04/30/08 — Obama bail out: Wright is put to curb, but what about what he said ...

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Obama bail out: Wright is put to curb, but what about what he said ...

After weeks of not really defending, but not really condemning his controversial pastor, Barack Obama came out Tuesday, stood in front of a crowd and made the choice to end his association with his longtime minister.

The decision came on the heels of comments made by the Rev. Wright during a speech at the National Press Club in which he went so far as to blame the U.S. government for the AIDS virus.

Those comments really weren’t that different from any of the other vitriol that has been spewing from the Rev. Wright’s lips, but this time, it was just too much, Obama told those gathered at his press conference.

Truthfully, Obama did not have any choice. If he wanted to continue to be a viable candidate to lead this nation as president, there was no option other than to stand up and say what he did. There was no way to explain away a continued association with the Rev. Wright or to lessen the impact of the ridiculous statements he has made and continues to make.

There are plenty of comments that can be made regarding Obama’s reluctance to send the Rev. Wright packing earlier. It will be up to voters whether they think he handled the decision on when to cut the ties properly.

But as the smoke clears and the campaign continues, there is another discussion to be had.

What about what the Rev. Wright said? And what about what he suggested about the beliefs of millions of black Americans?

What are we as a nation going to do about people — from any race or soapbox — who continue to push hatred, bias and conspiracy theories that make it impossible for this nation to have a substantive discussion on race? When are we going to admit that there are people out there who are pushing an agenda — and that there are thousands of followers eager to listen to them and who believe every word they say?

In other words, what about all those people out there who still think that every word that comes out of the Rev. Wright’s mouth is gospel and that he is speaking for them?

Barack Obama’s dilemma is an example of what can happen when charisma and a pulpit are merged with a need for attention.

Obama sat in the Rev. Wright’s congregation for decades and he did not realize the true impact of the pastor’s message. He did not understand the true feelings of the man he had called a friend for 20 years.

It is only when a magnifying glass was put to his pastor’s words that he saw how destructive they are.

Our goal should be to put up more magnifying glasses — on all sorts of hate speak — no matter where it comes from.

Published in Editorials on April 30, 2008 11:26 AM