‘Member When Obama Meant Wright, Not Right?

Once upon a time (OK, a little more than a year ago) there was a columnist who came to the defense of an embattled candidate for president who was being maligned for that most egregious of American political sins: he was kind of, maybe, sort of, appearing liberal.

Understand the candidate himself was not being accused of actually being a liberal, per se. It was the mere appearance of liberalism in his personal circle that was the damning mark. It seemed the candidate in question was, of all things, a Christian. Worse that that, the church where the candidate had genuflected for umpteen years was run by former American military hero-pastor, an exciting, altruistic, outspoken charismatic preacher who inspired millions the world over with his calls for humanism and justice.

Not surprisingly the candidate nearly lost his candidacy over such an outrage.

(The columnist, btw, nearly lost his 10 year job as a social studies teacher for writing such heresies as to defend a black man in print when townsfolk questioned whether he was dutifully attending to his day job as the village brainwasher of the future proletariat. The columnist however prevailed when the townsfolk came to realize that keeping up with the teacher’s supposed blasphemes might possibly require actual reading.)

What the mainstream media really wanted to say was that since Obama was a black man it was a guarantee that if he got to be president he would raid the chicken coop once the overseer took to wenching. But they couldn’t quite say that. So, they took to “God-damning” Obama’s far more phenomenal minister, the right Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a notable civil rights activist as if that were enough to darken Obama’s image. The suggestion was that since Obama had attended Wright’s sermons for twenty years he must’ve heard as least some of them.

The thinking went that if Obama had paid attention to Wright’s ideas about reshaping America so it actually was for-of-and-by the people, he then was now heir to the responsibility for pursuing the social justice ministry of the liberation theology so popular in certain Black churches — the types of churches that aim to free their parishioners from the earthly chains of oppression, rather than be the propagandists for those who sell such chains as “god’s will.”

So, that meant having a guy like that in charge would mean everything about the way America operated was bound get over-scrutinized then over-turned and generally and justly screwed over, because we all know America has been run for the elite oppressive few, not the huddled many. Any president who might actually work to improve the lives of his people and the world in general was obviously far too great a threat to go unchecked.

Immediately, throughout the blogosphere, all of America’s hard right pundit might was marshaled to do their combined best to lynch both men from the same tree in an effort to stop Obama from spreading Wright’s filth before it could infect the minds of young Americans.

Welcome to one year later.

Candidate Obama is now the current edition of the imperial president while Reverend Wright is nowhere to be found. And we discover, to little surprise, the poor old Right-wing got it wrong again. Obama wasn’t listening to those sermons.

For example, Wright wrote war was wrong. Having been there himself, he condemned the Bush violence and so must be cheering somewhere in absentia to see members of the Bush administration indicted in Spain thus launching an international investigation that will soon enough make their way to Obama’s front door though he has done all he could to ignore the pitter-patter of six billion little feat marching for justice. Meanwhile, in that same Democracy Now! ebullient broadcast which brought the news of the Bush indictments in Spain , Obama admits to committing to an extra twenty thousand American invaders in Bushco’s War of Terror in Afghanistan and then re-brands Bush’s genocidal occupation in Iraq as “advisory and assistance brigades.”

Wright wrote repeatedly about poverty and racism while Obama allows Wall Street bed-partner Tim Geithner to tax the poor for the profit of the rich on the one hand, then closes his eyes to the apartheid in Israel and distances himself from his own Attorney General’s efforts to bring race into the spotlight in America in much the same way he once betrayed his once beloved minister.

Wright also wrote about the retribution America would face for our misdeeds if we will not change our ways, the karma we were creating. One wonders if Obama also missed the part of Rev. Wright’s sermons about chickens coming home to roost and unjust leaders meeting, not meting, justice someday.

This one certain columnist certainly is taking the audacity to hope that Obama wasn’t napping the time Wright wrote of the justice to come. That day might be coming his way sooner than Obama thinks.

