Barack Obama’s Speech on Race

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Barack Obama’s Speech on Race

Speech transcript found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/us/politics/18text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

 

So I just watched Barack Obama's speech on race as well as his retort/apology in reference to the inflammatory comments made by his Reverend Wright of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL. Here is a quick summary of the controversy ripped from his Wiki page. ABC News publicized several controversial sound bites of Wright's sermons which were heavily critical of the United States Government inluding: saying of the events of September 11, 2001: "The stuff we have done overseas is brought right back into our homes". In other sermons, he said "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color", referring to AIDS origins theories, and "The government gives them the drugs [referring to the Iran-Contra Affair], builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people...God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme".

 

While I know Obama is a proud Christian, just like the two other candidates, he seems to be getting all of the flack for his religious affiliations at the moment while not too much attention has been paid to the support John McCain has received from radical Christianists Rod Parsley(calls for a war on Islam, supports dominionism, ardently opposes separation of church and state) and John Hagee(Wiki quote:In his book Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, Hagee interprets the Bible to predict Russia, and the Islamic States will invade Israel and will be destroyed by God. This will cause the anti-christ, the head of the European Union, to create a confrontation over Israel between China and the West. A final battle between East and West at Armageddon will then precipitate the Second Coming of Christ).

I am not saying Obama shouldn't get flack for this, he definitely should have to explain whether or not he agrees with the sometimes racist, conspiracy theory laden comments of his spiritual guru. It strikes me as almost ridiculous that no one in the media, aside from Bill Maher, has really touched on the idea that these religious quacks often have a profound spiritual influence on these politicians that can manifest itself outside of the realm of "private, personal beliefs" and into political influence through the irrational dogmas and integrally linked worldviews inherent to the particular faith/sect being professed.

I have to say I found this speech to be enlightening in the sense that its essence portrays race as a subject that doesn't always have to be dealt with kid gloves while actually speaking to your audience as if they are discerning adults(a novel concept these days). He puts a human face on the race issue and relates how he has seen both sides of it while growing up in his racially and culturally diverse childhood. Obama basically breaks down the solution in terms of (1)advocating the Golden Rule as a guide to rising up out of the divide Americans experience, (2)realizing that changing the moral Zeitgeist is effectively done through reaching the minds of the next generation, and that (3)the ultimate progress will be achieved by honest discussions that transcend the "us versus them mentality" into the universal US. While I did find these hopeful and honest injections into such a divisive issue, so much of the linguistic framework for his arguments lie in biblical lessons learned through his faith, as well as the concilliation that everybody knows that their pastor, rabbi, or priest have political views with which their congregants strongly disagreed. Here are a few selected segments that deal with the aforementioned.

"I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed."

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

These are but a few excerpts dealing with Barack's biblical allusions as to how he centers his worldview around these stories and the messages they tell. It is not hard to poke holes in the literality of these stories, but the cherrypicking nature of taking the good and throwing out the bad in these stories is really a simplistic view of the complex messages God/Yahweh is telling us about his very nature. These passages demonstrate very clearly that GOD only has love for his chosen people, the Jews. If any manmade ruler(pharoah) opposes these people he will curse them as well as all of the people in that country. It doesn't matter that the people living in Egypt have no say in the whims of a supposedly divine ruler/dictator in whom none of them elected. The egyptians will suffer simply because of the fact that Pharoah enslaved the Jews. GOD is going to kill the first born son of every firstborn son in Egypt to show them he does not tolerate their behavior(exodus 11:4-8).  I guess one could take from this story that GOD had released his people from slavery, drawing the parallel of the blacks being released from slavery in America. I am assuming that is the point Obama is making, but to overlook or even ignore the character of a GOD who (1) chooses a group of humans to hold up better than all people on the earth(both of which he supposedly created), (2) GOD's total insecurity of always having to show the chosen people that he is the boss, that the Jews and everyone else should fear and love him, that he can and will kill anyone that disagrees with him, and that he relishes in making unbelievers bow down and beg him for things. The character of this GOD from one passage alone is enough for me to see that using this story as a basis for identification with your own personal story as Obama says,"Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story" really makes me wonder if he understands the nature of his GOD at all. I guess what I am trying to say is that while I can accept the message of Obama on understanding/solving race issues, I would take the Sam Harris viewpoint that he doesn't need bad reasons to do good things when there are perfectly good reasons to do them. I think these faulty tracts of logic from progressive Christians still need to be examined and challenged just as those of the more bigoted and regressive fundamentalist Christians. Even if one leans toward our own particular political end of the spectrum doesn't mean we can give them a pass on their uninformed religious beliefs. I hope the opening created in this ideological rift of his former pastor will move the discussion from a candidate's relation to political/dogmatic zealotry in religious organizations to a discussion of the often negative role religion plays in the shaping and framing of a candidate's worldview and political beliefs concurrent with that worldview.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda


