‘God Damn America’ means what it means

Over the last couple of days, I’ve seen and heard a number of explanations, or attempts at explanations, regarding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright having proclaimed, "God Damn America."

Most of them have been along the lines of the old cliche, "It’s a black thing; you wouldn’t understand," although no one has used those precise words. Well, I accept that on one level or another, I can never fully understand where any other human being is coming from. My own brother has the same genetic background that I do and grew up in the same household, but each of us has had a separate experience of life that has shaped us differently and causes us to express ourselves differently. The farther you get from being my biological brother — or, to describe someone I’ve spent a lot more time with than my brother, my wife — the wider that gap will get. The more different our experiences, the more different our perceptions of the world, and the more different our ways of speaking of the world.

But I’ve got to tell you, "God Damn America" is not a statement that is fraught with nuance. It’s very clear, uncompromising and all-encompassing. In all the explanations I’ve heard for that statement, no one has suggested that the words mean anything different. In English, they can only mean one thing. If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says "God Damn America," I know what he means, even though he and I probably have a lot fewer reference points in common than the Rev. Wright and I have.

And if the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, speaking from his pulpit, deliberately and clearly calls upon God to damn America, and urges his congregation to send forth the same prayer, I know what he means. It means asking God to send America to hell forever. Damnation, under any sense of the word that I have every heard of (and no one has offered an alternative definition in response to this issue), and within any theology I have heard of (and again, no one has offered a different theological meaning of the word), means that and nothing else.

It doesn’t say, "America has a lot to answer for." It does not say, "America is guilty of terrible crimes." It does not say, "America has treated you and me and millions of others horribly and inexcusably, and we can never forgive that." It means to curse America beyond redemption, beyond improvement, beyond a second or third or billionth chance. "Damn" means "damn." It goes infinitely beyond any other obscenity you might utter in expressing your displeasure with America. If you say — and pardon my implied language — "F— America," that is at least something from which the object of your anger might recover. If you say "Kill America," you have at least described something from which it might be redeemed. But the Rev. Wright did not say those things. He said "God Damn America."

I understand hyperbole. I know all about exaggeration for effect. I know that many people have profound, complex reasons for being angrier about the way the world is and has been than I ever will. But this is not about exaggeration. This word is not a matter of degree. It is not about merely using a word that goes quantitatively too far.

I also understand that black homilitic and worship traditions are very, very different from that of, say, my own church, or any that I regularly attended growing up. I’ve been in this country most of my life (like Obama, I’ve lived abroad), and I took in that fact long ago.

And I’ve read the news stories — here’s one that was in our paper today, and another I saw in The Wall Street Journal — that quote experts explaining that it’s different when Jeremiah Wright says it. But it isn’t different. There is no moral context, no separate historical grounding, no cultural style, no emotional framework that gives the words "God Damn America" a different meaning. When, in The State‘s story, the Rev. Joe Darby — whom I have known and respected for years, and to the best of my knowledge would never say "God damn America" — speaks of "the role of the historical black church in ‘speaking truth to power’," I know what he means. I agree that has been the role of the black church, and it has played that role well, and employed hyperbole in the course of doing so. But the point seems to me irrelevant. In what way, shape or form does "God Damn America" constitute speaking truth to anyone?

I also get it that I’m the clueless white guy. I’ve pled guilty to that before. But again, I remain unconvinced that I am too clueless to understand what "God Damn America" means.

Now — does what I am saying here change the fact that I respect and admire Barack Obama, and think he should get the Democratic nomination for president? No, it does not. To the contrary, I was very much impressed by the speech he gave on the subject yesterday, which in so many ways spoke to the qualities that I respect in Sen. Obama. And note that he strongly repudiates his former pastor’s message.

Am I saying he absolved himself from his connection — his extended, deliberate, close association — with a preacher who would say, "God Damn America?" No. He did not do that. And after all the years he has been going to that church, I can’t imagine any words he could say that would accomplish that feat. And if he did, he would be rightly criticized for politically convenient timing.

As a voter, and as a writer who comments upon politics in this country, I am deeply impressed by the transcendent way in which Barack Obama addresses the intensely, damnably pervasive issue of race in America. He says just what I want a presidential candidate to say on the subject, and he says it better than any politician I have heard. He reaffirmed that for me Tuesday.

But I do have to set all that alongside the fact that he has deliberately associated with the man who said — and apparently meant, since I’ve heard about no repudiation from the preacher himself — "God Damn America." That will be something that Barack Obama as a candidate will just have to live with. It can’t be changed, any more than John McCain can change the fact that he would be 72 years old if inaugurated (a very different sort of problem, but just as immutable).

