March 18, 2008

More than just words

Online transcript and video.

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters….And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. 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. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.


At 3/18/2008 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Who on earth would spend the time to read this much of your idiocy?

At 3/19/2008 6:34 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dumbass 9:11

If you had half a functioning brain or had bothered to read maybe a sentence or two, you'd realize that it's the text of Obama's speech.

What a pathetic loser you truly are.

At 3/19/2008 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, who the heck wants to read the text of Obama's speech.

It is abundantly clear that what he 'says' does not match up with 'who he is.'

It is abundantly clear that a man who 'says' that there needs to be a color-blind society - is a hypocrit if he sits in a church and has a good and close friend who is a serious race-baiter and racist.

At 3/19/2008 8:50 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It's people such as yourself, uninformed and ignorant and who can't be bothered with the truth or even tp spend some time informing themselves, that sucks the life out of our country and society.

It's your kind of ignorant negativity that needs to be left behind.

You're foolishly certain you know Obama's speech is all B.S. (without even READING it, no less.)

That's the definition of an ignorant person. And worse yet, you seem perfectly willing to admit you are and don't want to be informed or bother thinking for yourself.

Not sure I'd be demonstrating that in public.

"I'm an uninformed moron, full of ignorant prejudices and unwilling to even consider anything that might prove me wrong. And I'm proud of it." What a great way to go through life, eh?

You have no idea what you're talking about, and are only expressing your already racist and fearful attitudes which have been reinforced by the garbage you consume on AM radio and from right wing flying monkeys on the tee-vee.

You have no idea what you're talking about, and don't care to know.

You have your own little fears and misguided notions and cling to them like a baby hanging on to their parents leg.

Who the heck wants to read the text of Obama's speech? Millions of people who give a damn about the country and who leads it, for starters, which apparently doesn't include you.

I'm aware that a person of your caliber of thinking proably doesn't make a habit out of reading (if you can), but you can go watch it on video if that's more your style.

You spout that it's "abundantly clear" that what he says doesn't match up with who he is.

I've got news for you, just because you say something doesn't make it so.

Clearly, if what you say is true, then it should be very easy to provide evidence of that.

Please do. We'll wait.

And maybe I missed something, but I didn't realize that Obama's pastor was on the ballot.

Are we voting on him, or Obama?

If Rev. Wright isn't on the ballot, then please tell us all how it's "abundantly clear" that Obama is a "serious race-baiter" and racist as you claim Wright is.

Is Obama either of those things?

If not, then why the hell are you even talking about this?

And if you think he is, then tell us what your evidence is. And no, the fact that he attended a church isn't proof of anything whatsoever, as you'd understand if you had the mental capacity to actually read and comprehend Obama's speech.

And while you're at it, though I know it requires thought and who the heck wants to do that, but could you explain to us just how Rev. Wright is a "serious race-baiter and racist"?

This I gotta hear.

Come 'on moron, enlighten us with your convincing arguments.

Either that or don't bother polluting the air with them to begin with.

At 3/19/2008 1:41 PM, Blogger Neighbor said...


One of the greatest political speeches I have ever heard. A concise honest appraisal of the American racial landscape as viewed by many black and white Americans. Will Obama's speech stop the deterioration of his nomination bid caused by his ex-religious leader, I hope so. Sure was refreshing, right or wrong to hear Obama say his friendship's will not be thrown under the bus in pursuit of political gains.

At 3/19/2008 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope, what I am saying is that he has held himself out to be a 'uniter', when he sits in the pews of a 'divider' church - he has had a 17+ year close relationship with a man who deals with racist-comments and anti-American hate-filled speech and says, that he could "no more distance himself from Wright than he could from the black community" (I watched the speech, thank you).

He should treat Wright in the same manner that he treated Don Imus (you need to see what he said about Imus...Obama's continuing to waltze down the ultra-hypocritical path!!!!).

I'd be happy to provide you the quotes about Imus - but you'd just censor them.

