"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Deep Drink, or Shallow Draughts?

Senator Obama gave a damage-controlling speech on Sunday in response to the escalated airings of his Reverend Jeremiah Wright's jeremiads against (White) America.

In all fairness, some of the Reverend's worse remarks-- broadcast as they are in isolated soundbites-- are not so bad when placed in their ministering and biblical contexts.

For example, his "God damn America" tirade should be understood in not only the context of a preacher's penchant for fiery "righteous" rhetoric and his summoning of fire & brimstone on an errant nation, but also--as influencing the former-- biblical language, especially as resounding in the warnings and condemnations against ancient Israel by sundry Old Testament prophets (who were then stoned or sawn in half for their unpleasant prognoses by the unruly rulers).

Wright indeed sounds as if inspired by Old Testament passages where God--the biblical Fountainhead of Justice--brings Blessings or Curses upon nations (Israel and others equally), Salvation or Damnation should they follow the Lord or serially and unrepentantly transgress against Him, as informed through the prophets.

And it is often the cries for Divine Justice by the disenfranchized and downtrodden that moves the Lord to redemptive action on their behalf, as explained by the prophets.

"I'm still in Bible country," the Reverend assures the caucasians in the pews.

In that context, then, the Reverend Wright is the prophet warning Israel (i.e. America).

The problem is the words in the wider context of the nation's state of grace, particularly vis-a-vis race relations.

The Reverend Wright's race-based rhetoric against America can be fitting for, say, late 18th Century to mid-19th Century evangelical activists in the Abolitionist Movement (all of whom were caucasian, incidentally) denouncing the existential evil of slavery (and one could perhaps see the wrath of God at work in places like Gettysburg and Antietam), and perhaps apropos for ministers preaching out against segregation and oppression during the Civil Rights Movement a century later, but when the nation has progressed to a point almost a half century after that where an African-American candidate for POTUS is enjoying vigorous support across the racial spectrum, and in part because he has been able to trancend race with his soaring rhetoric?

"God Bless America" is called for.

Senator Obama correctly identified his minister's outlook as "static"--presumably meaning stuck in the 1960s-- and he likewise tried to put the inflammatory words in context so that we understand, perhaps even sympathize with, his minister's bitterness and cries for Justice, however anachronous and eccentric (the suggestive plea to forgive the crazy but well-meaning uncle), but it's more than that.

Along the same biblical lines--but beginning to diverge into racial separatism-- the Reverend's calling of the Jewish Jesus a "black man" is not to say that he believes Jesus of Nazareth was genetically African (as some Afrocentrists actually assert based on an erroneus, literalistic reading of the only physical description of Jesus as presented in Revelations 1:14-15--which is an amalgam of metaphors-- and as the isolated soundbites might suggest he believes), but that the ancient Jews--including Jesus-- under imperial Roman occupation are now analogous to...

...African-Americans living under the "White/European Mold" today?

The implications are awful.

Senator Obama can rationalize away the remarks with all sorts of pleas for contextual understanding and assurances of being in vehement disagreement with what are the clearly racist views of his minister. He can engage in moral relativity in the process and celebrate diversity in America, accepting both the good and the bad; but the "bad" that he implicitly acknowledges--his minister's racism--is not only a "bad" that he magnanimously forgives (as everyone else is expected to), but a "bad" that is embodied in the man who has been his "spiritual guide" and mentor for decades, and one wonders how deeply Senator Obama has drank from that Pierian Spring--or if he's saved by shallowness.

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
For shallow draughts intoxicate the brain
And drinking largely sobers us again.

Alexander Pope, "Essay on Criticism"


Blogger John said...

Nevermind. On second thought (a closer readuing of the full text), Barack pre-empted the gist of this post: "We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words."

He's good.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

On the same line of thinking...

Obama on Don Imus on racism

I saw this on another blog and find it quite telling.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I find telling is that Obama took no action to discourage such words. And if Obama felt no need to work for racial reconciliation in the past, I have little reason to hope he will do so in the future. Anything gained in the field of American race relations from Obama's candidacy will be largely symbolic and purely coincincidental.

11:26 AM  
Blogger John said...

Very telling Kelly. Wow.

Agreed, FJ. Beneath the symbolic and coincidental, like you said earlier, Marxism has a way of poisoning everything it comes in contact with, and that includes Christianity, as secularized and politicized into "Liberation Theology" and "the social gospel" as preached by the hardcore leftist Reverend Wright.

1:41 PM  
Blogger John said...

Dick Morris wrote this today:

"(b) Wright's rantings are not reflective of Obama's views on anything. Why did he stay in the church? Because he's a black Chicago politician who comes from a mixed marriage and went to Columbia and Harvard. Suspected of not being black enough or sufficiently tied to the minority community, he needed the networking opportunities Wright afforded him in his church to get elected. If he had not risen to the top of Chicago black politics, we would never have heard of him. But obviously, he can't say that. So what should he say?"

1:57 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

john - see this and tell me if you can tell who this guy's for?

6:38 PM  
Blogger John said...

I can't tell.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd guess... Hitlery

6:55 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Here's what I see in that video:

He is pointing out that these fellow Blacks voted for Clinton and he gave them all this stuff and now they turn their backs on him to vote for Obama who is promising change.

He then goes on to point out how ashamed he is of them of their attitude of entitlement. He talks about affirmative action and how it tells them that they are LESS than whites because they "need" that law. Affirmative Action says that they [Blacks] cannot compete on equal grounds. He says, "That's not right."

He is quite subtle with them until he gets to that point. This video isn't about Clinton or Obama. It's about telling his people to get off their butts and quite expecting the government to fix all their problems.

It isn't exactly politically correct. But, that is what he is saying.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, he's certainly telling them something. And no, he wasn't endorsing Clinton...

I think he's become an indigenous native of Harlem...

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He hates all politicians, and is looking to re-take Harlem...

This looks like just another form of radical black separatism with an emphasis on black self-empowerment.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he's got a great self-empowerment message, but a terrible fear of contracting melanin defficiency syndrome. I think he's running for the office of tribal chieftan.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're very perceptive, Kelly. I couldn't get beyond trying to catch his political spin... and it wasn't working, because as you say, he's anti-government and for self-empowerment (including empowering himself as leader of ATLAH-aka Harlem).

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richardson just took "la raza" over to the Obama camp. So much for the friends you make at Superbowl parties...

10:25 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

i thought he may be for clinton also, but then all the photos toward the end kind of made me think not.

whatever - it was the best laugh i had that party cooler day - i asked the kids about "egg shell soup and bird dropping gravy" and whether or not they'd heard of such a thing as they both read their bibles more than any two children i've known to date - they laughed and said they'd never heard of such a thing.

thought maybe i'd missed something having read it through myself!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

"egg shell soup and bird dropping gravy"

I don't believe I have read that in the Bible either. Perhaps we've all missed it.

2:14 PM  
Blogger John said...

Those guys--Wright and Manning--sound like black versions of David Duke in ways.

5:56 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

they're radical and militant!

3:14 AM  
Blogger John said...

And racist.

9:08 AM  

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