Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Barak Obama Said

Barak Obama's speech of yesterday brought me back to a time when I was the only white member of a small town Ohio church where a firey, liberation theologist sounded a good bit like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright sounds today. Jim Holloman was unafraid to speak truth to power and in that time the words he uttered were viewed as heretical. Today we recognize the truth in what he said as we celebrate the changes that have taken place in the interim and as we continue to struggle for the changes still needed.

What Barak Obama said yesterday could only have been said by him. And it could only have come from his core. I honor, respect, and celebrate his words and commend his speech to you. If you haven't yet heard it click on the title to this column and watch it. You'll see a politician risk it all to speak truth to power. We hold the power of the ballot box, and his willingness to reject the politics of division while holding out a call for unity was gutsy and the right thing to do. It signaled that he wants to be president but not at any cost. That he chooses to live what he advocates: unity above divisiveness.

Barak Obama refused to throw Jeremiah Wright under the bus while he likewise refused to do the same to his own white Grandmother whom he knows loves him as much as anything in the world and who has sacrificed for him over and over, but who once revealed to him that she felt fear when passing black men on the street or who had uttered stereotypes that made him cringe.

We can choose to recognize the truth in his words and accept the possibilities they offer or we can return to the scorched earth politics of the past where the kitchen sink philosophy reigns: throw everything at the wall and something will stick.

Imagine a world where we choose to aid countries with economic development rather than munitions. Where we encourage centuries old combatants to acknowledge their commonalities rather than succumbing to the impulse to fight over their differences. Where we value the health of every person on earth and the earth herself. Where we see the possibilities offered at a time of transition rather than lament the loss of the same old same old...

I choose a future where we talk with one another rather than at one another; where we celebrate the wholesome potential of our country rather than the destructive impulses of earlier generations. I choose to support the candidacy of Barak Obama because we've tried the other way and it hasn't worked; because if we squander this opportunity at a new way of living we aren't likely to have another soon - perhaps not for another generation. I invite you to join me.

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