At 3/19/2008 7:52 PM, Anonymous nooncat said...

Anon makes it abundantly clear that ignoramous opinions blossom regardless of how well-informed or utterly uninformed the commenter is. But refusing to be informed makes it much easier for the opinionator in question.

Anon, for example. Who soils this blog every time s/he has a published comment. S/he has no place in the intelligent discourse of this blog. And you know it yourself, TID, sorry to say.

At 3/19/2008 8:24 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Not being a church-goer myself, I guess I fail to understand how the church you attend somehow infects your very DNA and can reliably predict exactly your views on any number of subjects.

People continue to try to assume guilt by association with Obama, even though they don't exactly know just what's so bad about his preacher other than he had expressed views held by hundreds of thousands of Americans, legitimate opinions no matter if you agree or not.

Just what the HELL would Obama have to do to satisfy his conservative white critics?

Be honest, there's literally NOTHING he could do which would satisfy them or prevent them from ratcheting up the exagerations and false information until the truth of the story is completely obliterated.

Are we voting for the candidates former preachers, or the candidates themselves?

I wasn't aware Rev. Wright was on the ballot.

At 3/20/2008 6:22 AM, Anonymous nooncat said...

By Anon's reasoning, Sen. McCain should never be trusted by dint of his documented organized crime ties and his role as part of the Keating 5.

Then again, by Anon's reasoning, every Republican automatically gets a pass.

Sen. Obama's record is certainly cleaner and more impressive than McCain's. So people like Anon think he must be due for a good smear job. Wonder what Anon thinks of "Teflon John".

At 3/20/2008 7:25 AM, Anonymous tiger woods said...

Dope, that is a strange response, especially from you.

You take a speech at a college that bans interacial dating - and try to make that stick on GW Bush.

You take Ted Haggert's hypocricy and try to make that stick on Christians in general.

You have taken an endorsement of Hagge and made everything he ever said stick to McCain.


When Obama CHOOSES to sit in the pews of a racist, anti-American church for OVER 17-years, now you want to cut the man slack?

Obama specifically stated that he would cut Imus -0- slack - ZERO! Yet when the racist speech is by a black, he cuts the man slack for 17-years.

I think that you know the difference.

And I believe that the voters will know the difference in November - as the 507's or 527's (whatever they are called now) will most definately keep this issue alive.

At 3/20/2008 2:18 PM, Anonymous QC Examiner said...

So true Dope. Of course Rev. Wright isn't on the ballot---but then neither is Rev. Hagee.

Don't make me look up the link on TID where you excoriated McCain's connection with Hagee.

I doubt this comment will make the cut, but I want you to know that I am calling you out about your hypocrisy and "reject and denounce" you!

At 3/20/2008 9:13 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

All of your examples don't hold up.

Bush SHOULD be condemend for appealing to and appearing at an institution that holds views straight out of reconstruction. What the hell? You think there's nothing WRONG with that?

Secondly, I hold up Haggart's perversion and world-class hypocrisy as an example of just that from MANY leaders of the so-called "Christian right", and I defy you to provide evidence of any kind that I suggested that his actions should be reflected on "all Christians".

To say so is just more evidence of how you can't make a case without reverting to lies and distortions.

Sure, I was condemning "all christians" by holding up Haggerts reprehensible hypocrisy. OK. Whatever bozo.

McCain stood on stage next to Haggee and warmly PRAISED Hagee and accepted his endorsement.

Even a rank idiot like yourself can see a difference between that and attending a church.

Hagee condemns an entire religious faith (Catholicism) and believes that we have to nuke Iran to support Israel so that the end-times prophesy will fall into place? (even though he and his followers believe all Jews are going to hell, but at least they're useful in their getting sucked up to heaven.) and that's OK. No problem for McCain. And besides, Hagee's insane, but he's WHITE. A lunatic we feel comfortable with, I guess.

He preaches dangerous and deadly ideas, ideas that are flat out insane and could lead to nuclear hollocaust in his church.