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YouTube all of a sudden is

YouTube all of a sudden is having problems accepting comments. (Just when I have a really good one too!)

I just watched this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWgNWKRztFU

I've been trying to post this comment with no luck. So I thought I'd post it here instead. Maybe it will invite discussion. Who knows:

"You know, when I was paying attention to the 2004 election, I was all like, "C'mon America! You can do it! It's as easy as deciding whether 2+2=4. All you gotta do is NOT vote for the dumbass."
Needless to say I was disappointed. That is when I lost faith with the American people, and not just the gov't.
When I learned about Obama's run, several months ago, I was all like, "The American people are going to fuck this one up too." I hope I'm wrong, but this video doesn't give me much hope."

The American people are seriously confused. They can't tell a good candidate when he's right in front of their face. The chick in the video is an atheist too. I've even seen atheist Americans in favour of Ron Paul. How fucked up is that!?!?!

Here's a hint from an outside perspective: Obama's the least religious candidate, even though he holds onto the image by necessity to even have a CHANCE of winning. He's the most open-minded, the most humanistic, the most sane, the most rational, the most honest. By far he's the best candidate. Why is there even a debate? Why are Americans so blind to it? He's just made one of the best speeches by a US politician in decades, and the citizens are like, "Well, I don't know....." Seriously, WTFFF? (What the Flying Fucking Fuck?)

The reaction to this "Obama Race Speech" is just utterly ridiculous to me. Why does he even have to defend himself against his PASTOR'S ravings in the first place? One answer: He could never divorce himself from religion, or he'd never get elected. I don't know who to be most mad at. But it ain't Obama. Poor guy. Once again, the better candidate is usurped by idiocy.

</rant>

P.S. Don't even THINK about saying Obama doesn't talk about 'issues'. That didn't stop the people from electing Bush TWICE. Besides, bringing sanity to politics is the number one issue the US is facing. The economy is just a symptom of political idiocy.

P.P.S. Don't expect me to get into an argument over this. I'm just venting. Like I said, I've lost faith in the American people (as a whole), even if I support individual Americans who are as frustrated about this as I am. Surely there are some RRS Americans who feel the same.

P.P.P.S. No, I'm not American, but yes, this affects me, as it affects everyone on this planet.

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I watched that speech, I

I watched that speech, I thought it was good, other than the usual god speak that no politician can seem to escape in this country. I especially liked the fact that he did not end his speech with, "God bless America".

 

But it is true that most people have in their family, somewhere, or a co-worker or friend, that has ideas or made statements that we find offensive.

It is sad that we even have to say in human history, "Isn't it great that women and blacks are now being considered for our highest offices", when it always should have been that way that race and sex never should have been an issue.

No one should vote for Obama or Hillary or McCain because of skin color or sex. The only thing we should vote on is "Can they do the job".

It is a bit hypocritical for right wing nuts like Rush to point the finger at Obama when nuts like Robertson have supported the same politicians he does and said highly bigoted insane garbage.

So while we may not like our neighbors, or everything they may say, we, no matter how much we disagree, or how nutty we may think what someone says, there is one thing that binds us as a nation, the label of United States Citizen.

I may hate the things Rush and Cunthead say, but they are Americans and as long as they are law abiding, I will not disown them as fellow citizens, I will merely tell them they are full of shit.

