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Thank you for speaking as though I can understand…

By March 19, 2008Uncategorized

Whatever happens in the presidential election doesn’t matter to me anymore. I finally experienced something amazing, something that I never thought would happen: a politician addressed an extremely difficult subject and made me feel inspired rather than disgusted. Most politicians live off of a staple diet of pre-packaged ‘strategies’ and ‘talking points,’ mostly derived from polling data rather than personal convictions. After they’ve ingested this pablum they spew it back out and the press reports it as news.

Race is a difficult subject for our country. When people don’t want to deal with something difficult they construct simplistic notions as buffers from harsh reality. Skilled politicians know this, and on that basis they exploit our simplistic views of race. White politicians and black politicians do this. And the press does it too. Politicians do it to get elected, and the press does it to sell more newspapers.

It is no longer news that Obama is the first black with a realistic shot at becoming president. But what about his exposure to the sermons of a controversial black minister? What are we to make of that? Given that we have a hard time dealing with race and prejudice, what can Obama really say about Reverend Wright? If he disavows him it will seem like a convenient political ploy, another advisor tossed overboard to keep the political machine aloft. If he doesn’t disavow him then, well, that wouldn’t be good either. But those are the choices, right?

Maybe there’s another option? Hmmmmm, what would that be? Read this speech and consider Obama’s temerity. My god, this man has the audacity to assume that people can actually understand his true beliefs. And the further audacity to think that they might agree with him.

It doesn’t matter anymore if Obama wins. I’m not counting on people or events to pick the best candidate. Maybe he’s not the best candidate; I think he is but maybe I’m wrong. But I do know this: he’s the only one who doesn’t speak to us as though we’re all fools.

A lot of us are, though. And that’s why skilled politicians and newspapermen are usually so successful. And that’s why I’m not getting my hopes up about Obama becoming president.

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  • Mary says:

    Ernie, You absolutely mirrored my thoughts on this. With all the knuckle headed drivel going around it was wonderfully inspiring to be treated to an intelligent discourse on the subject. I’m not holding out much hope that he will end up president. After the last two elections we all know that anything can happen. When John Kerry was debating W, I thought, “Wow, anyone can see Bush is a bozo. He can’t possibly win now!” Boy, was I wrong on that one. I talked to people who actually picked Bush because he’s a “good Christian man”. Here’s an idea: Why don’t we try for a good competent president next time? I don’t really care if he or she’s Christian or Muslim or Wiccan or if they have a tendency to run off with the circus. I’m just heartily sick of all the jive.

  • Chris says:

    Great post, Ernie. I’m on the same page. Obama’s speech was great, and it took guts, given the stakes. It was so nice to hear a politician not bullshit us.

    Here’s an interesting story about the double standard being applied to the Rev. Wright story:

  • Chris says:

    I’m on the same page with you, Ernie. That speech by Obama was like nothing I’d ever seen before. It was simply on a different level from most political speeches we see, which are normally full of B.S. Obama was honest. I have no idea whether enough Americans will “get it,” but I’m happy he made the speech. I’m sure he knows the stakes, too, and that the speech may hurt him. It took guts.

    On the subject of Rev. Wright, I came across an interesting post that highlights a double-standard in media coverage: I hope the media picks up that story, too.

  • F. Lee Bailey says:

    Yes he did speak to us as fools. Fools for believing that we should vote for a person who associates himself for a hatemonger like Wright.

    This isn’t about race. It is about judgment–for befriending a man like Wright.

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