Reverend Jeremiah Wright appeared on PBS Bill Moyers Journal on Friday night and delivered a knockout punch to the bully-boys in the corporate media. Wright showed that he is neither a fanatic nor an “America hater”; just an extremely well-read and principled man with an unshakable commitment to justice. Wright has also paid his dues; he’s an ex-Marine who served as a medic in Vietnam when most of his critics were either hiding behind their student deferments or languishing in the “Champagne Unit” of the Texas National Guard.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
“And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God bless America? No, no, no. Not God bless America; God damn America!”
No one disputes Wright’s summary of US history. His comments have simply been lifted, just to beat up on Barak Obama; everyone knows that. Just like everyone knows that the corporate media destroy political enemies, which means anyone who poses a challenge to America’s unelected corporate oligarchy. That’s why it is so frustrating to hear people say, “The media is not doing its job.”
That’s just plain wrong; the media IS doing its job. It’s cheerleading the country to war, it is diverting attention from the main political and economic issues of the day, and it is destroying thr system’s political enemies, actual or potential.
What the media try to do by singling out Wright is pretty straightforward. They’re trying to create the impression that blacks conceal a deep sense of grievance which expresses itself in rage. This generates feelings of fear among whites which, of course, is all part of the strategy. The message is simple; “blacks are angry, blacks are dangerous” and, oh by the way, Obama is black.
The attack on Wright is that it was set up in a way to make it look like the Reverend — a man whose entire career has been devoted to social justice — is a racist. That took a bit of maneuvering. In fact, the media, and their friends at the right-wing think tanks, had to dig through 15 years of Wright’s sermons to find just the right snippets they needed to destroy Obama. Now that’s determination!
Race has become one of the dominant issues on the campaign-trail. Obama is no longer just a man running for office; now he’s a black man. That’s how swift-boating works. Like they say in the Godfather; “It’s not personal; it’s just business”. The business of personal destruction.
Fortunately, Bill Moyers decided to give Wright a chance to acquit himself before the public. Wright took the opportunity and made the most of it.
Rev. Wright: “God is the giver of life. Let me tell you what that means. That means we have no right to take a life whether as a gang-banger living the thug life, or as a President lying about leading a nation into war. We have no right to take a life! Whether through the immorality of a slave trade, or the immorality of refusing HIV/AIDS money to countries or agencies who do not tow your political line! We have no right to take a life!”
Wright showed that the doctrine he preaches, Black Liberation Theology, is neither discriminatory nor racist as the media has suggested. Rather, it integrates the teachings of Jesus Christ with the real-time struggle for social justice and equality. Compassion is not possible if one does not have a grasp of one’s own culture and identity. That’s why Wright tries to reconnect his congregation to their roots, so they can be proud of who they are and have more productive lives.
“You know, you come into the average church on a Sunday morning and you think you’ve stepped from the real world into a fantasy world. And what do I mean by that? Pick up the church bulletin. You leave a world, Vietnam, or today you leave a world, Iraq, over 4,000 dead, American boys and girls, 100,000, 200,000 depending on which count, Iraqi dead. Afghanistan, Darfur, rapes in the Congo, Katrina, Lower Ninth Ward, that’s the world you leave. And you come in; you pick up your church bulletin. It says, there is a ladies tea on second Sunday. How come the faith preached in our churches does not relate to the world in which our church members leave at the benediction?”
This is the essence of Black Liberation Theology; how to make sense of the world we live in so the word of Christ can be applied in practice. Wright thinks that faith should be a transforming experience that changes behavior and shapes lives, not just a few hours of prayer every week at Sunday services.
Does that make it “a race-based theology? (as Moyers asks)
Rev. Wright: “No, it is not. It is embracing Christianity without giving up Africanity. …We’re not givin’ up who we are as black people to become somebody else…No mas. Nada mas. We’re gonna be ourselves. We’re gonna be our culture. We’re gonna be our history. And we’re gonna embrace it and not say one is superior to the other. Because we are different. And different does not mean deficient. We talk about God of diversity? God has diverse culture and we’re proud of who we are and that’s not a race-based theology.”
Wright has also been skewered in the media for suggesting there may be a connection between American foreign policy and the attacks of 9-11. The media considers any analysis that doesn’t square with Bush’s crackpot “they hate our freedoms” theory to be either anti-American or outright heresy. In his most famous sermon, Wright elaborates on the “blowback” theme as well as the so-called war on terror:
“We took this country by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Arawak, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism! We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism! We bombed Grenada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel. We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers and hard-working fathers. We bombed Gadafi’s home and killed his child. “Blessed are they who bash your children’s head against a rock!” We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to payback for the attack on our embassy. Killed hundreds of hard-working people; mothers and fathers who left home to go that day, not knowing that they would never get back home. 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! Kids playing in the playground, mothers picking up children after school, civilians – not soldiers – people just trying to make it day by day. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black South Africans, and now we are indignant? Because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back into our own front yards! America’s chickens are coming home to roost! Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred and terrorism begets terrorism.”
America has blood on its hands. America, as Martin Luther King said, “is the greatest perpetrator of violence in the world today.” So what else is new?
The media use every soapbox in the country to preach uber-nationalism and vilify America’s critics as unpatriotic. That’s why the wrath of the media has descended on Obama like a Texas hailstorm; they’re afraid he doesn’t understand who really runs things in America.
Wright means nothing to the media or to the men behind the curtain. If he didn’t provide an avenue for denigrating Obama, he’d be treated with the same indifference as the thousands of other blacks who were herded at gunpoint into the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina. Better buckle up. Obama has entered the crosshairs of America’s criminal oligarchy and things are bound to get nasty.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington tate. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org