My mother called me last night in an incredibly upbeat mood. She had just finished watching clips of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's latest statements. In a joking way she asked me if Hillary and Bill had paid Reverend Wright to get him to make the statements that he made.
We talked a little bit about the coverage and I tried to explain to my mother how frustrating all of this was for me. The complexities of the campaign regarding race, social class, and gender have left me feeling discouraged lately. As desperately as I support Hillary Clinton, I don't want her to win based on racism and xenophobia alone. But, that isn't what this post is about. After we got off the phone I let the conversation go and went back to writing about Butlerian approaches to autobiographical theory within education.
Today, sitting at Highland Coffee (my favorite local coffee shop in Baton Rouge) taking a break from the same paper described above, I saw the Huffington Post's coverage of Barack Obama distancing himself aggressively from Reverend Wright and his comments. Ladies and gentlemen, clearly Barack Obama has put on his "big-girl panties" and is ready to be a politician.
Suddenly Obama is attempting to distance himself from a pastor that, until very recently, he continued to praise even with potential political damages facing him because of that support. He compared disowning Reverend Wright to abandoning his grandmother. Although some doubts remained in lots of people's minds, the campaign continued. Honestly, I was a little more supportive of Obama than I had been before.
The courage to stand behind such a controversial figure working for racial justice, in a misguided style, was to be applauded. Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama would try to be who his campaign says he is.
Today Obama said:
I'm outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday. I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992 and have known Jeremiah Wright for almost 22 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but they also give comfort to those that prey on hate and I believe they do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church. They certainly do not accurately portray my values and beliefs.
It seems apparent that as questions about Obama's electability with white working class voters become central to both the ongoing Democratic primary and the upcoming general election, Reverend Wright became a little too much of a burden to carry on what has become a long walk to the White House.
I cannot help but believe that if Obama truly disagreed with the sentiments that Wright has consistently expressed, that he not only would have not been close with him for twenty years but would have distanced himself more aggressively when the controversy first surfaced. Calculations regarding votes are undeniably present in Obama's decision. Disavowing Reverend Wright will most likely not hurt Obama's support within black communities, but may help him with white working class folks.
My mom still won't vote for him and my guess is neither will Indiana's white voters. To quote a wise political philosopher's breakout hit,
It's just too little too late,
A little too wrong,
And I can't wait,
Boy you know all the right things to say,
You know it's just too little too late.