Those are both inescapable facts, and voters will have to decide what weight to give them if these are the two nominees in the fall.

68 thoughts on “‘God Damn America’ means what it means

  1. Sonny Burnette

    Please also post a blog commenting on Jerry Falwell’s and Pat Robertson’s comments on 9/11/01.
    We all know that you won’t do that, though, as they were white Republicans.

  2. Sonny Burnette

    I’m sorry. The Falwell and Robertson comments occurred on 9/13/01. Please blog on those for awhile Brad. Thanks.

  3. bud

    Now I’m confused. To Brad the term partisan can only be used in what he considers the generally accepted sense of the term as used in public discourse. All other dictionary meanings of the term must not be used because they don’t conform to Brad’s rules of how the term can be used. But when it comes to the term God Damn America we’re not allowed the same latitude for interpretation. I don’t believe a person using that term means America is beyond redemption. Frankly I don’t see how anyone could come to that conclusion. To do so is simply to put far too much of a literal spin on the expression. I don’t defend Rev. Wright’s use of the term, but neither do I find it all that over the top. Brad, I think you are way over thinking this. Rev. Wright spouted off some incendiary comments from the pulpit. Others such as Falwell, Hagel and Robertson have uttered far worse. So why continue to pile on?

  4. Brad Warthen

    Falwell and Robertson, as I and most people see it, are delusional, power-corrupted, fringe characters. What the hell does their insanity have to do with this? What does partisanship have to do with this? What on Earth are you people going on about?
    bud and I have had an ongoing argument because he wants to apply one dictionary sense of the word partisan to what I say when I have made it abundantly clear that when I use the word, I mean it in the other, equally legitimate (and far more common) sense. And I’d love it if bud will provide me with another word that will mean to him what I very clearly mean when I use the word “partisan,” so as to avoid his entirely unnecessary confusion on the point, but he has not done that. Now THAT, folks, is a pedantic argument, on both our parts.
    But bud, I’m still waiting for you or anyone else to provide me with an alternative meaning of the phrase, “God Damn America.” This has absolutely zero to do with partisan politics in bud’s OR my sense of the word, since it does not change my support of Barack Obama, as I ALSO made abundantly clear.
    So what ARE you two going on about, and do you ever actually READ a post before you start in on irrelevancies?

  5. weldon VII

    Sonny, are Falwell and Robertson close to getting the nomination of some major party?
    No? Well, then who cares what they said on 9-11?
    Obama refused to back away completely from a preacher who blamed the CIA for AIDS, faulted the government for black drug woes, and used the words “God damn America” twice from his pulpit.
    Let Obama be as irrelevant as Falwell and Robertson. He’s earned it.

  6. weldon VII

    Brad, if the events of the last two days haven’t changed your support of Obama, you need to think for a minute or two or however long it takes for things to actually add up for you.
    Obama let that man preach to his children.
    Obama’s been in that church for TWENTY years.
    Obama, candidate for president of these United States, wouldn’t back away from a pastor who preached “God damn America” from his pulpit.
    He’s not fit to walk the halls of the Senate, much less the White House.

  7. Sonny Burnette

    Weldon, Brad, and the rest of the wingnut loons seemingly deem Obama and his preacher as one yet somehow separate the Falwell/Robertson fundamentalist crowd from all of the Republican candidates (who stand no chance without the complete backing and support of the fundamentalist kooks).
    The difference? One group is rich white folks and the other is black.

  8. Sonny Burnette

    Exactly which office is Preacher Wright running for? Oh yeah, none. End of story.
    Brad and Weldon are race baiters.

  9. Sonny Burnette

    Brad still won’t address the Robertson/Falwell comments of 9/13/01, and the impact that their followers had on the ’04 elections.
    Why don’t you analyze those comments Brad? Do you believe that Robertson and Falwell were correct?

  10. Doug Ross

    From a story on Salon.com about being on the campaign trail with John McCain:
    “And as far as McCain is concerned, he’ll keep inviting the press on the bus with him straight up to November. “I have to — goddamn it,” he mock-growled, keeping up a long-running joke where he pretends he doesn’t love being surrounded by reporters.”
    Looks like the reporters on the bus should buy some asbestos underwear…
    It’s just a word. A bad choice, but just a word.

  11. Doug Ross

    I think Mike Huckabee has it right:
    “As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say ‘That’s a terrible statement!’ … I grew up in a very segregated South. And I think that you have to cut some slack — and I’m gonna be probably the only conservative in America who’s gonna say something like this, but I’m just tellin’ you — we’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names…”
    I won’t ever pretend to think my life experience would give me any ability to parse Obama’s preacher’s statements.

