Obama's Coming-Out Speech

After his speech yesterday, we now better understand Obama's church affiliation and have a framework to interpret his intentions. He and his spiritual mentor shape their respective vocations, politics and theology, through the same race-based class dialectic.

The candidacy of the man some have said transcends race turns out, after all, to be all about race. The light that forms his world view is refracted through a prism that splits into two colors -- black and white.

As a man of both races, his self-image is of someone uniquely qualified to redress the transgressions committed against African-Americans by whites.  His political spectrum of victims does lean into economic transgressions against working- and middle-class whites oppressed by greedy corporations, Washington lobbyists, special interest groups, and those intellectually oppressed by the Reagan Coalition that generated resentment against welfare and affirmation action. But, clearly, the focus is on African-Americans.

This is a candidate who would bring the nation together by rescuing us from our oppressors.   

The sad irony of Barack Obama is this: When the Senator who chose to "run for the presidency at this moment in history because [he believes] deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together" says,

"Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country,"

he inadvertently reveals his prejudicial expectation of white bias against his candidacy, born of his own temptation to see whites as oppressive.  Ironically, it's not whites who see his candidacy through a "purely racial lens" - Barack Obama does too.  Michelle Obama shared his expectation, which is why she was proud of her country for the first time in her adult life when she too was surprised to see many white voters supporting her husband.   

Obama's account of his first visit to Trinity explains the formation of his neoliberal theocratic worldview.  African-Americans are the people of Israel searching for survival, freedom, and hope in a hostile land.  For Obama, the Old Testament ("Old" from the Gentile perspective) stories became,

"...a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world.  Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black,"

as Obama's life story, his identify as a black man, his role as a rescuer in a black community, all merge into a personal epiphany akin to a concept coined many decades ago by German theologians: heilsgeschichte - salvation history.    

Put aside his explanation of the Jeremiah Wright matter. It gave him an opportunity to profile his mission.  Only by a tortured logic do his statements about Wright align. He didn't know what Wright was preaching; then he did.  Wright's comments were divisive and offered a "profoundly distorted view of this country," but he was speaking to issues of race "that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now."  It's a rhetorical rat's maze with no cheese at the end -- as conflicted as the man himself.

Of course Obama isn't going to throw Wright under his political bus. That's fine. Newly sworn-in Vice President Harry Truman raised eyebrows when, ignoring the counsel of his advisors, he attended the funeral of his old friend, fellow Missourian and political boss Thomas J. Pendergast after Pendergast served 15 months in Leavenworth Prison for tax evasion.  Few reasonable people will fault Obama for not condemning Wright outright.  

But the entire episode does leave us wondering why the Obama-Wright connection took so long to come to the attention of the networks; why it didn't surface until the race for the Democratic nomination was probably over; and how the Clinton campaign -- heralded at one time for its inevitability -- missed it all together.  Monumental political incompetence on their part, as well as the MSM.

The cumulative force of all that wonderment doesn't match the feeling that Barack Obama has a deep-seated, race-based agenda that's just now coming into focus.  For him, in the context of his race for the Democrat nomination, this public discussion could not have come at a more propitious time.   

"In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination -- and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past -- are real and must be addressed.  Not just with words, but with deeds."

Is this the tone of a unifier, or an avenger?
After his speech yesterday, we now better understand Obama's church affiliation and have a framework to interpret his intentions. He and his spiritual mentor shape their respective vocations, politics and theology, through the same race-based class dialectic.

The candidacy of the man some have said transcends race turns out, after all, to be all about race. The light that forms his world view is refracted through a prism that splits into two colors -- black and white.

As a man of both races, his self-image is of someone uniquely qualified to redress the transgressions committed against African-Americans by whites.  His political spectrum of victims does lean into economic transgressions against working- and middle-class whites oppressed by greedy corporations, Washington lobbyists, special interest groups, and those intellectually oppressed by the Reagan Coalition that generated resentment against welfare and affirmation action. But, clearly, the focus is on African-Americans.

This is a candidate who would bring the nation together by rescuing us from our oppressors.   

The sad irony of Barack Obama is this: When the Senator who chose to "run for the presidency at this moment in history because [he believes] deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together" says,

"Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country,"

he inadvertently reveals his prejudicial expectation of white bias against his candidacy, born of his own temptation to see whites as oppressive.  Ironically, it's not whites who see his candidacy through a "purely racial lens" - Barack Obama does too.  Michelle Obama shared his expectation, which is why she was proud of her country for the first time in her adult life when she too was surprised to see many white voters supporting her husband.   

Obama's account of his first visit to Trinity explains the formation of his neoliberal theocratic worldview.  African-Americans are the people of Israel searching for survival, freedom, and hope in a hostile land.  For Obama, the Old Testament ("Old" from the Gentile perspective) stories became,

"...a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world.  Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black,"

as Obama's life story, his identify as a black man, his role as a rescuer in a black community, all merge into a personal epiphany akin to a concept coined many decades ago by German theologians: heilsgeschichte - salvation history.    

Put aside his explanation of the Jeremiah Wright matter. It gave him an opportunity to profile his mission.  Only by a tortured logic do his statements about Wright align. He didn't know what Wright was preaching; then he did.  Wright's comments were divisive and offered a "profoundly distorted view of this country," but he was speaking to issues of race "that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now."  It's a rhetorical rat's maze with no cheese at the end -- as conflicted as the man himself.

Of course Obama isn't going to throw Wright under his political bus. That's fine. Newly sworn-in Vice President Harry Truman raised eyebrows when, ignoring the counsel of his advisors, he attended the funeral of his old friend, fellow Missourian and political boss Thomas J. Pendergast after Pendergast served 15 months in Leavenworth Prison for tax evasion.  Few reasonable people will fault Obama for not condemning Wright outright.  

But the entire episode does leave us wondering why the Obama-Wright connection took so long to come to the attention of the networks; why it didn't surface until the race for the Democratic nomination was probably over; and how the Clinton campaign -- heralded at one time for its inevitability -- missed it all together.  Monumental political incompetence on their part, as well as the MSM.

The cumulative force of all that wonderment doesn't match the feeling that Barack Obama has a deep-seated, race-based agenda that's just now coming into focus.  For him, in the context of his race for the Democrat nomination, this public discussion could not have come at a more propitious time.   

"In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination -- and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past -- are real and must be addressed.  Not just with words, but with deeds."

Is this the tone of a unifier, or an avenger?