Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rev. Wright: Difference not deficiency

Last week I watched the Reverend Wright's speech at the Washington press Club and was very impressed by the breadth of its knowledge and erudition. And then watched a bunch of monkeys from the corporate-owned media ask questions that had nothing to do with the speech.

The fundamental argument of the speech was that the Black church and the white church were different and after discussing the historical circumstances that brought about these differences he made what I think was his main point: difference is not deficiency, to be different is not to be deficient. None of this was of any interest to the "gotcha" media. They were only interested in poking their sticks until they provoked more of the same sound bites that had been run over-and-over again on the corporate-owned news channels. They kept trying to provoke him. And unfortunately he all too often obliged. I can't help but wonder what they would have done if he hadn't.

But even the most provocative comments he made are quite different when put in context. AIDS to decimate the Black community, I, of course, know from listening to many right-wing preachers that god sent AIDS to punish gay men. Obviously not everyone has heard that. But how far a stretch is it to believe the AIDS story in a country where stories abound (perhaps, exaggerated) of Indians being given small-pox infected blankets, Black men with venereal disease being promised a cure and then left to die to carry out a study, Black people in New Orleans after Katrina being left to fend for themselves without government assistance, perhaps to "cleanse" the city. The point is how far fetched is a belief (and I emphasize belief) that such a thing could be true.

With regard to the "chickens coming home to roost" comment after 9/11, I'm reminded of Malcolm X's similar statement after the JFK assassination. He too was responding to a question from the press, but his speech, which did not have that idea in it, has come to be known as "chickens coming home to roost" speech.
It was Malcolm X's answer, that the President's death was a case of "chickens coming home to roost" -- that the violence that Kennedy had failed to stop had come back to him
The fact is we still haven't stemmed the violence particularly in the Middle East. Obviously Osama bin Laden is a criminal, but al Queda couldn't recruit a mass of militants willing to give up their lives for a cause, if they didn't hate us and people don't hate for nothing. The point of all this is that if you consider the context, Wright's comments are much more rational than they appear as sound bites on the evening news.

What's even more important is, as Bill Moyers says,
Behold the double standard: John McCain sought out the endorsement of John Hagee, the war-mongering, Catholic-bashing Texas preacher, who said the people of New Orleans got what they deserved for their sins.

But no one suggests McCain shares Hagee’s delusions or thinks AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality. Pat Robertson called for the assassination of a foreign head of state and asked God to remove Supreme Court justices, yet he remains a force in the Republican religious right.

After 9/11, Jerry Falwell said the attack was God’s judgment on America for having been driven out of our schools and the public square, but when McCain goes after the endorsement of the preacher he once condemned as an agent of intolerance, the press gives him a pass.
This corporate media created controversy may hurt Obama, but if it derails his candidacy (which I doubt) it may be because he's different, but not deficient.

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