  12. weldon VII

    Brad and I aren’t often on the same page, and we aren’t on the same page here, either.
    If you need help finding a class to help you with your reading comprehension, let me know.

  13. Vanessa

    The way I see, the Reverend isn’t running for president of the USA. I care what Obama has to say, not his preacher. If Obama agreed with his preacher, that would be another story but he’s clearly and firmly denounced the comments. I’m taking taking Obama’s word for it on this one.

  14. Jay

    I think Obama pretty much explicitly answered what you are grappling with. The “God damn America” line is a result of Wright’s view that this nation is always going to be as it has been, which is the country that has kept him and people of color down. So he’s saying ‘God damn America’, the America that he knows as it has been. I don’t know what it’s like to come to that conclusion, like you said you can’t know where someone comes from. But it does have context, if you listen to the rest of his sermon, there’s the context. It’s not like he just repeats those three words over and over again.
    And not that it absolves Obama or Wright of anything, but what really bewilders me is why John McCain gets a free ride, when he solicits and receives endorsements from people like the very anti-Catholic John Hagee and Rod Parsley. Hagee called the Catholic church the ‘great whore’ and has said that God is sending terrorists here to kill us because of our immoral ways. I was first made aware of Rod Parsley when he was exhorting viewers on late night tv to send in money so that he could ask God to absolve them of their debts. He also says that America was founded, in part, to destroy Islam. This is the guy who McCain called his spiritual advisor.

  15. Akhenaton06

    Although I believe that America is still in denial about many of its past and present atrocities and the implications thereof, particularly as it regards the social and economic exclusion of people of color in this nation (which extends far beyond Blacks), I think that saying “God damn America” takes it a bit too far. At the same time, Obama is intelligent enough to know exactly what Wright was getting at, although he disagreed with the extent to which Dr. Wright took the concept.
    Also, people say things like, “How could Obama expose his children to this stuff for 20 years?” First of all, it should be noted that we are talking about 10 second sound bites (which do happen to lack larger context) from 20 years’ worth of preaching. It is doubtful that this is what a typical Sunday morning sermon at Trinity consists of, and the burden of proof is on those who would want Obama to totally disown the church and Dr. Wright to prove otherwise. It is very possible that the majority of the time, Dr. Wright expressed the sentiments that America is guilty of many things in less inflammatory and controversial terms. I think the fact that we have only been shown this one clip of this one sermon, and not several with the same type of language being used, shows that this indeed may be the case.

  16. kc

    what really bewilders me is why John McCain gets a free ride,
    Just chalk it up to the press’s ongoing love affair with Mr. Maverick Straight Shooter.

  17. Phillip

    Brad’s made a strong statement here about his thoughts on the Rev. Wright’s comments, and I get the feeling that having done so, he’s about ready to move on with this topic.
    I would suggest to my progressive friends out there that we do the same and resist the temptation to be baited into fruitless exchanges with those who are so blind as to be unable to perceive the myriad ways in which Barack Obama’s life has been conducted in ways that are the polar opposite of the incendiary rhetoric of Rev. Wright.
    In other words, let’s not feed the beast. Or, as Sen. Obama says, “Not this time.”

  18. clif judy

    Reverend Wright is just another example of “what’s good for the goose, is not necessarily good for the gander” as espoused by too many black leaders, preachers. His student, Barack Obama seems of the same flock, yet right now in another skin.

  19. Jay

    Phillip, I think you’re totally right. I think that’s what’s called taking the “high road”. The only danger in that is that if we don’t face the facts, then everything will remain intractable. I think what you want to avoid is the back and forth of basically name-calling that goes on, and so do I. But Brad’s focusing on those three words is exactly the problem. If we focus on those but act like no other words matter, because of the incendiary nature of those three words, then we will never be able to grasp from what well those types of sentiments come from. How can we begin to change things if we have no understanding of where the other side is coming from?

  20. Bubba Harrell

    I can only begin to imagine the hate and rage built up in a black preacher who would rant and rave from the pulpit against this generous and forgiving nation, the land that rebuilt Germany and Japan after World War II and asked for nothing in return. I, frankly, am tired of seeking forgiveness from those who refuse to forgive. I am a descendant of immigrant families who came to America in the 1880s and never owned slaves. Why must I be raged against for slavery? Slavery is the crutch that too many blacks use to defend against their own inherited failings. Why don’t they turn their sails into a favorable wind and vow to make the lives more meaningful, more fruitful and more compassionate for all? And why don’t they teach those good qualities to their children? If they don’t they will always be regarded with fear and contempt! Each one of us is the master of our own life, and it’s about time some of us face that fact.

