Friday, May 30, 2008

Of Reverend Wright and the American Dream

A growing number of Americans viewed him as the one who jeopardized Senator Barack Obama’s bid for the 2008 presidency, but should the American voters damn Reverend Wright for speaking out what he had on his mind?

By: Vanessa Uy

Carole Simpson – one of Senator Hillary Clinton’s supporters – said on a Larry King Live interview that Baptist preachers, in general, have very big egos. Though somewhat an unfair generalization, I do agree with Carole Simpson’s view on Baptist preachers. In my view, one does need a very big ego when preaching something that is inexorably will someday go out of fashion like institutionalized / mainstream Christian doctrine. Even the subatomic particles have adopted Buddhism’s “Eightfold Way” a few moments after the Big Bang. Sadly, how subatomic particles chose their way of life – or my Friedrich Nietzsche like critique on Christian slave morality - is the least of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s problems in the face of the US election season demagoguery.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright gained worldwide fame – or notoriety depending on your point of view – when his polemic critique on the Bush Administration’s despotic Foreign Policy that lead to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers was aired all over US national TV and the Internet. Though many before Reverend Wright had expressed more damning polemics on the shortcomings of the American society and of the powers-that-be on Capitol Hill from John Steinbeck’s “The Grape of Wrath” to Exene Cervenka and Lydia Lunch (remember “Rude Hieroglyphics” back in 1995). Reverend Wright’s uniqueness in comparison to the previous reactionaries his relatively close connection to the 2008 presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama. By being senator Obama’s pastor Reverend Wright was inadvertently thrust into the scrutiny of the “Stuffy as a Box” conservative values of White House power politics. Obama’s political opponents are now using Reverend Wright’s views against his bid for the presidency. But how sincere are the concerns of Senator Obama’s political rivals? Are they playing the ugliest variant of the “race card” by reserving the role of Tom Joad only to white male Americans?

As of late, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been known for a lot of things. A self-made man, an enlightened patriot – but a 21st Century American mass media-manufactured-caricature of an African-American he is not. Before becoming a pastor on the Trinity United Church of Christ, Jeremiah Wright lived an overachieving life that’s more a product of Gene Roddenberry’s writings than Death Row Records. Wright served six years in the US Navy and was part of the medical team that treated former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s gall bladder back in the 1960’s. In short, Reverend Wright really did pay his dues when it comes to patriotism.

Like the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who was an outspoken critic of government repression, Reverend Jeremiah Wright has also adopted Liberation Theology to criticize the shortcomings of the Bush Administration. Not just on Foreign Policy, but pretty much on everything from the economy to promoting the arcane demagoguery and racist ideology of Anglo-Saxon Creationism / Intelligent Design. By adopting James Hal Cone’s Black Liberation Theology, Reverend Wright has very much upset the White American status quo. Especially since James Hal Cone’s Black Liberation Theology – to me - sounds like a mixture of Friedrich Nietzsche’s views on power politics and Socialist-leaning Latin American Liberation Theology. When Black Liberation Theology espouses the idea that the task of Black Theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community does carry a shameful implication. But does this implication meant that the Calvinism and Protestant Work Ethic that made America the last true geopolitical “Superpower” has been denying the African-American community from benefiting the bounty of this American Dream?