Barack Obama and the “Race” Speech

Barack Obama gave a wonderful speech today that was stirring and dramatic and once again hope-filled.  That is what he is best at and I am sure we will hear commentators on both sides of the street saying that he had redeemed himself or that the speech did nothing.  The problem for me is that Obama sustained a blow to his candidacy that no amount of eloquence can erase.  And the issue at hand had very little to do with race for me.  I was just as pissed when Ward Churchhill’s comments from years ago surfaced and he is a white man.  I believe in free speech and that everyone has a right to their opinion.  Unfortunately, when considering someone to be the next leader of the free world, I have to look at the judgement of that person.  I have to look at their actions both past and present. 

The fact still stands that Obama feels so strongly in regards to Reverend Wright that he still cannot dismiss the man completely.  He said that people wonder why he associated with Rev. Wright and did not leave to go to another church.   After all, Oprah Winfrey did just that.  He explained that Wright lead him to Christ and taught him how to love one another and treat the poor.  (I guess as long as they are not a white male.)  He talked of all of Wright’s good deeds and programs as though that should erase what the core beliefs of the man are.  This man who is a Christian Pastor says that Jesus Christ was a black man.  For those of you who are Christian you know what the Bible tells us to think of false teachers.  Jesus Christ was a Jew, a Hebrew, a Semetic – not a black man.  This falsehood alone should cause a person to leave their church if they are truly Christian.  I understand that leaving a church that you feel raised you in your faith is difficult.  I left a church that I had attended my entire adolescent life when they brought politics in to the church via a petition that would deny gay people their basic human rights in Colorado.  It is all about principles and judgement.

Obama opened up the speech by reminding everyone about what our Founding Fathers had done in Philadelphia – they had launched an improbable Democracy.  Actually, they launched a Republic which also causes me to wonder how much Obama really understands the workings of the Constitution and America.  He reminded us all of slavery and how that divided this nation.  Later in the speech he referred back to this when explaining the anger in the black community and how we all need to come together and understand each other.  He explained that Rev. Wright grew up through segregation and that he still is stuck there and that is why he treats the country like it is “static” and has not moved forward in many ways.  Obama also explained that white workers don’t think they’ve been priviledged by race.  That they have resentments about things like affirmitive action and that other people’s dreams “come at my expense”.  That is why racial charged comments are made, for example racial epithats.  I agree with the points that Obama was trying to make about division in this country and he did tell black people that they need to be more involved especially fathers.  That is so true and Bill Cosby has been ridiculed for saying the same thing.  I’m sure that the black community won’t lash out at Obama for this though.

Obama also revealed more of his Socialistic beliefs by saying that we would prosper as a country by investing in all races, particularly when it comes to education.  He said we need to get rid of segregated schools because this leads to an achievement gap.  Unfortunately, I think it has more to do with the parenting.  No amount of money can make up for parents who don’t teach their children that they can achieve and show them success with their own lives.  Any child of any race who has no father at home and watches mom live off of welfare or watches their parents get lost in drugs or alcohol will ever think they can achieve anything.  Community involvement can help somewhat, but Socialism will never work.   Obama also blamed a lack of economic opportunity and that contributes to family break-ups.  I think it has a lot to do with core issues in the black community.  The lives of rap artists and gang bangers seem to be what is glorified in the young black community.  It shows in the lifestyle whether it be speech, dress, music, movies, etc.  Education and self-help don’t go well with that fact. 

But again, I think race has very little to do with what has fired up most of America against the things that Rev. Wright has said and the things that Michelle Obama has said.  It is their lack of American pride and Patriotism.  There are many things to be critical of America about and we have a long way to go in many things, but a basic love of country is required if you are going to represent our country.  I watch people’s deeds or actions rather than listen to their words.  Many people say great things and yet are something completely different.  Eliot Spitzer comes to mind.  I have to base some of my judgement on Barack Obama by the company he keeps.  His wife and spiritual advisor make pretty good windows into the soul of this man.  And depite a great speech – I still see a darkness in that soul that gives me great pause.   

Obama finished up the speech by commenting that we could continue to focus on Rev. Wright and play the comments over and over and focus on non-issues, but that would damage future campaigns by changing nothing and that we’ll just continue to talk about distractions.  Or we could move on, which is obviously what he would love to have us do.  Of course, this is so much more than a distraction and Obama is still in denial about the significance.  I just hope America can see through the fog of eloquence.

For full speech:
For story about Obama being present at Rev. Wright’s sermons:


2 responses to “Barack Obama and the “Race” Speech

  1. Ace in the hole. This speech should go in the history books. This candidacy should (and will) go in the history books. This was one of the most “presidential” speeches I have ever heard a candidate give in my life, if not THE most. It challenges every American to be better, from top-down and bottom-up. He didn’t dance around issues as most politicians and people in the public light do. If you didn’t feel challenged to be a better American after listening to this speech, you were not paying attention.

  2. Excellent commentary on Obama’s speech. I found it interesting how he made the Rev. Wright issue into one of race. I think like you said most Americans were upset at the anti-American rhetoric that Wright spewed, it had little to do with race. I thought that Obama’s speech was disingenuous, he read from a teleprompter a speech that was carefully crafted to get his butt out of trouble. It most certainly was not from the heart. Obama’s speech will go down in history as the pretty sounding speech that Americans just didn’t buy…

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