Smearing Dr. Wright: White Fear and Republican Leaders, Again

Reportedly Senator McCain has said he will not use the Dr. Jeremiah Wright “story” against Senator Obama, but some Republican Party operatives (listed as the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania) in Pennsylvania have ignored that inclination and are now running anti-Obama attack ads highlighting Dr. Wright. CNN has had this weak story up today:

. . . a last-minute television ad that calls attention to Barack Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this: Obama chose as his spiritual leader this man,” the ad’s narrator says before clips of Wright’s controversial statements are shown. “Does that sound like someone who should be president?” the ad asks.

The CNN story meekly continues with this:

Sen. John McCain has repeatedly said he does not believe Obama’s relationship to Wright should be an issue — to the ire of some Republicans who feel it raises questions about the Illinois senator’s judgment.

McCain deserves some credit for this if it is true, and apparently it is, or was. Governor Palin has ignored it lately, and presumably McCain could stop her:

“[Obama] sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Rev. Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning. But again that is John McCain’s call,” Palin told reporters. The state GOP … defended airing it. “We feel that it is necessary that the American people remember that Obama sat in a church and listened to this man preach hate for many, many years,” said a statement on its Web site. “What does that say about his judgment? Do we want the next president of the United States to have spent years listening to hateful rhetoric without having the good judgment to walk out?”

I pointed out the misrepresentations in such nonsense here in early April. Let us look again briefly at Dr. (notice the media and white politicians rarely give him his correct title) Jeremiah Wright’s famous (and old) sermon with the famous statements that ABC News first spread like wildfire. Five years ago, Dr. Wright gave a 40-minute sermon discussing the racist history of our government and what we need to do about it. He ends the sermon thus:

And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to putting her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in interment prison camps. When it came to putting the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters. Put them on auction blocks. Put them in cotton fields. Put them in inferior schools. Put them in substandard housing. Put them scientific experiments. Put them in the lower paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing God Bless America. Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That’s in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme. …. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent. Tell your neighbor he’s [going to] help us one last time. Turn back, and say forgive him for the “God Damn”–that’s in the Bible though. Blessings and curses is in the Bible. It’s in the Bible. Where government fails, God never fails. When God says it, it’s done. God never fails. When God wills it, you’d better get out the way, cause God never fails.

This sounds like many prophetic sermons I have heard from preachers over numerous decades now. Seen in context at the end of a long sermon, Wright’s prophet-type language of “God Damn America” (he means the American government) does not seem unpatriotic and un-American as widely claimed in the mainstream media. He is saying the U.S. government is not God, has a long history of racism, and must change its racially oppressive ways. He is candidly telling truths about white racism, something rare outside black homes and organizations (sermons like this take place 100s of times a week in African American churches). He is giving us some of the black counter-framing against the white racial frame, and many whites cannot handle that racial truth. Did anyone in the mass media even listen to or read the whole sermon?

Dr. Jeremiah Wright has been greatly slandered. He should sue the media. He is almost always framed by the white media folks as a “dangerous black man.” Yet he is actually an American prophet, indeed a prophetic hero who is not afraid to condemn this country’s racist government actions, past and present. He is not recognized in the mainstream media as a leading minister, yet he has been ranked in the top 15 African American ministers by the leading African American magazine. He is a much-honored minister in a predominantly white mainstream Protestant denomination originally founded by (are you ready for this?) that “radical” white group called the Pilgrims! He has seven honorary doctorates, has published four books, and has numerous articles. His savvy sermons are studied at major US divinity schools by white and black and other seminarians. Before he became a minister, he was a Navy corpsman who graduated at the top of his class and assisted President Johnson in a medical crisis. Why has this great American been slandered as unpatriotic and too radical? Only because he spoke out vigorously against white racism. And now the Republicans slander him once again. They should instead actually listen to his sermons. They might learn something they badly need to know about US racism.