Thursday, May 01, 2008


God Forsaken

Via Andrew Sullivan, Mike Huckabee has an interesting take on the Rev. Wright insanity:

"His (Obama's) campaign is not being derailed by his race, it's being derailed by a person who doesn't want him to prove that we have made great advances in this country," Huckabee told reporters.

"Jeremiah Wright needs for Obama to lose so he can justify his anger, his hostile bitterness against the United States of America," Huckabee said.
Huckabee's almost gets it. I would go even further. This isn't just about how far race relations have progressed in America. This is also about what form -- and what institutions -- black progress will take and use in the years again. As my colleague Fred Dicker reported in Wednesday's paper, there appears to be real enmity -- not just from Jeremiah Wright, but from others associated with the Trinity church -- that Obama hasn't sufficiently "boosted" the church's role in the black community:

The Post has learned. "After 20 years of loving Barack like he was a member of his own family, for Jeremiah to see Barack saying over and over that he didn't know about Jeremiah's views during those years, that he wasn't familiar with what Jeremiah had said, that he may have missed church on this day or that and didn't hear what Jeremiah said, this is seen by Jeremiah as nonsense and betrayal," said the source, who has deep roots in Wright's Chicago community and is familiar with his thinking on the matter.

"Jeremiah is trying to defend his congregation and the work of his ministry by saying what he is saying now," the source added.
"Jeremiah doesn't care if he derails Obama's candidacy or not . . . He knows what he's doing. Obviously, he's not a dumb man. He knows he's not helping."
The source spoke yesterday about Wright's motivation for thrusting himself back into the news, the day after the pastor appeared at the National Press Club on Monday and embarrassed Obama by accusing the United States of terrorism.
Wright has said the reason he has begun granting interviews and making public appearances now is that he wants to defend black churches.
In other words, Obama by omission or otherwise, has somehow "dissed" the black church. The church, of course, has been a major institution within the black community for centuries. While Obama has been a member of the Trinity congregation, it is clear that he represents a new generation of black politician. He is not Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. And, by that, I don't mean that he is not some race "confidence man" or agitator. I mean, Obama is a secular, professional, polished, mainstream politician. He is a secular elected official.

Wright arose this week to, in effect, say to Obama, "Not so fast, boy, you're not going to advance in the way you want without giving due obeisance to the black church -- the historic foundation of our community."

It's not surprising that Wright would say that "Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy." Because, he's not. He is an ally -- not necessarily in the racist, paranoiac view of America (though, clearly, there is some crossover there) -- but in their shared belief that religion must be the controlling power within the black community. The corollary to this, of course, is that religious leaders must be the first among equals in the black power structure.

Barack Obama is a mortal threat to that notion and he is paying the price for it.

Over at National Review, Lisa Schiffren quotes two e-mailers who assert that Obama isn't "mature" enough to be president. One e-mailer says, "He's not yet a full adult." I disagree. I think Obama has been far more straightforward as to who he is and where he comes from -- flaws and all -- than just about any other presidential candidate (with the possible exception of five-books-written John McCain). No, if anyone or anything needs to have the "not yet a full adult" charge sent in that direction, it may be Jeremiah Wright -- by extension -- the black community.

It is one thing for the community to place all of its political eggs in one basket by overwhelmingly supporting the Democratic Party. It is something far different to allow a black "leader" to sabotage the efforts of the most mainstream black figure to rise out of that party -- just because he chooses not to sufficiently, ahem, "worship" at the feet of leaders of the foremost community insitution of the previous two centuries. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took the community very far by daring to dream. But subsequent leaders haven't moved the ball much further. Obama had -- and still has -- an amazing opportunity to take that next great step. And who goes out of his way to destroy that dream? If a black minister still has that much power, then the black community must assess its own political maturity that it has permitted a member of the social institution that led it for so long to destroy perhaps its greatest political hope.

How ironic that, after so many predictions last year that the religious right would create chaos for Republican presidential candidates, it has been a figure from the religious black left that has seemingly blown up the Democratic nomination process?

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