Pat Robertson is an American. Jessie Jackson is an American, Ellen Johnson is an American. Rush Limbaugh is an American, Rosie O'Donnald is an American. We are all Americans and we should not disown each other because we don't like what the other may say.

 

I think what we can do is not point out differences but seek the common ground we have. We hate the gas prices. We hate that our jobs are flying over seas. A gallon of milk costs more than a gallon of gas. Health care is insane. Our lawmakers in both camps pork up the bills to buy votes and we end up paying for it. THAT is what WE should focus on. Not the fact that we may not like the nuts in the other's camp.

Rush is just an entertainer a "shock jock" whose only interest is ratings. Micheal Moore is the "liberal" counterpart. I think the truth is not extreme, but falls in the shades of gray.

It is time that we got back to being individuals. It is time that when we, rich or poor, when we need help, we seek it from our neighbor, and not our government.

There is no reason why we cant solve these problems but WE have to want to do it and we cant do it when we let government pit us against each other.

 

 

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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EXC
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For Obama, it's still OK to be an atheist biggot?

In his speech, he talked about people of all faiths being included in his vision of America.

 

Apparently his vision doesn't include people of no faith. So apparently, even under an Obama presidency, atheists will be the last minority group that it's OK to demonize, marginalize or ignore. So even though he talks a good talk about inclusion, don't expect things to change for people of no faith.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:In his speech, he

EXC wrote:

In his speech, he talked about people of all faiths being included in his vision of America.

 

Apparently his vision doesn't include people of no faith. So apparently, even under an Obama presidency, atheists will be the last minority group that it's OK to demonize, marginalize or ignore. So even though he talks a good talk about inclusion, don't expect things to change for people of no faith.

I think you'll find that you're probably being picky about his wording.  Many people categorize "Atheist" as a type of faith which is simply "non-fiath" or "none", but still under the category of "faith".  In the case of Obama I think its fair to suggest that this is an accurate description of his use of the word faith seeing as basically all of his immediate family are atheists.  I just don't see him wanting to go out of his way to discriminate against his parents and siblings.


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Although this is not really

Although this is not really relevant to me since I am not American and could not vote even if I cared, since this has become a discussion about whether or not Obama is a good candidate, allow me to pitch in. First, of course, I should cast my vote in with everyone else that Obama's preacher is a lunatic and a firebrand, and that is dangerous.

Having said that, I disagree with natural, albeit that I disagree politely, and I do hope that despite the fact that this has become a debate about political likes, that we can all stay rational in the process.

The reason I disagree is because of the manner in which Obama conducts himself. I have read/listened to/watched many of his speeches. He talks well. This is good. A step up from a president who has never constructed a complete sentence (the current one). But notice my choice of words. He talks well. He does not speak well. What he speaks is pure blather. He has never uttered a single meaningful and substantial phrase. In essence, it would not be fair to say that, apart from punctuating his speech with random nouns, that Obama has a vocabulary of two. Perhaps America has grown tired of a president who cannot string two words together, however, Obama can only string two words together, and those words are "hope" and "change".

Now you may say that every politician is a blathering random phrase generator who only knows how to use phrases like "hope" and "change" and "building a bridge to our future" and especially "our children", and "this great nation". Nonetheless, the degree to which Mr. Obama has avoided any clear statements of concrete notions is completely ridiculous and goes above and beyond the ability of the average politican to act like a Random Phrase Generator. It is exceedingly difficult to discern whether the man actually knows anything about anything, since he never says anything meaningful about anything.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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EXC wrote:In his speech, he

EXC wrote:

In his speech, he talked about people of all faiths being included in his vision of America.

 

Apparently his vision doesn't include people of no faith. So apparently, even under an Obama presidency, atheists will be the last minority group that it's OK to demonize, marginalize or ignore. So even though he talks a good talk about inclusion, don't expect things to change for people of no faith.

 

 

IIRC, both of his parents were atheists (his mother being the more important influence) and he himself was an atheist until his mid 20's.

“The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.”

“It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him.”

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