Posted by Brad @ 10:42 pm on April 28th 2008

I Still Don’t Care About Jeremiah Wright

Maybe I should make this a regular series. Things I don’t care about.

Add Jeremiah Wright to the top of the list currently.

Today, he gave a speech and had an impromptu Q&A at the end of it in which he more or less said over again the things that people took issue with originally. Zionist this, Farakhan that, God doesn’t like this or that about America, he wouldn’t put it past the government to have created AIDS, yadda yadda yadda. It was apparently eye-opening enough that even Sully decided to throw down and declare that Obama must do this or that to reject or denounce or some damn thing so Wright doesn’t, I don’t know, get airtime? Beats me.

Adam has already cogently broached this, but I find myself reading this stuff and my eyes glaze over. I can positively 100% not seem to get excised about any of this. I could not care less what Jeremiah Wright’s views on America happen to be, and I could not care less the degree or extent to which Obama rejects or denounces it.

I feel like I should, in some way. It’s literally the only thing that is being covered anymore in Presidential politics. All the blogs are alight with it. It is, apparently, the campaign issue of this Spring so far. I’m told that, as a swing voter, this really, really ought to concern me.

And yet, I can’t muster an iota of give-a-shitness. Is there something wrong with me?

Sullivan puts it thusly:

I can well understand why Obama has not disowned the man who helped bring him to Christ. God knows I have had some spiritual mentors whose views I cannot accept in their entirety or some allies in the struggle for gay equality who are not my ideological confreres in many other ways. I have been in a movement where many others – most others – hold views very alien to my own. Obama is a decent human being, and cutting off someone who has nurtured and sustained his faith and been a father figure to him is not in his character. If I believed for one second that Obama shared any of this bile, I couldn’t begin to support him.


But what? What more is there to say, really, that’s not campaign trail schtick and beltway game-playing?

To me, the whole Wright affair raises two legitimate questions, and only two:

1. Does Obama believe these things, or would his administration be reflective of these things?

2. Is there something more than he should be doing in his relationship with Jeremiah Wright? Any more distancing that is necessary, or personal denouncement that would make any difference?

The answer to both of those questions, it seems to me, is an easy “no”. And I fail to see any further questions. On #1, I suppose it’s the same question for me that was salient in the whole “Racists 4 Ron Paul” thing (and that strikes me as MORE potentially salient, in that it involved people who are still at least peripherally around the candidate in some functional way). The only sensible “next question” is “Okay, does the candidate believe any of this stuff?” And saying Obama is going to institute some kind of black liberation theology platform on America strikes me as equally ridiculous as saying Ron Paul is going to single out this racial group or that to disadvantage. In any event, I don’t think Obama has been in any way unclear, and in most senses has been far MORE forthcoming on his own beliefs as it pertains to faith, as it pertains to race, than most any other candidate I can think of in contemporary American history. So what’s the further question on this point that needs answering?

And as far as #2 goes, as it pertains to Obama, I think it’s fair to ask Obama if he agrees with this or that, and makes clear that he does NOT agree with Wright, what his relationship with Wright was and what it is now, but after that, what’s left for him to do? Tape a pro-wrestler smack-talking segment calling Reverend Wright out? TP his house? What?

Why are we asking questions of him to which we already know full well the answers? How many times do we demand he say something before we chose to either accept or reject that it is, in fact, the truth? 5? 10? One hour-long speech? Two? A town hall? A Fox News interview? What?

Or is it just that Wright went into more detail about the things he believes, and with every new detail, Barack Obama has to make a new, more specific denouncement, such that he should dispatch a staff person to follow Wright around from now on adding “This view is not endorsed by Barack Obama” everytime Wright opens his mouth?

Like I said, I recognize there must be something wrong with me, because it sure seems awfully important to everybody else. And I also admit I’m 29 years old, so as Sully often posits, maybe there’s some greater context here that I’m missing. But I still can’t find myself caring what some preacher in Southside Chicago happens to think about this issue or that, nor do I find myself really wishing Obama would just repeat himself a few dozen more times in different contexts, saying the same things he’s been saying for years now.

I get it. Reverend Wright, who has precisely ZERO effect or even potential effect on my life, has some wacky beliefs. Barack Obama does not agree with them, and has different beliefs, such that he’s outlined in books, speeches, interviews, and conversations over the course of his adult life. The guy that thinks some wacky things has a personal relationship with the guy that thinks less wacky things (I can relate, incidentally; about half of my friends I think are idiots on half of the nutty things they believe that I don’t agree with). So….is wacky contagious? Is that what we’re transfixed about?

What’s the story again?


  1. I just thought of another contingency that I might be able to care about.

    Question 3: Is the candidate actively and specifically courting the vote of that particular wacky group, or is there a reason to worry that them being a part of the coalition will wackily influence policy or be legitimized?

    That came up during the Ron Paul thing, and I think there was a point there (in that Paul’s team certainly HAD actively courted the objectionable segment), though I disagreed with it (in that I couldn’t see any way that racists being a part of the “don’t tread on me” coalition either legitimizes them or delegitimizes the coalition). It also, I think, plays in instances where the candidate is obviously making an effort to fold a particular wacky group under their umbrella (as with, say, John McCain and Rev. Hagee), or in some way prostrate themselves to them.

    But, again, I don’t see how that plays in this instance. What’s the fear, in this case?

    Comment by Brad — 4/28/2008 @ 10:56 pm

  2. Zero effect on your life, perhaps.

    Comment by James — 4/29/2008 @ 1:25 am

  3. I know those black liberation theologists must pester you terribly.

    Comment by Brad — 4/29/2008 @ 2:25 am

  4. Not me, but they do my “yellow dog” Democrat father-in-law. If Obama wins the Dem nomination the old guy is going to vote Republican and usher in the end of days. I’m just sayin’.

    Comment by James — 4/29/2008 @ 11:05 am

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