Reverend Wright at the NAACP –bumped & updated–
Welcome to Jeremiah Wright’s Rehabilitation and Retribution Tour. It’s not good for
any of us, though Rev. Wright is obviously having a blast. Of course, I know many of you
will only be able to see what you’re about to read in terms of the primary,
which I understand, but for me this is far larger, especially given the fact
that Reverend Wright is now “the hottest brother in America.” His
book will be out at the end of the year. He touted it during his
NAACP speech yesterday. That I’m writing about it shows I’ve lost my mind. That Obama
gave permission to McCain to dig into all things Wright if he’s the nominee
should make every Democrat immediately queasy.
… .. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Obama said that while
he believes Wright and his church have been treated unfairly in the controversy,
he expects the minister to be a part of the political debate.
“I think that people were legitimately offended by some of the comments
that he had made in the past,” Obama said. “The fact that he is
my former pastor I think makes it a legitimate political issue. So I understand
McCain, who has said little about the Wright controversy and has asked the
North Carolina Republican Party not to air an ad critical of Wright and Obama
set to run today, seized on Obama’s comments during a news conference in Florida.
“Senator Obama himself says it’s a legitimate political issue, so I
would imagine that many other people will share that view and it will be in
the arena,” McCain said, according to Reuters wire service. … ..
Wright has grabbed the spotlight and he’s using it, which will continue this
morning at the Press Club at 9:00 a.m. eastern time. If Reverend Wright cared
at all about the man he has mentored spiritually he wouldn’t be up front and
center giving speeches that insult people like John F. Kennedy. Jake Tapper
covered it as “jokingly
mocking.” I’m just glad my TV is still intact.
“Nobody in Detroit speaks English. We all speak different varieties
of American. … .. John Kennedy could stand at the inauguration in January
and say, (mocking Kennedy’s Boston accent) “Eee-ask not what
your country can do for you. Eee-ask rather what you can do for your
country.” How do you spell eee-ask? Nobody ever said to John
Kennedy, ‘That’s not English. Ee-ask. What’s ee-ask? Only
to a black child was it said, “You speak bad English.” Kennedy got
killed. Johnson stepped up to the podium in Love Field — we just left Love
Field — and Johnson said (mocking of Johnson’s southern accent follows, as
the speech continues.)… ..
It does make crystal clear, however, Senator Obama’s earlier comments about not wanting to fight the
wars of the 1960s all over again, because Reverend Wright is still fighting them and
hell bent on continuing that discussion, even dredging up the pain of old national
scars. Listening to Wright all those years obviously had an impact on Obama, even if it isn’t the outcome Wright might have hoped. Because Wright has no intention of helping to heal our wounds and move us all forward.
Wright is stirring them up again, bringing the divisiveness we’ve worked so hard to
move beyond to the surface one more time.
Rev. Wright is an educated, deep thinker. He
is also the most divisive nationally recognized religious figure I’ve seen in
my lifetime, who is proud to push stereotypes that have only one purpose: divide
“… From grammar school through graduate school we are taught in four
– four time that the dominate beat is on 1 and 3. .. … For Africans and
African Americans it’s not 1 and 3, it’s 2 and 4. I don’t even have to teach
you. You all just listen to black people clap to this song. “Glory, glory,
hallelujah.” (audience starts clapping) … You are clapping on beats
2 and 4. If you’ve got some white friends they’ll be clapping like this y’all.
… .. (Clip three – start 2:48)
Good grief, here we go. This is where Wright mimics “white friends” clapping off the beat
in a spastic manner. Wright’s purpose is to point out the differences between
white and blacks, but not in a way that lifts everyone, instead seemingly trying
to separate us, while pushing the worst of stereotypes. Oh right, it’s all a big joke. Of course African American music is different. The bulk of my music is jazz,
as I have just about every CD Miles Davis ever recorded. I definitely see Davis,
as well as Ella, Dinah, Nancy Wilson as different, Count Basie, this list is
endless, but in a way that makes me worship that art and their gifts. Oh, and
Q! That would be Quincy Jones, for those not aware. ..and I’ve worshiped the sounds of B.B’s Lucille
for years. I could not in a million years imagine my life without black artists
who have enriched me. The blues has kept me going. It’s all so much more than how we clap, or
on what beat comes the emphasis.
Wright, in speaking of our differences, omits something very important. What
about what we share in common? Oh, that part comes at the end of his NAACP speech in a quick wrap up.
A throw away section after minutes and minutes of putting us in different camps. The importance miniscule to Wright compared to the separation angst he works to foster.
Reverend Wright is caught in a time warp. He’s moored in the 20th century.
“We just do it different and some of our haters can’t get their heads
around that.” (Clip three – around 7:00)
I kept asking who exactly is the hater here?
No white person of conscience will ever forget our history. And yes, there
are racists who will never vote for a black man or woman, but those numbers
are miniscule today. However, Reverend Wright’s message as currently delivered certainly isn’t going to change that fact. All he’s going to do is antagonize
and stir up wounds that we can never fully heal because of their horrendous
nature, but instead must release and let go, allowing forgiveness to take hold.
For how does a nation begun by whites ever make full amends for slavery, for
the deaths and discrimination of our past, as well as the inequities of modern laws and justice that far too few work to right?
Wright talks about there being no separation in his religious tradition from
heaven and the bondage on earth, while simultaneously speaking in language and
on subject matter that does exactly what he’s preaching against. He accentuates the reality that each
of us are different because of our race and culture, which we all know and lived
through in the 20th century.
Who will lead us forward and beyond our divide? It isn’t Reverend Wright. I guess here is where Wright’s answer would be obvious. After all, he’s the one.
The insults get worse when Wright mocks white people in church. Sermons in houses of worship that have people shouting in praise of Jesus and
God are a marvelous thing to behold. But Wright mocking what can only be whites
not feeling compelled to show emotion is the worst kind of collective judgment,
seemingly saying that if you don’t show your emotion you must not feel it. It’s
preposterous, not to mention the antithesis of accepting and appreciating that
each individual has his or her own way of revealing faith and love and passion,
whether we’re talking religion or music. In a speech about not judging differences,
Wright demands we be the same, or we’re less. The irony was completely lost
Then finally, after a blizzard of words and descriptions, destructive and divisive,
Wright says that we must be committed to change, changing how we see others
who are different than us. But what preceded not only belied that message, but
made a mockery of it. Will he ever leave the past behind and walk into the future,
our collective future? He doesn’t seem to want to at all.
Wright’s closing was slipshod, as he threw out a final positive message that
would have served us all if he’d made it his centerpiece. It’s this last part,
seen in the video at the top of this post, that allowed a window into the best
hope of what Wright believes. Listening to the whole speech, what he says in
conclusion reveals a man of deep belief, caring and hope. However, what came
before revealed a very conflicted man. A man divided so strongly and unable
to bridge his own conflicts he can’t possibly lead the way to help us bridge
ours. But that hardly matters, because it’s not what Wright’s Rehabilitation
and Retribution Tour is all about.