The Reverend that won't melt into the night...
Why are we so transfixed by the freak show that was Jeremiah Wright's moment of fame?
Stanley Kurtz, unhappy with the scarcity and incompleteness of the explanation offered by Obama about the enigma of Wright's presence in his life for so long, has dug deeper into what it avaliable of Wright's writings.
He reports about his findings here.
It seems inconceivable that, in 20 years, Obama would never have picked up a copy of Trumpet. In fact, Obama himself graced the cover at least once (although efforts to obtain that issue from the publisher or Obama's interview with the magazine from his campaign were unsuccessful).
Wright is the foremost acolyte of James Cone's "black liberation theology," which puts politics at the center of religion. Wright himself is explicit:
[T]here was no separation Biblically and historically and there is no separation contemporaneously between 'religion and politics.' . . . The Word of God has everything to do with racism, sexism, militarism, social justice and the world in which we live daily.
More than anything the mad priest has said, publicly, in sermons, etc, this is the most dangerous concept. It is radically reactionary, in that it seems to want to reverse the flow and direction of the enlightenment. It took centuries of thinking and philosophical evolution to get to the point where the well being and safety of a citizen was defined as grounded in the freedoms of conscience, speech, association. To yearn to re-conflate politics and religion as a binding principle in a sane and just society seems highly irresponsible.
I'm not worried that Obama has secretly imbibed any of this garbage. He is, in my eyes, a model of the secular, enlightened thinker. His coolness about religion, about his Christian sentiments, is reassuring. I daresay, that if, according to Kurtz, Obama couldn't not know about his pastor's strange ideas, then the explanation the he offered, of Wright being like a crazy uncle, is the only plausible explanation for his attempt to protect him.
Wright, in some ways, is like Maria. While she is a very silly, pathetic woman being treated with consideration and some affection by those who are related to her in one way or another, so is Wright, a mad uncle, being treated in the same manner by Obama. Maria, however, is harmless. Wright is venomous. He couldn't be humoured into staying away from Obama's aspirations. So he turned on him.
Obama's repudiation of him was absolutely personal and went beyond the expediency that his campaign had demanded. We may try to be rational with the insanely indignant and aggrieved but we cannot force them to act responsibly. When they persist in trying to sabotage our prospects, good name, standing, then it is time for repudiation.
I hope this matter will be laid to rest.
There is that famous quote by E. M. Forster:
“If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.”
I've been wondering about the morality of the choice implied here. It has become, recently, more noble to betray one's country than to betray one's friend. But I was thinking: doesn't it rather depend on what that friend is advocating?
Obama was faced with something like this choice. He probably had gone along for some time trying to accommodate both his country and his friend. But then the realization, awakening, came, when he faced the truth about his pastor's megalomaniac motivations and stark idea, saw them clearly for what they were. And what he saw was in explicit contrast with his own view and love for the country he seeks to lead. A sixteen months long intimate acquaintance with America made him love the people and understand all of them better. And he knew that he could no longer have the luxury of choosing to stand by his friend, when that friend was the very opposite of all that he had come to know and value.
Friends are worthy of our loyalty but not when they work to undo the very fabric of the society that makes that very loyalty the glue which keeps it democratic and just.
A country is not just a geographical place with a nation in it. And a country like the US, a deep and thoughtful democracy, is more than anything a collection of the finest ideas which human philosophy distilled.
"There is no Hamas 'smear'"; Aaron Klein explains:
Let's get something straight. There is no Hamas "smear." McCain wasn't offering his opinion that perhaps Hamas supports Obama.
The terror group's senior political adviser stated during a broadcast interview that Hamas "hopes" Obama wins the presidency. The Hamas figure also compared Obama to John F. Kennedy.
... Asked about Obama's repeated condemnations of Hamas, calling the Islamist group a terror organization, Yousuf replied, "I understand American politics, and this is the season for elections, and everybody tries to sound like he's a friend of the Israelis ... so whatever [the] Israelis didn't like they will take from all those candidates."
So Hamas thinks he can look into Obama's heart and know it. I wonder why... The speaker reminds me of Obama's less unusual supporters. They don't mind his lying to the public, as long as he can get elected. What does this say about those supporters?
A strange dilemma Obama has. a problem from the devil, you might say....
Monday Update II:
Concerning smears... Here is a list of them, as detailed by an Obama Jewish aficionado.
Read the article.
Then pay attention to these two paragraphs:
...it is important to note that Senator Obama is a strong supporter of Israel who is immensely popular in the Chicago Jewish community. He has never cast a vote against a pro-Israel position in the U.S. Senate and has been called pro-Israel by non-partisan analysts such as Haaretz’s Shmuel Rosner, who wrote that Obama "is pro-Israel. Period." The New York Sun (hardly a bastion of support for Democrats) editorialized: "At least by our lights, Mr. Obama's commitment to Israel, as he has articulated it so far in his campaign, is quite moving and a tribute to the broad, bipartisan support that the Jewish state has in America."
Ed Lasky of the conservative American Thinker has been a primary culprit in this endeavor. He has been writing about Obama for months and his "analysis" is to the Illinois Senator as was Walt and Mearsheimers’ to the pro-Israel community: a political agenda wrapped in faulty logic and incorrect assertions.
The first reaffirms what I said earlier: Obama supports Israel, has indicated that he will not speak to Hamas, unless they correct their politics and stop terrorising Israel. Which is exactly Bush's position. He has articulated his full understanding of Israel's precarious security, he has blamed the Palestinian leadership for bringing suffering upon their own nation:
The debate moderator NBC News anchor Brian Williams interrupted Obama, drawing his attention to the omission and quoting Obama as having once said, "No one suffers more than the Palestinians."
Obama, unperplexed, explained that the Palestinians suffer because of their leadership. "I said that no one suffers more than the Palestinian people because of their leadership's failure to recognize Israel, denounce violence and be serious about peace negotiations and regional security," he said.
"Israel is one of our most important allies in the world. It is the only democracy in the Middle East," Obama added.
He is declaratively as pro-Israel as any Jewish American or Israeli can hope for in an American President. There is nothing esoteric, or forced, about his statements. The "case" against him is being compared, negatively, to the case of the Measheimer&Walt made in their antisemitic book about the Israel Lobby.
Yet the very people who support Obama insist that he is a crypto- Pro-Palestinian (not pro-Palestinian as in pro-peace and compromise, but pro-Palestinian as in anti-Israel), who were celebrating the Mearsheimer&Walt book as the one true thing...
Those who attack Ed Lasky for being thoroughly sceptical about Obama's innermost intentions are actually in agreement with him. Like him, they don't buy Obama's open declarations favouring Israel's interests. They think it is all posturing, a means to an end.
But while Lasky warns against a candidate who might be dissimulating, those Obamists see it as an extra good reason to support him. He lies, so we must vote for him! They remind me of Louis de Funes's sticky problem in the film "Rabbi Jacob", when he falls into a tub of green bubble gum and can hardly extricate himself or perform the simplest act of picking up a telephone receiver without manufacturing a total mess...
See what I mean about Obama's problem from hell?
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Reverend that won't melt into the night...