BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG
by Mark Karlin
Editor and Publisher
April 29, 2008
Nothing more profoundly and disturbingly symbolizes America's subtle racist double standard than George Stephanopoulos's question during the Philadelphia debate to Barack Obama: "Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"
We have all these right wing "God is destroying America because it has sinned" preachers running around with barely a question asked of the Republicans they back. Yes, Hagee, Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, and countless other religious leaders of the fundamentalist cloth have delivered countless white versions of "God Damns America" statements. The only difference is that they don't "say it black" in black churches, and then see it looped endlessly around on FOX TV and other cable networks, not to say rerun again and again on talk radio.
The point that appears to be forgotten here is that Rev. Wright is not running for president. Barack Obama is.
As Wright takes a valedictory tour to take advantage of a national platform that has been offered to him by a media tinderbox filled with the kindling wood of race, the question remains as to why this is still front page news. Whether Wright is preaching the gospel and indignation to a media that can't get enough of this sidebar story because race sells only second to sex as far as spiking up ratings -- or whether he is just on an ego trip -- the point to ask is why this is a front page story at all.
The Washington Post, the New York Times, and most of the mainstream media have buried the lies, broken laws, torture, Iraq War malfeasance, incompetence, cronyism, etc., of the Bush Administration for the most part in the back pages of the newspapers (if printed at all) -- and generally kept it off of television news altogether; but it can't get enough of whether the former minister of a presidential candidate -- who served his nation in the Marines by the way -- "loves America."
Is this a joke?
No it's the "Made in America" racial double standard at work.
It's as racist as "nailing" Barack Obama for not wearing a flag pin, even though George and Charlie and Hillary weren't wearing flag pins at the Philadelphia debate -- and McCain is not asked why he frequently doesn't wear one. The double standard on the flag pin is so glaring that most Americans can't see it in front of their own eyes; one need only look at the television screen to see that Barack Obama is not the only candidate or television moderator not wearing the Bush Administration symbol of patriotism reduced to the size of a miniature piece of tin.
Yes, it's the old "black people have to prove themselves more than white people" thing rising to a full fever pitch. It's the media and America answering Barack Obama's challenge to confront our racist past during his dazzling speech in Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, the response by the media, other politicians in the race, and commentators has been, "not so fast, Barack -- we aren't finished with the racial double standard just yet."
We wish Rev. Wright a pleasant retirement, but we really don't know what his relevance is to the severe crises facing America. No white candidate, including Bush and McCain, has been so hammered about such an irrelevancy, considering the kooky religious figures that they have backing them.
That kind of scrutiny we reserve for a black man.
In case anyone needs to be reminded about the history of racial injustice in America, we encourage you to most appropriately watch and listen to the incomparable Nina Simone singing, "Mississippi Goddam."
It's been the goal of the Clinton campaign to prove that Obama can't transcend the reality of his being a black man in a nation that is still looking for a "Great White Hope."
The re-emergence of Rev. Wright as a national news story when we have Bush and Cheney preparing to possibly bomb Iran and Senator Clinton threatening to "obliterate" the same nation, not to mention a three trillion dollar debt, the destruction of our environment, the loss of jobs to overseas slave-labor nations, and the nearing of a tipping point in our dependency on oil -- well all this re-emphasizes that Clinton may be right: we are still stuck in the gutter of our baser instincts and anyone who wants to appeal to our better selves is in for a rude awakening."