Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Wright Fiasco

For the past three weeks or so, we have been bombarded with commentary about Reverend Wight. Should we care? Why do we care. It is important given that Senator Obama claimed Wight was his mentor and spiritual guide for 20 years. The title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope", comes from one of Wright's sermons. This is more than someone who simply attended church on Sundays.

We seem to care, should we? I don't know. I am somewhat sympathetic to Reverend Wright as the angry black man of the 1960s, angry at racism and the "system" that kept blacks from fully participating in America. But he went beyond that. Calling for his parishioners to reject "middle classism" while running a church that even Senator Obama admits has a reputation as something of a "buppie" church.

The Wright situation has been brewing for a long time. I remember noting to a friend (who was working for one of Obama's Democratic Senate race rivals in 2004) that Wright could be a problem for Obama. Of course, in 2004, Obama sailed thorough thanks to his opponents in both parties self destructing. So the issue is only being raised now.

And Wright refuses to go quietly. This makes we wonder if Wright is trying to do this on purpose. I know I am not the only person thinking this, Spike Lee has muttered some vague conspiracy theory.

So why is Wright doing this? Wright was known but not a huge player here in Chicago compared to other ministers. Wright built a very impressive congregation on the South Side (and to be sure does a lot of good) but he was a local figure. Now, thanks to all the controversy, he is a national figure.

This could torpedo Senator Obama's chances. But if he gets past Denver, he will be happy it happened now, and not in October.


William R. Barker said...

"We seem to care, should we?"

Short but definitive answer: NO. (Not much, anyway.)



(Boy... THAT was EASY!) (You're welcome!)

William R. Barker said...

Man... (*SIGH*)... I wish *I* had written this.



P.S. - Cross-posted at RT

Rodak said...

Wright has said that this affair has not been an attack on him personally, but an attack on the Black Church.
It has just occurred to me: wtf is the 'black church' and what legitimacy does it possess qua "black?"
RAG has it right on his blog: Obama's success, as a non-cleric, is a new paradigm for the black community; one that makes "the black church" less relevant than it has been historically; and, by extention, then, one that makes the Rev. Wrights of the world less important to their flocks.