02 June 2008

Obama and Trinity United Church of Christ

I have made a few posts on US politics and the General / Presidential elections coming to that part of the world in November. I am not a US citizen and as such my interest is as an outsider. I have been there a couple of times and went to school in North Carolina so perhaps my interest in the whole process is also different from that of others. In any event the interest is not the point and who wins is ultimately no more important than that person will have their finger on the little red button that destroys the world.

However, my comments here are about politicians claiming to be a breath of fresh air, something different, a new breed of politician. Barack Obama has built his whole campaign on change but really it has only ever been about getting elected and therefore it has been a campaign of political expediency. The majority of the liberal and left-leaning press have given the fella a free ride to all intents and purposes. This may have been a mistake for Democrats!

Obama is proving to be nothing more than a run of the mill politician who operates in a world of double speak! The failures to answer serious questions about his relationships with certain people and his beliefs, not religious, but how to effect change have been a lesson in political speak; answering a question without ever really answering the question.

This is particularly so with the decision to resign from the Trinity United Church of Christ! This is a fella who has been a parishioner there for a very long time and when the proverbial hits the fan he bails out without really bailing out. This I would suggest is political expediency, a sweeping under the rug of some unpleasantness without ever denouncing the ideas themselves or ones association with those ideas. Obama is hoping that his resignation from his spiritual home of the last 20 years will end the bad publicity. This bad publicity includes matters related not only to the racially charged rhetoric of the ministers that preach there, such as the Reverend Jeremiah Wright (or used to), but also the "Black Value System" that underpins the Trinity Church belief system.

On the contrary, not only should it not end the controversy it should in fact intensify it! The hard questions need to be asked; like Why now? Why after 20 years? Can you honestly say that in those 20 years you never heard rhetoric like this before? If you did then why didn't you resign then? Should he denounce his former Church, I don't know that would make a difference in the long run. To denounce his Church would imply that he had been involved with a Church for almost 20 years that was preaching a message that needs to be denounced. to do so would severely undermine is ability to claim that he was not aware of that message. Yet, it is catch 22 because his failure to denounce the Church implies that I am resigning because this is no longer a tenable situation for me, I do not agree with the comments that have been caught on tape, but ultimately the Church is reflective of who I am although some of the sermons are not! Political double speak!

The reality is that these questions are unlikely to be asked because the desire for change is real and the belief that there is a real chance that an African-American man can be president. Simply, there are opportunities not to be missed. There is absolutely no reason why an African-American man cannot be elected to the presidency as there is no reason a woman cannot be elected to the presidency or for that matter an African-American woman!

I am always a supporter of acting and voting on a person's merits to be elected to the office they seek. As I said I am not a US citizen and cannot vote.

I am not questioning Obama's credentials to be president and I am also not advocating that Hillary Clinton should be nominated in his place. I am rather questioning the idea that Obama is a new breed of politician who says what he means and means what he says. My personal opinion is that he is just another politician who will say anything to get elected.

To be clear my concerns in this post relate to whether Barack Obama is a new breed of politician, a breath of fresh air, that is going to sweep into the halls of power or is he just another politician that has run an excellent campaign.

I make no aspersions to the man's ability to be president. I do question whether he has fully disclosed what he knew and when with regards to the rants of the pastor of his Church and his one time spiritual advisor. In that sense perhaps the period between now and November will be particularly revealing as there is a more intensive vetting of his record and his associations.

Welcome to politics!


indo anon said...

Good points. But if we may -- just for the sake of discussion -- look at it from the other side of the coin: The question why quit the church now after 20 years, it could also be something like this: Now that he is very likely to be nominated, a lot of people would like to seize the opportunity and get their fifteen minute fame.
We've never heard of those pastors nor the church before. For sure they have said many (if we may add: worse) things in those 20 years. The media just didn't pay attention to them.
Now that Obama is so popular, they get all the attention just because Obama goes to that church... hence the circus.
In short, they may be 'using' Obama to get attention. It is a bit unfair to Obama... (arguably, of course).

Rob Baiton said...

Indo Anon...

Maybe, but that seems a little conspiratorial in the extreme and a just plain rude as well!

However, I must concede that this is not beyond the realm of possibility.

However, Rev. Wright has been a known entity for some time, albeit the Obama angle makes him a much more known entity than he was previously.

Same for Fr. Pfleger. He has also been a known entity for some time.

Both these fellas have had 15 minutes of fame moments previously. Rev. Wright was part of a Presidential Surgical team that operated on LBJ.

But if you were really for Obama and really wanted him to be eleceted why would you do what has been done. Obama is not mortally wounded in terms of this race but the comments and the defence of them has made it more difficult than it could have been.

Thanks for dropping by and forcing me to look at the other side of the coin! :D

indo anon said...

Wow, you certainly know a lot about this issue. We certainly did not know about Rev. Wright and his Presidential Surgical team.

But out of this circus, we could probably take one conclusion: it's amazing how similar politicians and clergymen are. All they want is attention...

Thank you for dropping by at our blog too.

Rob Baiton said...

Two words -- Internet Junkie!

You always post good stuff (albeit a little while apart) which suggests you have real lives and real work to do!

Me on the other hand ...

rimafauzi said...

Or maybe Obama is, as some people speculates, not a Christian after all.

Another conspiracy theory most Indonesian love and hopes to be true.

Personally, I don't really care for him, many people say he has almost completely ripped off Hillary's platform for his campaign. Americans should have a president who is at least original. I wonder why Al Gore isn't running, he became much more interesting after his documentary which I loved.