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Barack the Politician With a Smokescreen to Block

03/19/2008 01:20 pm 13:20:30 | Updated May 25, 2011

Barack Obama's speech was amazing, mesmerizing, and historical. Indeed, it did tackle an issue in very blunt, honest terms. No doubt, Obama was speaking from his heart. Undeniably, race is an issue worthy of our attention. It requires a strong and robust dialogue. And the time for that dialogue is long overdue. Nobody denies that Obama seized a moment and brought many of us to tears.

The problem is that in seizing that moment, Barack Obama twisted logic and pulled off a very clever bait and switch. In short, Barack Obama acted like a politician. Nothing wrong with that but for the fact that Obama's whole political narrative (his "story") sold to the American electorate is antithetic to such behavior.

Yes, ironically, Obama's refreshingly open, candid speech on race actually served another entirely different purpose: that of a smokescreen to distract the American public from the core of his current dilemma -- his long, deep, and formative relationship with an extremely divisive figure named Reverend Wright.

Conveniently, Obama has taken something that is an absolute and undeniable truth (race relations are a problem in America) and attached it to something that is flawed and wrong (Wright's hate speech). It's called a play on logic. His attempt is to confuse people and get them to agree with him on overriding theme (it's time to be open and honest about race relations) and, therefore, tacitly and inadvertently approve of and forget about the very reason of what brought us all there in the first place (his questionable and close relationship with Wright.) You know what that technique is called? Political spin. You know who uses it? Politicians.

True, the complexities and history of our nation's race relations do help to explain Reverend Wright's anger, bitterness, and hatred towards "white America." However, race relations neither help to explain nor quantify the effect that such detrimental exposure had on Barack Obama -- a current candidate for President of the United States.

Look, I will give you Wright's hate speech. I will condone it in context and parse it in proper perspective. I will give you all of it because of Wright's "black experience."

But I will not grant you a pass on the impact such incendiary language and thoughts might have had on a very young, troubled, and impressionable Barack Obama who by his very own admission also turned to drugs to help carve out his place and identity in the world. It is indeed troubling.

So where exactly should I find solace in the "blank slate" of Barack Obama -- as a lost young man trying to figure out who he was in the world -- finding himself at the knee of Reverend Wright?

A facet of Obama's personality -- indeed a part of his core being -- has now been revealed and should be examined and considered. It is fair to do so. It is responsible and necessary to do so. And, it is certainly not racist to do so.

For me, it is disturbing to think that Obama chose such a man to be his mentor. Why would he? And perhaps, most importantly, to what effect? That is the question that Barack Obama is trying so desperately to distract us from asking ourselves.

I don't know what concerns me more: the fact that Barack Obama thinks that after listening to such hate-speech for 20 years, Reverend Wright didn't leave any damaging impression on his personality and character or the fact that Obama supporters are willing to "hope" for the best, gamble the White House, and trust that Obama does not harbor any belief in any of Wright's disturbing and divisive rants.

Look, there were plenty of other black churches on the Southside of Chicago that Obama could have attended. Obama and his wife knowingly chose to attend and stay at Wright's church. Just like he chose to have Wright officiate his marriage, baptize his children, help lend the words to the title of his book, and until recently serve as an advisor to his campaign. Why would anyone allow someone so divisive to so totally permeate their lives?

Why would Barack Obama -- the candidate of feel good hope -- want a man who preaches such hate, anger, and bitterness around him?

Why would Barack Obama -- the candidate of change -- want a man so allegedly mired and parked in the past to mentor him?

Why would Barack Obama -- the candidate of unity -- want a man so divisive in nature to work on his presidential campaign?

Why hasn't Barack Obama -- the candidate of openness and transparency -- given the media access to Reverend Wright?

None of it makes any sense. None of it adds up. All of it makes me uncomfortable -- and that lack of comfort has nothing to do with our nation's flawed race relations and everything to do with Obama's growing hypocrisy as a politician (something he was not supposed to be).