The Politician and the Preacher
By: Dedoceo Habi
You may have guessed by now that I am a staunch supporter of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. You may have sensed I'm committed to doing my part to help him get into the White House. While these perceptions are true I am compelled to say while I do support the Good Senator, I am not blind in my support. After all, my allegiance is to my community and I call it like I see it. I respect you and I respect myself far too much to operate in any other way.
Recently the Good Senator has gotten caught up in a political move that, in my humble opinion, he should rethink. I listened to some of the verbiage spoken from the pulpit of his home church, and by his Pastor - the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. - and I have to tell you the Reverend spoke the truth. I did not hear anything inflammatory - other than the truth - that would require Senator Obama to step away from his long-time Pastor. I did not perceive any attack on Hillary.
I share in the sentiment that the United States is indeed headed down the wrong path because of the bush politics of pompous ideology and division. I know first hand that ethnic discrimination is alive and well in America, and that many people who have been blessed with a more fortunate life do not - and can not - fully appreciate the life and times of the common Black Man.
So what if the Good Reverend spoke truth to power. So what if some folk who would otherwise feel good about all the "great things" they've done for Black Americans are made to feel uncomfortable. So what if statements were made to illuminate a part of American reality that STILL exists. The fact this Reverend was willing to speak on the differences between the white experience and the Black in an effort to make clear Senator Obama's reality ought to be embraced and applauded.
Stepping away from the Good Reverend simply for speaking the truth does not bode well for Senator Obama. It demonstrates his unwillingness to fully embrace a reality that is common to many, yet genuinely cared for by only a few "politicians". It is a sad testament to how quickly one can become immersed in then political engine. Of course there are many well meaning and committed politicians… but we must be able to address the realities of a situation before we can effectively overcome said situation.
The absolute good news is we now have an opportunity to make Barack see this reality - or lose our complete support. If the Good Senator chooses to sidestep our concerns for the sake of political gain he is NO better than any other politician and we ought to fear him. Our very livelihood is at stake and if he is unwilling to acknowledge the stark contrast between how we are regarded as compared to how others are regarded then we are wasting our time voting for him, or believing in him. Hope is always delivered in the company of Truth.
America is divided along many different lines. Ethnicity is one that has been prominent since its inception. It was here when we were stolen from our ancestral homes; it was here when our families were torn asunder and we were forced to share our plates with swine during slavery; it was here when they hosed down our youth and threw our leaders into jail during the civil rights movement; and it is still here today in the vast number of Blacks who live in poverty, who are put into prison at rates far exceeding every other ethnicity, and who are finding it harder every passing day to do something as simple as getting food to eat.
This action between the Politician and the Preacher must be used to galvanize the Black faith community across the Country to reach into the every community and bring us all together in a United front, causing Senator Obama to reconsider his action… or step to the side while we chose another candidate. I, for one, do not want anyone in office that does not recognize our truth or acknowledge the systematic oppression of our communities.
I will fully support a movement with faith communities across the country and around the world to give Senator Obama an opportunity to reassess and CORRECT his decision to distance himself from the Church. If this movement becomes real, and Senator Obama refuses to change his commitment to our reality, then we need to figure out if Clinton or McCain will serve our interests, and put our effort into making them President.
This is not the time for a long-winded political response from Senator Obama… it is time for Barack to step up to our table and decide HIS political future because WE are the reason he has gotten so far… no one else. We can no longer afford to be afraid to step to the plate because there is no more food on the table… we are starving for leadership. We can no longer afford to believe we must accept ANY candidate for any other reason than they are going to work for us to make our lives better, and to neutralize the injustices made against us.
We are facing a future fraught with peril and uncertainty. We are facing an economy that is falling to the way side and no one knows what is to happen next. We are made to create lemonade from lemons daily while others are making money hand over fist or rationing out our water. The government has not demonstrated a genuine interest in serving the needs of Blacks at a scale necessary to rebuild our lost communities.
And therein lies the heart of the matter. Therein we have the reason why we must respond to this attack on our faith community with all due speed. Therein we see the impetus to act, and the abundant value of one simple truth:
No one will step to the plate to represent our will to have our needs met if WE are unwilling to do so ourselves.