Thursday, May 1, 2008
Denouncing Jeremiah: Wright or Wrong?
"Dammit! Don't you f*** this up for us!"
That's what I was thinking as I watched Jeremiah Wright during his animated Q&A session after his inflammatory, yet accurate and phenomenal, speech about the history of the Black Church at the Press Club function on Monday. After the speech, Wright turned into an angry cartoon character complete with eye-bugging and a Merry Melody cartoonish grin. His appearance quickly turned from one of enlightenment and understanding to a rant of conspiracy theories and blatant disrespect for the candidacy of a member of his congregation. To put it mildly, he showed ass! I mean ass all up in the camera: throwing Que hooks, putting his bid in for Vice President on the Obama ticket, bugging his eyes, disrespecting the moderator, calling Obama nothing more than a mere politician (even if true, he knew that it would hurt his candidacy) and the list goes on.
Now it is my belief that Wright had every right to defend himself and his legacy. The 30-second sound bites that set off this controversy were an unfair vast right-wing conspiracy aimed to destroy a presidential candidate. Though Obama had to distance himself from the comments, I felt that he showed Wright a great deal of respect by defending his legacy and not throwing him under the bus (which is what 95% of other politicians would have done).
But there's a fine line between defending yourself and defending your ego.
After the Bill Moyer interview, I felt that Wright actually did himself and the Obama campaign a great service by showing that he was a sane and intellectual man. Wright would have been well-served to leave his appearances at that.
Even after the NAACP Speech on the following night, he came across as a brilliant mind and dynamic speaker that explained why anyone, regardless of their thoughts on some of his views, would stick around for 20 years, as he is thought-provoking and entertaining as hell. Glimpses of ego, though, showed during that speech as he shamelessly plugged his forthcoming book, but it didn't take away from the message.
But after that Press Club speech, his ego got the best of him. He strongly asserted that an attack on him was an attack on the Black Church. Actually dude, it was simply an attack on Barack Obama. And if the way that he acted, and the views that he spewed during that Q&A is his way of defending the Black Church and helping our history as Blacks in America (i.e. Sticking up for the possibility of the first Black President), I don't he did the institution, or Barack, any favors.
He had to be cut loose.
It's my belief that being in the limelight could have this effect on anybody. Wright got caught up in the hype and fed on the attention that he was getting from the press. What he didn't realize is that the media was giving him all this attention in hopes that he would slip up and make an ass of himself, which he succeeded at doing. So as Obama's polls have taken a hit, perhaps temporarily, Wright's legacy has been damaged forever to the public at-large. He didn't realize that he was a mere pawn in a sport that is much bigger than him.
If Barack loses the primary or the election based on this controversy, it sucks to know that his own pastor actually contributed to his defeat. If he loses, in 20 years when they are doing a PBS special on the fall of the first viable Black candidate for the presidency, it's a shame that grainy footage of Wright throwing up Que hooks in front of the National Press Club will define the descent.