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April 4, 2008

Juan Williams On Obama And King

Topics: Political News and commentaries

In what is without question one of the best discussions on the differences between Obama and King I've seen, Juan Williams writes:

[...] While speaking to black people, King never condescended to offer Rev. Wright-style diatribes or conspiracy theories. He did not paint black people as victims. To the contrary, he spoke about black people as American patriots who believed in the democratic ideals of the country, in nonviolence and the Judeo-Christian ethic, even as they overcame slavery, discrimination and disadvantage.

[...] Mr. Obama no longer spoke about the responsibility and the power of black America to appeal to the conscience and highest ideals of the nation. He no longer asks black people to let go of the grievance culture to transcend racial arguments and transform the world.

He has stopped all mention of government's inability to create strong black families, while the black community accepts a 70% out-of-wedlock birth rate. Half of black and Hispanic children drop out of high school, but he no longer touches on the need for parents to convey a love of learning to their children. There is no mention in his speeches of the history of expensive but ineffective government programs that encourage dependency. He fails to point out the failures of too many poverty programs, given the 25% poverty rate in black America.

And he chooses not to confront the poisonous "thug life" culture in rap music that glorifies drug use and crime.

Instead the senator, in a full political pander, is busy excusing Rev. Wright's racial attacks as the right of the Rev.-Wright generation of black Americans to define the nation's future by their past. He stretches compassion to the breaking point by equating his white grandmother's private concerns about black men on the street with Rev. Wright's public stirring of racial division.

... And he wasted time in his Philadelphia speech on race by saying he can't "disown" Rev. Wright any more than he could "disown the black community."

[...] As the nation tries to recall the meaning of Martin Luther King today, Mr. Obama's campaign has become a mirror reflecting where we are on race 40 years after the assassination. Mr. Obama's success has moved forward the story of American race relations; King would have been thrilled with his political triumphs.

But when Barack Obama, arguably the best of this generation of black or white leaders, finds it easy to sit in Rev. Wright's pews and nod along with wacky and bitterly divisive racial rhetoric, it does call his judgment into question. And it reveals a continuing crisis in racial leadership.

What would Jesus do? There is no question he would have left that church.

Continue reading: Obama and King

As Williams points out in his piece, what separated King from any would-be successor was his moral authority. He towered above the high walls of racial suspicion by speaking truth to all sides. However, Barack Obama tries to be one person for Black America, another for White America.

Clearly, Barack Obama is no Martin Luther King, he's just a flashy politician playing the race card differently to two different sides. Obama and his fiery, racist, pastor have done more to ignite racial divide in this country than anyone in recent history except, perhaps, Louis Farrakhan. As Ebony magazine puts it, (HT - Juan Williams'), "His (Obama's) candidacy has become, as the headline on , a matter of having a black man as president "In Our Lifetime."

Other coverage:
Ta-Nehisi Coates disagrees with Juan Williams, - The Lazy Thinking Of Juan Williams (Do I detect a bit of the "pot calling the kettle black" - no pun intended - in suggesting that Williams has an agenda?)
On the other hand, Yid with Lid agrees with Juan Williams - "The beauty of Martin Luther King Jr's message was take my hand and we can do this TOGETHER: ... Thats the part that the Jeremiah Wrights and Barack Obamas of the world don't understand you can't embrace democracy, if you can't embrace each other."

Posted by Richard at April 4, 2008 4:13 PM

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