A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Church of Oprah. . .

. . .appears to have nailed a list of grievances to Jeremiah Wright's door, via Newsweek. Cynic that I am, though, I can't help wondering if this is a genuine reformation, or a very clever attempt at inoculation, known to all parties involved.

On one hand, you have Jeremiah Wright in 2002 speaking to Christianity Today, stating that when he encountered her in social situations, she would tell others, "Here's my pastor!" On the other hand, friends of Obama went to pains to draw a distinction between the rationale behind Oprah's decision to leave the church and Obama's decision to stay:
"[His] reasons for attending Trinity were totally different,'' said one campaign adviser, who declined to be named discussing the Illinois senator's sentiments. "Early on, he was in search of his identity as an African-American and, more importantly, as an African-American man. Reverend Wright and other male members of the church were instrumental in helping him understand the black experience in America. Winfrey wasn't going for that. She's secure in her blackness, so that didn't have a hold on her.''

On yet another hand, we have Oprah's friends seeking to establish further distance between the Oprah-Obama tandem and Jeremiah Wright, stating:
"She felt that Wright would never do anything to hurt a man who looked up to him as a father figure," said her close friend. "She also never thought he'd intentionally hurt someone trying to make history and change the lives of so many people.''

Given the fact that the Wright quote is of a certain vintage, it's hard to say whether or not the sting still lingers for either of them. It could very well be that there's been a meeting of the minds since then, with Obama's candidacy in mind, and that there's an agreed-upon course that all signed onto when Wright inevitably became an issue. The cynic in me who has spent entirely too much of his life observing the antics of the politically ambitious tends to lean in that direction.

At the same time, it's hard for me to believe that Obama would have gone to the trouble of giving a major address on racial issues like the one he gave in Philadelphia, wherein he flatly refused to disown Wright and even compared him to his own grandmother, unless he still felt some sense of loyalty to him. Could it be that his campaign felt that to immediately disown Wright would have alienated the black community more than it would if he had made an initial show of support, only to have Wright theatrically undermine his campaign, giving him the perfect opportunity to rid himself of the troublesome preacher?

Oh, to hell with it all. There's no point in trying to read all these people's minds, really. But, what I do know is that my original inclination to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the most cynical exercises in modern politics has been utterly destroyed.

And, for the first time in my life, I was interested in what Oprah Winfrey had to say about something.

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