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Was Wright so wrong?

Was Wright so wrong?

Let’s all just take a moment and untwist our knickers.

Despite The Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s dramatic style of rhetoric … despite his poor choice of words, is what he said really so wrong?

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki … and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright preached on Sept. 16, 2001. “We have supported state terrorism … and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Really, who among us didn’t ponder the same question – however briefly or guiltily — in the days following 9/11? Didn’t most of us – if we’re truthful with ourselves — wonder in the dark recesses of our hearts and minds whether or not some of the less noble actions of Americans foreign policy – take the hundreds of thousands of Cambodian civilians killed by U.S. secret bombing during our war against Vietnam, as one example — had indeed come home to roost?

“The government gives them the drugs, 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,” Wright said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human.”

I’ve read these words; I’ve watched the videos. And while I don’t care for the style of his delivery or his language, I’ve concluded that Wright was simply – albeit offensively to some – saying: “God doesn’t bless America for what she’s done – God damns her for what she’s done.”

It’s important to note that Wright said “God damn America,” not “Goddamn America.” One is blasphemous; one isn’t. And while he provocatively left the “s” off the word “damn” to underscore his rhetoric – it’s pretty clear that “damn” was being used as a verb – as in “God condemns America.”

It seems sad and a little sickening to see people – particularly the media which should be paying close attention to the actual words Wright used – latching onto the sensational aspects of what he said, as opposed to the substance.

Was his rhetorical style over the top? Sure. But hyperbole is no stranger to politics and pulpits.

And news flash: A lot of Americans condemn America for some of the more terrorizing actions taken under this country’s name. Is there anyone really who would “bless” slavery, Jim Crow laws, bombing Nagasaki three days after decimating Hiroshima just to make our point …? Wouldn’t we instead “damn” or condemn such bleak stains on our nation’s past?

But just because we might condemn that part of our country’s heritage or personality, doesn’t mean we don’t love our country and doesn’t mean we won’t stand by her ‘til the cows come home.

It’s called loyalty, folks. We don’t like everything our nation does, but we don’t leave it in the lurch when it makes a mistake – no matter how egregious.

It’s the same thing with people. It takes guts and integrity to stand by someone even when they have disappointed you so deeply and so personally – and so publicly. I applaud Senator Obama’s decision – despite Reverend Wright’s embarrassing rhetoric – to stand by his man.

Hillary Clinton, of all people, should understand that choice.

Posted on March 26th, 2008Comments RSS Feed

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