Views From Kennewick

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Sorry, Barack, it doesn't wash.
Your elderly white grandmother being afraid of black men who
pass her on the street is not the moral equivalent of your
pastor saying that black people should pray that God will
"damn America."

Your claim that you winced when your white grandmother
bought into racial stereotypes does not excuse you for
spending your entire adult life in the pews of a man who
claims that white people in the United States government
invented AIDS to "genocide" black people.

And the fact that your genealogy is racially diverse doesn't
change the fact that since you got out of college you have
chosen to worship at a church which preaches black
nationalism. Your family history is racially diverse, but
your life choices are not.

You were in the congregation, Barack, and that wasn't an
accident. It wasn't a few sporadic insane rants, it was a
fundamental philosophy. We've seen your church's website,
we've heard your pastor preach.

And we've heard how the congregation reacted.
Because while you now - when it is politically essential to
do so - disavow your closest spiritual advisor, it is clear
from the videotape of him at the pulpit that the rest of the
congregation heartily agreed with his most outlandish
statements. His worst rantings were not greeted by
embarrassed silence, they were met by rousing cheers.
How likely is it, Senator Obama, that you would have freely
spent 20 years of your life in a church whose pastor and
congregation were in fundamental disagreement with you?
It is not likely at all.

Your claim that you didn't hear your pastor's views on the
United States is not credible. While you were a member of
his church - a church you selected after a search of
several - there were 20 Fourth of Julys, 20 Flag Days, 20
Memorial Days and 20 Veterans Days. It is inconceivable that
your pastor's open contempt for the United States was not
discernible to you on any of those 80 days of American

If John McCain had been in the congregation, he would have
walked up and punched the man. If Hillary Clinton had been
in the congregation, she would have walked out. Barack Obama
was in the congregation and he stayed for 20 years.
To claim that this man is a part of your family, but that
you weren't aware of his most passionate political and
racial views, is not believable. Seriously, is it your
claim, Barack, that this man - your intimate friend and
close spiritual advisor - never mentioned his political
views to you as you became first an Illinois senator and
then a United States senator?

He advised his congregants to write and call their
representatives, but he didn't ever talk politics with the
politician in his congregation?

How is that believable?

And how is it that a white politician is damned for a single
visit to Jerry Falwell or Bob Jones but you are to go
unquestioned for some 1,000 visits to a church whose
leaders' racial views are far more strident?

And do you really expect anybody to believe that this black
racial "anger" that you speak of is a phenomenon of just the
older generation? Is it really your assertion, Barack, that
that anger - or, to be more accurate, racism - is found only
in African-Americans the age of your pastor? Do you think
that's a credible claim?

And do you think that these barbershop and dinner-table
conversations you say blacks have, the ones in which they
express racial anger against whites, do you really think
they are morally excusable or justified? Don't you think
instead of explaining and condoning such attitudes that you
should challenge and condemn them?

If racism among whites is worthy of condemnation, why isn't
it among blacks?

And if your grandmother's supposed racial stereotypes made
you wince, what do these barbershop and dinner-table racial
stereotypes make you do? If racism is damaging to the people
who have it in their hearts, why don't you save the folks
having these barbershop conversations from the moral damage
of their own prejudice and bigotry?

Why didn't you challenge the attitudes of the people you go
to church with? For 20 years you were up to your eyeteeth in
black separatism and black anger, and instead of challenging
those attitudes, you either silently assented to them or
went along with them. With that background, how do you
honestly think you could be entrusted to "bridge America's
racial divide?"

With all respect, senator, it seems like you've spent your
adult life as a partisan on one side of the racial divide.
Why should anybody on the other side, or anybody who doesn't
share your view that racial division is our most pressing
national concern, think you could be fair or objective?
Because it's clear you don't understand how white people
feel or act.

In your remarks yesterday, just before you tried to unite
whites and blacks in your Marxist hatred of corporations and
rich people, you claimed that white people, when they get
together, express "racial anger" against black people.
You got that wrong.

Not to be rude, but white people mostly don't give a damn.
White people mostly don't see the great divide your pastor
has based his ministry on. White people, when they are at
the barbershop or dining-room table, usually talk about
their families or sports or what they saw on TV or what
their plans are for the weekend. While black people might be
bubbling over with "racial anger" at white people, white
people usually have something more interesting to talk


And I'm sorry that there is such a clear double standard in
American society and politics. Racism among blacks is fine
and racism among whites is condemned. No amount of racism
among whites is tolerable and any amount of racism among
blacks seems just fine. Called on it, the ridiculous
argument is made that blacks cannot be racist because they
don't control the institutions of power, or some such
nonsense. That is simply preposterous.

While Barack Obama calls for bridging the racial divide, his
own campaign benefits by it, and the double standard that
underpins it.

Barack Obama is, for example, the "black candidate" -- if
you are black. But if you are white, and you say that he is
the "black candidate," you are a racist. Just ask Geraldine
Ferraro. Black supporters clearly and constantly support him
on the basis of race, but if anyone who's not black points
that out, they're a racist.

How does that make any sense?

The great challenge Barack Obama had yesterday was to keep
the support of those who agree with his pastor while trying
to get the support of those who don't.

The simple fact is that the views of his pastor have a
significant following among American blacks. The pastor
didn't build a national following among blacks by preaching
about the Sermon on the Mount. What the pastor says
resonates with a great many black people.

And those black people have been Barack Obama's margin of
victory time and time again. When you're drawing 90 to 95
percent of the black vote in a Democratic primary, you know
who you owe your success to.

Barack Obama's career and political success are based on a
black-centered approach to life. That is his right. But to
now claim some race-straddling position, bridging the gap
between whites and blacks as a neutral mediator, is just not

And neither does it reflect the fact that though blacks are
America's longest-standing minority community, they are not
its largest. There are blacks and whites and Latinos and
Asians in this country, and Indians and Middle Easterners
and Pacific Islanders.

And somebody worthy of being president would hold them all
to the same standard and extend to them all the same respect
and support.

And he would call them all the same thing. Americans.
The problems with race in this country come from people
forgetting that they are first and foremost Americans, with
a bond of citizenship and brotherhood to all other

A president should teach that this is the greatest country
on Earth and that its citizens are "created equal" and that
this nation is "indivisible."

And so should his pastor.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2008

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