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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Speech From Youtube

I am not in the mood to post the blues tonight. In fact, I have a bad case of the blues. I have the blues because I have watched, and read endless rants about Barack Obama, and the speech. It bothers me because I still don't think that white America gets it. How is one mans rant a danger to America, or could be the downfall of a presidential candidate? What control do you have over your preacher? Do you leave your church, or your religion? Is this what American has become?? Is it that our cherished ideas of freedom of religion, to believe and worship as you please are no longer true. That you must pass a litmus test, or belong to an acceptable church to be president?? Is that what the founding fathers really wanted??

This is not only about race, but it is also about religion. Our founding fathers would be appalled at the lack of understanding that our people, the press and politicians have about what our nation truly stands for. One of those basic rights is freedom of religion. This idea did not start with us, but was born of the Enlightenment. The great philosophers of the Enlightenment shared one great universal idea, that everyone should have the right to practice or not practice the religion that they pleased. Our founding fathers saw the battles of religion that had torn Europe apart, and how religion and the state worked together to stop change. In the eyes of the founders, One religion (a state sanctioned religion) equaled tyranny, two religions led to civil war, while many religions led to peace. This is what freedom of religion means, that everyone is entitled to believe as they may. Anyone who thinks otherwise, and seeks document from the colonies that predate the founding documents are looking at papers that pushed theocracy, and created the same tyranny that people were escaping from Europe. The other important topic is a litmus test. Mitt Romney, unfortunately found out about litmus tests. Mormonism didn't pass with the Republican party. Of course, there was no actual limitation to Romney, but the press, and his political enemies stirred up so many stories about Romney and his religion that it had a negative effect on his campaign. The reality is that the founders fought the idea of a litmus test. Many people wanted to make sure that only those of a predetermined faith could hold office, but our founders made sure that, that didn't happen. It makes you think, what chance would Thomas Jefferson, or John Adams have of being president today, when neither was a Christian, and both were deist. I would say neither would be in politics, and it would be a great loss to our country.

It is true that the question is also about race. I think I have hit on the topic several times on this blog about what it was like for African Americans in America before the Civil Rights Acts, of the 1960s. It was a world of Segregation, and second class citizenship. They were told where to eat, where to drink, where to go to the bathroom. They were only allowed to live in selected neighborhoods, and in many places, where they had the legal right to vote, their vote didn't count either because of poll taxes, or literacy tests. Some believe that this happened only in the south, but that is not true. In the south they put it on paper, but in the north it still happened, they just didn't make it the law. I wrote a paper about Des Moines Iowa, a place that had a reputation as a great place for African Americans to live in, but it still was segregated. It had red-lined neighborhoods, black schools, and places in downtown Des Moines that had segregated lunch counters like the south. Don't you think if you grew up in that world that you would be bitter too??? As I said in an earlier post, I was not shocked, or angered by what the Rev. Wright said. I know many people of his age that feel that way, and rightly so. ( even the talk about HIV, has a small basis in truth. there was the Tuskegee experiment where African American men were purposely left untreated with late stage syphilis. This went unreported until recent times. I don't believe that HIV has been purposely introduced into the African American community, but you can see why people think it was)

Things have improved, and we have come a long ways in the last 50 years. However, what has happened over the last few days have really turned the clock back. The ill advised, and uneducated comments on TV have made me ill. Perhaps part of the problem is that the reporters are too young to know what life was like back then, but perhaps if they talked to some people who lived in those days they would realize just how embarrassing this is and what fools we look like to the rest of the world, and yes the whole world is watching.

1 comment:

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