Thursday, March 20, 2008


(Each "Featured Question," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous QUESTIONS are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr., draws the following comparison between Jeremiah Wright, Barack Hussein Obama's mentor and spiritual advisor, and Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Let's ask the hard question about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Is he as far outside the African American mainstream as many of us would like to think?


One black leader who was capable of getting very angry indeed is the one now being invoked against Wright. His name was Martin Luther King Jr.
Mr. Dionne uses the following to support his thesis statement:
An important book on King's rhetoric by Barnard College professor Jonathan Rieder, due out next month, offers a more complex view of King than the sanitized version that is so popular, especially among conservative commentators. In "The Word of the Lord Is Upon Me," Rieder -- an admirer of King -- notes that the civil rights icon was "not just a crossover artist but a code switcher who switched in and out of idioms as he moved between black and white audiences."

Listen to what King said about the Vietnam War at his own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968: "God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place." King then predicted this response from the Almighty: "And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."

If today's technology had existed then, I would imagine the media playing quotations of that sort over and over. Right-wing commentators would use the material to argue that King was anti-American and to discredit his call for racial and class justice....
Mr. Dionne provides his disclaimer in the very next paragraph:
I cite King not to justify Wright's damnation of America or his lunatic and pernicious theories but to suggest that Obama's pastor and his church are not as far outside the African American mainstream as many would suggest. I would also ask my conservative friends who praise King so lavishly to search their consciences and wonder if they would have stood up for him in 1968.


I'm a liberal, and I loathe the anti-American things Wright said precisely because I believe that the genius of our country is its capacity for self-correction....
The essay concludes as follows:
Obama understands the anger of whites as well as the anger of blacks, but he's placed a bet on the other side of King's legacy that converted rage into the search for a beloved community. This does not prove that Obama deserves to be president. It does mean that he deserves to be judged on his own terms and not by the ravings of an angry preacher.
You can read Mr. Dionne's entire essay HERE.

FEATURED QUESTION, in two parts: (1)
Is Mr. Dionne's comparison of Wright and King valid? (2) Is America today dividing even more along racial lines and thus heading in the wrong direction?

Note: I highly recommend that you read my dear friend Mustang's essay entitled "The Race Card."

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Always On Watch @ 3/20/2008 01:00:00 AM