Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a brief observation about Obama's speech yesterday

Mr. Obama made it clear that he repudiated his pastor’s vehement assertion that white racism is endemic in this country. Nonetheless, he went to great lengths to make his audience understand that this was not an apoplectic fit of a wacko who had lost his meds, but rather an expression of frustration by an accomplished man who had lost his hope. Thus, Mr. Obama’s liability becomes his rationale for his clarion call for the restoration of American Hope. Very neat.

Mr. Obama’s address did not focus entirely on the deep racial problems in this country, though. Early on in the speech, he did address with one brief sentence Jeremiah Wright’s angry denunciation of Israel. He did not say that as wrong and hurtful as such a condemnation is, we must understand where it comes from so that we can better address the pain, hurt, and frustration that lies behind such an angry distortion of geopolitical reality. Mr. Obama instead simply dismissed his pastor’s critique of Israel out of hand.

So, when he rants about race, Pastor Wright is wrong, but we must take a seminar in American History not merely to know why he is wrong but also to come to understand how frustration with the poor lot of the American black would lead such a thoughtful man to such wild and confused rage; but when he opens his trap about Israel, he is simply a lunatic. No mention of how the Israeli government has systematically robbed, killed, starved, and even dehydrated the Palestinian people ever since the creation of modern Israel sixty years ago. No mention of the series of predatory and brutal wars that Israel has launched against Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. Also, no mention at all, I might add, of Israel’s role in getting this country to do unjust and predatory wars that Israel does not have quite the means to do herself.

In short, no mention of anything that would even hint that there exists a history that can make sense of the anger, frustration, and, yes, rage that is hurled at Israel and at our country for supporting her. A history of all this--such as one which John J. Mearsheimer, one of Mr. Obama’s colleagues at the University of Chicago, has done--is not needed for the mess in the Middle East is, unlike the American Racial Divide, simple enough to be explained on a postage stamp. It is, after all, clear that the conflicts in the Middle East today cannot have any reason beyond the wholly unreasonable insanity of the "perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam", and none but crazy, tin-pot pontificators or other such wild lunatics (such as, say, Edward Said, with whom Mr. Obama once was photographed having dinner) would dare deny such a self-evident truth.

AIPAC is to be congratulated for the fine number it has done on Barack Obama.

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