Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is the Jeremiah Wright I know

...and no doubt the one that so inspired Barack Obama. This Jeremiah Wright is a very different man than the media seeks to portray. He is fiercely intelligent; unashamedly black and of African descent, but a citizen of the world; concerned with the marginalized and forgotten; and dedicated to seeing the country he served as a member of the Marines and the Navy live up to its professed ideals. This is the man who is my former pastor. This is truth. Bill Moyers is a consummate journalist and a patriot.

Watch his interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright on last night's Bill Moyers Journal:

We are an incurious citizenry and unless we mend our ways it will surely be our undoing. We can no longer rely on corporate-owned media to be the Fourth Estate. Anyone who has watched the snippets of Rev. Wright's sermons that have been played ad nauseum on the mainstream media and compares them to this researched, reasoned and factual interview must know that the Fourth Estate is dead. And so, in a time of long hours, long commutes and busy schedules, we have one more thing to do: We have to educate ourselves about what is going on in the world. We have to seek the truth. ABC News, NBC News CBS News, CNN, MSNBC...they won't deliver the news to us. In fact, They may indeed be working against us to ensure we stay uneducated and malleable. At best, their concern is for profit not truth.

And then we must combat those people--a sad majority--who don't wish to know the truth. In the Moyers interview, Rev. Wright said something that I think is the crux of the challenge we face:

I think I come at that as a historian of religion. That we are miseducated as a people. Or because we're miseducated, you end up with the majority of the people not wanting to hear the truth. Because they would rather cling to what they are taught. James Washington, now a deceased church historian, says that after every revolution, the winners of that revolution write down what the revolution was about so that their children can learn it, whether it's true or not. They don't learn anything at all about the Arawak, they don't learn anything at all about the Seminole, the Cheek-Trail of Tears, the Cherokee. They don't learn anything. No, they don't learn that. What they learn is 1776, Crispus Attucks was the one black guy in there. Fight against the British, the- terrible. "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal while we're holding slaves." No, keep that part out. They learn that. And they cling to that. And when you start trying to show them you only got a piece of the story, and lemme show you the rest of the story, you run into vitriolic hatred because you're desecrating our myth. You're desecrating what we hold sacred. And when you're holding sacred is a miseducational system that has not taught you the truth.
I have met the willfully ignorant people that Rev. Wright describes and heard much from them all over the Internet, on television and on the street, throughout this presidential race.

We cannot let ignorance win.


naomi dagen bloom said...

wonderful post--and to think it only came my way by chance. had not looked at surfette for a year and found your excellent analysis.

spouse and i were mesmerized by rev. wright last night. how i hope that people with slightly open minds will see it, ponder its message, be grateful that this caring, intelligent man has so much grace.

over 800 comments on moyers' blog this morning; many of them as moved as we were and as white.

yours, naomi, elderblogger

Erica said...

No longer a secret Muslim, Barack Obama is now secretly in the control of a crazy angry black man!


It's important to try to get a sense of the larger context of things. What was the person talking about when they said that "sound bite" sentence? Is it part of a larger pattern of behavior where they say lots of idiot things, or did they just slip up or badly phrase something? Without looking at that, you can't tell whether they're flaming idiots who finally got their moment in the spotlight, or are reasonable, thoughtful people who said something controversial. Media won't help you with that -- they want everyone to look like flaming idiots because it's easier to talk that than it is to talk about real problems.

But on the plus side, I've been able to learn more about a man with some fascinating perspectives and thoughts, who I never would have known existed. I need to go see if my local library has some of his books :-)

ginnysthoughts said...

Greetings, I had fallen asleep and missed this show (I often do this on Friday nights, I guess I'm just too tired from the long week), but I think I've subscribed to the Podcast so will have to go and find it. I guess we can say thank God for PBS, and podcasts because there's a wealth of info you can get from both.

And you don't have to rely on the "corproate media".

Evan Carden said...

I know about the Arawak, the Seminole, the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears. I also know about the Sullivan Expedition.

I know that the order to destroy the Iroqouis was signed by George Washington and I know about the massacres and wars that predated the expedition. I know that history is not one-sided. I know that as a white man, who has been educated by public schools.

George Washington is not damned in my eyes for issuing the order. He is not damned for owning slaves. He did bad things and good things, none of which changes the fact that I admire and respect the man. Nor does it change the debt we all owe the man who, more than any other made representative democracy feasible.


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