  21. Jack Twist

    And Brad still refuses to address Sonny’s request that he comment on the 9/13/01 statements from Falwell and Robertson or address Hagee’s endorsement of McCain.
    Brad is a big-time race baiter–just with a pen instead of a hood.

  22. bud

    The world is waiting with baited breath for Brad’s comment on the Hagee endorsement of Mr. Straight Talk express.

  23. Manbearpig

    If Obama truly was unaware of Wright’s anti-American anti-government anti-white expressed beliefs after a close personal relationship of 20 years, he might be the most naive person on planet Earth.
    Either that or a liar, I don’t believe Obama’s claim of ignorance to Wright’s rants.

  24. GW

    Have you heard or seen the entire sermon from which this quote was taken? The media owe it to the American people to show the entire sermons from which they have extracted the sound bites that they show over and over again. Americans must reject the media shaping public opinion and engaging in mind control, which is clearly what this Rev Wright episode is all about. It is as important for Americans to scrutinize and question what the media does. For all we know this snippet of Rev Wright may have been part of a broader theme that may mitigate the specific harsh term. Maybe Rev Wright was criticizing policies of the government that ultimately led to terrorist actions. America has been roundly criticized for decades for dropping the bomb on Japan and not Berlin, attributing that decision to racism, ironically.
    What this all should tell everybody is that sometimes in some ways what preachers say should be taken with a grain of salt. Maybe they do their best work when they administer the sick, feed the hungry, comfort the weary. But when they jump into the political fray they can sometimes do and say some embarrassing things. Preachers are not perfect, the people who look up to them are not perfect, the government is not perfect. The point that Senator Obama was making is that we all have a lot of work to do. This episode should very well be taken as part of that process.

  25. GW

    Furthermore, the efforts to slant the public discourse against Senator Obama centers around unclear associations with Louis Farakhan, citing a trip he and Rev Wright made to Libya to visit Kadaffi. Libya is now a major trading partner of America and the European Union. So what is or was the big deal? The media projects that visit as something we should be fearful of. They look at statements that Rev Wright made about AIDS as having inflicted upon the Black community by the government. Well, there is a little known precedent for such a possibility. For 40 years the U.S. government conducted experiments on poor Black men in Alabama in which they were unknowingly injected with syphilis. The government eventually settled a 10 million dollar lawsuit with the survivors of the experiment and their families. The point is those people were victimized by their own government. As late as the 90’s 30 percent of African Americans surveyed believed that AIDS was used by the government as an attempt to either exterminate Black people, or it was not beyond the realm of possibility that the government could do so. That sounds unbelievable, but the Tuskegee Experiment was chillingly real. So do not take lightly the ramifications of bad science. Nor take lightly the ramifications of bad intelligence and bad decisions that have created a hell hole in Iraq.

  26. jamie

    It’s worth pointing out, Brad, that, given the context, “damn” probably had more of an OT meaning, like in the books of Amos or Isaiah or Habakkuk. That is, I doubt Wright is asking God to send America to Hell (and, as America isn’t a thing but a construct I don’t know how that would work), rather, he’s saying that if we look at what the Bible promises for countries like us, we shouldn’t be expecting God’s blessing. I can’t imagine anyone seriously arguing that racism hasn’t been a major force in America’s history, as well as exploiting poor folks all over the world and deliberately bombing civilians. We do a lot of good too, but it’s easy to see how a Black preacher could read the OT and identify America with Babylon or Assyria and not with Judah. Obviously, that reading is misapplied, but it’s pretty defensible.

  27. GW

    “…..Why don’t they turn their sails into a favorable wind and vow to make the lives more meaningful, more fruitful and more compassionate for all? And why don’t they teach those good qualities to their children? If they don’t they will always be regarded with fear and contempt!”
    The above was posted by Bubba Harrell, who is tired of “…seeking forgiveness from those who refuse to forgive.” Well, pardon me thou bleeding piece of Earth. In your sanctimony you have used a broad brush to paint Black America in. Implicit in what you write about is the breathtaking notion that African Americans are collectively responsible for whatever fate has bestowed upon them in this country and that they inherited their failings. The way for your immigrant ancestors was paved by the blood, sweat, tears and humiliation of the millions of Africans who were not here by choice. When your immigrant forebears came to America in 1880 from wherever, they already had a head start on every dark face that was only years removed from slavery and the subsequent depravity that they eventually worked themselves out of. You talk about Japan and Germany recovering from the war with the forgiving hand of America. Not just Germany and Japan, but France, Austria, Italy, and every country in between was rebuilt with American dollars, which meant taxpayer money, which meant Black taxpayer money. It took less than 10 years for those nations to recover from the war.
    It took more than 200 years for a black person to eat in a funky white restaurant, let alone sit beside a white child in a school, or to even build their lives. All the while they were helping to rebuild Europe and Japan, they denied basic rights in this country. What would your immigrant forebears think about that? Would they be proud. More Black people than you may be willing to believe have gotten way past the indignities that they have suffered in this country, and do not have the time to even contemplate the insidious nature of your thinking.

