Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is finally beginning to distance himself from his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who has made some very controversial and very racist comments in sermons made before his congregation, which have been circulating all over media circles. This is the same man who, in earlier presidential debates, when asked whether or not he would outright denounce the reverend, or refuse to accept any endorsements for his candidacy, sidestepped the question by saying that he owed a great deal to Rev. Wright for leading him to Jesus, but did not support the reverend's beliefs on other matters. Namely racism. He is changing his tone a bit now, but only after the (insert expletive here) has begun to hit the fan.
There are those who suggest that we should give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt. Others suggest this is just another tactic by the Clinton campaign to tarnish the integrity and reputation of her opponent. They leaked that tape to the press. Even if they did, who cares? The comments were made. It's on film and it is undeniably Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is the pastor who led the church that Barack Obama attended for the past 20 years. Is it possible that Rev. Wright never made racist comments like these in the past? Are we to believe that Barack Obama had no knowledge whatsoever of Rev. Wright's beliefs? Are we to believe that if Rev. Wright did make similar comments in his sermons that Barack sat with his arms folded and his jaw agape, shocked and appalled? Or was he jumping up and down and cheering the reverend on along with the rest of his followers?
Consider for a moment, what if comments such as these were made in the reverse, toward black people, by a reverend in the church that republican presidential nominee John McCain attended? Not only would John McCain's road to the White House lie in a crumbling ruin, but so would his career in the United States Senate most likely. The American people would be outraged.
The fact is that racism has no place in any part of society today. It is hate, pure and simple. I will concede that blacks were horribly mistreated in the early part of our history, and it remains to this day one of the most shameful and embarrassing acts our country has ever committed. But we will not achieve any sort of meaningful result by spouting off hateful, racist remarks directed toward any race. Black or white. It serves only to set us three steps back in the path toward equality. It fuels the racist fire and incites anger and resentment on both sides of the fence. It does nothing to advance the issues of diversity that we face as a nation and as a people.
Perhaps this should not be the complete unraveling of Barack's potential democratic nomination. But I believe that it will indeed mark the end if he does not stand up directly against racism and outright denounce Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his church, and the followers who congregate to worship there. I would expect nothing less from any man or woman who wishes to be our president.