Finding Obama At Home

Posted on April 14, 2008. Filed under: politics |

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama’s Pastor No Longer Serving on Campaign

Regarding the bringing to “public scrutiny” of past sermons by Black Liberation Theologian Rev. Jeremiah Wright, now the ex-spiritual advisor and mentor for Senator Barack Obama, the senator has said: “Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy”; Without using eloquent words to address the veracity of Rev. Wright’s statements (within the historical context of the Black Liberation Theology tradition) he then heaps more insults, by comparing his pastor to the likes of some uncle that’s done gone off into ‘da deep end.

To some it may appear that Senator Obama, “The Messenger of Change”, strategically [and others may say cowardly tucked tail and] ran from an opportunity for meaningful, serious conversation around fundamental political “change” that should take place for the benefit of poor working class Americans. Surely, the Senator from Illinois has a plan that would begin to alleviate the grinding poverty and slums which Katrina vividly exposed to the world. What specific remedies has the senator proposed for the myriads of problems from joblessness, poor schools, hunger and urban violence other than a campaign to tell the “Brothers” to stay at home with their families and “Sisters” turn off the television set and make the children do homework and “have hope”? In essence, this is the same old “just say no” right-wing rhetoric of blame and shame we have heard from republicans and democrats for over the past thirty or more years. Though many blacks are Obama supporters, they are still waiting to hear the senator speak to poor black workers employed and unemployed. For instance, Senator Hillary Clinton has spoken specifically to persons of interests, like Hispanics around the immigration issue. As a result, the Hispanics including Mexican/Mexican Americans are securely in the Clinton camp. Whereas Senator Obama is receiving incredible support from the majority of Black Americans, where is the Senators specific agenda for meeting the needs of America’s poorest citizens, many of whom are Black?

The savvy senator knows that such a frank conversation around race, class and most importantly POWER in America, might upset and put at odds his fragile coalition of extremely diverse supporters, causing The Good Ship Obama to run aground. However, is this not always the case with the democrats during elections? The democrats want the black vote but will not embrace issues crucial to the black community and the poor for fear it might break their coalition with moderate democrats and republicans who “might swing” democrat.

So the type of reactionary response given by Senator Obama to the legitimate claims Rev. Wright has made against America should make it clear to most blacks, the poor and countries around the world that continue to bear the brunt of American imperialist and racist policies, that the political culture of America might not radically change under an Obama administration. Given this fact, Americans who seek real change in hopes to truly transform the lives of poor and working people and to make significant gains for labor, or in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, those who seek “a radical redistribution of wealth”, will not find such relief on the agenda of either the democratic nor republican parties. Americans who seek an anti-imperialist, anti-racist and genuine pro-labor political platform must abandon the democratic and the republican parties and other parties like then. Progressive and revolutionary minded people must seek out and support truly progressive and revolutionary political parties that are not controlled by rich people and corporations that use people like Senators Obama and Clinton as their political face.

Again, Senator Obama failed to address in a contextual manner, the truthful aspects of his pastors’ sermons which speak to the very heart of the nature of oppression in this country. It matters not, whether it is articulated as God “Blessing” or “Damming” America. During this 2008 Presidential Race, the senator’s condemnation of Rev. Wright’s sermons amounted to his and The Democratic Party dismissing as “inappropriate”, any mention of the social-economic struggles blacks are facing today and their history and legacy of revolutionary struggle for freedom and justice in America. The historical and present struggles of blacks in America are very relevant and inextricably bound to the struggles which exist for poor peoples in America and throughout the world. Still it seems that any mentioning of the problems and conditions which make struggle inevitable for poor black workers in America seems a “taboo” to the Senator Obama campaign. Yet still, it was this revolutionary struggle of blacks and some others during the civil right era that forced concessions, like affirmative action and relaxation of segregation laws, from the American ruling classes. For with the benefit of hindsight, we see it was no accident that Malcolm X was taken off the scene before Dr. M.L. King.

There are many who doubt that Senator Obama, who in some ways might be a better candidate then Senator Clinton, will “be granted” the Democratic nomination. This is a very real possibility if the Florida and Michigan delegates are counted and seated. Moreover, in view of his rejection of the Vice Presidency under Senator Clinton; in the future with the election worries behind him, considering his enormous base of America’s youth and the disaffected, does the senator have what it takes to hold his movement together and build it into at least a progressive if not a revolutionary force for real fundamental change? The likelihood of Senator Obama’s ability to provide creditable leadership along these lines for his supporters beyond the 2008 Elections is doubtful if he is intent upon dismissing the primary political causes; one being America’s corporate capitalists and imperialist policies at home and abroad as a chief factor in human suffering.

Sen. Obama’s categorical rejection of the blunt, but for the most part painfully truthful statements by Pastor Wright is perhaps indicative of Obama’s attempts during his candidacy to further distance himself from the historical base of struggle of black people in America. This is no surprise considering that initially it was determined that Senator Obama’s appeal to whites as a candidate was he did not carry “the baggage” of coming from among the civil rights personalities. Therefore, whites especially would not feel “threaten” by him and he would not create in them any feelings of ambivalence around electing a black or conjuring up in them notions of racial feeling around blacks.

Even so, how can Senator Obama truthfully say that he intends to “change the culture” in Washington when he is FOR ANY REASON repudiating statements that are by in large true about “the culture” in Washington, the White House and America in general. It appears that many of Rev. Wright’s sermons, speeches and his churches ministries are true to black America’s historical base of progressive and revolutionary struggle. It is a historical base that is the foundation of most if not all social political struggles of oppressed peoples in this country and oppressed peoples throughout the world. Quite a few whites are members of his church and for the most part seem to have no problem with their pastor’s position. Along with the black members, they have supported Obama.

Blacks in America have a proud and glorious history of progressive and revolutionary struggle. As true American Patriots, Blacks in America must never disavow this fact. We all must never forget that oppressed peoples the world over gained “Hope” and inspiration from our fight for civil rights. Lest we forget, it indeed was a “fight” against lynching, bombings, segregation and discrimination by American laws and customs; for America was openly at war with its blacks who were deemed to be less than citizens. So down though the centuries America’s Black citizens stood up and revolted for the right reasons, for the right cause, that is “to make America be true to what she put on paper”; for as much as all men are created equal, Black Americans demanded there must be liberty and justice for all.

In the way of black preacher vernacular, this is all Rev. Jeremiah Wright was saying to his congregation. What a shame it is for Senator Obama, an American Presidential candidate who says he is an “African American” who wants to be president for “all the people”, yet condemns his own pastor’s relevant and truthful sermons regarding the black experience of struggle for freedom and justice in America. Is Senator Obama so afraid of “loosing the election”, that he chose to “sandbag” his own pastor instead of using his charm, wit and skill with words to convey the Black American struggle to America’s youth and disaffected, showing them how it parallels to the struggle of all poor and working class peoples? If anyone could help them understand, it should be Obama. A man who seems to have the heart and mind of the youth, who would be believed by them so that they would see clearly how the black experience of hate, discrimination, oppression and murder in this country, gave rise to a black struggle, a black revolution for American liberties for all people. The black struggle for freedom and justice back then and still today, is a very American experience.



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