Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Wizard Emerges from Behind the Curtain, Pulling the Elephant Out of the Corner with him

I listened intently to Sen. Obama's speech this morning. And it was a great speech. He emerged from behind the curtain, a "whole man," as my grandmother used to say, finally expressing what I believe were HIS complete views on race.

He stood up like that whole man and SAID, "I cannot disown this man...." though he's, in his words, "already condemned in unequivocal terms the statements of Rev. Wright that have caused such controversy and in some cases, pain." (Okay, he's still got some truth to face!) He stood up like that whole man and SAID, "Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American foreign and domestic policy? Of course." "Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes." "Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely, just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you've strongly disagreed." (Okay, he could have left that last part off, no need to qualify his disagreement by pairing it with that of others.). My point is - at least he stood up for a change.

That one paragraph above was all I expected from this Black man running for president confronted with a media-fueled firestorm such as this. And had I heard it when he wrote On My Faith and My Church." for The Huffington Post, my expectations would have been met. But he did the knee-jerk thing - first (no doubt on the advice of those "handlers" of his), denouncing the words of his mentor and denying he ever even heard him say anything like that.

That didn't sit well with me at all for a couple reasons. First of all, anybody with a few firing brain cells could figure out he'd lied about never hearing Rev. Wright's statements over the 20+ years he's sat in that church. And secondly, but most important for me, "denouncing" and distancing himself from somebody who'd had his back far longer than those "alleged kingmakers" he calls advisors for the sake of making history was unconscionable to me. It had me thinking, "Shit, if he'll do that to his mentor, what about me?"

And what do I think now? The jury's still out on that one, mainly because he was "forced" to do the right thing. I know, I know - he did the right thing regarding his pastor! But would he have? He's been campaigning for a little over a year and it sure didn't look like he would have.

If this had not become an issue, would he have continued his "change-train" without ever addressing the fundamental issue driving the inequity in this country? Was he planning to be the "undercover brotha," stealthily pulling the elephant out of the corner after he'd gotten the nomination, the seat? And if that was the plan, that ain't too cool either because plenty white folks would have felt bamboozled for sure - and rightfully so. I don't care how much they protest, many of them would not have been supporting him so vociferously had he come out at the bell with this speech. What happened to John Edwards is evidence of that.

I can't say for sure how this will all play out or how I will respond in November (I'm a "hold the feet to the fire kind of girl"). But this much I know is true, he has done today what needed to be done as a Black man running for president in my book - he stood up. Granted it was grudgingly, but he stood up. This speech allows him to really become the agent of "Change We Can Believe In." I hope he is being honest. And if he isn't? Well, at least he's raised the bar - a little, making race a topic his opponents will have to address.

Oh, and Rev. Wright, you can safely roll on out from under that bus now.

4 comments:

The First Domino said...

You said:

"And what do I think now? The jury's still out on that one, mainly because he was "forced" to do the right thing."

Speculation. But within your purview to do so.

Riddle me this: why would the MSM clog the airwaves with snippets of Rev. Wrights sermons, sermons directed to a specific audience and for its sole consumption, if it were not to embarrass him, and negatively impact his run for the White House?

For the last several days, it's been non-stop.

I'm sure they're not going to play "fair and balanced" and give him equal air time.

You're softening a bit, but still harder than cotton candy.

It's good to see your other side, and you willingness to soften your position a bit when circumstances on the ground change.

Yet, never lose that angry, ranting inner self: it shows passion.

One day, you may find that you can use use the energy behind that passion as a way to transform your world, in much the same way that you have used it to shake it by the shoulders.

Have you visited AverageBro's blog page. He's growing in popularity, and brings reason, research, and humor to the black blogosphere.

I've left you a link, just in case.

Deb said...

Now isn't it all speculation? On BOTH sides of the Obama issue I mean. Only time will tell. But until then, I'll do as my grandmother used to say, "Sleep with one eye open." :-

"Riddle me this..." Joker fan are you?

We both know why it was done - "...to embarrass him, and negatively impact his run for the White House." But you know, conspiracy theorists surmise it was HIS campaign that put it out there like that to fill that long, six-week gap until the PA primary so he COULD counter it with this monumental speech. I'm just sayin'. heh-heh)

"I'm sure they're not going to play "fair and balanced" and give him equal air time." See, now that was speculation! Every time I turned around today, he was on somebody's TV show! I'm watching Anderson Cooper right now - and there he is! And of course, mentioning "the speech" is now a part of his stump repertoire. Gotta love it! So much for "softening a bit" huh?

I like the "still harder than cotton candy" part though. It is an apt description. I do find it, however, pretty par for the course when describing women who choose to (Oh Lawd, I can hear the Clinton comparison coming!) have a voice.

"It's good to see your other side, and you willingness to soften your position a bit when circumstances on the ground change."

"I aim here only at revealing myself, who will perhaps be different tomorrow, if I learn something new which changes me..." Montaigne (there's more to it, but I like this part best.)

I do all I can to live in truth everyday - questioning, expressing my opinions and trying real hard to hear the opinions of others. I have some fundamental beliefs that I'm sure will never change, but outside of those, a static existence stunts your growth!

It took a while for that "angry, ranting inner self" to emerge - no putting her back in the bottle now!

And if, in the course of my absolute passion to live my truth, some notable transformation occurs in one or some, all the better.

I'd not visited AverageBro's blog page until your link. I went, I lurked, but haven't read as much as I'd like yet. Intend to do that over the next few days - just my own "getting to know you" thing. What I've read I've enjoyed, though I can already see some "spirited discussions" to come, but that's what it's all about isn't it? He seems familiar somehow, I don't know why.

the first domino said...

You:

"Now isn't it all speculation? On BOTH sides of the Obama issue I mean. Only time will tell. But until then, I'll do as my grandmother used to say, "Sleep with one eye open."

I must concede, much of it is. We're making it all up.

"I do all I can to live in truth everyday - questioning, expressing my opinions and trying real hard to hear the opinions of others. I have some fundamental beliefs that I'm sure will never change, but outside of those, a static existence stunts your growth!"

Pearls of wisdom. I surmise (won't speculate) that life has seasoned you a bit, as it has me.

Your writings, on the other hand, reveal a great reservoir of youthful exuberance as well. This, by the way, is a complement--youthfulness and wisdom rarely resides in the same body.

Have your voice! Keep true to your inner self!

There's a lot of pressure out here to abandon self, and conform to whatever is in vogue at the moment.

Self-respect is the only respect worth giving. It enlarges the self to respect all others.

Talk at you later.

Deb said...

"I must concede, much of it is. We're making it all up."

Flexibility's alway good. We're not, either of us, making it up though, just considering it all through the lens which informs each of us.

"This, by the way, is a complement"
Thanks. Since that's pretty much me in a nutshell, I took it as one.

I agree, pressure to conform abounds. I've exerted it before I knew better and felt it, once I did.

"Self-respect is the only respect worth giving. It enlarges the self to respect all others." I like this one, think I'll use it someday - and I promise to give you attribution!

Good talking to you.

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