Saturday, March 22, 2008

Donner Party Democrats - New York Times

Donner Party Democrats - New York Times: "One of their leaders had been hanging around the camp of another preacher man, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. — a nutball like Robertson, blaming America for bringing on the horrid attack. What is it with these men of God? Should have left them home." -- This essay by Tim Egan.

Egan is emblematic of liberal, articulate writers who take Fox News excerpts as gospel-- and run with the herd by piling on Obama for having a "nutball" minister on the left as off his rocker as Robertson on the right.

All well and good -- except it isn't true.

We can only hope that the adolescent hour and all the fun it is to be right gets balanced by people as smart as Egan actually doing some of their own research instead of piling on with Fox.

I wonder -- is it just because I grew up in a black city -- Detroit in the 60's? It took me a week to spend the 9 minutes to watch Rev. Wright's comments in context of his sermon -- which was about violence begetting violence, terrorism nurturing more terrorism. Americans terrifying people?

If you take the time to listen to Wright's sermon-- not just the "chickens coming home to roost" I can see what Rev. Wright is talking about America's responsibility in terrifying people all over the world. ( See the previous post here at Good Nature Notes )

How quick we are to judge.

A little research effort and I find Rev. Wright is a well respected main stream Protestant minister -- who sees Jesus as a black man-- the same way that I grew up seeing Jesus looking like my beautiful white self.

Not only does Wright struggle with what it means to be Christian today-- but he shows up with his congregation of 8000 middle class blacks and some whites -- and ministers to the poor-- builds homes, runs food banks, serves others.

How easy is it to throw stones at someone you don't know.

After reviewing several longer excerpts of Wright's sermons -- I am glad Obama found him 20 years ago. The man has done some good work calling evil by its name. We may not like thinking of invasions in Africa to steal people and make them slaves, to more recent days in Viet Nam, napalming villages as evil. We may not like reflecting on the trillions of dollars we have spent killing civilians and "suspected insurgents" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Grenada, Sudan, Columbia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, Panama, Grenada.

But our American tax dollars were spent to kill not just a few people trying to get through the day-- working people like you and me. We ought to be uncomfortable. We could be angry-- hard to believe white people getting angry -- but it could happen.

So after reviewing all the facts I understand why Obama stood by his pastor-- why run for political cover when his church is doing so much good?

I like to think that there will be some reconsideration of the harsh judgement the Right's Fox TV pitched out with it's out of context video snippet. Here's nine minutes of Rev. Wright's sermon for context:

I like to think that NYT's Egan was being lazy and having fun putting his narrative for the Donner Party together -- it was a Saturday column after all. It is easy to understand.

But he's written books on race, a fine book on the Dustbowl. Didn't Egan know enough to not simply stand up and salute Fox News' distorting the facts and digital lynching?

That's a word every American knows. Lynching. Brothers and sisters know it. You and I have seen it-- blacks lynched while hundreds of whites picnic, out for a day in the sun.

White Americans may not recognize themselves in the mirror that Black Americans hold up for us to reflect on-- we hold these truths to be self evident-- that we are all equally imperfect.

But maybe the time to reflect for a moment -- to truly reflect and see the other person's story entirely won't make your story disappear.

Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall over come some day. Obama is now officially a human being-- knocked off his pedestal, a mere mortal who articulates a view of the world and America's place in it that I find refreshing after 8 arid years of fear and oil profiteering by George Hoover Bush.

Barack has friends and family who fart, say things you don't like and still gets up and says let's make tomorrow better. So do I.

Welcome to the human race.



PS: Photo credit Life Magazine 1930's 1940's USA

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