The Gauntlet Has Been Dropped

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

The upcoming strategy for the Republicans for the fall campaign is beginning to take shape. The bulk of the campaign will revolve around the lack of patriotism of Senator Obama. He is already being cast by the Republican nominee and the Republican minions as being unpatriotic and a hater of America. Let the swift boating begin. The goal of this strategy is to scare the rural and working class white Americans who are being targeted because of the final weeks of the Hillary rural strategy. The belief is that Obama is vulnerable amongst these voters because of race, class, and patriotism. The Republicans have to get the debate away from the issues and focus on divisiveness. If the Republicans were to run on the issues this election would be over tomorrow.

The conservative editorial writers have already begun the onslaught. The latest to weigh in is one of my all-time favorites William Kristol. Now how this guy is still in print is beyond me. Mr. Kristol has a long and storied career of embellishing the lies of Republican administrations from the Reagan years until today, as well as his anemic war reporting of the pre and post Iraq invasion. It seems now that Mr. Kristol believes that after listening or reading the commencement speech of Senator Obama given at Wesleyan University in place of Senator Ted Kennedy who was ill at the time that the Senator is un-American. In his speech the Senator expounded on the virtues of service to one’s fellow man. In a time of unprecedented greed and selfishness in America it was an important topic and was delivered not with condemnation, but on the contrary with grace and personal examples.

Leave aside the fact that two years elapsed between Obama’s graduation from Columbia in 1983 and his heading off to Chicago in 1985. Dramatic foreshortening is, after all, sometimes necessary. And leave aside whether $14,000 in 1985 was really such a shockingly low salary for someone recently out of college – in inflation-adjusted dollars, it’s about what we pay entry-level editorial assistants today at The Weekly Standard. New York Times

The Republican slime machine continues to mimic the same lines no matter who the target is, whether it is a “renegade” insider turned snitch or any objective voice in the face of their dishonesty. This line is similar to the one being promoted by another conservative rag which states that poor people in America are not really poor, just look at all the food they have to eat and whether earning less than the minimum wage is poor. Show me how many graduates from Ivy League schools who make the kind of money Mr. Kristol is talking about  upon graduation. I know of Ivy Leaguers who make more than that while still going to school. If you can’t attack the message, then attack the messenger. What Mr. Kristol really wants to attack is the notion of someone from a top university being willing to give up making money for the service of their fellow man. This attack is not palatable to the masses, so it is disguised as an assault on the factual basis of the story.

My questions are simply these. If Mr. Kristol thinks that serving our nation in the military is such a fine calling why didn’t he nor any of his right wing counterparts partake of the honor? Also, why is it that no one questions the credentials of these hacks after they spew this crap? Because it plays to the false patriotism and fears of some Americans who believe that patriotism is a commodity that you can buy or display like so many flag lapel pins. True patriotism, like true love cannot be purchased. Instead like true love it is a verb and an action, not simply words espoused by warrior sheep who have no trouble debating the glory of war knowing that neither they nor their children will ever have to experience it.

But at an elite Northeastern college campus, Obama obviously felt no need to disturb the placid atmosphere of easy self-congratulation. He felt no need to remind students of a different kind of public service – one that entails more risks than community organizing. He felt no need to tell the graduating seniors in the lovely groves of Middletown that they should be grateful to their peers who were far away facing dangers on behalf of their country. New York Times

These “peers far away facing dangers” on our behalf are in this position because Iraq attacked the US? No they are facing danger because Bush and in a large part Mr. Kristol chose to attack Iraq. While he played no role in the actual decision to attack Iraq, his writings on behalf of the invasion and in defense of President Bush’s decision to invade have been well documented. The goal of the Republican strategy against Senator Obama will be two-fold. They will openly attack his and his wife’s patriotism and secretly they will attack his race. They will attempt to exploit the fears of some whites of a black candidate. Of course it will be done couched in the usual code words with nods and winks. The southern strategy is about to take on a whole new manifestation as it is exported to all the small towns and rural areas of America.

