Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Darnit, Rev. Wright! You Done Wrong!

Alright, see, this is just so frustrating in a way because:

1. Rev. Wright's speech at the NAACP Awards was SUPERB, outstanding, factually accurate, inspirational, even entertaining. His discussion of America and "difference" not being "deficient" was just wonderful. He wasn't Barack. He wasn't Michael Dyson or Cornel West. He wasn't Snoop Dogg. But he was wonderful.

2. I missed the interview he did with Bill Moyer and only caught a snippet of it; but even then, it was okay.

3. I caught only a part of his speech at the National Press Club but even that speech was very good. (I was giving finals, forgive me)

4. I only heard about the disaster of the Q & A but when I saw the recap, my heart sunk a bit. See, that was all about ego. I defended Wright's need to come out and give his speech and stand up for himself, Black liberation theology, the Black Church and even set the record straight about a few things. He did that very well and on every occasion --- until that Q & A.

Wright is a public intellectual, not just a preacher. He has a responsibility, especially in this country, when we can name the Black public intellectuals we see on TV on one hand (a testament about America in and of itself). And, unfortunately, there is no reason why you should be throwing up Que (Psi Phi) signs, dancing at the mic, suggesting you should be Vice President and undercutting Barack Obama's chances.

It's sad but I felt that Rev. Wright doing this was a bit vindictive and also rested in ego-mongering. And, please, I live in the Hill District, I get enough of that b.s. every day or at least every Monday.

It's just hurtful and Wright did not just hurt Obama, he hurt all of us who are out here in the public, he hurt all Black radicals and progressives, he hurt all ministers and he most certainly hurt the everyday people who are still riding for Barack.

I am still riding for Barack . . . BUT:

Barack needs not to listen to his campaign managers all the time. What his campaign managers should have done was to bring out the Black intellectuals AND all progressive intellectuals who could accurately verify much of what Wright said in his previous speeches.

Yes. Unfortunately, Wright's antics have overshadowed the fact that 99% of what he has said in his speeches is entirely accurate. Even Thomas Jefferson thought that America was, literally, God-damned. Harriet Beecher Stowe, an avid abolitionist, feared that if America did not repent for 'Her' original sin (slavery), America would be God-damned. Heck, even Pat Buchanan feels that liberal tolerance of homosexuality and abortion makes America God-damned. If we added up all the Americans (of any ethnicity) who believed that America was God-damned, we might find we outnumber the terrorists who believe the same---albeit for different reasons.

So, this is why I say that the public intellectuals should have stepped up. Let the media see what Howard Zinn has to say. Let Tim Rice speak up. Check out Michigan State University's Race Conferences and pick ANY of those folks. Personally, I can contextualize and provide greater understanding for Wright's commentary with my eyes closed, including the accusation that the U.S. Government invented AIDS---because I was an Africana Studies major and I'm a scholar of American Studies. And in these kinds of ignorant newsmaking and viewership, I cannot overstate the need for an intellectual conversation about what has been happening and why race is still a problem in America.

As far-fetched as the AIDS in America theory sounds and as ridiculous as it seems, there are real and factual reasons why even this paranoia is perfectly valid---especially if you're Black. I'm not saying Barack needs to validate that. But Rev. Wright is not crazy for believing it, although he might be irresponsibile for putting that theory out there without providing the factual information to back it up. Besides, this is not just a Black theory. This theory has been touted and put forth by The Strecker Memorandum and many others, including many doctors who live outside of the United States.

And let's not act like spreading disease as a form of biological and chemical warfare is somehow inexplicable. Smallpox in Indian blankets, anyone? Tuskegee Syphilis experiment, anyone? Agent Orange, anyone?

I mean, come on . . .

Anyway, my point is that if Rev. Wright had been properly supported in the mainstream, he might not have felt the need to lash out and defend himself---and then act a fool.

I'm embarrassed and sad that he chose to do that and I know it must be painful for all involved.

In the end, people are not thinking about Rev. Wright. People are worried about their gas, worried about their rent, worried about losing their homes and worried about their jobs. If the media wants to focus on Rev. Wright, fine. But the more responsible thing to do is focus on the candidates, themselves, their ideas and how they plan to change this country.

For me, Barack Obama is still the change I can believe in.

And I am 100% committed to making Michelle Obama my first lady.

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