Mikel Weisser teaches social studies and poetry on the left coast of Arizona. He can be reached at weisser@frontiernet.net. Read other articles by Mikel.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Martha said on March 31st, 2009 at 11:30am #

    If Mikel Weisser wants to admit he was wrong, then do so. Stop hiding behind my race (African-American). Jeremiah Wrights was disgusting and Weisser should be apologizing for defending him.
    You do not, in a Black church, stand in front of a congregation (which includes children, yes Massah Mikel, wez havz us some childrens) and start simulating fornication. You do not do that. Is that simple enough for the likes of Mikel Weisser? I know it doesn’t fit with your White lefty view of the “noble savage” but it is unacceptable. We do not take our children to church so they can see that garbage. Jeremiah Wright is not a victim, was never a victim.
    He was a disgrace.
    My community already had to deal with that nonsense in 2008. I’m in no mood for a White man to be bringing back up Jeremiah Wright to laud him yet again.
    Jeremiah Wright is disgusting.
    On Bill Moyers Journal, after he was kicked to the curb, Jeremiah Wright listed ‘crimes’ and included sodomy on that list.
    Is this the ‘wonderful’ man Mikel Weisser believes he’s writing about?
    Again, not in the mood. We were insulted across the board as a community in 2008 while White lefties tried to rationalize and justify Jeremiah Wright’s actions (well, not all, they ignored the lawsuit against him from that woman) and pretend like swearing and simulating sex is just what happens in the Black church. Not in the mood for it.
    Barack was a joke in 2008.
    Smart people voted for Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader and we have nothing to apologize for.

  2. Michael Hureaux said on March 31st, 2009 at 4:59pm #

    Martha, I’m not a white lefty, and I think the issue many of us had with the manner Obama dealt with Jeremiah Wright had much less to do with his alleged sexual transgressions then the fact that Obama stood aside while a black man was made the target of national hate week by the mainstream media and right wing talk radio. Many of us who took up this issue have no idyllic view of Wright. The fact is that he was pilloried for a political stance he took, not for any simulation of sexual intercourse he may have done in front of a black congregation or any sexual harassment he may be responsible for. That wasn’t the issue, his politics were, and Obama effectively helped shut them down. Is Wright a victim? Maybe not. But Wright condemned U.S. imperialism in the sermon he was blasted for, and Obama denounced that speech as “incendiary”, because Obama defends the imperialist practice of burning children. Wright may not be a hero, but Obama is working hard to take a place among the outright fiends who drive this government’s policy.

  3. Keesha said on March 31st, 2009 at 5:23pm #

    Michael Hureaux,
    It’s interesting how you avoid Martha’s points. I’m especially intrigued by your failure to call Wright out for homophobia. Guess some things don’t qualify for “national hate week”? Maybe you just see something’s as normal.
    Like Marcia, I find it repulsive.
    And Jeremiah Wright’s conduct was not fit for the pulpit. You can try to dismiss it all you want, but those of us who had to explain to White people over and over that our church was not like that have not forgotten.
    There was never any reason to praise Jeremiah Wright. I’ll do like you and set aside the fact that he’s a homophobic bigot, he didn’t know what he was talking about. If you listened to his sermons — and I did after the news started playing clips — you were struck by the fact that if the media had chosen the basic clips not for “OOOH!” (which is their right) but for facts, he would have been laughed off the stage.
    He’s someone with a very low level of working knowledge. You loved his “chickens coming home to roost!” stuff. Yeah, like everything else, he got from somewhere else and he managed not to mangle that one up when he was at the pulpit.
    He wasn’t a smart man.
    He wasn’t a kind man.
    And this was a bad article and, Michael Hureaux, your comment doesn’t make it any better. And Barack’s being exactly who he said he was. I’m sorry if some people didn’t pay attention when it mattered.

  4. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 31st, 2009 at 7:23pm #

    THE FREEDOM TOWER WILL BE CALLED ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER

    http://www.infowars.com/freedom-tower-will-be-called-one-world-trade-center/print/

    AP | March 26, 2009

    NEW YORK — The Freedom Tower is out. One World Trade Center is in.

    The agency that owns ground zero confirmed Thursday that the signature skyscraper replacing the towers destroyed on Sept. 11 will be more commonly known as One World Trade Center.

    The building under construction at the site was named the Freedom Tower in the first ground zero master plan. Officials at the time said the tallest, most symbolic of five planned towers at the site would demonstrate the country’s triumph over terrorism.

    Port Authority of New York and New Jersey chairman Anthony Coscia says the agency refers to the building as One World Trade Center. He says it’s the building’s legal name and “the one that’s easiest for people to identify with.”

  5. Russell Olausen said on March 31st, 2009 at 9:28pm #

    I can only note how addicted to stardust the average American is. Wakey wakey, time to see the old Pres residing in the new, it’s not that hard to do , is it? As an aside I believe there are American fingerprints all over the installation of a man north of you called Prime Minister Harper or I’ll have chitlins for lunch tomorrow, whatever they are.

