanians–the Hillary Haters. I used to think only right wingers engaged in this kind of hate-campaigning but it seems it is spreading itself.

4 05 2008
rantersparadise

It’s crazy isn’t it? Really sad. Left wingers are showing themselves for what some of them really are..

5 05 2008
totaltransformation

“Anyhow, I’m a realist-not a lefty. Both camps are full of shit in my eyes but at least left wingers are nice people-not sensationalist fuckers like the right wing camp.”

Wow. So I guess realists aren’t all that nice either, eh?

5 05 2008
typicalamerican

I wonder why people are attacking her for presenting the story. This is why adults cant hold adult conversations because they refuse to take a pragmatic view on things. We all have had our lives shaped by the events in it. It makes up the sum total of who we are. She presents a story that talks about the pieces that help put together the puzzle that is Mr. Wright and she is critizied for it. I find that appauling. Listen, these tainted stories about America’s history are true and the people who have been the victims of their brutality still bare some of the scares. I am thirty three years old and have listened to my family tell their/our history all of my life. My mother heard King and Malcolm X speak. She lived through the race riots of 67 in Detroit. My grandmother had to drink from black only fountains in the segregated south. She’s seen her father be treated like less than a man because he wouldn’t cross the street when a white man was walking in his path. My great grandmother missed slavery by a generation but she was a sharecropper which was a new kind of slavery in and of itself. She spoke of white men coming into her neighborhoods at night and taking away black men into the night and hanging them. That is not a fable it is true. Some of the people YOU know lived through some of it. My forefathers and mothers experiences helped shape them and in turn they have shaped me through them. So when someone tries to tell you where they come from let them speak, for it helps explain who they are. Stop all this silliness dismissing people on the basis of association. Just cause someone tells a different story than yours does not mean they come from a different planet. They still share the same sun and breathe the same air as you. God made the rainbow different colors for a reason…Variety is the spice of life.

5 05 2008
rantersparadise

@ totaltransformation

‘Aren’t that nice?’ I wouldn’t put it like that because this is why so many lefties keep on messing up cause they can’t see the hard truth in front of them. Of course I’m more left then right but I’m starting to feel incredibly pissed off and angry by some of the lefts actions.

@ typicalamerican

I can’t even begin to imagine how I would feel like if this was history. I’m sorry but I’d be pretty angry too! I am now and I’ve never even set foot in the states!

Anyhow-this whole thing sometimes spans itself like one big practical joke. Obama’s popularity with the masses was deeply underestimated by the Dems & the Repubs and now they’ve realized they may have a situation on their hands and they will do anything to fuck it up. Also some of the supposed ‘faithful’ Bamz fans have been a bit too quick in wanting to denounce the guy after finding out about Wright…a bit too quick…

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