Just Words–Obama Gives 1st Major Address to G-D*mned America

Initial reaction:

The fact that Obama twisted his pastor’s offensive and outrageous remarks and made it into a race issue was clever. It doesn’t excuse his pastor or excuse the fact that he sat with the America-hating racist for 20 years, though.
And, the fact that he plays it off like “all of us are at fault” is insulting.

Hope and Change for G-damned America:

Just words?
Obama is going to try to explain this mess to a G-d*mned America today.
Good luck.

Obama plans his first major address today to God D*mn America at 9:15 AM EST.
FOX News will have streaming video. He is expected to ask everyone to “tone down the racial rhetoric.”

The Democratic frontrunner for president was damaged this past week when video of his racist anti-American pastor was released on the internet and on cable news. The fact that his pastor was G-damning America at the pulpit shocked much of lily white G-d*mned America. Today Obama is going to try to explain that this is a normal and natural sermon for black America and that to condemn this behavior would be racist(?)
FOX News reported:

In a speech whose religious significance could compare to one given in December by former GOP presidential hopeful and Mormon Mitt Romney, Obama may be forced to explain the philosophy of the 8,000-strong Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where the Democratic presidential candidate has been a congregant for 20 years.

In announcing the morning address, to be delivered in Philadelphia, Obama would not say specifically what he will discuss, but suggested he wants to cool down the atmosphere after incendiary remarks by his pastor, retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., blanketed the airwaves over the past week.


Barack Obama and Kwame Kilpatrick graced the cover of the Trinity United Church of Christ Trumpet magazine this past year.

“I am going to be talking about, not just about Reverend Wright but just the larger issue of race in this campaign, which has ramped up over the last couple of weeks,” Obama told reporters after a town-hall meeting. “Part of what I’ll do tomorrow is to talk a little about how some of these issues are perceived from within the black church community, for example, which I think views this very differently.”

Obama has been on defense regarding statements made during Wright’s sermons, including calling America the U.S. of KKK-A and saying the nation should be damned for its treatment of blacks. The Illinois senator has claimed repeatedly that he has never been present for any of the vitriolic speeches delivered by Wright, and does not approve of them.

Jules Crittenden has more on Obama’s latest hope and change talk.

The talk was scheduled for 9:15 (CP time?).
BTW- Only 8% of Americans have a favorable opinion of G-damning Jeremiah Wright.

Drudge has the transcript.

Here are the major points from the speech (it still has not started):

…On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

…As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

blah, blah…

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety (scary!)– the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect…

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

God D*mned America.
More:

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.( It’s all your fault.) We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

…The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

There you have it- nice mustard sandwich ending.
Just words?
(Obama is finally starting to speak now.)

A few observations:

** “Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety”- Frightening.
** “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me”- G-Damn right!
** “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community”- You’re done.
** “These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America”- That’s G-damned America, thank you.
** Man cannot live on bread alone- add mustard and relish.

Obama had some nice words but will it be enough to heal the damage done by his pastor?
…Doubtful.

AP and Ed Morrissey are liveblogging.
Michelle Malkin posts reaction.
Byron York notes that the WaPo and NYT both omitted the most inflammatory language by the preacher.
Victor Davis Hanson also sees Obama’s response as failing:

Blaming others for “divisiveness” or “cherry-picking” or whining that similar scrutiny is not devoted to Sen. Clinton’s church, or contextualizing Wright’s venom on something like the Huffington Post is a prescription for abject disaster.

One wonders at this point whether the Senator would prefer not to be president of the United States than tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the nature of Rev. Wright and his own connection with him?

More VDH, via Nahanni:

Given Obama’s past sanctimonious dismissal of the Christian right (“The so-called leaders of the Christian right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us.”), he now is in danger of not just playing the hypocrite, but the fool as well. Referring to Wright as a “respectable biblical scholar” et al, is laughable—given that almost everything Wright seems to assert, whether about the Roman Empire or the origins of AIDs, is buffoonery.

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