I posted the following paragraph in the comments on another site and decided to bring it back here because I have more to say.
Has everyone truly forgotten that Senator Obama is as white as he is black? We say “Oh his poor grandma how dare he out her.” But here is a man who grew up with a woman who could only love half of him. We say, “Shame on him for sticking with Rev. Wright. Why doesn’t he reject that bigot?” But there is a man who lead him to Jesus, who cared about the neglected half of him, who did good works in a hurting community. Of course Obama gets it! Two of the most important people in his life could only love (or appear to love) half of him. The man gets it! His is the voice of America screaming in a wilderness of racism and hate, “Why can’t you love all of me!”
Only the most cynical, bigoted, or self-centered can ignore what was said yesterday by Senator Obama. And, try as they might the pundits cannot turn this speech into politics as usual. Well crafted?–undoubtedly. But clever?–no. Balanced?–to a point. Has the injustice been balanced? Certainly not from a historical point of view. Is the fear, anger, and hatred balanced? Let us just say neither side is lacking. Obama understands, at the core of who he is. He understands and he’s been given to us to articulate the pain of racism so that the rest of us can begin to talk about the causes.
Thank you Senator Obama. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for moving beyond the campaign. Thank you for putting race, prejudice, division, and fear on the table. You are correct. We need to talk about these issues. Many of them are keeping us from realistically solving other social problems like: failing public schools, growing economic disparity, and an increasing lifestyle of welfare.
Still, as encouraging and profound as Senator Obama’s word are, understanding what is at stake is only the first step. Solving our nation’s problems will require compromise (small steps in the right direction). It calls for the ability to work with diverse interests and people. It demands that our new ideas, policies, programs, and laws take into consideration and benefit the whole. Here Senator Obama shows his weakness. His voting record as a U. S. Senator reveals that he went along with his party’s point of view (not just on what the problems were but on how to solve them) 96.1 percent of the time. Upon further examination we discover that on many of the occasion when he and his party parted company Senator Obama did not vote with republicans. Instead, he stood with a very small minority against both republicans and democrats.
To be sure not all compromise is laudable. At times an honorable person must stand alone. Obama’s willingness to support a traditional liberal agenda and status quo solutions shows a lack of vision. Understanding angst is valuable but only so far as it translates into growth–new discernment and appreciation–and change. We have yet to see this in Senator Obama. And yet, I dare say, his speech, his courage has planted within me a seed of hope and a willingness to believe we can change.