J Walking

Rev. Jeremiah Wright is just another political rorschach test.
My very conservative white evangelical friends – friends who smile and say, “golly” when someone like the late Jerry Falwell said gays and abortionists and people who had them were responsible for 9/11 – are aghast, appalled, by Wright… appalled by the notion of “black empowerment,” saying it is just positively racist.
Liberal African American friends are smiling and saying, “well, this doesn’t sound too off to me.” Poor friends in the center city who deal with crumbling schools and education that aspires to be substandard hear Wright’s sometimes ferocious words and shrug their shoulders and say it sounds about right to them.
And so this is nothing even remotely new in America – it is our classic division by race. The division of wealth and privilege and status mixed up with a heated political season in a horrid economy amidst a failing and floundering war.
We are a broken country. That is our reality. Everything else is makeup. We will not be better off if Sen. Obama denounces Wright. It simply doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the substance of the accusations. What matters is the sense of African American disenfranchisement. What matters is the reality of deep and brutal mistrust between the races. This is not about Wright and it is not about Obama. It is about us.
How are WE going to deal with these things?
To the degree our debate and discussion focuses on the political process – on what Obama says – we will fail for nothing will have changed. To the degree that we focus on substance something good will have come of this.
No, I am not endorsing the incendiary and un-Christlike words that Rev. Wright has spewed. I am just saying that if this is indeed a moment of change then we should change the way that we approach and talk about this matter and deal with the substance of it.

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