Wednesday, April 30, 2008
A Message to Rev. Wright and Barack Obama
OK. Rev. Wright? It's time for you to be quiet now. You've made plenty of points, rightly or wrongly, but now all you're doing is damaging a really good person that needs all of our support, most especially yours. Sometimes the most prudent and helpful thing is to SHUT UP...I don't mean to be rude to you in any way. I may sound strident, and I don't meant to, but the truth of it is you're wrecking a really good thing. You may feel that RIGHT is on your side, or TRUTH, but in this case, as it turns out you're doing more damage than good.
Sometimes, you have to let the children lead. I've learned that as a parent over and over again. I know you are the leader of your flock, but you're damaging one of the fold. You're hurting him a lot.
Obama, I'm so sorry you had to divorce yourself from your Reverend, but I'm glad you did it. That must have been supremely painful for you. More than that, it must be painful and surreal to feel that someone you've known for 20 years turns out to be a bit of a stranger.
I believe Obama. I find him to be filled with integrity to his fingertips. In his Philadelphia speech, most other politicians would have thrown Rev. Wright "under the bus" at that point. I think Obama's integrity and loyalty and sense of morality wouldn't allow for that, but he wanted to clarify where ideas came from and why his Reverend said the things he did, as reprehensible as they may have seemed. He gave a truthful context for Wright's words and tried to explain the grey to a black vs. white media. I think Obama did a great job, and most polls, at the time, showed that the Wright controversy didn't ultimately affect Obama's numbers. People were ready to get over it. And now...now...Wright won't shut up.
Obama had to tell the world yesterday that Wright is a stranger, and he doesn't speak for him and he finds his words offensive and antithetical to all his campaign has stood for and all his public service has stood for. And, all of that is true.
Unfortunately, Wright, like many clergy do, looks at the world only through his own lens. They know their own truth. And they see it as THE TRUTH. Wright has a religious filter where he feels God's hand is involved in things and so therefore we don't need to worry about politics and words, because God is ultimately in control. We are His vehicle for action. We are His servants and He is working in our lives. In the Bill Moyers interview, Wright pointed out how the controversy over him led to Obama's Philadelphia speech in the first place and finally an honest discussion about race had begun in this country. Yeah...but, still...please be quiet now.
Maybe Wright is correct and some good will come of this. Maybe it is God's will, but mostly it is him clearing and defending his good name--which of course he has the right to do--but, in so doing, he needs to realize that Obama's succession to the Presidency would be an absolutely soaring and uplifting achievement for the American people. His presidency would be unifying and liberating for this entire country. We would all see each other a little differently. Skin color would melt away a little bit. Differences would fade. We would more easily pull together and find solutions for our shared problems.
Do you realize that we have a lot of shared problems? It's not about black and white any more. It's about water. It's about food prices. It's about bee colony collapse disorder. It's about torture. It's about war. It's about oil. It's about consumption and greed and closed eyes. We are all in deep shit and the more we amuse ourselves, the more we are missing the truth of it all. Amusement is the opiate of the masses at this point. As is religious fervor. Rev. Wright, it's OK if you know you are right in your ideas, but you could say them more quietly. Or you could say them on Sunday to your congregation to serve their needs. You really don't need to disseminate them in the mainstream media. The media which will twist and parse and cut and edit and split until there is no more context. Because, context is no longer important. What you say is what they shape you meant. It's how they split your words apart and shape them into something sharp and biting and cutting and not what you meant...shards of the truth you meant to say. Shards cut. Shards are scary.
Rev. Wright, could you please find the decency of quiet? Some battles need to be fought by other people. If you're hurting the cause, it's time to step aside. Sometimes battles are won by everyone standing up and shouting to the rafters "Enough!" or "No mas!" Sometimes raised, angry voices stop a war. Vietnam went away because people shouted, "Hell no we won't go!" They yelled, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" It was a time of yelling and shouting and fighting and it worked. It worked! We sent in our last choppers and got out of there. It worked.
That was then. This is now. All we've had in the last few decades is constant shouting and now a man has come who is speaking to us all as if we're smart and reasonable and appealing to our higher selves and his message is resonating because we are all intrinsically dignified. He is not shouting, he is not strident. He is reasonable and smart and wise. People are listening. If they're listening, we no longer have to shout. People are listening!
The revolution will not be televised...oh, but it is. Every day we can see it on youtube. They don't control that and you can see things in real time. You can see snippets of reality and realize that people get what Obama says. The man won Idaho for Christ's sake. Who has an electability problem? It's not about slicing and dicing any more.
You're hurting all of this, Rev. Wright. Please find solace in what you do for your own congregation and the ways in which you and your flock reach out to the greater world. Please stop upstaging Sen. Obama. This country desperately needs him and you're wrecking it.
Quiet is OK. Quiet is not defeat. In it is wisdom and truth and God. Go with God.