Barack Obama wants us to believe that he slept through 20 years of angry venom spewed out by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright from the pulpit of his church. Obama’s larger task will be to convince us that he was asleep while writing parts of his first book, Dreams from My Father.
Now that this media darling is getting a closer look, it is time for thoughtful reporters to ask themselves this question: Why was it necessary for someone in his 40s to have written — not one — but two books on his extremely short life?
The answer is quite simple: He wrote the second book to take the focus off the first book — the one he wrote 13 years ago before entering politics. Dreams from My Father holds the key to understanding why Obama joined Trinity United Church of Christ, with its focus on Africa and a mission statement that reads like a Communist manifesto, with a racist pastor like Wright who constantly ran down the country and blamed “whites” for most problems here and abroad. Wright recently retired, but the mission of the church remains unchanged.
Certainly, it was not always easy for a biracial child growing up in the 60s. However, the problems for Obama and his white mother were compounded when his black Kenyan father left them in Hawaii to fend for themselves just two years after Barack was born in order to pursue a Ph.D. at Harvard.
In this atmosphere, it is surprising that Obama chose to associate more closely with the absent parent. While in school, he voluntarily segregated himself and chose the most radical and racially divisive black students he could find as friends. In college, he gave up the name “Barry,” by which he had been identified since childhood, in favor of Barack, his African given name.
The following statements by Obama from Dreams from My Father give us a glimpse as to why he chose the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as his pastor, mentor and friend.
I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.
It was my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d package all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Dubois and Mandela.
To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students, the foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punkrock performance poets.
There were enough of us on campus to constitute a tribe, and when it came to hanging out, many of us chose to function like a tribe, staying close together, traveling in packs.
(I)t remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.
He wrote frankly about how he blamed
white people –some cruel, some ignorant, sometimes a single face, sometimes just a faceless image of a system claiming power over our lives.
Dreams from My Father, which initially bombed, was republished in 2004,when Obama ran for the Senate. It is, in fact, his “inconvenient truth.”
Obama sought to distance himself from some of Wright’s statements by saying he often disagreed with his pastor’s controversial political remarks. However, he said he was not in attendance when Wright made the remarks that caused the recent firestorm, remarks that in Obama’s words,
expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.
Dreams tells a different story.
In this book Obama writes about Rev. Wright’s sermon “The Audacity of Hope,” which Obama borrowed and used as the title for his second book.
Obama quotes Wright as describing the world
where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere . . . That’s the world! On which hope sits.
Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more prosaic, the pain more immediate.
In the interest of political expediency, Wright stepped down from a formal role in Obama’s campaign but Obama was in attendance when Wright delivered this diatribes against the country in general and “white folks” specifically – which was his pattern. Obama not only heard it, he wrote about it in Dreams from My Father.
Perhaps these remarks didn’t bother Obama at the time because Wright’s position was not all that different from his own. In his economy only “whites” could be racist. Now that he is running for president, he would like us to believe all that has changed.