CAMPAIGN 08 EDITORIAL: Rising to the Wright challenge

Rising to the Wright challenge

The “dirt” on Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been around for years, so why has ABC News chosen to highlight Obama’s controversial pastor now?

The race fire has been lit and those who believe it serves their political interests are happy to pour fuel on the flames.

How should Obama respond? It’s time for some jujitsu.

Let’s not confuse the package with the content.

In and of themselves, Wright’s statements are not totally outrageous. (I know. Some people will think it’s outrageous for me to say that.) What makes what he’s saying so inflammatory isn’t just what he’s saying but the way he’s saying it:

Wright is the scary, fiery, black preacher: the kind who might incite an insurrection. Contrast his tone, his body language, and his theatrical force with the calm, comforting, sensible message and sweet tone that comes from some of America’s favorite gentle men of God, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson:

Unless Wright’s passion — Wright’s unwhiteness — is really the issue, then instead of responding to his statements with some new formulation of reject-and-denounce, how about grabbing this bull by the horns and saying, OK, you want race to be a campaign issue? Let’s go for it!

“God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human,” says Rev Wright. Is this pure anti-American vitriol, or does Wright have a point?

One in a hundred Americans are behind bars.

That America, the land of the free, should have more people in prison than any other nation on earth is an issue that surely merits national attention.

If America’s prison population of 2.3 million was confined to one state, it would be a state bigger than New Mexico.

Among 20-34 year old black men, one in nine is incarcerated. This is a social disaster and it should be a national disgrace.

When it comes to issues such as this, the only people who can hold their hands on their hearts and say God Bless America are the shareholders of companies like Corrections Corporation of America who have seen their stock value and revenues steadily increase for the last eight years.

What should we be talking about? Rev Wright’s intemperate rhetoric? Or some of the things he’s calling attention to — even if he calls so loudly he might be hard to hear?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Facebooktwittermail

Comments

  1. carol Elkins says:

    I am trying to read the Obama campaign mind, and what I am finding is that they are focusing on superdelegates, and no longer worrying about what the effect of the likes of the Reverend Wright will be.

    The superdelegates are well aware of the tactics of the Clinton campaign, and so far, since March 4, Obama has won 9, and ‘Clinton only 1. I find this reassuring.

    There are those who say that the fight will damage the Democrats in November, but by the time the Clintons are through, there won’t be anything left for the Republicans to throw at Barack. The attack on him will have been spent.

    But then, it might just be that I am in a good mood this morning.

  2. azam houle says:

    Thank you, Paul. We can always count on you to put things in context.