First, and I think foremost is the hypocrisy here. I mean John McCain has associated himself with ministers who have said equally offensive (I am not so sure Wright's remarks are all that offensive, but more later) remarks, with Rev. John Hagee's anti-gay remarks (curiously unremarked upon by anyone in the McCain campaign -- is the McCain campaign afraid to repudiate anti-gay remarks?), his anti-Catholic remarks, that Catholicism is the "great whore" and a "false church," and a cult (once condemned by McCain, but now McCain wants to give Hagee the benefit of the doubt)?, his millennialism (which means, as some honest McCain adviser must have explained to the candidate by now, the death of millions of innocent Muslims)... also: Jerry Falwell, and his casual association of 9/11 with the sins of homosexuality, and Rod Parsley, a man who McCain has called a "spiritual guide," a man who has also called Islam a "false religion" and has advocated war against it and various other bad things such as the destruction of Islam.
Why are these men entitled to their opinion and Jeremiah Wright is not? Because he is black. Plain and simple. There can be no other explanation. Wright has said blacks should sing God Damn America, not God Bless America. Here is the full context of the remark: "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
Are we supposed to disagree with that? I know Obama has to say he disagrees, but what about that statement is not true? African-Americans in our country have been treated as slaves (a not so silent holocaust), to Jim Crow, lynchings and second class citizen status, still today. All the statistics support this, yet because a minister who airs this type of rhetoric, he is anti-American. I say, "he who loves his country best, strives to make it best." And even if we disagree, which is every Americans right, who cares? He is a minister and the spiritual community is supposed to push our minds to see the social injustice. Religion is not just about being saved in the black community, it is a way of connecting to the people around you and improving one's lot.
He also said:
"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.
"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.
This is a little more dangerous and obviously more provocative. I can tell you, however I was in New York City on September 11, 2001 at the most leftist law school in the nation (CUNY) and several people said the exact same thing to me, black, white, people of mixed ancestries, and all genders. This is not a new statement, it is one shared by many that America's foreign policy has reaped what it sowed. It is similar to the statement made by Malcolm X that got him kicked out of the Nation of Islam after the Kennedy assassination.
Personally, the statement may be a bit of a leap, but it is emblematic of the feelings among many Americans who have had to suffer second class citizenship here and see the hypocrisy within our country. Surely, however our presence on the Arabian peninsula has sowed much hatred toward the American continent, that is without doubt. Whether we brought this upon ourselves is an unanswered question, did our government however? Did we sit by and watch as our government has engaged in neo-colonialist activities on every part of the globe? The answer to that question is an resounding yes. Though, much of this activity goes on without the knowledge of the American people, the black community is in a unique place to see things where we do not, that America is not always out to look after its citizens interests. The black community has a 400 year history of such perspective and sees this hypocrisy much more clearly than any other American community.
Instead of causing a firestorm of controversy these comments should spark a dialogue about race, domestic and foreign policy and we should not hold Senator Obama accountable for things his minister said. While McCain gets off scot free form his "spiritual" advisers who are lily white, Obama has to write a piece to the Huffington Post regarding his denunciation of his own minister. I think it is shameful and I think it speaks to all of our denial and amnesia in American society. We don't want to face the shame of the past or the inadequacy of the present, so let us denounce someone who raises the eyebrows and makes us uncomfortable.
It is getting tougher to live in America with this hypocrisy and suddenly someone comes on the scene with a little different perspective and different tone of skin and we become fearful opening up wounds we do not want opened up. If this is how we want America, I am not sure America wants me as a participant. This is all very discouraging.