Okay, I'll admit it, I got pretty upset at Obama too when I saw the clips of his pastor. I thought that he had made a major error in judgment by having this guy be part of his campaign. Then, when I read about his speech, I dismissed it as the usual political rhetoric.
Then I actually listened to it. All 37 minutes of it. Amazing what a difference is made when it's not broken down into little soundbites.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not convinced that I'm going to vote for him. Personally, I don't think that any significant change will come from either of the two major parties, and I honestly don't think that the President has as much power as people seem to think that he (or she, as the case might wind up being) has. I'm kinda like Benjamin, the donkey, from Animal Farm. When people talk about how great Obama is, I just think to myself, "Donkeys live a long time." (Read the book if you haven't - you'll get what I mean.) I will admit that I voted for him in the primaries, but that's because I really don't like Clinton, and I didn't want to see her as the Democratic candidate. She panders too much to the right, and I absolutely will not vote for anybody who approved of this bullshit war that we're in. I knew that it could easily become a clusterfuck, and I'm no genius. They sure as hell should have seen it coming as well. What's worse, she doesn't even have the dignity to admit that it was a mistake (something that I can at least give to Edwards.)
There definitely is a bit of the usual political rhetoric in there. The thing is though, and I think that my friends and family will agree with me, I tend to break things down in a logical fashion. (Obvious exceptions would be criticisms of superhero movies and the Star Wars prequels.) I can smell a logical fallacy minutes before it leaves somebody's lips. I also have the propaganda techniques down, as I teach them every year to a new group of freshmen (who are usually pretty overwhelmed by it - I think I'm going to start giving it to the seniors now.)
Was there some of that there? I'm sure if I tried I could come up with a few. The thing is, usually when a politician starts talking, I could make a drinking game out of it and be hammered in about five minutes. Shoot, if I took a shot for just every glittering generality that Bush uses, I'd be on the floor in two minutes. (That's when you use words like freedom, liberty, democracy, etc. to justify whatever crappy thing it is you're trying to sell.)
Yet, there wasn't as much in there with Obama's speech. It was nuanced. There were grey areas. He essentially trusted his audience to understand that the issues of race in this country are not easy ones. It's a complex issue, and it can't be absorbed into a twenty second bite. I didn't feel as though he felt that I was an idiot who needed to be spoken to like a child. (Which is exaclty how I feel with Bush and Cheney.)
Oddly enough, I understand what he was saying regarding his pastor. After all, I wonder what it would be like if I ran for President and somebody played a clip of some of my friends and family members talking about sensitive issues. Lord knows, I don't agree with everything they say. Sometimes, they can be downright offensive. But there are more things that they say that I do agree with and do make sense that it outweighs the bad for me.
Regarding Obama's reverend, certainly what he said was over-the-top and offensive. But is that what one can expect every day? Isn't that a bit out of context? I'm not saying it is - I'm saying that I don't know.
But Obama put it in a way that I can accept that he wouldn't "disown" the guy anymore than he could "disown" his white grandmother who says racist things as well.
I still think it was a mistake to make Wright a part of his campaign. What I am becoming convinced of though is that this is another distraction that's keeping us from looking at what's important.