Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Obama's Race and Religion

Hoping his religious ties to Jeremiah Wright will go away, Barack Obama quietly announced his resignation from Trinity United. But before we dismiss the issue, a look at Obama’s memoirs provides important context. After receiving enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination on Tuesday night, Barack Obama said he looked forward to debating John McCain’s very different policies and positions. “It is a debate the American people deserve,” Obama said. “But what you don’t deserve,” he continued, hoping to frame the upcoming presidential debates more narrowly, “is another election that’s governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon—that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize” (emphasis mine).

It remains to be seen how much of a wedge issue Barack Obama’s disturbing association with Jeremiah Wright will be in the upcoming general election. But if it does factor into the outcome, it is he—not his political opponents—who made it a wedge issue...

While at Columbia, Barack decided he wanted to be a community organizer—a profession that would allow him to make use of his college experience as a black activist. After a lengthy job search which turned up no leads, he finally got a call from a white Chicagoan who had recently started an organizing drive.

During the interview a week later, after asking Barack why he wanted to be an organizer, the man said, “You must be angry about something.”

“What do you mean by that?” Barack asked.

“Don’t get me wrong,” the man later explained. “Anger’s a requirement for the job"...

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