  6. mikel weisser said on March 31st, 2009 at 10:02pm #

    Mostly i’d like to thank Michael Hureaux who so eloquently said everything i’d have to say. Also i’d like to clarify that my articles, in either year, never had any intention of “admitting to being wrong” about Obama’s true colors then or now. Check the link to the earlier article in line one.
    (Great, great reading in the links to other people’s articles that were my sources in this week’s piece, btw)
    yzur

  7. mikel weisser said on April 1st, 2009 at 10:19am #

    Hey folks,
    Overnight i found this article had generated a huge post condemning me. I like to try to give any objections to my work a fair consideration.

    First here is the link to the opposing article and its content, then my reply below:
    http://sickofitradlz.blogspot.com/2009/03/lovey-doves-mikel-weisser-michael.html

    So that’s the good, let’s go to the ugly. “Member When Obama Meant Wright, Not Right?” is a piece of garbage by Mikel Weisser at Dissident Voice. Actually, Mikel Weisser’s a piece of garbage himself and I say that because the African-American community has suffered enough due to Jeremiah Wright. We don’t need White boy trying to redeam him.

    Some of us, like me, called him out loudly in real time. We did so because we go to church and we know what church is in our community. Others, out of a love for Barack, bit their tongues and some even flat-out lied. When Barack (and Michelle) finally washed his hands of Wright, we finally got the African-American pastors and preachers on TV (including NBC’s Today) who would say, “Look, what he did was offensive. We don’t behave that way in my church.” And that’s true across the board. But Mikel Weisser can’t grasp that.

    Here’s a question for Weisser: Are you a Christian?

    He may be. I doubt it. But if you’re not, shut up. If you’re not, no one needs your theories on Jeremiah Wright. If you are, explain to us if that would have flown at your church (your presumably White church)? If not, why do you think it’s natural for it to go down in our churches?

    This comment gets to the heart of the matter:

    Martha said on March 31st, 2009 at 11:30am #
    If Mikel Weisser wants to admit he was wrong, then do so. Stop hiding behind my race (African-American). Jeremiah Wrights was disgusting and Weisser should be apologizing for defending him.You do not, in a Black church, stand in front of a congregation (which includes children, yes Massah Mikel, wez havz us some childrens) and start simulating fornication. You do not do that. Is that simple enough for the likes of Mikel Weisser? I know it doesn’t fit with your White lefty view of the “noble savage” but it is unacceptable. We do not take our children to church so they can see that garbage. Jeremiah Wright is not a victim, was never a victim.He was a disgrace.My community already had to deal with that nonsense in 2008. I’m in no mood for a White man to be bringing back up Jeremiah Wright to laud him yet again.Jeremiah Wright is disgusting.On Bill Moyers Journal, after he was kicked to the curb, Jeremiah Wright listed ‘crimes’ and included sodomy on that list. Is this the ‘wonderful’ man Mikel Weisser believes he’s writing about? Again, not in the mood. We were insulted across the board as a community in 2008 while White lefties tried to rationalize and justify Jeremiah Wright’s actions (well, not all, they ignored the lawsuit against him from that woman) and pretend like swearing and simulating sex is just what happens in the Black church. Not in the mood for it. Barack was a joke in 2008. Smart people voted for Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader and we have nothing to apologize for.

    Martha said it all and said it very well. Now let’s read the weak response from a slave for Whitey:

    Michael Hureaux said on March 31st, 2009 at 4:59pm #
    Martha, I’m not a white lefty, and I think the issue many of us had with the manner Obama dealt with Jeremiah Wright had much less to do with his alleged sexual transgressions then the fact that Obama stood aside while a black man was made the target of national hate week by the mainstream media and right wing talk radio. Many of us who took up this issue have no idyllic view of Wright. The fact is that he was pilloried for a political stance he took, not for any simulation of sexual intercourse he may have done in front of a black congregation or any sexual harassment he may be responsible for. That wasn’t the issue, his politics were, and Obama effectively helped shut them down. Is Wright a victim? Maybe not. But Wright condemned U.S. imperialism in the sermon he was blasted for, and Obama denounced that speech as “incendiary”, because Obama defends the imperialist practice of burning children. Wright may not be a hero, but Obama is working hard to take a place among the outright fiends who drive this government’s policy.

    Notice how he ignores what Jeremiah Wright said about sodomy. Notice how he’s nothing but a cheap ass liar. National hate week? What a cross climbing asshole that prick is.

    I’ll probably be pulling Black Agenda Report. House Slave Michael posts there. I’ve actually recommend that we all pull Black Agenda Report from our links. How come?

    HERE is my reply:

    Since you had asked me several questions in your post i feel expected to reply.

