Friday, August 08, 2008

Obama's Wise Distinction


Many people in and out of the media are wondering why Barack Obama is not doing better in the polls than he is. With the Republican Bush administration in such disfavor during an unusually challenging and dangerous time for this nation and the world as a whole, you'd think that Democrat Obama would be riding his undeniable charisma to overwhelming advantage over a bland old John McCain who seems bent on continuing most of the Bush approach to our sputtering economy, to a world of increasing international tensions, and to a war that the majority of Americans believe should never have been waged.

But not only is Obama not running away from McCain in the polls, but McCain has pulled into a virtual tie with him. This could change after the two candidates start debating each other face-to-face and after each side unleashes their big gun commercials. But I increasingly and sadly believe that, in the end, McCain will probably win the presidency. And one of the reasons I think this is that too many voters have been irrevocably turned off to Obama because of his longstanding association with Jeremiah Wright's church and with the controversial pastor himself. Too many people, who might otherwise have voted for Obama, won't now because they're afraid of what Obama's relationship with that church and with Wright may reveal about how he really feels about this country and white people, and you can be darn sure that Republicans will continue to fan and exploit this fear to the fullest possible extent from now till election day.

I wish everyone would read the Newsweek interview I just read, for it just might change some minds and votes back to Obama. The interview is with conservative Christian Stephen Mansfield, who recently wrote a book examining Obama's faith. In the interview, Mansfield offers an explanation of Obama's involvement with Wright and his church that makes a whole lot of sense to me. It's what I've always believed to be the truth but couldn't articulate as clearly as Mansfield does. Here is the gist of Mansfield's explanation in his own compelling words:

Most people who have gone to a church have had to grit their teeth through some sermon and perhaps walk away not agreeing with everything. I think if you've been to a church, especially with this black "prophetic preaching," which is a theological perspective that says pastors ought to comment on everything from the government to the economy, then we're not just going to talk about the joy, joy, joy way down deep in our hearts the way most white churches do. This preaching comes out of the postslavery years, where a pastor is the commentator on all things in society. So I think when you have that perspective and you're used to hearing someone comment on a variety of things, you don't necessarily have to share his perspective to be involved with the church. In fact, black pastors often—and I say this as a man who's worked with and preached in black churches—say extreme things to shift the lines a little and stir people up. So I am sure Barack Obama, sitting there, said, "This is a great church, love the people, but I don't agree with everything that's said." Again, he distinguished between the revelation of God and the personality of a man.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why did Obama pick that church in the first place? Nothing of his past would suggest that he do so. He was free to pick any congregation he wished. So why did he chose to associate with an America hating racebaiter unless he too is in agreement. This is just one of many unsavory personal relationships with questionable people that Obama has had through the years.
People aren't playing on an unfounded fear of Obama, they are just recognizing him for what he really is. An empty politician with ZERO real acomplishments.

Anonymous said...

You could be honest and in your labeling for search engines of this post and add the most truthful and important word, racists.
They come in all colors don't ya know?

Nagarjuna said...

Did you read the entire article? I'm guessing that you didn't or that it went right over your little head.

Why SHOULDN'T Obama have picked that church?

Why do you call Wright an "America hating racebaiter" and say that Obama's relationship with him was "unsavory"?

Why do you say Obama has "zero accomplishments"? Do you ENVY the fact that he graduated from Columbia and, later, Harvard Law MAGNA CUM LAUDE and was president of the extremely prestigious Law Review, that he taught constitutional law, was elected to the Illinois Senate and then to the U.S. Senate, that he delivered one of the most eloquent and electrifying political speeches in this nation's history with his keynote address, and that he is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of what, I'm just guessing, you'd consider to be the greatest nation on Earth?

If you (or, say, some Republican or Libertarian candidate) had done all of this well before you (or he or she) were 50, would you think YOU (or he or she) had "zero accomplishments?" I think not. I think that YOU may just possibly be the prejudiced "hater," and with, perhaps, a bit (or more) of the racism you're projecting onto others.

Anonymous said...

"Why SHOULDN'T Obama have picked that church?"

I guess you're right, being race obsessed as he is, he really had no choice.


"....graduated from Columbia and, later, Harvard Law MAGNA CUM LAUDE and was president of the extremely prestigious Law Review, that he taught constitutional law, was elected to the Illinois Senate and then to the U.S. Senate, that he delivered one of the most eloquent and electrifying political speeches in this nation's history with his keynote address, and that he is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of what,...."

