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If Wright Were White

In this election cycle, there was always going to be a Jeremiah Wright. In America, there are different standards. Black people are more quickly judged intemperate and arrogant and angry.
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If Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his former disciple, Barack Obama were white, this would not be a story. Wright would not have gained the attention he did. He would not have been seduced to take his 15 minutes at Obama's expense. CNN would not have become the Jeremiah Wright show. Obama would not have had to make his umpteenth rejection of the man's comments. As Ezra Klein said:

Does anyone believe a long association with Jerry Falwell's church would have done anything but help McCain in the Republican primary, and gotten Democrats tagged as anti-religion when they tried to point out Falwell's nuttiness in the general? It's fine to be a Christian extremist in America. It's fine to believe, and say publicly, that everyone who hasn't accepted Jesus Christ into their heart will roast in eternal hellfire, fine to believe that the homosexuals caused Hurricane Katrina and the feminists contributed to 9/11, fine to believe we must support Israel so the Jews can be largely annihilated in a war that will trigger the End Times, fine to believe we're in a holy battle with the barbaric hordes of Islam, fine to believe that we went to the Middle East to prove 'our God is bigger than your God.'

White pastors have been spewing hateful bile and filth for generations. But it's white bile, and that makes all the difference.

It has been somewhere between hilarious and awe-inspiring to see Democratic liberals ooze on about Obama's spectacular chances. I was beginning to think I had been raised in a different country. In the America in which I was raised, there are different standards for black and white. In the America in which I live, a black man's statements are more quickly judged intemperate or arrogant or angry. In the America outside my window, a black man's very presence is often looked upon with suspicion. On the American streets I walk, a great many people with whom I come into contact--black and white--make erroneous assumptions about me that they would not make about a white man of identical educational and professional class.

But to hear the folks at DailyKos tell it, we had entered a different America--one in which the Republicans (the party with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney in it) and the mainstream press corps (the one with Chris Matthews and Mickey Kaus) were going to ignore Obama's skin color, and all of its historical associations, just because we assumed that they were just as interested in lying to themselves about what racist sons of monkeys they are as we were.

No such luck. They don't care and so have nothing to prove. There is no shaming the political/corporate press establishment because they harbor no doubts as to their ilk's political, moral and racial superiority. That is what allows them to enable the flouting of the Constitution, enrichment of friends at the public trough, torture and imprisonment of innocents, the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands in their "recreational" war.

Wright is a not-atypical black preacher in his lust for the spotlight, and a not-atypical American preacher is his taste for the incendiary. However, Barack Obama is an utterly atypical Presidential candidate. His "peace, love and understanding" schtick never had a chance. The press and political establishment pulled out every stop to eviscerate the Clintons-- and the Clintons are white. Bill just happened to be trash, and so, they felt, might taint them by association. Imagine what the idea of Big Black in the White House does to their sense of self? Now convince me that during this election cycle there will not come another Jeremiah Wright--in spirit if not in person--if this one ever steps off the stage.

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