I was thinking about Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, and his current situation and how he is playing it and I cannot help but think he squandered his potential to be a transformative leader on the issue of race. It could have happened, and should have, after the first snippets of the Reverend Wright came out…instead Barack gave his bs speach and the media swooned. After Reverend Wright’s Press Club performance Obama had no choice but to put distance between the thoughts and philosophy of Wright and himself. Obama went further though, he put distance between himself and the man that was a mentor and spiritual advisor for 20 years. He ran away from someone who, by all acounts, seemed to be a father figure to him.
What Barack Obama failed to do is to take the opportunity to illuminate black liberation theology and why it was relevant to the struggle Jeremiah Wright was engaged in and why it is not relvant to his current struggle. He had the opportunity to really be the post-racial candidate and he fumbled. I’m not sure if it was fear or just political lust that got the better of him. I do know that had he engaged the public in a genuine discourse on the emancipation of blacks in the United States due in part to those proponents of liberation theology and the subsequent perpetuation of victimology that is the current impediment to progress for blacks it would have been a powerful moment. The solution became the problem. Al Sharpton. Jesse Jackson. Jeremiah Wright.
Imagine if Barack Obama gave a speach that spoke about liberation theology and the context in which it was created. If he talked about it honestly, the rage and the desparation, the struggle for humanity from a critical perspective, we could have moved forward. He fumbled. He could have embraced his friend of twenty years with understanding and explained how the Reverend’s views were part of the past and outlined what we need to do to move forward. Instead Obama acted like a coward and lost a friend and a chance.
I don’t think he can recover. Sure, Barack Obama can go on to get the nomination and perhaps be President but he will not be a great man, he will just be another opportunistic politician. He could have been a statesman.