Friday, March 14, 2008

[UPDATED 3/17 PM] Racism and the Democratic campaign: Rev. Wright and Ms Ferraro

A firestorm has erupted over (a) Geraldine Ferraro's comment that Senator Obama would not have been so successful in the Democratic race if he were not a Black man; and (b) the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's fiery sermons (link, link) that folks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (video) and Clinton supporters on various blogs (e.g. blog on TNR) find appallingly racist and hateful. Ms Ferraro has finally left the Clinton campaign (after a few days and after crying reverse-racism - "they're attacking me because I'm white") The Rev. Wright (who recently retired as Pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ) has also left the Obama campaign.

First, here is Senator Obama denouncing the specific comments made by the Rev. Wright that US foreign policy was responsible for the 9/11 attack. In video form:

A Clinton supporter, long-time donor and Washington caucus state delegate is disgusted with the Clinton campaign and is leaving Senator Clinton's side.

A Chicago Tribune editorial says both Ms Ferraro and the Rev. Wright were merely exercising their First Amendment rights. The candidates themselves are not to blame, but the editorial says the candidates' reactions are more important, to see how they would deal with adverse situations. "No-Drama Obama has been playing the Ferraro comment with appropriate cool.... Clinton, by contrast, has been clumsier."

Over at WaPo, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, President of the Chicago Theological Seminary, says Ms Ferraro is wrong, calling the controversial remarks the (Catholic-defined) human sin of "willful ignorance." She goes on to compare the American experience with slavery against the German response to the Holocaust; the Germans are trying to force themselves to face their horrifying past, while Americans try to deny racism is still prevalent, much of it directed against Blacks.

[UPDATE] Melinda Henneberger, over at The XX Factor on, says - about the Obama-Wright connection - we all have friends who are nutty. She goes on to mention the less-than-perfect pastors behind Senators McCain (televangelist John Hagee, anti-Catholic, and Rev. Rod Parsley, war-on-Islam) and Clinton (Rev. Billy Graham, antisemite). She also points out that since Senator Obama probably knew the Rev. Wright was controversial, he likely remained a member of the Church out of non-political reasons. [END UPDATE]

Finally, this is not the first time Ms Ferraro has accused a Black candidate as getting an easy ride/being successful because he was Black. The Rev. Jesse Jackson responded, "Millions of Americans have a point of view different from" Ferraro's." Perhaps most tellingly:
"We campaigned across the South . . . without a single catcall or boo. It was not until we got North to New York that we began to hear this from Koch, President Reagan and then Mrs. Ferraro . . . . Some people are making hysteria while I'm making history."

1 comment:

RS said...

The previous post and the blog it names is the usual "capitalism is our savior" drivel.
I am no Communist; the practitioners of Communism have pretty much ruined that idea forever.
However, to say that taxation should be abolished is to abdicate social responsibility - and that is not just about helping the poor and disadvantaged. Taxation also pays for public infrastructure; many rural communities would not be connected with roads, railways and airports because it would not be economically feasible, which is the bottom line of all private enterprise.
Besides, a free market thinks everyone is equal in opportunity; we know this is not the case. The wealth of many industrialist titans of yore was built by exploiting laborers and slaves. Sweat-shops are widely-prevalent even now; it is only in the last few years that the allegations against Nike have died down. Education and proper health care is still not affordable to many folks. Without these two basic necessities, the premise of a level playing field - which is the basis of true capitalism - is false.

As for the Democratic race, if someone thinks that Senator Obama is the only Democratic candidate who is some sort of a communist/socialist - that person is delusional. So is Senator Clinton - she has said that she had reservations over NAFTA from the start, and would renegotiate the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Finally, for all the "miraclesdaily" fulminations over Jesus Christ supporting some sort of laissez-faire - my interpretation is that if Jesus was alive today, he would be a Communist. How else would the beatitude "the meek shall inherit the earth" work?