Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lies & Reparations

The democrats have turned the current campaign into one big circus, with everything from bald-faced lies by one candidate to a connection by the other with a rabid racist preacher whose hatred for white people and this country is palpable. A few years ago, the services of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, a mesmerizing preacher when he isn't screaming, were regularly scheduled on one of the cable networks (Trinity, I believe) and I heard him preach many times. He preached routinely in the vein of the clips featuring his racist remarks that have been reproduced over and over lately, so much so that I e-mailed him, wondering why. No answer came from him, though a response of some kind was sent by one of his daughters.

It's doubtful that Senator Clinton will mention again her trip to Bosnia in 1996. Her excuse for cooking up that scene was that she simply misspoke is laughable – no greeting party and dodging sniper's bullets on the tarmac as she and Chelsea ran for their lives. She had the tale rehearsed and told it over and over, apparently never dreaming that someone would produce a comprehensive film of what actually happened – a greeting party including the Bosnian president and small children and a truck loaded with paparazzi clicking away as she and Chelsea grandly marched from the plane on the tarmac. Could she possibly be so arrogant or ignorant that she would think no one else in her entourage would also expose her? This sort of disingenuousness (outright dishonesty, actually) is not a desirable attribute in a president.

Obama is stuck with Wright, who, though acclaimed for building a huge church and doing good works, is the albatross around the candidate's neck. Wright has cancelled or been cancelled or relocated with regard to his scheduled appearances this week in Florida and Texas. To add to Obama's woes, Wright wrote this in the Nov.-Dec. issue of the Trumpet magazine, run by his daughters, "The government runs everything from the White House to the schoolhouse, from the Capitol to the Klan, white supremacy is clearly in charge…". Connecting the U.S. government with the clan is a slap in every American's face. Much of the rest of Wright's rambling hate-filled speeches/writings such as his allusion to "garlic-nosed Italians" have been well-documented lately, but probably such documenting and airing are only just beginning. Clinton, as well as her supporters in the liberal media, will see to that.

In a Fox News segment the other evening, Dick Morris, former democrat apparatchik and confidant of Bill Clinton, described Hillary Clinton as simply disposed toward lying. He mentioned that she said daughter Chelsea was in the area of the WTC on 9/11, when Chelsea indicated that she was at home watching the event on TV. Morris mentioned Hillary's claim to have played in the women's intramural soccer league (or some such sport) in university, when actually there was no women's soccer league. Morris is probably telling the truth, although his credentials might bear constant adjudication. One remembers his famous phone conversation with President Clinton while he (Morris) was enjoying a tryst with a lady (toe-sucking?).

Dr. James Cone, the designer of "black liberation theology," is Wright's mentor. To see where Wright is coming from, I listened to nearly all of Cone's one-hour-plus lecture, Strange Fruit: the Cross and the Lynching Tree, at Harvard in October 2006, part of the Ingersoll series, which Harvard has placed on the Internet. I listened/viewed a couple of other snippets of Cone in other venues, an interview and panel-discussion presentation, also available on the Internet. Cone makes much of what he calls "white supremacy" and the "cross." He insists that white Americans (supremacists) can understand the cross only in the context of the lynchings of blacks in this country, comparing those lynchings to the crucifixion. He mentioned 5,000 of them.

According to Cone, the white supremacists can obtain forgiveness only as they provide reparations to blacks. Wright, the keynote speaker at its convention in 2007, is a darling of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA), thus putting Obama squarely in the must-position of declaring how he feels about this matter, since Wright has been a mentor of sorts to Obama. Obama hasn't said, but he's saddled with the problem, and Clinton can be counted on to push it. According to Morris-think, she might be for or against reparations, depending on which way the wind blows.

The usual reparation argument is based on the reparations awarded to the Japanese a while back as an actually nominal payback for their interment in camps in the U.S. during World War II at a time citizens on particularly the west coast were horrified at reported attacks to be possibly mounted against them, too, soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor. German submarines were plying the waters in the Atlantic at the same time, surfacing easily within sight of the night-lights in cities in New York and Florida.

The most infamous prison operated during the Civil War was Andersonville, located in Sumter County, Georgia. During the 15 months during which Andersonville was operated, almost 13,000 Union prisoners died there of malnutrition, exposure, and disease. These were lynchings of white men dying in the process of freeing the slaves, albeit dying slow, misery-ridden deaths instead of the relatively quick one of hanging. It isn't likely that either Cone or Wright would agree, but such is the proper comparison, notwithstanding that no white descendents of the Andersonville dead or the other 347,000 union dead have clamored for reparations from the black community…or any community.

Assuming reparations to be in order, those made to the Japanese were made within the generation of those affected. By contrast, the government did not act to settle grievances, real or imagined, within the generation of those affected in both the Native-American and Black communities in the 1800s, so the comparison is with apples to oranges and doesn't work. The latter generations are long dead. Indeed, in just the battle termed The Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864, the Union dead numbered 17,666. Their white descendents have not clamored for reparations, though these men were willingly lynched in battle. The source for these figures: The Civil War, Strange and Fascinating Facts by Burke Davis.

McCain has his problems with the conservatives, but he has the bona fides gained through both civil and military experience to be a strong president. Clinton and Obama are saddled with having neither a comparable extent nor kind of experience, plus proclaiming to one and all on a daily basis each other's unfitness for office. Indeed, their petty squabbling and mudslinging make them out to be more adolescent than mature. The nation deserves better. One is a liar and the other unable to shake loose from a damning entanglement.

One wonders about the fate of the country when viewing the shenanigans connected with the current election-year campaigning. The conservative republicans are unhappy with John McCain because they feel he's too much like a democrat masquerading in a red cape as a republican and about to suck the life out of the party. Some of the high-profile diehards are seemingly trying even now to sabotage his efforts mostly out of spite and throw the country to the wolves, otherwise known as dem-libs. Disgusting! The alternatives to McCain are scary.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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