  28. slugger

    Rev . Wright said some mean and nasty things during his sermons and a bunch of downright lies; however, I can get over the mean, nasty and lies but how do you get over God Damn America?
    I have thought of any and all ways that I could possibly forgive him for saying this about the country I love.
    I had a brother and son that fought for this country in recent wars. They are proud Americans. How can you expect our servicemen, in a time of war, to not take into consideration that Obama listened to this man for 20 years in the pulpit and has not been affected by what he heard on Sunday morning or during the personal hours they spent together?
    When you go into military service, part of your training is to take out of your head all that you were and put into your head all that you will be when you are called upon to pull that trigger. Who is going to take all the hate out of Obama’s head?
    Folks. We are between a rock and a hard place when we have to even consider voting for a man that would associate with anyone that would damn our country.
    I am a proud American and I cannot forgive or forget nor can I vote for Obama. He is to RED for me.

  29. Lee Muller

    Reverand Wright is not an exception, but is no different the other radical socialists which Obama has as longtime close friends or as close advisors to his campaign:
    * Rev Wright – met with Kaddafi and other terrorists
    * Louis Farrakan – leader of Black Muslims, hates whites
    * David Axelrod – chief strategist
    * Benardine Dorn – Weather Underground, bomber
    * Bill Ayers – WU bomber of police stations and the Pentagon
    * Naomi Wolf – sympathizer of Al Qaeda
    * Angela Davis – bomber
    Hillary has a similar problem.
    * Her long-time advisors include radical communists who are the children of Stalinists.
    * She worked for the Communist Party USA and the Black Panthers.
    * She and Leon Paneta were associated with Castro and with convicted Puerto Rican terrorists.
    * Bill Clinton pardoned Hillary’s terrorist friends and the bomber buddies of Barak Obama.

  30. slugger

    Thanks for filling in the blanks.
    You are trying very hard to put information between the ears of the Obama believers.
    Do not give up because you might have a few that might open their brain and let some truth shine in.

  31. Mike Cakora

    GW –
    That’s a pretty big chip on your shoulder. Folks succeed by doing, by realizing that their success is up to them. Most religions teach that the way to salvation is through individual effort.
    You sound like a person who believes he’s owed something. Half of Obama’s message is that folks are owed too. The disappointment comes when that perception of being owed is countered by the reality that nobody’s really going to give you much of anything. Here’s that lesson in another form. Folks can hate and vent, but to succeed they have to hunker down and work to succeed.

  32. Jay

    From Obamas speech: “For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs – to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.
    Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change. ”
    That doesn’t sound like he’s saying at all that people are owed anything, it’s the opposite, that we have to “take full responsibility for [our] own lives”. How does that not jive with what you just said, Mike?

  33. bud

    The one comment from Rev. Wright that bothers me the most is the mention of our government developing AIDS to kill black people. But in essense it’s nothing more than a conspiracy theory that has no basis in fact. As GW points out the government really did abuse black men in the mid-20th century by infecting them with syphillis. So the AIDS thing is couched in the experience of real, black Americans. Frankly the God Damn America statement is pretty tame by today’s coarse use of the English language. It really shouldn’t be taken literally. I would interpret this to mean something more like: Shame on America.
    All in all the Rev. Wright said some pretty nasty stuff from the pulpit and should be criticized for those comments. Well guess what folks, Barack Obama did criticize those comments. I think this is much ado about very little. I’ve heard plenty enough vile talk in Baptist churches with regard to President Clinton. Yet it never really dawned on me to brand the folks who attended that church as misguided, evil people. So let’s move on from this rather overblown attempt at swiftboating and address the real issues of the day. After all it was our current president who lied us into a war, not Barack Obama.

  34. TheAnonymous

    You’re all wrong. The Rev. was paid by the same people that paid Hollywood to entitle that movie “No County For Old Men.” They are a miserable bunch of terror-sympathizing old persimmons that want America to go to its grave about the time they go to theirs. I know, this is far-fetched…
    Obama needs to pack it in. He’s black enough, but not American enough. Not nearly enough.