McCain praises him and accepts his endorsement.

That's different than the Obama situation ... how?

And I'm not suggesting that McCain believes all that ridiculous baloney that Hagee spews. I'm simply offended that McCain accepted his endorsement!!!

Obama condemns and refutes Wright's offensive statements, yet you're screaming and whining that that's not enough.

So yes, it's NOT OK to try to somehow say that Obama believes every single thing in lockstep with his pastor. It's dishonest and divisive and untrue.

Obama chose to attend a church where he was nurtured spiritually. And frankly,


Since when is it OK to impose a religious test for office in direct violation of our constitution?

That alone should have stopped this nonsense, but beyond that...

Yes, I want to cut Obama slack. First of all, his preacher said blacks have been oppressed by a system dominated by rich white men.

Are you saying that's not true?

Secondly, he condemned the actions of our government in slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents over the decades and then being shocked when anyone attacks us.

This is offensive why? Just how is this completely out of bounds and unacceptible to even suggest?

Why should it be?

And why, as just one of thousands of church members, is it up to Obama to try to dictate what the leader of the church can or cannot say on any given day??

Who is Obama, or anyone for that matter, to be the one who can somehow tell the preacher to change his beliefs or feelings, or to forbid him from preaching on topics that have been heard in black churches from coast to coast for decades???

How is expecting him to do that even remotely reasonable?

You have no clue about black culture or the black church, and your only goal is to find a way to take an obvious chrisian who has done more to help those in need that a dozen of yourself, and try to suggest that he's some way-out radical who.... what? Once elected would set about disbanding the country? Decree that blacks are now in charge and whites are slaves?

What the hell are you trying to suggest? WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF, or more precisely, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO GET OTHERS TO BE AFRAID OF??

Answer that and sound half-way sane and maybe then you'll have a point.

At 3/20/2008 9:44 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You know, QC, you and your little butt-boy Mowen really ought to sit around and confine your idiocy to each other. You obviously decide what you're stupid argument is going to be before you come here.

First of all, don't freaking flatter yourself that I'd dump your comment just because it's dumb or because you somehow make some great point I can't respond to.

I'd refer you to read my complete refutation of your false comparison to Hagee in my response to Mowen above.

And I'd ask you to answer honestly this question: When was the last time you heard or read of anyone demanding that McCain utterly, completely, condemn and refute Rev. Hagee on the news or any other major media?

Now answer this: Obama has already condemned Wright's statements and unambiguously stated that he does not share them and finds them offensive.

How many times have you heard people screaming and arguing that Obama NEEDS TO DO MORE and should have done more?

Now are you still going to try to suggest that the two cases are exactly the same?

What the hell is it about you folks that prevents your mind from being honest with itself?

How can you utterly ignore the distinctions between Hagee and Wright that make them completely different situations?

Of course it's because your argument would make no sense if you didn't.

Hagee has said things every bit as offensive and dangerous as anything Wright ever dreamed of.

But McCain SOUGHT and EMBRACED his endorsement without a WORD of disagreement with anything Hagee espouses.

McCain didn't condemn or distance himself. Hell no, he PRAISED Hagee.


And no one, certainly not me, has tried the dishonest and phony attempt to bellow that McCain's embrace of Hagee PROVES that McCain thinks the Catholic church is "the Great Whore", wants to nuke Iran (probably does) and believes every crack-pot notion that Hagee does.

That's YOU and Mowen and all the rest of the right wing creeps who so eagerly resort to that sort of dishonesty.

I only would expect that McCain condemn Hagee's views and reject his endorsement.

THAT'S entirely reasonable.

But Obama has already repeatedly stated his disagreement with and condemnation of Wright's offensive statements. Wright no longer has any association with his campaign.

But McCain PRAISED his particular religious nut-job and still refuses to distance himself from him.

See any difference there?

If you can't, then keep that in mind next time you wonder why such stupid assertions don't get published.


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