Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club

Amazing stuff is happening out there on the Jeremiah Wright front. Obama gave a press conference today in which he further distanced himself from Wright, this time in much stronger language.

In doing so, he is catering to the dark side of America, the warehouse fire media that don’t give a damn about anything but another fire, the right wing having a ball with the soundbites out of context, and all those bigots, racists and haters calling the kettle black, without a clue about the complexity of the story.

Wright himself insists it’s not him they’re angry at, but the black church. I think he’s got that wrong. To me it seems obvious it’s all about Barack Obama. Google “Jeremiah Wright” and you get 910,000 entries. But google “Obama’s pastor” and you get 4,160,000 entries.

And then just look at the first five of those entries.

Entry #1: Obama pastor resurfaces to reignite race row
Entry #2: ABC News: Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11
Entry #3: a Fox News interview
Entry #4: YouTube - Barack Obama's Pastor his Christianity Jeremiah Wright
Entry #5: Barack Obama Pastor Jeremiah Wright is anti American Racist

Bill Moyers’ interview the other night was on public television. Which means the great mass of American people missed it. They have been getting the YouTube versions, but not the extended version showing Wright’s erudition and the degree to which he grounds his arguments in reason. Whether you agree with him or not, he is grounded in reason.

Fortunately, YouTube works both ways. Not only are the inflammatory segments available out of context, and the bits by Fox News and others, designed to shock and create an image of a man who’s got nothing but trouble on his mind. There is also more of the Moyers interview variety, specifically a presentation at the National Press Club, available at this writing in six segments:

Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lV8x_-Uk2c&feature=related
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gXnZKUG_ic&feature=related
Part 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aM8VU47pKU&feature=related
Part 4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0fGH86DPag&feature=related
Part 5 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YJW0nevW38&feature=related
Part 6 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWejjxWQWfE&feature=related

Questions from the audience included several which reflect the hostility toward Wright. Watch how he answers them. The man is clearly a master at oratory.

My favorite is his retort to one of the “gotcha” questions fundamentalist literalists like to hit people over the head with. According to scripture, they say, you only go to heaven if you are a Christian.

Watch the Q & A session in which the Q & A go like this:

Q: Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but through Me.” Do you believe this, and do you think Islam is a way to salvation?

A: Jesus also said, “Other sheep have I who are not of this fold.”

Tell me this man isn’t one clever dude.

He has his fans.

There’s a sermon online by a preacher named Marlin Lavanhar of All Souls Unitarian Church - “Why Jeremiah is Wright” If you’ve got the time, it’s worth listening to in its entirety.

Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA3aTdFTshY&NR=1
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wb87yobGRA&feature=related
Part 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_bZGUdBNxI&feature=related

And then there is Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest defending Jeremiah Wright in an interview with Fox Network. Note the bias and misinformation in the questions. Pfleger is pastor at St. Sabina’s, a black parish in Chicago, and he considers both Wright and Louis Farrakhan as personal friends.

Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiSutcBArDU&feature=related
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBKeCIDGvwY&feature=related

Then there's an interview with Jews and others suggesting Wright is not the only one arguing we need a reassessment on Farrakhan
Interview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvDEQB_Tce8&feature=related

I know that’s a whole hell of a lot more than most people will have time for.

But there is so much more going on here in this story behind the story than most of us are aware of.

I urge you, if you can possibly find the time, to have a listen.

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