Friday, March 21, 2008

Reaction to Barack Obama's Wright controversy

I like Barack Obama a lot. In many ways, I agree with his supporters that we need someone like him and what he stands for to be President. With the appeal of his ideas on racial and cultural progress, Obama is also charismatic and rhetorically gifted. However, as the exposure of a Presidential campaign catches up to him, the phrase "too good to be true" seems to apply to Obama more and more. It's not that he's been revealed to be crooked for a politician, he's just not as special as he first seemed. Professor Nacos wrote about him here. I responded (note: I copy-edited out the spelling mistakes):


I am receptive to Obama's ideas on the "race issue". They resonate strongly with me as a member of a - if anything - lower regarded ethnic group. (Even in your post, Professor, you refer to a "black-white divide" as yet one more pundit who marginalizes my, I suppose, yellow group in our nation's race conversation.) The problem, what disturbs me in this episode, is that Obama uses these important ideas crassly to defend himself. His record in the Wright controversy has been an alarming display of a lack of integrity for a candidate whose wide appeal is based largely on the appearance of extraordinary principles and decency - now, as revealed, not so much:

On April 11 2007, Obama said, "I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus, but I would also say that there's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group".

While saying this about Don Imus, and long before he made this statement, Obama was closely tied with Reverend Wright. Rev Wright isn't just some low-level maverick campaign staffer or even outspoken and influential political ally. Rev Wright has been interwined with Obama in multiple close ways, closer to Obama than the vilified Karl Rove ever was/is to George W Bush.

In reacting to the controversy, Obama has misdirected and spun, obfuscated, even lied. Perhaps, these are normal reactions for a politician under threat in the political arena, but that's what's so disappointing. Obama isn't supposed to be just another politican; he's supposed to be a transcendent force for our country, whether his time to be President was now or, with more seasoning, later. Then again, if Obama really was as special as we believed, he wouldn't have been involved in this controversy with Rev Wright in the first place.

How could Obama have campaigned on such a high-minded platform, all the while hypocritically continuing his close relationship with Rev Wright? I haven't decided yet if Obama's arrogance grew from a belief that he was immune to judgements of hypocrisy, above it perhaps, or if he believed his charisma and rhetorical brilliance could extricate him from the (inevitable) exposure of hypocrisy.

What Obama once symbolized and the ideas he (still) expresses so well are important, which only makes my disappointment greater that he would cheapen them by using them for base cynical political expedience.

As it turns out, Obama is just another politician; worse, he's a disillusioning politician. It's time we re-examine our fellow Columbian, this charismatic would-be President. Who is he and who is he not, really?



Anonymous BNacos said...

Eric: I appreciate your thoughtful comment on Senator Obama and earlier comments as well.
When the blogosphere is about debate of important questions and issues by people who know the value of civility, it is a wonderful medium.
I will link to your blog.

3/21/2008 8:53 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Thank you, Professor. I'm honored. It's too bad that more of my former professors don't risk the exposure of blogging. It's laudable that you do.

3/22/2008 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are black you are RACIST that’s that. Seen it every step of the way. If you disagree with me ask yourself this, when was the last time something happened to a black by ANY other race and the black person was actually wrong; in your opinion? When was the last time the black wasn't completely perfect and a victim? Especially if what happened to them did in fact happen to them while committing a crime. You dont wait for the fact to see what happened. You wait for the facts to pervert everything to your argument. Even when others tell you your wrong. As a matter of fact when was the last time someone of another race told you, you were wrong and it WASN'T because they were racists? Just for the record, who on God's green Earth put blacks in charge of deciding who qualifies as a racist and who doesn't. The MAJORITY of blacks don’t have any say in their own lives. Ask them they'll tell you, it's all the White Man & the Jews. These are the people you want deciding who qualifies as what and who doesn’t. I say it should be the majority of America making this decision. Unfortunately majority usually equals "White" and therefore obviously EVIL. This is Democracy. Majority rules is the actual definition of Democracy. MINORITY RULES is the definition of FASCISM!!!! Just cause your black doesn’t mean you can’t qualify as a Nazi. that’s what the Nazis were………. Fascists.
America believed Hitler would eventually attack the USA. He didn’t but his beliefs and way of life did.
Now remember the most important part of all of this, if you are black, all you have to say is the White Man is the real racist here. That’s all you have to say to be right

-Tyler Goines

3/23/2008 3:55 AM  
Blogger betsy784 said...

Watch Rev. Jeremiah Wright's 9-11 sermon in context on Youtube

Jeremiah Wright's God Damn America in context on youtube

3/23/2008 10:14 AM  

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