  35. GW

    This episode with Rev Wright, Obama, his church is an important dialog to have. As Senator Obama suggested, unless the most heinous of America’s problems, race, is exorcised, America will be far from realizing the ideal of a more perfect union. Nobody has a chip on their shoulder about past injustices, but facts are facts. The victims of Americas shameful past have historically been cast into the strange position of being guilty and ashamed of that victimization, which is an amazing accomplishment for the actual perpetrators. The guilt and shame belong to the victimizers. To say that someone has a chip on their shoulder because they recognize that more work has to be done to remove the stigmas and residual effects of 3 centuries of victimization and horror is an easy cop out. Yet countless millions have succeeded despite that. Others have not.
    Lee muller in his statement above should ask himself the question: have any of the people whom he lists as socialist or communists or whatever, done as much harm to this country as George W. Bush and the administrators of his government in 7 short years? You are delusional if you say yes. The thing that all Americans should be concerned about is reconciling differences and moving on to solve the real challenges that face everybody in this country. The threat of terrorism is more real today than ever, civil liberties are being threated by an overly zealous government, the military which Slugger has a brother and son in is being driven into the ground, the value of the dollar is being driven into the sewer, prices on gas and food and everything else is spiraling upward, we are paying for the ever increasing growth of China’s military, and the list goes on and on.
    So where are America’s priorities? Getting stressed out on the 30 second ramblings of a preacher or taking decisive action to stop the hemorrhaging.

  36. bud

    Let’s change the subject slightly. The discussion about Rev. Wright is really irrelevant. What is important is the magnificent way Barack Obama addressed the race issue. Wasn’t that just one spectacular speech. He said stuff that really needed saying. Barack Obama has made a believer out of me. Hillary would make a fine president, but so would Obama. What a shame it would be if we allow the fear merchants to scare enough people away from the Democratic party into the arms of more death, destruction and economic calamity and make the excruciatingly bad John McCain POTUS. The prospect of that makes me cringe. Well I guess fear does have it’s place as a motivator. John McCain scares the hell out of me. 100 years of war. That should scare anyone.

  37. Mike Cakora

    I share some of GW’s concerns, but there is hope. We can solve the food price problem by ending the ethanol corn subsidy madness and solve the energy problem as I’ve written before, by allowing the oil companies that Clinton and Obama hate to drill like crazy in ANWR and off the continental shelf.
    These two actions would assist the average consumer not only by reducing food and fuel prices, but also by allowing states and the federal government to negotiate royalty payments with the oil companies for the petroleum extracted offshore. Part of the drilling deal should set aside funds for the eventual removal of the extraction equipment once the hydrogen or whatever economy arrives to free us from oil.

  38. Brad Warthen

    Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything that has prompted so many off-the-point comments. Obviously, only two or three of y’all read the whole post before commenting. Maybe it was just too long. Here’s a Clif Notes version:

    • I reached a point yesterday that I had read too many comments from folks explaining to me that I didn’t really understand what the Rev. Wright said. I provided links to two stories in that vein. Here’s one, and here’s the other. (Dang it! The second one was on The Wall Street Journal, and all of a sudden I can’t get in to it. I’ll come back to this when it’s fixed, if y’all will remind me.)
    • I made the simple point, in every way I could, that I DO understand what he said. It’s simple, to the point, and not a bit subtle.
    • Note that I didn’t even get into a discussion of whether he should have said it; I simply dealt with the fact that he said what he said, and there’s no point trying to obfuscate.
    • None of this changes the good things I’ve said about Barack Obama. In fact, I really liked his speech. But the speech didn’t change anything that the Rev. Wright said. There’s nothing he could say that would change it, but it was a noble try. This will probably be a liability for him — but name me a candidate who doesn’t have a liability. I certainly don’t know of any…

    OK, did I get it across that time? I certainly hope so.

  39. Brandon

    I’m so tired of this story. It’s Obama v. McCain, and OBAMA would be a better president because he is smarter, has a stronger desire to succeed, and has a broader set of values.

  40. Brad Warthen

    Perhaps so. Then again, perhaps not. I like both of them, and don’t have to choose between them for quite some time to come. In any case, Obama-vs.-McCain isn’t what this post is about, although some folks commenting above seemed to think it was…
    We have a serious problem in this country in that people have become incapable even of perceiving a political discussion in terms other than this guy vs. that guy, left vs. right, Republican vs. Democrat. One of the main purposes of this blog is to provide a place for those of us who are sick to death of such pointless, merry-go-round arguments.
    But after almost three years, it’s still hard to get the concept across even to some of the regulars on the blog. It’s really maddening.

