Condemned at last! Condemned at last! Thank God almighty Barack’s condemned Wright at last!
Could there have been a more pressing issue anywhere in the world — a wrong more demanding to be made right — than the absolute imperative of having Barack Obama not merely deplore Rev. Wright’s verbal excesses, but also to condemn them?
I mean, getting out of Iraq and solving the health care crisis are concerns of microscopic significance compared to this great moral imperative, as surely any fool can plainly see.
So Glory be to the Creator, for Obama has done it at last: he has now officially condemned and cut his ties from Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.: not that Wright left him much option.
So, fine, the deed’s been done (though predictably it hasn’t quieted the howling): let’s call it the black candidate’s burden — that unwritten rule that mandates that every black office seeker (but only black office seekers) must expressly repudiate each and every person of the same race anywhere who has ever said something controversial.
And, by the way, if you think that sounds racist it’s only because it is.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been wondering why the huge multinational corporations that now own virtually every major news source in the United States (companies that market to African Americans) decided to push this sort of racist tripe so hard. Here’s a thought: maybe we should ask them.
Seriously, let’s ask them. Ask them once; ask them twice; ask them six million times, if need be. Beat them over the head with inquiries about it until they scream for mercy.
Now, I should give credit where credit is due for this New York Times editorial:
It is an injustice, a legacy of the racist threads of this nation’s history, but prominent African-Americans are regularly called upon to explain or repudiate what other black Americans have to say, while white public figures are rarely, if ever, handed that burden.
Senator John McCain has continued to embrace a prominent white supporter, Pastor John Hagee, whose bigotry matches that of Mr. Wright. Mr. McCain has not tried hard enough to stop a race-baiting commercial — complete with video of Mr. Wright — that is being run against Mr. Obama in North Carolina.
If Mr. Obama is the Democratic presidential nominee, we fear that there will be many more such commercials. And Mr. Obama will have to repudiate Mr. Wright’s outbursts many more times.
This country needs a healthy and open discussion of race. Mr. Obama’s repudiation of Mr. Wright is part of that. His opponents also have a responsibility — to repudiate the race-baiting and make sure it stops.
No doubt about it, that was a good start by The Times. But now let’s hear from the networks and the other big time media players. Let’s here them justify why McCain supporter John Hagee’s assertion that God destroyed New Orleans to punish it for an upcoming gay rights parade, was somehow less hateful than Wright’s statements. And maybe while they’re at it they can explain why McCain’s refusal to disavow Hagee is so much less newsworthy than Obama’s relationship with Wright.
Because let’s face it: compared to the media feeding frenzy surrounding the Wright-Obama connection, the coverage of the Hagee-McCain association has been a friendly brunch at the country club.
But, of course, we already know the answer, don’t we? Wright, after all, is a scary black man. Hagee is a scary white man: and scary white men just aren’t nearly as scary as scary black men. I mean, everyone understands that, don’t they?
And you know what? I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass whether this racial double standard has been motivated by true racial animus, or by other factors such as pack mentality, laziness, the desire to please the corporate home office or just the media’s love affair with John McCain.
When you’re a part of the small elite that gets to set the topic of conversation in this nation’s public life, your actions speak louder than the contents of your soul. If ABC, NBC, CBS and the rest of the pack advance a racially biased storyline, doing so constitutes racism, pure and simple, whatever they may tell themselves when they struggle with their consciences (assuming they even bother) in the middle of the night.
The media’s editorial “judgment” to manically push the Wright story, while largely burying the Hagee disgrace, represents the worst sort of racial stereotyping.
It would be a sin to let it drop, especially since it is so clearly merely the most obvious example of a much broader abuse.
We need to bombard the networks and the major print media (as many already have) with complaints about this. We need to ask — no demand — to know when they plan to start pushing McCain to repudiate Hagee as forcefully as they went after Obama on Wright.
It probably isn’t in Obama’s best interests for him to personally push the racial angle here (the angry black man thing). But the rest of us — especially those of us who are white — are under no such hindrance.
A long time ago, I wrote a piece titled Barack Obama and the “white man’s burden.” It wasn’t, frankly, one of my best posts, but I think the point of the piece was both valid and important: it will always be dangerous for Obama himself to suggest a racial component to any nastiness in the campaign.
What this means, of course, is that the burden falls (not exclusively, but significantly) onto the rest of us — and in particular on Obama’s white supporters — to fight this type of racial stereotyping.
Simply put: Obama supporters need to raise holy hell with representatives of the major media until they finally face up to their responsibility to start pushing McCain on his relationship with Hagee every bit as hard as they pushed Obama on Wright.
And if they refuse, then we can’t be afraid to call it what it is — racism.