    1st i would like to apologize for your offense. Not for my writing per se, but your feelings being hurt. I am generally proud when my work has so profound an impact on a reader. I’d prefer support, but at least this means you were moved, which to me means we can start looking for ways to agree, not disagree.

    2nd, both you and Martha at Dissident Voice suggest i am lamenting a suddenly perceived change in Obama, which is not true. While i did campaign for him eventually, Obama was actually my 5th choice because of his conservatism; though any of the Dems offered were clearly preferable to the GOP. I have written about this pretty consistently since Obama emerged on the national scene.

    However i should say that there are also several aspects of Obama’s administration i avidly support and i adamantly champion his general approach to issues as compared to Bush.

    As for your question on my religion: My parents were never religious, but on my own i attended a Methodist Church through high school and into college, was married twice in church services (i am a widower) and conducted the funerals for both my parents in Christian churches. In college i started into a pre-seminary program but while studying comparative religions moved from pure Christianity to a more pantheist belief system, feeling all religions have some redeeming value since they all seek a greater god, yet one no one can fully know or express god, so to pick one over the others denies their value. I don’t have to agree with every aspect of a religion to support its right to exist.

    This information is readily available in an earlier piece of mine also published by Dissident Voice, “The New Circumcision.” http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/03/the-new-circumcision/

    As for my support of Rev. Wright, though i know even less of who Michael Hureaux is than i do of you (thanks to your blogger profile), he quite correctly focused on the fact that my article was about Wright’s political activism, not his personal behavior. I do agree that prejudices are offensive and would find any of his homophobic remarks as offensive as the racism you’ve so freely directed at me.

    As for your second question, would his antics fly in my church? No, but i did stop going to Christian churches precisely because of being offended by such things. White evangelicals quite freely are over-the-top theatrical and use inciteful hyperbolic language in their presentations, especially in mega-churches which to me operate on such a scale that those who were supposed to be theologians are frequently reduced to showmen. This deterioration of religious message due to the size of the congregation seems to know no color bounds.

    But to more directly address the issue of Wright’s misbehaviors: as a Christian i was taught to celebrate a person’s strengths and forgive their transgressions when possible. While there are things i would not forgive (child molesting for example) i do tend to judge a person’s weaknesses by their strengths and could forgive, though not approve, of Wright’s failings in light of the good he has done for our country as a whole, though as you rightly point out, since i am not a member of his church, i cannot fairly address what good he has or has not done there. Surely there has been some good or he wouldn’t have lasted as pastor even 20 weeks, much less, 20 years.

    Certainly there have been many civil rights leasers who have had their faults used by detractors in an effort to diminish their good deeds. MLK for example has been treated harshly over allegations (some of which i suspect were true) of sexual misconduct, but for me those incidents do not undo the social benefits gained through his efforts.

    Lastly i would like to address your assertions that i have no right to holding opinions regarding race issues. Since I believe are people are fundamentally equal I would then assert that I have an equal right to an opinion on race relations as the one I would give to you. I don’t believe that my personal history in itself is enough to justify or unjustify my opinions, but that is where i get my views.

    As an infant was raised by a Black family while my mother was extensively hospitalized after my father abandoned us. Later when she remarried and relocated to the southern tip of Texas i grew up in a town that is still 86% Hispanic, making me, a white boy, the minority and i was a recurring victim of racial attacks. Still i staged my 1st protest for racial equality at age 10 and was beaten by my step-dad on my birthday for refusing to uninvite my Black friends to my birthday party. Throughout my life I have had and still have friends of various colors since I don’t pick my associations based on their color, but, as instructed, on the content of their character. This has remained a guiding principle in my life.

    At age 20, i can be seen in the Hart Perry documentary “Valley of Tears” protesting for equal rights for Hispanics. These last 30 years since then my writing and continuing record of social activism for the improved treatment of all citizens has not wavered and my articles of the last several years on these issues is readily available on-line for scrutiny.

    I appreciate you asking for me to reply to your concerns regarding my work and hope that even if we cannot agree on the magnitude of Wright’s wrongs that we can at least agree that it is the respectful communication of our opinions that will lead to an improved society for all citizens. As a middle school teacher in a predominantly Hispanic school in Arizona, I teach my students about the shame of the racism in America’s past and try to help them get past the racism that we still deal with today. For example, I was greatly disappointed that racism played such a big part in your condemnation of me.

    I hope I have written honestly and fairly enough to address some of your concerns and hope you would reply and address some of mine.
    Mikel Weisser