Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Raging Race War Against Obama

Reverend Wright was right; Geraldine Ferraro was wrong and Americans should learn the truth about the distinct difference between them.

Ever since Oprah Winfrey's endorsement helped Barack Obama move from pretender to contender in the struggle for the Democratic nomination, there has been a mounting effort to stop him. The urgent goal is to dismember the man and his message, no matter the cost.

Barack Obama has made every effort to play the game by the rules. He refused to join in tit-for-tat attacks against his opponents. He remained above the fray, buoyed by his message of hope and compassion. But, there are evil forces afoot. They want to demean and destroy him and his compelling campaign for change.

Bill and Hillary Clinton played unfairly since the South Carolina primary. Hill-Bill-y introduced race into the mix of topics for discussion. They did this because they realized Obama was winning the battle of ideas. While Hillary is an excellent candidate in her own right, she simply can't match Barack's verbal eloquence. Early on, Hill-Bill-y knew they couldn't contend for the nomination using legal tactics. So, they bought Karl Rove's Manual of Dirty Tricks and started hitting Barack below the belt.

Our media gleefully joined in the assault, attempting to portray Barack as effete, messianic, anti-American, anti-Christian and a silver-tongued liar. Despite the relentless barrage, Obama muted his responses because he couldn't be seen directly attacking Clinton. Hill-Bill-y knew this. They used her sex as cover while their surrogates did their dirty business. The Hill-Bill-y attacks came to a head with the racist comments by Geraldine Ferraro.

Ms. Ferraro crudely insinuated Obama's rise was merely the result of some kind of affirmative action quota rather than hard work and personal brilliance. An uglier remark couldn't be made in civil discourse. Yet, she refused to acknowledge the racist nature of her comments. She vowed to continue the assault after leaving the Clinton campaign. The depravity of these words were even more irresponsible, coming from Ferraro who broke the glass ceiling to a woman's right to compete for higher office. She was Walter Mondale's choice for vice president in the 1984 race. Ferraro made these false statements in public and on the record. It should be noted they were not made to tell the truth. The intent was clearly to effect the voters negatively about Obama, regardless of whether her words were true or not. Ferraro's mean-spirited remarks stand in stark contrast to the sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Barack's long-time pastor and friend.

The media, with the tacit support of Hill-bill-y, revealed portions of a few fiery sermons given by Rev. Wright. The attempt was to characterize the pastor as a racist wild man and to smear Obama by association. This tactic backfired because it gave Barack the opportunity to address the fierce racist attacks against him in a national forum.

We must remember Rev. Wright gave his sermons in his church, to his members and for a specific purpose. His remarks were never designed for consumption by the general public. Therefore, it's wrong to release his private statements as if he'd spoken them publicly. Moreover, a sermon is a story, just like Christ's parables. Many elements of it are heavily embellished to convey a particular sentiment. It's certainly not the evening news. Yet, virtually everything the pastor said was either true or based upon a known fact. The comparing of Ferraro's false public remarks with Rev. Wright's truthful private sermons is a classic case of mixing apples with artichokes. They simply aren't one and the same.

Geraldine Ferraro's task was to destroy Obama's credibility by asserting a cleverly contrived lie about him. Rev. Wright's obligation has always been to praise people when warranted and to rebuke them sternly when necessary. This includes our nation when America engages in evil deeds. Sermons are meant to be strong medicine. While it may taste bad, strong medicine is usually good for you.

The media and Hill-Bill-y used one of the oldest dirty tricks in the Rove Manual. They worked hard to divert the voters' attention away from the problems facing our nation and Obama's message of a unified solution. They resorted to fear-mongering about an alleged Islamic race war. They wanted to make Barack seem as unappealing as possible by painting him as being un-American as possible. The racist rants against his middle name and implied ties to Islam are part of their plan to ruin him. Hill-Bill-y tried to move Obama away from his unity agenda into a political pigeon hole where he'd only be allowed to discuss race and poverty, like all the black leaders who came before him. But, Barack won't let them get away with this silly ploy to isolate him into irrelevance. In response, he made an epic move to get himself and America back on message with his stunning speech on race.

Obama used his superb oratory skills to dismiss his pastor's statements without condemning the man. It was the politically expedient thing to do. The comprehensive nature of his address leaves very little for the media, Hill-Bill-y or John McCain to exploit for political advantage in the future. More important, it releases him from the racist cage they were trying to shove him into. He can now get back to the task of winning the Democratic nomination. And, if anyone raises the race issue again, he can refer them to his speech. This is tactical brilliance beyond words.

Barack avoided the temptation to turn his bid for the Democratic nomination into a race war. He refused to couch his remarks about race in black/white, separatist terms. And he refused to allow himself to be turned into a betrayer of his beliefs. He knows he can't win a race war against the majority from a minority position. This approach would never bear productive fruit for anyone involved. Now, Obama can return to the mission of winning the nomination and defeating John McCain's bid to extend the failed Bush regime.

Dubya and Dick are methodically destroying the Middle East and the economy. They are doing this to pressure the electorate into considering voting to leave the Republicans in control of the White House. We must resist the temptation to surrender to the criminals who are now running our government. We have a choice to make in the fall. It will be between four more years of brutal Bushism and a new direction for our country. If given the chance, we will vote Barack Obama into the Oval Office. His presidency will mark a change from business as usual to building a better America. It's time we grew up and started living by the principles in our creed: To judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. And we can start this healing process without resorting to Hill-Bill-y's race war.

Franklin L. Johnson