Saturday, March 22, 2008

EJ Dionne on MLK's Anger

In two pieces, EJ Dionne has made some interesting points and provided some very helpful context, particularly on Obama's faith.

First (I'll get to the "whole bird" momentarily) in a Washington Post op-ed yesterday, Another Angry Black Preacher, Dionne points out Martin Luther King's anger from the pulpit.

Listen to what King said about the Vietnam War at his own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968: "God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place." King then predicted this response from the Almighty: "And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."

If today's technology had existed then, I would imagine the media playing quotations of that sort over and over.

Obama understands the anger of whites as well as the anger of blacks, but he's placed a bet on the other side of King's legacy that converted rage into the search for a beloved community.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Cass for directing me to this article. I couldn't agree more. There are particularly two statements towards the end that summarize, first, why I turned to be particularly impressed by Obama's courageous speech on race and, second, why I grow everyday in admiration --despite my profound daily disagreements-- with the US society and democracy. Respectly the statements are

(i) "...these are realities that Obama has forced us to confront, and they are painful. Wright was operating within a long tradition of African American outrage, which is one reason Obama could not walk away from his old pastor in the name of political survival. Obama's personal closeness to Wright would have made such a move craven in any event"

(ii) "I'm a liberal, and I loathe the anti-American things Wright said precisely because I believe that the genius of our country is its capacity for self-correction. Progressivism and, yes, hope itself depend on a belief that personal conversion and social change are possible, that flawed human beings are capable of transcending their pasts and their failings."

Gato 'e Rancho --