These attacks must be exposed and dismantled by all true patriotic Americans regardless of Party affiliations. How can one man lynch another man? He can’t without the acquiescence of other so called “good people”. We are or we could be at a major turning point in America. We are at the crossroads of either moving forward as a nation or reaching backwards. The reason that Obama has been able to rally the young of America is because they recognize more so than older Americans where we are at this moment. This is no time in America to turn back the clocks based on fear and divisiveness, but to move forward as a nation towards inclusiveness and tolerance.

Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence.

~ Henri Frederic Amiel

Divisive or Descriptive?

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright spoke at the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP’s annual fundraising event over the weekend. The speech was carried by CNN live and allowed Reverend Wright to speak to his critics while at the same time speaking to the larger theme of the event which was, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Like so much of what occurs in American society the speech will be evaluated based on the listener’s frame of reference. For many in the black community the speech will be hailed as brilliant and will demonstrate Reverend’s Wright superior intellect and skilled articulation talents. For some in the white community it will be misconstrued and reinforce their views of him as being divisive. How is it possible that so many people can hear the same speech and yet reach so many different conclusions?

Are we so divided and so different that we can’t even acknowledge our differences. And having once acknowledged those differences can we not celebrate them or are we so tribal that anyone who is not exactly like us we view as deficient? In rhetoric and language befitting a leader in the black Church, Dr. Wright attempted to characterize the differences we share and their history to depict why there are those who are either unable or unwilling to understand his past characterizations of the country that he served. Let’s be clear, many of those who are questioning the patriotism of Reverend Wright have themselves chosen for whatever reasons not to serve their country, except as Mitt Romney so aptly described by campaigning for their fathers. Reverend Wright served this country as not only a Marine, but also as a member of the US Navy.

I am no expert in democracy or in Constitutional law, but I believe that if someone chooses to place his life on the line in defense of this nation, a nation that for a long time refused to apply equal protection for all of its citizens, has a right to criticize that same nation. I am so sick and tired of this false wing-nut narrative that anyone who criticizes America is anti-America or anyone who does not wear a flag lapel pin is giving aid and comfort to terrorists. As if to say that anything and everything that has been done in America and by America has been right. Forgive me, but my take on the Freedom of Speech clause is that as members of a democracy we have the right to criticize or to praise our nation as we see fit. Whether you agree with his views or not, Reverend Wright has every right to express them. Why is it that we have to display our war stance when it comes to surrendering our civil rights, but we do not have to display it when it comes to making actual sacrifices for the effort?

While I agree with the basic premise of Reverend Wright’s speech which is, why must everything and everyone be placed under “the white man’s burden?” For those who are not aware the white man’s burden is to elevate the blacks, reds, browns, and yellows of this world to the grand standard of Western European culture, as if to say no other culture has brought anything to the world but them. Just because you are a bully that doesn’t make you right, it just makes you a bully. If it were not for the Native American culture, those great European settlers would have never survived in this hemisphere. There are those who expect those of us who have received the brunt of American discrimination and racism to quietly accept our fate and anyone who “describes” those atrocities are being divisive. Are we to believe that those perpetrating these atrocities are doing so with the purpose of unifying us as a Nation?

Where I take exception with Reverend Wright and any other spokesman of God, is that while it is important to speak out against injustice and all the other deficiencies in human character, one must do so in a different forum than the Church. I understand that for many years in the black community the Church was the only release for the frustration and anger many felt with their conditions; however one must separate the worldly from the spiritual.

In other words, it is a sin to steal yet there maybe extenuating circumstances to mitigate the stealing. Those mitigating circumstances cannot be a part of the message of the Church against stealing, that message must be delivered outside of the Holy proclamation. Social causes while important must not be allowed to interfere with the true message of the Church. The Apostle Paul only preached one sermon repeatedly; “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”*

Representatives of God should not use the altar to assail their brothers no matter how large their shortcomings. One can acknowledge evil and injustice in a way that does not cast aspersions on any one group. Evil and inhumanity knows no color or race. The recent blood-letting in Africa can attest to that fact. In my opinion pointing out the ills of a government should not be done from the pulpit, but from the soap box in the public square. Ministers should separate the Church from social commentary, just as we have separation of Church and state for the protection of the Church, we also need it for the protection of the Republic. While it is becoming increasingly difficult in our society to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to give to God what is God’s, it is a distinction we must maintain at all costs.

* 1 Corinthians 2:2

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic ~ John F. Kennedy