On Obama and the Question of Forgiveness

Brotherpeacemaker raises an interesting question about why we haven't seen Obama forgive Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Still, it is interesting that people who called Mr. Obama naïve, dangerous, a Muslim, unpatriotic, a terrorist, irresponsible, and wrong for America, are being welcomed back into the fold with open arms. People who accused Mr. Obama of trying to teach children porn, of trying to turn the United States into a socialist country by taking away rich people’s money and giving it all to the poor, of palling around with terrorist, and of being the antichrist amongst many other accusations. People who did their best to destroy Mr. Obama’s character are being forgiven.

But the one man that says Mr. Obama is who he is, a politician trying to win a political office, is just too offensive for even Mr. Obama to forgive in this new age of political enlightenment where even the greatest political devil can be made an ally.

I think that as much as I see the point BPM is making here, he misses a crucial point that complicates his argument:

Unlike the men and women who BPM cites here, the Wright situation was not anything Wright did, so much as a media circus that successfully forced Obama to scapegoat Wright.

For this reason, forgiveness is probably a non-issue for Obama.  In fact, forgiving Wright would be to give him way too much credit for something that was really outside his control.  He didn't do anything.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if the two men have already talked this out. 

The larger issue here is that, for a lot of black people, the handling of the Wright situation was a huge black mark on Obama's character.  This piece, in the interest of reminding folks that that historical moment was a huge missed opportunity to speak real truth to power on race, speaks eloquently to that.

More of me on Obama and race:
My Ambivalence about Obama's Candidacy
Post-Racial = Assimilation, folks
on the New Yorker Political Cartoon

About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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2 Responses to On Obama and the Question of Forgiveness

  1. Hal says:

    It looks as though BPM has fallen victim to and has now become a user of the exact same weapon of mass distraction that President-Elect Obama attempted to defuse by the way of disassociation from Reverend Wright. There was no retaliation on the part of our President-Elect.
    President-Elect Obama never utilized stereotypes in describing Reverend Wright in his profession of choice, Theology; as Reverend Wright attempted to do with Senator (at the time) Obama in slandering him as, “a politician who is trying to win office.” When I think about forgiveness, I can’t help but think that a person must be wronged in order to feel the need to forgive.
    Maybe BPM feels that our President-Elect should feel wronged by Reverend Wright, but he forgets one very important point point- We as Black people have rarely had each others back and will do anything to continue to pull each other down. The sad thing about this is that it has become the norm, and we as a people don’t feel the need to hold onto the ill emotions that come from this because if we did, we would fall victim to an even worse threat- The One That Isn’t One of Our Own.

  2. Tyler says:

    Oh I don’t think he attempted to slander him. I think that Reverend Wright was trying to give context to a situation that had been wildly misinterpreted and propagated. I think he was being honest. That he didn’t bear any ill-will toward Obama. That he understood what Obama was doing.

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