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Obama is no Saviour
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March 18, 2008                                                    


                      Obama is no Saviour


I don’t “do” politics anymore.  If you have read the introduction on my home page you know that I have said that I would "avoid" politics.  Today, I break that pledge; slightly, as what I have to say now is only tangentially about this year's presidential campaign.

Campaigns, generally, are a sham run by hucksters.  Let me examine a few cases in point.

African Americans are excited about the first legitimate presidential candidacy by a person of color in our nation’s history.  As well they should; this is a momentous occasion that confirms the progress that our country has made in its race relations.  But so much that is transpiring proves that we have a ways to go.

Recently, Geraldine Ferraro makes a statement alleging that Obama is leading in the Democratic nomination battle because of his race.  She was pilloried.  But, of course she is right.  Obama was behind in the polls until black voters, realizing that he had a legitimate shot, switched sides.  Some of their leaders, being spineless and unprincipled, soon followed.

In the uproar over Ferraro, many missed a salient point.  If her statement was accurate, so is the corollary.  All of our presidents until now have been elected because they are white!  True, no African Americans ever ran in the general election.  But this is because, until now, no person of color ever had a prayer of getting that close to power.

But the real hypocrisy is that Ferraro was dismissed from Clinton’s campaign.  She’s jettisoned, as if the candidtate is really shocked and appalled by her statements.  Sham.  All for show.

Now, on Friday Obama was forced to axe his pastor and mentor from his campaign for similar “inflammatory and appalling” statements (see “Outspoken Minister Out of Obama Campaign," Washington Post front page story, 3/15/08).  You see, Obama is showing that he nows how to play the con…uh, political game as well.

What did this man, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, say that got him in so much trouble?

According to an AP story entitled “Obama Denounces Pastor’s 9/11 Comments,” after 9/11 he said the following:

We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye…We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this statement.  Yet, Obama had to distance himself from the man who baptized his two children to remain a viable candidate.  Where are his principles?  Where are ours?

These views are prevalent throughout the black community.  They are even more widely held amongst educated African Americans, with the exception, perhaps, of those in the military.  Moreover, these are standard liberal views.  To think that Obama didn't know this, or only first heard that his pastor held these views when he began his campaign for president is preposterous.  Why should someone have to pretend that these perfectly valid, reasonable statements are wrong?

What else did the man say?

More recently, the above-referenced Washington Post article informs us that in 2006 at Howard University Wright said, “"Racism is how this country was founded and how this country was run.”  True statement.  The comment is in the past tense.  Look in the history books and anyone can plainly see how racism was validated in the US Constitution and how “Jim Crow” laws were codified in the South.  Where’s the problem?

Finally, in the AP story he is quoted as blaming the government for giving blacks drugs and he says that America should be damned for shedding innocent blood.  The former comment is wrong, and the latter is definitely extreme.

Let’s take the second first.  I believe that the pastor is referring to Psalms 94:20-23, so he is on fair ground in making this assertion.  Indeed, white conservative, evangelical preachers make these types of statement all of the time.  They are usually directed at other countries or pro-choice Americans, but not always.  Often they are criticized, but not like this man.  More on that later. 

Even though our government may have had associations with some drug traffickers in the past, usually in connection with intelligence, this statement is beyond the pale.  Regardless of who is responsible for allowing the massive influx of illegal addictive drugs into our country, no one is forcing anyone to use it.  I should know.  I wasted many years high on drugs.  No one ever put a gun to my head.

But, if we were all penalized for our errant comments we would all be in jail.  Where’s the forgiveness?  Not to mention, reason.

This incident was not the first indication that I had that Democrats in general, and Obama in particular are essentially indistinguishable from their Republican counterparts this election season.  I don’t follow politics closely, but a few articles did catch my eye.

In January, Obama did a few interviews with Israeli media outlets.  He essentially expressed his support for the state of Israel with no criticisms of their heinous policies with respect to the Occupied Territories (see “Obama Speaks to Jewish Voters on Israel,” AP story).  Although, previously he had mentioned the idea of possibly negotiating with Iran and some other organizations in the past, if he doesn’t have the guts to “tell it like it is” to Israel now, will his behavior change after he’s elected?  Haven’t we already had enough politicians looking the other way on Israel?

He didn’t want to run afoul of the American Jewish lobby and their political clout.  This concern reared its ugly head a month later when he, again, sought to reassure Jewish voters of his support for Israel (see Chicago Sun Times  blog post “Obama Assures Jewish Leaders on Religion, Israel Stance").

It is clear that based on their comments there is no distance between the Democratic and Republican positions on Iraq or the “war on terror.”  Few of the policies that many find reprehensible will be altered.  Just look at the performance of the Democratically-controlled Congress in this regard.  So, African Americans are essentially getting all excited over what will result in a few billion additional dollars being spent on a few social programs.  There will be little real reform.

Regardless of who is elected, many of us will have to swallow our tongue at numerous accommodations that the new leader will “have” to make for the sake of public relations, image and the next campaign. So, what’s all the fuss about?

Of course, Obama isn’t the only hypocrite running.

I’ll leave Hillary alone she is such an easy target.  But let me draw your attention to something that John McCain has done that has been only briefly covered in the media.  Eight years ago, this man gained my respect when he referred to some evangelical leaders as “agents of intolerance.”

Since that time, the Republican presumptive nominee, has made nice with President Bush and also buried the hatchet with Rev. Falwell before he died.  A few years ago there were stories that served the purpose of quietly warning McCain’s liberal media friends that he would be making entreaties to evangelicals in order to be elected and that many in the press would not like what he does and says in the future.

Well, this has come to pass.  A summary of a story from Mother Jones that was posted on the Newser website on 3/13/08 busted McCain on precisely the type of pandering to religious leaders that has got Obama all twisted up (Link).  Apparently, a pastor who has endorsed McCain and has in the past supported President Bush has made comments that make Rev. Wright’s seem tame.

This man has said that America’s mission is to “destroy” Islam and that Allah is a “demon spirit.”  This is not the first time that McCain’s new found extremist evangelical friends have embarrassed him.  If he can get away with this type of hypocrisy, why can’t Obama, Clinton and Ferraro? 

What’s up with the media?  What's up with people of faith?  Is this what the bible really teaches?  Is this the type of thing that Jesus wants us to believe or say?  Show me.

These few insights into the campaign once again demonstrate why politics and politicians cannot be our saviour, and the media cannot be trusted.  Only Jesus Christ can save.  Only the Holy Spirit can change people's hearts.  Generally speaking, the office of the president cannot be attained without violating and corrupting one’s principles.

In order to move forward in building the kingdom of God, all people need to understand that we all have views that offend other people.  We need to learn to disagree without being disagreeable. 

To my conservative brothers and sisters in Christ you must begin to accept that African Americans have completely different worldviews than you do on a host of subjects.  This doesn’t make them any less Christian.  We must always seek to keep the channels of communications open (see "After Katrina, Divisions Melt Away," Washington Post story from 3/15/08).  Without doubt; the African American community can learn from you, and you can learn from us.

Just because many of us are critical of our country doesn’t mean that we don’t love our country.  And many of the more open-minded blacks understand that even though you sometimes fail to acknowledge America’s past and current wrongs that your hearts are usually in the right place and you’re doing what you think is right based upon your experiences and backgrounds.  As are we.

Many of us need to move to a new level.  My faith makes me a member of the body of Christ.  My country is the body of Christ, not America.  My flag is the cross.  And, my sword is the word of God.



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