Besides, Wright hasn't said anything mo fo' sho crazier than the wacky knuckleheads John McCain chillz wit'. Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment on America because some gay people were planning on having a parade in New Orleans?
I thought that's what you did in New Orleans.
Compared to a blunt assessment of the occasional effects of U.S. foreign policy, that's not just crazy, that's bat-shittery. Yet I don't see Anderson Cooper convening a nightly tribunal of nine to endlessly dissect the inanities of John Hagee and the rest of the megachurch televangelizers, any of whom on any given day will come up with something ten times stupider than anything Jeremiah Wright ever said in his life, in Barack Obama's presence or otherwise.
Dr. Glenn P. Hastedt is a professor of political science at James Madison University in Virginia. Hastedt wrote a book, now in its seventh edition, called American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, Future. It's one of the definitive surveys and a "required text." After conducting an exhaustive review of U.S. foreign policy drawing on a myriad of sources reflecting every conceivable perspective, Dr. Hastedt provides a conclusion summarizing a number of the dominant views of U.S. hegemony — in other words, the "common wisdom." He calls one of them the 'America as Balancer' view:
[T]he United States must learn to live with uncertainty. Absolute security is an unattainable objective and one that produces only imperial overstretch. In sum, the America as Balancer perspective holds that ... the primary national security threats to the United States are self-inflicted. They take the form of a proliferation of security commitments designed to protect America's economic interests.Now, tell me how that isn't just a rigorously academic way of saying, "the chickens may come home to roost"? Al-Qaeda hit the WTC for a reason. Remember bin Laden's ghoulish disavowal of the innocence of the WTC victims, because they were U.S. taxpayers? Not because they needed converting to Islam.
It's a blinding glimpse of the obvious that U.S. foreign policy may have detrimental consequences for the U.S. itself. How could it not, given America's preeminent global position. America will be seen by many people on the other side of the world as oppressors for that reason alone, even before it sets up military bases within a stone's throw of the Kaaba.
Is that to say that America shouldn't establish a military presence in the Middle East? Not necessarily; only that there will be consequences, and those consequences may include retaliations in the form of 9/11. How is that even controversial? Those are standard considerations for the average competent actor in international relations, especially these days.
Jeremiah Wright is a preacher and it's his job to detect the Hand of God in everything and then tell anyone within bellowing distance all about it. Never mind that he can't prove there even is a "God," he just assumes it and furthermore assumes its constant involvement in the affairs of humans. That's what preachers do.
Sometimes they even relate the details of personal conversations they've had with God (preachers may waive the deity-preacher privilege; God may not, which is one of the reasons why you never hear from Him). And if I'm not mistaken, God has been communicating his displeasure with various warring tribes at least since the World was created 6,000 years ago.
So why does it come as any surprise to anyone that Jeremiah Wright would presume to articulate God's displeasure with certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy? And why are the surprised the same ones that venerate Ronald Reagan, who, much like John Hagee, consulted an ergot-poisoning-fueled nightmare called the Book of Revelation to fire his own End Times hallucinations? And whose necromancing First Lady consulted with astrologers.
Whereas John Hagee's "god damn Americas" come in the form of otherwise rationally explainable tropical weather disturbances that cripple half the country, Pastor Wright's candid observations on foreign policy have nothing on Hagee's demented fantasies.
Wright is playing to an audience and his main purpose is as a motivational speaker. It's a black schtick, which is cool, but his delivery is lame-on-arrival. That 'white people ain't got no rhythm' bit got old a long time ago. And I ask again, then how come Miles Davis got up at five in the morning to go round up Gerry Mulligan and Gil Evans when they were recording Birth Of The Cool? Because Miles wanted soulless cats who couldn't dance?
But that's just my opinion. Who am I to say that Barack Obama may have enjoyed the hell out of Wright's act, but that he shouldn't have? Personally I prefer Chris Rock or Richard Pryor, but hey.
Wright surely has a right to get up there and defend himself against the stunningly irresponsible manipulations of his larger context by the working press. But it seems to me he's doing few people any favors by adopting that old-timey strutting preacher stance, as he did in "taking" questions (gee, thanks) at the National Press Club the other day. That schtick is just straight up passé. As is this whole preacher business in its entirety, if you ask me. Perhaps recent developments will convince politicians to avoid them completely in future.
eta: Mike Mathias is thinking along similar lines this morning.