Thursday, May 1, 2008
A few weeks ago when all this hullabaloo over Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his pastorship over Senator Barack Obama came up, I quickly came to the conclusion that the esteemed pastor is a complete and utter blowhard totally enamored with the sound of his own voice. This guy loves to hear himself talk, and talk he does. He also likes to stir up crap, both for himself and for his erstwhile flock member.
Now most recently, the good reverend has said a few things that finally made me have to stand up, and pretty much tell him to shut his pie hole, for he seems to not completely know that of which he speaks.
Yes, you heard me correctly. I’m telling a pastor to just shut up and crawl back under his rock.
The first bone of contention I have is Wright’s problem with the New England accent. At a recent NAACP function, Wright started ambling on about black children speaking differently from white children because they learn differently and have left-brain/right-brain differences. Wright was then quoted (completely butchering Kennedy’s accent) as saying,” John Kennedy could stand at the inauguration in January and say, "ask not what your country can do for you, it's rather what you can do for your country." How do you spell “isk”? Nobody ever said to John Kennedy that's not English, "isk"….. Ed Kennedy, today, those of you in the Congress, you know Kilpatrick. You know, Ed Kennedy today cannot pronounce cluster consonants. Very few people from Boston can. They pronounce park like it's p-o-c-k. Where did you "pock" the car? They pronounce f-o-r-t like it's f-o-u-g-h-t. We fought a good battle. And nobody says to a Kennedy you speak bad English. “.
Okay. I’m very familiar with the New England accents. I’ve visited all six New England states and lived in Maine for a total of eleven years, or not quite a third of my life. I know all about the New England propensity for dropping the letter R from words and sort of pronouncing it with an “ah” sound. However, I hasten to point out to the good reverend that in today’s vernacular in use by young, urban black Americans, almost every word ending in R is instead not only pronounced but also spelled with an A as well. As evidence, I offer you such words as: gangsta, playa, hustla, sista, brotha, killa, holla, dolla, supa, and that most ubiquitous of all words, the one that I’m not even allowed to say, nigga. Those R’s are just as clipped as any R found around Back Bay Boston and Harvard’s yard.
Now, on to Bone of Contention Number Two, which is the one that’s sticking in my craw just a little more. Wright was talking about his patriotism being questioned after criticizing the war in Iraq and speaking out on his perceptions on racism, when he said, “"My goddaughter's unit just arrived in Iraq this week while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service, while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls to die over a lie!”. He later took a shot at the vice president, saying: "I served six years in the military. Does that make me unpatriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?".
For the record, Vice President Cheney did not ever serve in the military. Instead, Cheney applied for and received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War. Jeremiah Wright, ironically, was inspired by President John F. Kennedy's 1961 challenge to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," and gave up his student deferment, left college and joined the United States Marine Corps. In 1963, after two years of service, Wright then transferred to the United States Navy and served an additional four years as a medical corpsman.
From one veteran to another, Reverend Wright, I must call you out on this. You, sir, are just grandstanding for the cameras again. Allow me to educate you, sir. The following members of Congress have sons who have served, or are currently serving, in Iraq or Afghanistan:
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA)(Webb is a retired admiral who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy)
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO)
Representative Todd Akin (R-MO)
Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) whose stepson, Douglas Lehtinen and his wife, Lindsey, are both Marine fighter pilots
Former Senator and current Attorney General John Ashcroft (R-MO)
Representative Jim Kline (R-MN)
Representative Jim Saxton (D-NJ)—(nephew, not son, is serving)
Representative Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Representative Ike Skelton (R-MO)
Representative Joe Wilson (D-SC) (Wilson’s son Joe served in Iraq. Another son is in the Navy, one is in the National Guard, and a fourth is an ROTC cadet at Clemson.)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Um, yeah, the son of the Republican Presidential candidate is serving in Iraq, thank you very much. And, sadly, the nephew of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Marine Corporal Phillip Baucus, was killed in Iraq in 2006. Furthermore, twenty-nine members of the Senate (58%), and 98 members of the House of Representatives (over 22%), are veterans. Those numbers include a couple of retired admirals, a couple former POW’s, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. Lastly, 13 Congressional seats in 10 states are being sought after by Iraq veterans. One of those seats is being campaigned for by the son of Representative Duncan Hunter of California, and the seat of Iraq veteran Representative Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania is being challenged by retired Marine Colonel Tom Manion, whose son was killed in Iraq.
You called these people in power privileged, Reverend Wright, and privileged they are to be able to serve this great nation in the military or by having their family members serve, as well as serving in Congress. Your aggrandizement and zeal for shameless self-promotion sullies your own honorable service by trying to discredit and downplay the service and sacrifice of a Congress you disagree with. I’m starting to think that you’re hiding behind the guise of a clergyman, thinking that you can spew venom and vitriol and then hide behind your Bible, while you seek to further your own private agenda. Why else would you say on television that you’re open to being Vice President?
I also see that you subscribe to the conspiracy theory that the American government executed the 9/11 attacks and that the same government developed the AIDS virus to commit genocide against people of color. If I were a conspiracy theorist I’d say that you approached your old pal Barack Obama months ago about it, attempting to use your status as his pastor, the man who married him and baptized his kids, to garner yourself a spot on the ticket, and when Obama rebuffed you and said no, you decided to become such an embarrassing pain in the ass that his campaign would never recover. But I digress…
You like to argue that all the media attention you’re collecting is simply an attack on you, and an attack on the black church as a whole. I disagree, sir. Your media attention is the same self-serving line of crap that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson like to use. When no one listens, you yell a little louder, and then claim the race card. But I’m an equal opportunist; everyone has an equal opportunity to piss me off, so I’ll lump Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell in with you as grandstanding fringe-element religious kooks. Please maintain that separation between church and state, and stay out of politics.