  41. ruintuit

    Brad, many of us are just tired of having two definitions of racism…whites hate blacks and are wrong…blacks hate whites and are somehow “justified”.
    Until racism is not tolerated regardless of your race or past, then how will it ever truly end? I thought Obama did an excellent job addressing that in his speech, but fell short…just as Warren Bolton has done today trying to defend it. Putting a silk dress on a pig does not make it any less a pig.

  42. Brad Warthen

    Now see, THAT was a comment that was actually about the subject of the post, whether one agrees with "ruintuit" or not.

    And perhaps I should take this opportunity to provide a link to Warren’s column, which takes a very different approach to the subject. Basically, Warren and I disagree about the meaning of the Rev.’s comment.

  43. Brad Warthen

    … and I should add that while Warren disagrees with my point, he urged me to write this post when I mentioned the idea to him. He believes we should discuss these differences.

  44. slugger

    I just want to give you folks something to think about concerning why Obama has come upon the scene and wants to be “president of all the people”.
    Take me to the loony bin but I think that this is about the color of your skin.
    Just listen to me for a minute.
    Obama is of a mixed race. White mother and black father. All blacks seem to feel they are due something (or they keep wanting reparations and payback for being sold into slavery). Why cannot the blacks in America feel equal? Could it be that the black churches are preaching into their minds that they are not equal? Could it be that the black churches are the culprits in keeping the races from enjoying equal (not separate but equal) rights.
    Could it be that Obama and his supporters realize that if they can get the votes of all the people of color will make him president. Playing the race game might win the presidency for Obama. He will have the spill over votes of the white liberals that are the “do gooders and environmentalist”
    Do not think for a minute that this is not planned and programmed. Who is going to be in charge of this country? I have no problem with mixed races voting. I have a problem with a planned agenda that would elect a black man president when he might have been indoctrinated by the mixed races to become president to turn our country into a race of socialist and hate mongers that will ultimately destroy our country.
    If you are not thinking as a person that came to this country to establish a country free of slavery, bigotry and freedom for all people, then maybe you can go along with Obama. Do not think for a minute that dividing the country along racial lines as Obama would have you do will be the best thing for our country. What he wants is obvious. The same thing as Rev. Wright. Let the people of color take over because we have done them so wrong for so long and now is the time for them to be reward themselves by taking over the Presidency of The United States Of America.
    What a sad state of affairs if this is their plan. I do not believe that the majority of the black people would want this to happen to their country.

  45. ruintuit

    I have the utmost respect for Warren Bolton and find many of his editorials thoughtful and thought-provoking. I do, however, have to disagree with him this time.

  46. ruintuit

    I have the utmost respect for Warren Bolton and find many of his editorials thoughtful and thought-provoking. I do, however, have to disagree with him this time.

  47. slugger

    I would like to add just a few words to the above statement.
    Wny is the condemnation of the S.C.Highway Department Troopers being investigated by the FBI at this particular point?
    It is about about racial impact? Painting everyone a raciast? Why now? Planned and programmed?
    Take it to the bank.

  48. Candid

    I do hope someone who comments on this thread reads this post.
    AIDS and the CIA is an urban legend, but this level of thinking passes as intelligent discourse in juveniles and ethnic self haters, and is perpetuated by media talking heads, smooth talking dolts.
    Main Point: no one INFECTED negroes, african americans, colored people, descendants of the atlantic slave trade, with syphilis. They infected themselves with their lascivious sexual appetites and infected their spouses during the Tuskeegee study. Colored doctors were part of the staff during the experiment. The negro patients were in the tertiary stage of syphilis and untreatable, even penecillin was ineffective with their advanced stage of the disease.
    None were infected; they were syphilitic and untreatable. The ethical question that affected the scientific community was about informed consent to experimented on.
    The negro mythologists use the tuskeegee study like the till hanging and the jena six on one farce, to paint a fantasy that only american hating black afrocentric separatists can stomach.
    Obama is the offspring of Kenyan slave sellers, East African tribe not congoid like the descendants of the atlantic slave trade now claiming as one of their own.
    The problem is the toxic academic afro marxism of harvard law school, and the black liberation theology of the negro pulpit is just hate america bigotry and delusional.
    Just like OJ verdict, Obama’s daddy talk shows the african hate of the caucasian. And so be it, now that it known.
    We now have a level hating field to play on.

  49. weldon VII

    Warren Bolton’s right about one thing. Obama’s speech was groundbreaking.
    It broke the ground on his political grave.

