In Sen. Barack Obama’s epic speech on racism and unity, he unequivocally rejected controversial comments by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. However, as a poor white country boy from Middle America, I cannot disregard Wright’s truthfulness.
Reality check: despite talking-bobble-head pundits hysterically yapping about racism, Wright said nothing racist or hateful.
If we simmer down and examine Wright’s words carefully, we would notice that he rightly criticizes the unjust policies of America’s rich, white male rulers. I hold an identical critical view. Perhaps our criticism is motivated not by skin pigmentation, but by knowledge of socioeconomic injustice.
Wright and I both share deep frustration, even anger, toward the unjust, deadly policies of current American governance. This governance is overwhelmingly controlled by wealthy white men. Since American founding, rich white men have defined our “reality,” financially guided our elections and dominated all major political parties and our wealthiest corporations. This is sad truth, not racism.
Like Jesus, we both know economic inequality causes substantial injustice that harms the poor. For instance, there is great disparity in educational funding and opportunities for the poor and minorities in America. There is also a vast difference in poor people’s access to health care when compared to wealthy people.
We are also concerned that our criminal “justice” system is unjust in many laws, which disproportionately harm the poor and minorities. Most specifically, the War on Drugs fuels the imprisonment of more than a million non-violent offenders, disproportionately poor and black drug offenders. This injustice also leaves millions of children fatherless in impoverished, broken families.
Obviously, these unjust policies seem to be white racism to many poor blacks, which raises a crucial question. What is worse: potentially racist comments that harm no one or potentially racist policies that impoverish, imprison and kill millions?
Wright and I are also distraught about American foreign policy of killing civilians, and coldheartedly writing them off as “collateral damage.” I agree with Wright when he criticized the WWII nuclear slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians.?
Like millions of credulous schoolchildren, I was propagandistically brainwashed in school to believe that nuking civilians was unavoidable, but this is a lie.
Gen. Dwight Eisenhower wrote, “I voiced to [Truman] that Japan was already defeated and dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary. Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face.’…. it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing … I hated to see our country be the first to use [nukes].”
In 1946, the Federal Council of Churches wrote, “As American Christians, we are deeply penitent for the irresponsible use already made of the atomic bomb. We are agreed that the surprise bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are morally indefensible.”
Thus, Wright was correct, and unfortunately, for many this cold truth is hard to swallow.
Just as evil terrorism should not have justified Bush’s illegal atrocities, evil acts by the Japanese should never have justified killing thousands of civilians. We are supposed to be better than evils we oppose. We should never allow enemies to drag us down to their level.
Wright also correctly criticized unjust American and Israeli policies toward Israel’s dark neighbors.
Many innocent Arab and Israeli civilians are killed in this conflict, but typically only the poorer Arab side suffers Western condemnation. When the Israeli government commits atrocities on civilian populations, such as in southern Lebanon in 2006, they receive full support from the American government.
America also provides billions in military financing to Israel, which enables them to easily destroy Arab lives with sophisticated warplanes, tanks and missiles. Interestingly, whenever America or Israel kills civilians by using these expensive weapons, it is not called terrorism. It is only terrorism when poorer groups kill civilians with less sophisticated weaponry.
These truths are greatly obfuscated by corrupted journalists that mislead the public by falsely painting anyone critical of Israeli government as anti-Semitic. However, there is a clear distinction between Israeli politicians and Judaism, just as there is between Bush and Christianity.
Wright and I also have spiritual constitutions that compel us to proclaim wishes for a government that promotes peace and justice, instead of endless wars and injustices.
Since the Iraq War began, conscious Americans have been subjected to injuries to our collective psyche and spirit. This psychological and spiritual assault from politicians killing in our name forces people like Wright and me to react with harsh criticism. Perhaps we are too sensitive, but perhaps others take bombing people far too lightly. Or is it OK if those bombed have darker skin?
In all the Fox-generated anti-American hysteria, we must not forget Clinton and McCain voted for a war against a country that did not attack us. They voted for a war that has now killed 4,000 American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians unnecessarily. Is this not more anti-American than Wright’s words that killed nobody?
Clinton and McCain’s war is also anti-American because it fueled hatred toward America. Backlash from this egregious policy misjudgment promises to come back to bite us, endangering our children for generations. If this conflict spirals out of control, we could be drafted to die. If the $3 trillion to $5 trillion war cost contributes to an economic depression, as recent indicators might suggest, this could also translate into violent scenarios for our children. Their anti-American votes for unnecessary violence are politically unforgivable.
To support Clinton or McCain despite a superior alternative is insanity or ignorance. I reject excuses of intelligence failure because they knew Bush was rushing to war. Like the 23 Senators who voted no, they knew Bush’s war justification was mendacious, and major intelligence documents conclusively proved this.? These incompetent pro-war hawks are tainted goods like recalled beef.
We must take these issues and our votes more seriously, as though our lives and species depend upon it, because they do!
America faces countless grave decisions and our wealthy elite rulers continue to make very bad or corrupt decisions; harmful to the public interest.? Yet, like many others, I feel helpless to the overwhelming obstacles toward good government.?
The largest obstacles are linked to corrupting electoral procedures.? Primarily, public financing is required to extinguish the power of the wealthiest “white” minority to own the ears of our incumbent king-like congressmen, who are reelected 90 percent of the time.?
Another seismic shift must be to reclaim the public airwaves by reversing Clinton-Bush era media consolidation legislation.? This legislation facilitated media monopolization by deceitful propagandists like Rupert Murdoch, which is dumbing down America.?
In terms of racism, we must merely educate our children about the overwhelming evidence provided by molecular biology in conclusively proving our common African heritage.?If our children learn this basic truth, they would know racism is ridiculous.?We are all African!? Our differences are infinitesimal compared to our similarities.?
In conclusion, I worry the mass media portrayal of Wright’s truthfulness harmed Obama politically among less intellectual Americans.? We should pray America will elect Obama, a leader who may potentially discontinue establishment policies of violence and injustice, allowing Wright and me to happily abandon angry frustration.?
The world is pleading for comprehensive healing, so please save us Barack, the Great Black & White Hope!
Abel Tomlinson is a staff writer for The Arkansas Traveler. His column appears every Monday.