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Its time to make lemons.

Andrew Sullivan and I have a love hate relationship. I can’t get behind everything he says, but in this case, I think he is dead on.

“We need a speech or statement from Obama in which he utterly repudiates this poison, however personally difficult that may be, however damaging the impact will be. The statement today will not do it. This is no longer about cynics trying to associate one man's politics with another. It is now about Wright attempting to associate himself and some of his noxious, stupid, rancid views with the likely Democratic nominee. Wright has given Obama no choice - and he has also given him another opportunity. He needs to seize it.”

Andrew wrote this in response to what Rev. Wright said at the National Press Club today. There is more background in Sullivan’s column here - http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/04/wrights-poison.html

It can be said that Obama has a personal problem here. How can he denounce and disown Wright completely now, after he said in his big JFK-on-race speech that "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother...."? How you ask? In my opinion, one shared by Andrew Sullivan, Wright has not only made it necessary, but also easy.

Wright is no longer playing the part of Obama’s spiritual advisor. He is now playing the part of the leech sucking the blood of the wounded Obama juggernaut. The man is parlaying his newfound international platform into his own personal 15 minutes of fame. Like those other fame whores before him, Paris Hilton et. al., he should have let YouTube do all the talking for him.

Sullivan suggests that Obama must take an unequivocal stand against Wright. I couldn’t agree more. Rev. Wright has taken any shred of good will he had built up with Obama over the last two decades, bent it over, and proceeded to show it who was its daddy.

Mr. Obama, may I suggest something like the following:

Just a few short weeks ago, I stood before the nation and the world and praised Reverend Jeremiah Wright for his shepherding of my Christian faith, while simultaneously denouncing his inflammatory and quite simply wrongheaded comments. I am standing before you again today to say that I was wrong. For two decades I believed in the Christian spirit of Reverend Wright and turned a blind eye to his ranting borne out of misplaced rage. I am standing before you today asking for forgiveness for allowing this man to take his platform of hate to an international audience. I am standing here today rejecting and denouncing Jeremiah Wright as a man and a spiritual advisor. If the Reverend truly understood the Christian faith that he brought me to so many years ago, he would understand that the injustices of the past do not give anyone free license to lie for the sake of drama or to hate for the sake of history. I am standing here today to tell Reverend Wright that he has lost his path and that he must step down from his self-serving and self-loathing soapbox.

I have previously compared Reverend Wright’s hate filled rhetoric with the unfortunate, but socially constructed racist remarks of my loving and devoted grandmother. Again, I must apologize deeply for how completely wrong I was. I have allowed this man to make me, my grandmother and the African-American Christian tradition look bad. That permissiveness ends now, Reverend Wright. I can not stand by and allow your words to dismantle the foundation of my Christian faith or your hate to dismantle the faith the American people have placed in my vision of the future of this great land.

I am urging you, Reverend Wright, to step quietly aside and keep any dignity you have left in tact. I am urging you, members of the media, to stop giving this man the platform to spread his hate. And finally, I am urging you, the American people, to forgive this lapse of judgment in my personal journey of faith and look instead to my love of this country and my steadfast pledge that I will work tirelessly to correct the errors of the current administration that has repeatedly refused to take responsibility for its own many lapses of judgment.

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mjschaef

May 2009

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