Wright II

The Reverend Mr. Wright:

The first time Obama spoke about his preacher of twenty years' standing, I said that I was impressed by one thing: that he did not disavow the man. That took courage, and showed a certain decency of character. The worst and most damning thing about Obama's more recent statements is that they show the Reverend Mr. Wright was right about him: he is doing "what politicians do."

That's too bad, because choosing between the pair of them, I like Wright a lot better.

I don't like his ideas, but I don't have to like the ideas to like the man. There are several things about him to like. He was a Marine, and served also in the Navy. He speaks his mind, straight and honest. Honesty is a virtue, even when you're honestly wrong. By God, tell me what you think! We can sort out whether you're right or not, as long as you're ready for the fight.

For example, his ideas about blacks having different brain functions than whites? That's a genuine scientific theory: we can actually test it, and if it's wrong, we can prove it's wrong. There's no dishonor in being wrong about a question of science. Tell us what you think might be true, based on your experience, and let's put it to the test.

I mention his being a former Marine and Navy sailor. I have a cause for mentioning it, which is based in Chesterton:

And what is the matter with the anti-patriot? I think it can be stated, without undue bitterness, by saying that he is the candid friend. And what is the matter with the candid friend? There we strike the rock of real life and immutable human nature.

I venture to say that what is bad in the candid friend is simply that he is not candid. He is keeping something back -- his own gloomy pleasure in saying unpleasant things. He has a secret desire to hurt, not merely to help. This is certainly, I think, what makes a certain sort of anti-patriot irritating to healthy citizens. I do not speak (of course) of the anti-patriotism which only irritates feverish stockbrokers and gushing actresses; that is only patriotism speaking plainly.... But there is an anti-patriot who honestly angers honest men, and the explanation of him is, I think, what I have suggested: he is the uncandid candid friend; the man who says, "I am sorry to say we are ruined," and is not sorry at all. And he may be said, without rhetoric, to be a traitor; for he is using that ugly knowledge which was allowed him to strengthen the army, to discourage people from joining it....

The evil of the pessimist is, then, not that he chastises gods and men, but that he does not love what he chastises -- he has not this primary and supernatural loyalty to things.
Wright is not that kind of man. He does love the thing he chastises. He has fought to defend it, and can likewise fight to reform it. If he believes 9/11 is America's "chickens coming home to roost," that is a proposition we can debate -- but he offers it as a man who has not flinched from serving America.

If he calls God to damn America for putting black men in prison, we may debate whether it is America or the community that permits and defends rampant criminality among its members that is more likely to draw down the curse of Heaven. Yet there is no doubt he is trying to raise up his community, and believes that the broader America would likewise be improved by his suggestions. He may be wrong, but he is not motivated by a secret desire to hurt the nation.

In this, he compares well with Code Pink, and with Michelle Obama -- 'For the first time in my life, I am proud of my country.' These people are the ones that Chesterton would call "without rhetoric, traitors." They do not love the thing they chastise, save in the moment it submits to them. That is not supernatural loyalty: it is not the loyalty of the patriot.

Wright seems to love and to fight for what he loves, and good for him. I'll meet a man like him in the midst of the field any time he likes, and break lances with him honestly.
The wind blew out from Bergen to the dawning of the day
They ride and race with fifty spears to break and bar my way
I shall not die alone, alone, but kin to all the powers
As merry as the ancient sun, and fighting like the flowers!
How white their steel! How bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave
Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave
Yea, I will bless them as they bend, and love them where they lie
When upon their skulls the sword I swing falls shattering from the sky
That hour when death is like a light, and blood is as a rose -
You never loved your friends, my friends, as I will love my foes!
Give me a man who will speak his mind honestly, and fight for what he loves! God save his soul, whatever becomes of his body -- or his ideas.

The Reverend Mr. Wright is such a man, and the more I hear from him, the more I like him. Barack Obama is a coward for abandoning him, after sitting in his pews for twenty years while the crowd answered "Amen!" at the call from the pulpit. If he sat there and yelled "Amen" with them, he is the more a coward for running now: and if he did not, he is the more a coward for not calling out his opposition all along.

No coward is fit to be President. But that is almost a minor matter compared to the betrayal of Wright by Obama. What a thin, weak, worthless coward, to run from a man in whose shadow he so long hid, and who so long nutured him! Wright is a vibrant man, a fighter, a man I might respect. Obama has proven himself in this matter the worst sort of creature, without loyalty, without courage, without heart. Give me a man like the Reverend Mr. Wright; and never one like Obama.

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