Gil Troy has some thoughts on Obama's predicament:
Senator Barack Obama’s response to his pastor’s anti-Americanism is
mealy-mouthed and disingenuous. It is impossible to believe Obama’s claim he was
unaware of this dimension of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s preaching. Actually,
if handled more shrewdly – and honestly – both the Reverend Wright’s venom and
Michelle Obama’s unpatriotic comments could highlight one of Obama’s great gifts
to America. Obama has tasted the bitterness of black life, but emerged with a
song in his heart, and a deep, constructive patriotism. His initial failures to
respond nimbly and honestly to the complaints about his demagogic pastor
suggests he may be afflicted with advancing political sclerosis – the paralysis
that hits successful candidates, especially insurgents, as they get ever cagier
and more cowardly, forgetting the bold message that first fueled their success.
Barack Obama’s reverend – and mentor – Jeremiah Wright is a spell-binder. The
video clips of Wright’s preaching capture a demagogue working his audience
masterfully. Someone who continually calls America, “the U.S. of KKK-A,” someone
who bombastically, but lyrically, repeats that he would not say “God Bless
America,” but “God Damn America,” someone who chose the Sunday after 9/11 to
condemn American foreign policy, is not a casual America-basher. Clearly, his
ministry has played to African-American anger, demonizing whites, and blasting
America as an oppressor at home and abroad. Consider his now-infamous Sunday
sermon on September 16, 2001, as the fires at the Pentagon and at Ground Zero
still smoldered. “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Wright shouted. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done
overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens” –
he exclaimed triumphantly, channeling the black radical Malcolm X -- “are coming
home to roost.”
[Though after initially writing this Troy did write an update in which he licked Obama's boots because of The Speech].
Did it really show character for Obama to have given this speech, or unalloyed ambition for office? Would character have led him to find another church, maybe one that preached lions laying down the lambs, are you washed in the blood, the soul cleansing blood of the lamb, the old rugged cross, the first step to heaven is down on your knees, and the rest of the usual piffle?
Or, ask yourself this: would you have returned to an institution that reveled in the attacks after 9-11?*
* don't bother answering if you are an academic.