Last week Reverend Jeremiah Wright expanded last month’s sound bites to a full audio smorgasbord. His magificent performances entertained, enlightened or enraged the nation depending on their political sensitivities.
Personally, I found him to be all the above. I would love to have seen his performance at a symposium of political and social scientists where his brazen statements could ignite profound argument. The problem was not the content nor the style, but the venue and the audience. Instead of advancing political discourse, he effectively trashed his former follower Barack Obama, possibly denying his own people the chance to identify with the White House as well as the ghetto.
Here are some of his most controversial statements with brief notes on my reaction to them.
On his claim that the US Government conspired to develop and spread the AIDS virus:
“…based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything.”
A little lunacy based in part on conspiracy theorist and medicine con-man Leonard Horowitz.
“… We sold (Saddam) those biological weapons that he was using against his own people.”
But no one can deny this!
On his patriotism:
“I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?”
“…while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service, …while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls of every race to die over a lie.”
Explaining his post 9/11 statement, “America’s chickens have come home to roost!”:
“You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you.”
The CIA agrees and even has a name for it – ‘Blowback’.
On Louis Farrakhan:
“…how many other …Americans…do you know that can get one million people together on the mall? He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century.”
Makes sense to me. We don’t have to agree with him to recognize his significance.
Referring to his “God damn America” sound bite:
“God damns some practices … And there is no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done. That doesn’t make me not like America or unpatriotic.”
Here he one-upped my own critical slogan, “God Forgive America”.
On his comparison of the US military to Roman legionnaires:
“That, yes, I can compare that. We have troops stationed all over the world, just like Rome had troops stationed all over the world, because we run the world.
This echoes many respected authorities including liberal philosophers Chalmers Johnson and Naom Chomsky, as well as my own choice for president, Republican Ron Paul.