  50. bud

    … solve the energy problem as I’ve written before, by allowing the oil companies that Clinton and Obama hate to drill like crazy in ANWR and off the continental shelf.
    Drilling in the ANWR, the continental shelf or anywhere else will absolutely not solve the energy problem. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Even if we doubled our production of oil we would still import about half. And there isn’t even a tiny hope of arresting the declining production we’ve had since 1970, none at all. Ethanol is not the answer either but it does make some sense. If food prices go up maybe people will eat less and not be so fat. Perhaps we should use more ethanol and Americans would be healthier.

  51. Dave

    PLEASE SOMEONE LOOK AT THE FACTS. I keep hearing that Wright met with Qaddafi in Tripoli with Lewis Farrakhan has anyone bother to mention the purpose of the trip? HE WENT TO NEGOTIATE THE RELEASE OF A CAPTURED NAVAL PILOT ROBERT O GOODMAN, and they were SUCCESSFUL. Man he hates America!

  52. Phillip

    OK I know I said I wouldn’t post on this topic again, but this is such an extraordinarily perceptive take on all of last week’s events that I wanted to share it with you.
    Reading Roger Cohen’s take, I realized that my opinion of Obama has actually RISEN through this whole episode.

  53. bud

    Mine too Philip. I’m gradually changing my allegiance to Obama from Hillary. Obama is the real deal, no doubt about it.

  54. TheAnonymous

    Here’s another “destroy America from within” theory:
    The aggressive homosexual agenda is really a convoluted population control scheme.
    There are vast payoffs: no [natural] procreation, possible death through aids, and a huge block of voters.
    I’m on a roll and letting it all hang out…

  55. Joe Darby

    Brad, we diverge on this point, and let me say why. I appreciate all of the nice things you said about me, but they’re a small exerpt from your blog. Reverend Wright’s words were a less than ten second clip from a longer sermon that was biblically based and sound. His remark in context can be found at http://youtube.com/watch?v=RvMbeVQj6Lw – the context is important. Would I have said the same thing? Probably not, because each preacher is different. Do I understand what he said and have I said things that would sound equally outrageous in a 10 second sound clip? Deninitely. That’s why one of the members of Morris Brown AME Church who’s considering a run for office said this past Sunday, “Pastor, is anything you said on YouTube? I need to know so that I can be prepared!”

  56. Steve Gordy

    This is off the main track of this thread, but relative to the disagreement between Mike and Bud about the value of drilling, it matters much less how much domestic drilling we permit than how much refining capacity is available (there’s the bottleneck). One bit of anecdotal evidence: On Saturday morning, I paid $ 3.179 per gallon to fill up my car here in SC (which has no refineries). Yesterday morning, I paid $ 2.959 to fill up my rental car in New Jersey (which has many refineries). IOW, it’s not how much you extract, it’s how much you can process.

  57. Brad Warthen

    Thanks, Joe. Warren sent me several such links earlier today. Once I get done with getting these pages out for the weekend, I’ll post them.
    Warren said he suspects they won’t change my mind, though. We’ll see. But I suspect that if there was a context that changed the meaning of “God Damn America,” I would have heard about it by now…
    bud, my man! You’re converting? What happened? I mean, I agree Obama gave a really good speech, but that one thing can’t account for it, can it?

  58. Lee Muller

    Bottom line: Obama and Hillary are lying traitors, surrounded by terrorists, communists, jihad sympathizers and haters of America.

  59. mark

    For all you complainer bring your white tras butts to chicago and tell the blacks at the church what you are saying. SC is racist aS hell, worry about the RED NECKS AND STATE TROOPERS IN YOUR OWN STATE

  60. mark

    For all you complainer bring your white trash butts to chicago and tell the blacks at the church what you are saying. SC is racist aS hell, worry about the RED NECKS AND STATE TROOPERS IN YOUR OWN STATE

  61. Lee Muller

    How much federal tax money does Obama’s so-called church receive, to spread that racial hate message?

  62. rick campbell

    rush phony soldier limbaugh = traitor/america hater.
    pentagon(says troops over used)= traitors/america haters.
    pastor hagee who blames katrina on gays in new orleans and thinks catholics in a cult=traitor/america hater.
    bob jones endorses romney even though he is in a cult=traitor/america hater.
    robertson/falwell blame 9/11 on womens lib and lesbians=traitor/america hater.
    cheney says “so” when told of 78% of america against war= traitor/america hater.
    cheneys lesbian daughter adopts child=america hater/traitor.
    lee muller=idiot klansman…why do these people hate america?…why do these people blame america first?

  63. Lee Muller

    rick, you might want to have an attorney explain to you how much risk you are taking by publishing libel of private individuals.

Comments are closed.