Koch's Comments: The questions asked about Obama
JPOST: Koch's Comments
Barack Obama's speech last week addressing his 20-year relationship with his radical pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was very well done, yet unconvincing.
Obama sought to explain that relationship and why he could not end this close association, despite the minister's hate-filled rhetoric. He said, "There will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Rev. Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?"
Yes, those are the questions that people are asking.
Many of Rev. Wright's incendiary statements are on videos sold by his church. Minister Louis Farrakhan, a friend of Rev. Wright with whom he traveled to visit Muammar Qhadaffi in Libya, also makes his sermons and those of others associated with the Nation of Islam available for sale. Their attacks on the US and Israel often coincide with those of Rev. Wright.
Rev. Wright's sermons charge that the US government gives African-Americans drugs, created AIDS and is deliberately infecting blacks with that disease. His sermons claim that the US unjustifiably nuclear bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, and that 9/11 and the deaths of 3,000 Americans were caused by US foreign policy. He alleges Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinians; calling Israel a "dirty word" and "racist country." He blames Israel for 9/11 and supports the divestment campaign against it, denouncing "Zionism." His venomous thoughts are summed up in his most discussed sermon in which he says the US government "wants us to sing God Bless America. No, no, not God Bless America. God damn America. God damn America for killing
Senator Obama in his speech acknowledged that the rantings of his minister are "inexcusable," but stated, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."
Before we discuss his grandmother, let's examine the impact of Rev. Wright's statements on the Senator's two daughters. Nothing says it better than a song from the musical "South Pacific," to wit, "You have to be taught to hate and fear...You've got to be carefully taught." Few dispute that Rev. Wright's sermons are filled with hate. Why didn't Senator Obama stand up in the church and denounce his hateful statements or, at the very least, argue privately with his minister? It was horrifying to see on a video now viewed across America the congregation rise from the pews to applaud their minister's rants.
Now to Obama's grandmother. There was a time spanning the 70's to the mid-90's when many blacks and whites in large American cities expressed the same feelings on street crime held by Obama's grandmother. Indeed, Reverend Jesse Jackson made similar comments in 1993 at a meeting of his organization, Operation Push, devoted to street crime. According to a November 29, 1993, article in the Chicago Sun Times, he said, "'We must face the No. 1 critical issue of our day. It is youth crime in general and black-on-black crime in particular.' Then Jackson told the audience, 'There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.... After all we have been through,' he said. 'Just to think we can't walk down our own streets, how humiliating.'"
Isn't that exactly what Obama's grandmother was referring to? To equate her fears, similar to Jesse Jackson's, with Wright's anti-American, anti-white, anti-Jew, and anti-Israel rantings is despicable coming from a grandson. In today's vernacular, he threw her under the wheels of the bus to keep his presidential campaign rolling. For shame.
What is it that I and others expected Obama to do? A great leader with conscience and courage would have stood up and faced down anyone who engages in such conduct. I expect a President of the United States to have the strength of character to denounce and disown enemies of America - foreign and domestic -- and yes, even his friends and confidants when they get seriously out of line.
What if a minister in a church attended primarily by white congregants or a rabbi in a synagogue attended primarily by Jews made comparable statements that were hostile to African-Americans? I have no doubt that the congregants would have immediately stood up and openly denounced the offending cleric. Others would have criticized that cleric in private. Some would surely have ended their relationships with their congregation. Obama didn't do any of these things. His recent condemnations of Wright's hate-filled speech are, in my opinion,
a case of too little, too late.
It is also disturbing to me that Obama's wife, Michelle, during a speech in Wisconsin last month, said, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."
Strange. This is a woman who has had a good life, with opportunities few whites or blacks have been given. When she entered Princeton and Harvard and later became a partner in a prestigious law firm, didn't she feel proud to be an American? When she and the Senator bought their new home, was there no feeling of accomplishment and pride in being a US citizen? When her husband was elected to the state legislature and subsequently to the United States Senate, didn't she feel proud of her country?
Senator Obama was asked if he thought his speech changed any minds. He replied he didn't think so, and certainly not of those who weren't already for him. A more important question is, whether his 20-year relationship with Wright has done lasting damage to his candidacy. We will soon know.
Nicely said Mayor. Maybe I am crazy but if my Rabbi were playing footsie with internationally recognized terrorist supporters like Khaddafi (prior to his supposed rehabilitation) he would no longer be my Rabbi. One of the strongest points that Mayor Koch makes concerns the standing ovation from the congregants in attendance to Wright's damning America sermon. Is it not enough that Obama stayed around out of loyalty to Wright but that he by default, had to tolerate the enthusiastic support for Wright's racism and anti-Jewism by the congregation at TUCC? If he is a normal person, much of his social network is based upon his relationship with his fellow congregants, or as they might put it, fellowship.
For Obama to be credible in his disassociation, not only must he leave TUCC behind and separate from Wright, but disown his social network. How convenient that it took the stakes of democrat nomination not to mention a Presidency to recognize that TUCC and Wright are liabilities? Wright reportedly warned Barry of the dangers of association when he joined the church. Wouldn't a politically clever and charismatic man like Barry H. have stayed far away from such a controversial pastor and church unless his and his wife's inner conscience drew them to TUCC? There are plenty of churches in the Chicago area which would have served Barry's spiritual needs. Why this one? Obama cannot answer that question for to do so would result in his downfall. The credibility of the Obama associations theory continues to garner support. Perhaps Mayor Koch says it best:
I expect a President of the United States to have the strength of character to denounce and disown enemies of America - foreign and domestic -- and yes, even his friends and confidants when they get seriously out of line.