Not wearing a flag lapel pin.
Comments about bitter people in Pennsylvania.
All good messages of bitter truth that make me like Obama, but they are messages that Obama is being attacked for and feels he must apologize for.
If apologizing works then I'm wrong again and that's fine with me. But personally, I'd prefer to have him be the unashamed bearer of truth and go down in flames rather than being the apologizer who loses anyway.
To me, Obama is only making himself appear weak by apologizing for Rev Wright's words and apologizing for his own words on bitterness. I understand he is trying to dodge the bullets, so I can't fault him for attempting this tactic, but I fear that he will lose both ways: it won't work and in the process he will have sold his soul of truth.
He was telling the truth to America just like Micah and the prophets of the Old Testament. What's wrong with that? It was nothing different than Martin Luther King Jr. preached. But who wants to listen to that truth. It's much easier to misrepresent the message and attack the misrepresentation than deal with the truth.
1And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
2Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
3Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
4Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
5Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
6Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
7Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
8But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
9Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
10They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
11The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
12Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
How like Rev. Wright's words! Isn't America built on blood and iniquity? From the first wars by the pilgrims against the Native Americans, to slavery, to the present day with the illegal invasion of Iraq and the horrors of torture under Guantanamo and the Presidential policy of rendition, and to the next foul thing America does, who can deny we are not built on blood, iniquity, and injustice just as Rev. Wright preached?
If you don't like Rev. Wright's words, then you don't like the Old Testament, and you don't like to hear the bitter truth, and that's fine. But if you don't like Rev. Wright's words and you call yourself a Christian, then you are just a hypocrite.
No lapel flag pin??
Great! Why shouldn't he be proud that he is not a false patriot. I don't wear a flag lapel pin either. If everyone who doesn't wear a flag lapel pin voted for Obama it would be a landslide. I wear a blood donor lapel pin. I'd like to see Obama wear one of those, but I wouldn't vote for or against him on the basis that he does or doesn't wear one.
In his CD album "Eat The Rich", Peter Tracy sings in the song "I Want a President":
"I want a president who is patriotic
Who would never sacrifice out children needlessly
I want a president who is not psychotic"
I'd like to see Obama get down with that as a response to the flag pin questions.
Here's what Obama needs to stand up and say loud and proud:
Look, anyone who says not wearing a flag pin is unpatriotic is a false patriot, a phony patriot, a fake patriot. A true patriot knows that the love of country is found in the heart and demonstrated by actions, not shown by wearing it on the lapel or the sleeve.
As someone who lives 45 miles from San Francisco, I didn't find any problem at all with Obama's comments there about the bitterness of people in Pennsylvania and how that feeds their gun-tottin’ mania and affects their church-goin' attitudes. He accurately stated how it looks from the West Coast.
No one likes criticism, but if the people of Pennsylvania don't like to see their reflection in the eyes of West Coasters or others, then maybe they are not dealing with a reality that they should be paying attention to. I'll criticise you and you criticise me and maybe we can learn from each other. The attitude in America that people can't criticise each other for real issues is killing our morality and ethics more than any thing else. Instead of talking about bitterness, we get the distraction of the mainstream media pundits criticizing Obama for daring to raise the question of bitterness in the first place, what may be causing or exacerbating it, and what to do about it.
People may deny that their conservatism is based largely in bitterness, but it is a fact. People don't deceive themselves with the falsehoods of a faith based evangelism like George W. Bush does unless there is a deep bitterness in their soul and their world view.
The joke "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged" has a seed of truth in it, because conservatives are people who gennerally grew up being told by their parents and church that life is mugging them. The flip side that "a liberal is a conservative who has been caught doing wrong" also has a seed of truth in that none of us claims his or her civil rights more strenuously than the conservative who has gotten caught doing something illegal. (A variation on the theme is the conservative whose family member gets a disease and then overnight becomes converted to providing liberal funding for research to cure that disease.)
The only mistake that Obama made in his remarks was in tying the bitterness of gun-tottin' Bible bangers too closely to recent economic events and not to a world view that depends on holding onto personal bitterness and encouraging wide spread bitterness in how people approach the world, blaming everyone but themselves for their bitterness.
Can he win?
As I see it the political predicament that Obama has is that he wants to tell the bitter truth but he also wants to win. This is a pretty hopeless situation for a person whose campaign is based on hope.