Saturday, March 29, 2008

Open Letter to Senator Obama

The most popular blog at PajamasMedia is currently "An Open Letter to Senator Obama" from Lionel Chetwynd. Chetwynd's piece is beautifully crafted and even-handed lesson for Obama, his self-adjured moral superiority, and his incorrect supplication that we give Reverend Wright a pass for being stuck in 1959:

Dear Senator Obama:

I have now read and reread your speech, understanding you take this to be a “teaching moment,” I have applied myself to its lessons. But some questions have arisen and I need a little more clarification.

More below the fold.

When the news of Reverend Wright's distasteful silliness came to me, my initial reaction was that Obama so had to throw this guy under the bus.

On reflection, and in reading Obama's speech, I realized that he could not, and that it would not be possible: Obama chose that church to snuggle up to the folks who go there, and to the community on Chicago's South side. Without that church, he would have been an outsider. That isn't to say it was a calculated move in the beginning, as Obama had doubtless been an outsider his whole life.

But as his career blossomed and his identity as a liberal activist grew, his personal ties to the people at Trinity, not just to Wright, must have grown. These are his friends, the people who watched him raise his kids and he theirs. You don't cast that away lightly, even if they hold seriously erroneous beliefs.

As for Reverend Wright himself, to entertain personal loyalty to someone who led you to Christ is theologically unsound. At some point, we see that even though the person opened our eyes to the greatest gift ever given, they are still a person, with all of a person's failings.

That is the teaching opportunity I hoped you would evoke: not explaining Wright’s outrage to me, but explaining his outrageousness to him. That’s how we’ll reach the postracial era: by no longer justifying ourselves with what was, instead speaking to what now exists. Not deny the past, but recognize that’s what it is: past.

The Jeremiah Wright relationship is but one difficulty on the road to the White House for Obama, but it reveals his core, and perhaps insurmountable, problem: a lack of integrity. He is not the same person in private that he pretends to be in public. He is not a uniter, but a divider.

I wanted Senator Obama to rise above race, to say to his supporters, "If you intend to vote for me because of the color of my skin, then I would rather have you stay home on election day. Don't look at me, listen to me. Vote for me not as a symbol, but for my ideas and my determination to carry them out."

As much as I disagree with those socialist and harmful ideas, I could nevertheless respect him for standing or falling based on them.

Instead, he delivered a non sequitur, claiming that past racism could be papered over with increased funding of schools and bigger government programs, wasting the opportunity for what could have been.

And a vote for a symbol.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this immensely, Loren. ~Jimmy

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