When a person gets out of school or wins an election to political office, they then need to actually do something substantive with the knowlwdge or position.
Name me ONE scholarly piece that Obama wrote as President of the Law Review or ONE piece of legislation the he authored during either his time in the Illinois State Senate or the U.S. Senate, and as a community organizer, he really cleaned up South Chicago now didn't he? Your girl Hillary spoke of this for the entire campaign AND SHE WAS RIGHT.
He has been a theoretician and a polititian his entire life, sitting back and watching, making no commitments,with no real world accomplishments and has spent his entire career fooling people such as yourself into thinking he's actually done something. He's a campaigner jumping from one political rock to the next before he falls in over his head.
Can you discern the difference between school, political campaigning and real world decisions, commitments and their consequences both good and bad? In the real world he has zero record, and you want people to vote for this guy? On what grounds?
I guess I'm giving you too much here, just to make it simple, could you answer the above questions concerning his real world acomplishments please (besides school and campaigning)?

Hint; you won't be able to because there are none, literally.

Anonymous said...

You really are a shallow and emotionally driven "thinker".

todd said...

Obama's Wise Distinction? Gleaned from an article speculating on what went on in his mind? How do you or he know anything about Obama's thinking processes regarding this? Are you kidding me?

Anonymous said...

What's the matter? Is posting a comment on how reflective your comments on this post are in showing the shallow emotionalism in your "thinking" a little too naked a reflection for you?
Perhaps you could reflect on that fact and actually get real about it then write a post on it.

Nagarjuna said...

Anonymous--
I never said that Obama has radically transformed the world. What's more, he isn't even the person, of all the contenders, I would have most liked to see as president. My personal choice was Joe Biden, whose domestic and foreign policy knowledge and experience would have made him better qualified, in my opinion, than either Hillary or Barack. But I would still rather see Obama as president than McCain. I think McCain as president would be essentially another Bush in his outlook and policies, and I think he would be uninspiring as hell. I think Obama, for all his alleged lack of experience, is more intelligent than McCain, has a more nuanced understanding of the world than McCain, and is certainly a more charismatic figure than McCain, with a correspondingly greater capacity to inspire a broader spectrum of the American people and to effectively represent this country on the international stage. I think we need THAT more than we do four or eight years of boring, curmudgeonly John McCain and imperialistic foreign policy and "trickle down," laissez faire economics.

Todd--
As for Obama's real motivation for joining Wright's church and remaining there so long, who knows? Not I. Not you. But Stephen Mansfield's eloquent explanation strikes me as exceedingly credible. Far more credible than the supposition that Obama is some kind of closet racist and America hater who's out to stick it to whitey and bring down this nation. And nobody has explained to me what Wright has said or done that conclusively proves that he's a racist or that makes membership in his church such a terrible thing.

todd said...

If Wright wasn't able to explain it to uou in his own words than nobody will be able to. And how do you go from glowing praise of Obamas "accomplishments" to getting smacked down by Anon. who points out that all he's done in his life is run for office to saying "I never said that Obama has radically transformed the world." ? Are you able to cede the point that you lost on that one or do you have some sort of proof that Obama has actually done ANYTHING in the grown-up world?

todd said...

And what will Obama "inspire" us to? The same thing as all the other "progressives" down through the ages have? Higher taxes to pay for more failed government programs run by mediocre government bureaucrats?

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
First of all, I doubt that Obama will be elected president. Therefore, I doubt that he'll get the chance, as president, to inspire any of us. At least not this time around.

Second, if Obama is elected, I feel pretty sure that he won't inspire people such as yourself, just as "the Great Communicator" Ronald Reagan didn't inspire me when he was president. But it will be interesting to see what Obama ends up accomplishing and how the people of this country and other governments and peoples of the world respond to him.

However, as I said previously, I doubt that we'll get the chance to see this, and, if we don't, I guess you'll be happy or, at least, less unhappy with John McCain.

As for paying higher taxes under Obama, I'd be delighted to pay higher taxes if it meant that all of us could have decent, affordable healthcare coverage, that people like my autistic relative were provided with the help they desperately need instead of being denied that help due to "budget shortages," that our nation's crumbling infrastructure were renovated and rebuilt, and that innumerable other things were done with those taxes to benefit us all that won't get done by the private sector.

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
What did Wright not explain that needs to be explained? Once again, what has Wright said or done that makes Obama's association with him problematic?

ian said...

You Yanks would vet a plumber doing work on your bathroom more thoroughly than you've vetted this new politician, Obama.

todd said...

If you have the extra money to gladly pay the taxes, then why don't you pay money now for your autistic relative instead of waiting for the government to confiscate it, run it through their inefficient system, and then dole out according to the whims of some bureaucrat?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

What do you know of Frank Marshall Davis, James H. Cone, Bernadette Dorhn and William Ayers?

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
I can afford a modest increase in my taxes. I can't afford the cost of providing my young, autistic relative the comprehensive help he needs. His mother and grandparents can't either. So, it looks like he may have to go without something he desperately needs to have any chance at a relatively "normal" life that government funding could afford him. And denying him and others like him the help they need now could end up exacting a higher social and economic cost on all of us than helping them early on would.

