I wonder if, after finally sitting down and slowly reading Democratic presidential frontruner Barack Obama’s speech on race, I will have anything more to say than I have already said. When I read certain passages, it strikes me that the Illinois Senator does have something to say, but that he dodges the real issue, that is, he fails to explain why he never challenged his pastor for his crazy comments.
As Lionel Chetwynd put it today in a must-read “letter” to the Senator on Pajamas: “That is the teaching opportunity I hoped you would evoke: not explaining Wright’s outrage to me, but explaining his outrageousness to him.” To me, that failure signals a man who is not ready for the presidency. (The problem for the Democrats is that this item item in today’s reminds us that neither is his only remaining opponent for their party’s nomination.)
We all have friends, mentors even, whom we admire on any number of issue, but have some significant flaw. We may admire her ideas on mythology, yet decry her politics. We may like someone’s writing style and economic arguments, yet object to his sexual behavior. We may find someone to be a tremendous conversationalist and loyal friend except when he drinks too much (which happens on all too many occasions).
Or, in my case, you have a rabbi with a deep commitment to the traditions of our faith and an ability to draw profound insights from weekly Torah readings, yet who, in a Yom Kippur sermon, misrepresents the President’s policies on torture. Perhaps, I should have raised my objection with the rabbi. Instead, I left the synagogue.
A couple months ago, I learned that a friend of mine opposed Obama for all the wrong reasons — he didn’t think a black man should be president. As soon as he raised the issue of the Senator’s race, I challenged my friend on his bias. I don’t know if I succeeded in changing his mind for we soon changed the subject. It would have been easier to remain silent.