Obama, Rev. Wright and history: Don’t conservatives believe in repenting?

Tue, 05/13/2008 - 3:12pm
By: Letters to the ...

As a liberal and a fan of Barack Obama, I felt compelled to reply to Trey Hoffman’s letter and three of its points: mystified/angry reaction, guilt by association, hating America.

1. I am neither mystified nor angry about the reaction to Jeremiah Wright’s statements. Nor do I think the hubbub is a waste of time.

Just as far-right clergy are scoffed at for expressing “offensive” views, it is fair (and expected) to criticize Wright as well.

I have not been offended by Wright’s comments or many controversial comments from the religious right, because neither is hateful to me.

Try understanding their bases instead of fuming. We don’t all need to agree, but understanding helps tolerance and unclenches fists. Furthermore, we need some balance, so bring on the discussions! After all, without a left wing and a right wing, we’d fly in circles.

2. When my white racist father disowned my sister for having a mixed-race baby, I vehemently disagreed and lost nearly all respect for him, but I didn’t disown him in return. (Imagine how I would be scolded if I ran for public office!)

Do you believe that Wright is as extreme and hateful as a father who would disown his daughter out of racism? To me, Dad’s action was hate; black liberation theology is not hate. It is difficult to find moral and relational resolution with prejudiced people.

I appreciate that you appreciate such a struggle, Mr. Hoffman. I agree with you that guilt by association is a silly, lazy way to convict somebody, whether that be calling me a racist because of my father or your examples of Romney and Bob Jones.

I wish your letter would have included McCain’s controversial endorser John Hagee, which is more similar to the Wright situation than Romney or Bob Jones.

3. I don’t believe Wright’s statements were hateful. Sure, I don’t have the same feelings (or life experiences) as him, so I wasn’t screaming hallelujah at every point, but I did nod a few times.

I appreciated the view into the mind of an old-school black preacher who was defending himself. I share his shame of our country’s civil rights past but don’t hate America.

Why is that so abhorrent to conservatives? Mr. Hoffman, you misinterpret shame as anti-American sentiment.

When my own conscience reprimands me for past wrongs instead of focusing on my current “rights,” would you also mistake this for self-hate?

I believe America is the best civilization in history, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect.

I am liberal because conservatives historically maintain status quo, postponing progress. With little regret of our past policies expressed, my view is reinforced.

You can call me anti-status quo, but not anti-American.

Cecily Nolan

Peachtree City, Ga.

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