The Audacity of Looking Up to Someone You Don’t Always Agree With.

Katherine over at Obsidian Wings posts about the double standard of media coverage over the Wright flap

In a similar fashion: if a white candidate is affiliated in some fashion with a white religious figure who preaches incendiary sermons, he’s a nutty preacher, and it’s a one day story or doesn’t make the TV news at all. The white candidate can say: “if he said insulting things about Catholics or Jews, I strongly disagree,” entirely ignore hatred of Muslims, and that’s that. If a black candidate is affiliated with a black religious figure who preaches incendiary sermons, he’s a nutty BLACK preacher, and it’s a weeklong story & a huge threat to his candidacy. Repeatedly denouncing the preacher’s excessive remarks–in specific terms–and giving the most thoughtful speech about race in America in decades & exhibiting no hatred of whites or anyone else, is not sufficient. A lot of people say there is nothing that Obama can do or say that can excuse his association with a black man who would say those things.

Some of that, is of course, true. However I believe she glosses over a very important point:

The stock response to this is that Obama knows Wright better than McCain knows Parsley or Hagee, or than other GOP politicians know Tony Perkins, Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, etc. But that only gets you so far.

Obama doesn’t just “know Wright better”, Wright was a huge influence in Obama’s life. The theme of Obama’s break out speech and his book, “The Audacity of Hope” were directly inspired by Rev. Wright. That’s more than just knowing him “better”. His relationship with Wright has a direct influence into how big a story this has become, more so I believe than a double standard.

How the Wright flap plays out is yet to be seen. Double standard or not, this will be beaten to death by the GOP. This is the new “Obama is a Muslim” meme. Ultimately I believe that any long term damage caused by Wright’s statements will be a direct result of the American public’s ability to understand that just because you look up to someone doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say. Obama laid that out brilliantly in his race speech, however will the public understand that (sorta) subtle point? Yet to be seen.


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