Anonymous said...

Well?

todd said...

So I take it that you have no problem with the government taking money under threat of force from other people, which is what taxation is, and giving it to your relatives.
When one person giving to another is done out of the goodness of one's heart in the name of religion it is called charity. When giving is coerced by the state and money is taken from one who earned it and given to one who hasn't it's called Marxism.
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
I take it your religion is Marxism?

Nagarjuna said...

Well?

Anonymous said...

Your "don't look over there" attitude with regard to Obama in particular and your political philosophy in general doesn't serve your supossed purpose of "Naked Reflections" very well.
The fact that you are editing out certain uncomfortable comments out of this blog because they are disturbing to you proves otherwise. A better header would be Non-dusturbing Filtered Reflections.

Nagarjuna said...

Which comments have I "edited out"?

Anonymous said...

The ones which aren't appearing here.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

What do you know of Frank Marshall Davis, James H. Cone, Bernadette Dorhn and William Ayers?

todd said...

Which comments have you edited out?
My comment on Religion and Marxism for one.
But then, you already knew that.

Nagarjuna said...

I'm not deliberately withholding any comments from publication unless I know that they come from a certain poster whose prior conduct here without apology disqualifies him from posting more comments here. So, if you've tried to post comments here and I haven't approved them, it's because I never saw them. I encourage you to submit them again.

todd said...

Would that certain poster be me? Because you've not published two of my comments on this thread alone.

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
I haven't intentionally rejected any of your comments. So, as I wrote previously, if you tried to post something that didn't get published, you're welcome to resubmit it.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Allow me to help you out with this.
The infamous "Frank" as mentioned in Obama's autobiography is none other than Frank Marshall Davis.
The FBI has documented that Davis was a secret CPUSA member who became a member of an underground communist apparatus in Hawaii. As late as the 1970s, Davis was involved with a CPUSA front organization, the American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born, dedicated to keeping foreign communists such as labor leader Harry Bridges from being deported from the U.S. Davis, a friend of Bridges, a secret CPUSA member, became Obama’s mentor during the years 1975-1979.
The Obama campaign has admitted the relationship.

Nagarjuna said...

And your point about Davis is?

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
I have no problem with the government taking my tax money and using it to help everyone who needs help. Yes, this includes my relatives. But it also includes you and yours. And this is not, in itself, Marxism. Marxism is essentially a comprehensive worldview that goes far beyond taxing a populace to provide needed services that are unlikely to be provided otherwise.

In a more perfect or less imperfect world, private charity would render sufficient help to everyone who needs it. But in THIS world, it doesn't. Neither does the government. But I believe that government helps more people more fairly than private charity does or ever could.

todd said...

If you're going to respond to a post I made which you say you didn't get, then how about printing it.

Nagarjuna said...

Didn't I?

todd said...

You did, days aftwer you said you never received it.

todd said...

You said,
"I have no problem with the government taking my tax money and using it to help everyone who needs help. Yes, this includes my relatives. But it also includes you and yours."

The reason you have no problem with it is because you will get more out of it than you put in.
You already stated that you and your famuly couldn't afford to pay for treatment of your autistic relative. If government sponsored health care then pays for said relative, someone else will be picking up your slack.
So don't give me the crap about your helping to pay for my relatives.

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
I said I never saw it because I didn't see it until the time when I published it. If you've ever had a Blogger blog and put it in moderated comments mode, perhaps you would understand how this is possible.

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
I'm not giving you any "crap." Perhaps you see and judge everything through the prism of your own self-interest and project that self-centeredness onto others, but the fact of the matter is that I would be delighted to have some of my tax money used to provide services to YOU and members of YOUR family if needed, even if I and my family didn't need any of those services ourselves.

The way I see it, we all need each other, and when we all pay taxes to share the load of helping each other when we need it, we make it most possible for that help to be delivered. This doesn't mean that individuals and churches and other private charities can't add to the helping mix. But I think it would be a big mistake to rely exclusively on these private sources of help. Many people would undoubtedly get left out altogether and others wouldn't come close to receiving the help they need.

I certainly believe that we need federally a subsidized healthcare program that goes far, far beyond Medicare and Medicaid.

todd said...

"I certainly believe that we need federally a subsidized healthcare program that goes far, far beyond Medicare and Medicaid."

Does it also go far far into bankrupting the Federal economy and loading so many taxes on us that it also tanks the private sector.
Take a look at the trend lines of the entitlement programs in this country and get back to me. A modest increase in taxes? Get real.

Nagarjuna said...

Todd--
I guess you disagree, but I believe that ALL Americans have a RIGHT to adequate healthcare no matter whether or where they work, that the ONLY way to make this possible is for the federal government to subsidize it, and that if we're really determined as a nation to do it, we can find a way to do it successfully.