Monday, April 28, 2008

The Redemption of Rebb'n Wright

Like most of us with lives, I was out Friday night, so thank God for Tivo. Otherwise, I might have missed the full, uninterrupted interview of Barack Obama's much criticized pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright on PBS.

If you didn't see it, and chances are you didn't, I'd encourage you to go to PBS and view the entire one hour Bill Moyers interview when time permits. Do yourself a favor, and don't let this extensive clarification of the man's full body of work be fed to you in intentional soundbytes, which if you think about it is how the whole problem originated in the first place.

Here's a 2 minute snippet from the interview.

After watching it, many of the things I'd heard about Wright were clarified. He is an extremely intelligent man whose dedication to his country (he served dutifully in both the Marines and Navy), his community, and his God are beyond reproach.

Completely beyond reproach.

Moyers did a good job of asking the questions of Wright that needed to be posed, but in a tone that spoke of a need for clarity, not one-sided accusation. There's a big difference in the two, just peep that time Wright was on Hannity and Colmes and the bushwhack job they pulled on him.

He addressed his military service, the origins of TCC, his community outreach efforts at home and abroad, Black Liberation Theology[1], need for comprehensive black history in public school curriculums[2], and of course the soundbitten "G.D. America" and "chickens come home to roost" quotes that have been taken so widely out of context. By simply playing the 3-4 minutes that proceeded each of those misquotes, and allowing Wright to clarify what was meant, he more or less dispelled any concerns that any rational person could have about his association with Obama. As far as I'm concerned, this was never an issue, so it definitely should no longer be one after this interview.

Of course, there are lots of people who will believe what they want to believe for their own self-advancing purposes. The North Carolina GOP is already running commercials smearing two Democratic gubernatorial candidates who endorsed Obama and accusing them of guilt by association. John McCain continually acts as if this shouldn't be a concern, yet he tries to draw the same "radical Obama" connections himself. But considering the fact that none other than Mike Huckabee has come out in Wright's defense, wouldn't that make McCain guilty by association as well?

I'm just sayin'.

My only qualm with Rebb'n Wright is the same as it's always been: timing. Namely, why did he allow this situation to fester for weeks and weeks when he could have just as easily granted the very same interview the minute this became an issue? One quick visit to 60 Minutes, 20/20, or hell, even Maury could have squashed the whole beef immediately? Instead, Obama is forced to defend another man's words and the media (not just conservatives) has a field day at the expense of a history making run for President. Whether this delay was Wright's decision, Obama's request, or somewhere in between remains unknown. Many of you slammed me when I named Wright one of the 13 Debits To The Black Race a few weeks ago. I hope you understand exactly why I did so now.

This being America and all, I'm sure many people won't bother watching the interview in it's entirety. These people will instead keep spouting the same B.S. about how Wright, and by proxy Obama, is an American hating, Black-nationalist Muslim. And that's all well and good. Because I have a name for these people.


Question: After watching the PBS interview in it's entirety, do you have a different opinion of Wright? John McCain says he will not use this issue in the Fall, but do you believe him?

See The Entire Wright/Moyers Interview []

The Wright factor, part II [Chicago Tribune]

[1] Black Liberation Theology is little more than a call for black folks to be more accountable for their own actions, and less dependent on the government. You'd think the right wing would be all for this.

[2] Slavery and MLK were the only things I learned about black folks in 12 years of public schooling. Period.

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