Obama lifts debate to higher ground | March 20, editorial
Consider why Wright's words resonate in black community
I was interested to see the characterization of Jeremiah Wright's statements as "inflammatory ravings." This echoes sentiments expressed in a number of the letters that describe Wright as an extremist who has uttered obscenities in his anger toward the United States. There is certainly a basis for criticizing the divisive, one-sided nature of these comments (whose larger context remains unknown for most of us).
It is curious, however, that most people making comments about Wright, including the editorial in question, never stop to ask the question why Jeremiah Wright and his church have appealed to so many African-Americans. Barack Obama may have been in disagreement with such statements (I take him at his word on this), but it seems likely that Wright's words resonated with many in the African-American community.
Instead of self-righteously huffing and puffing about how terrible Wright must be (and by implication Obama as well), we would be better served to ask ourselves why many in the African-American community might have shouted "Amen" to Wright's comments. I fear that the racial divide in this country remains alarmingly wide.
David J. Bryant, St. Petersburg
Editorial and articles on Jeremiah Wright
Don't excuse him
Its is completely unacceptable that you can publish such articles praising Barack Obama and his complete acceptance and admiration for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
I thought it was bad enough that the day before you published articles praising Obama's speech. Then on Thursday was the editorial, Obama lifts debate to higher ground. Is this supposed to convince us that because you recommended Obama in the primary that you will find a way, no matter how outrageous, to still consider him a candidate for any office?
This pastor was the one who persuaded Obama to become a Christian? What was he before? Could pastor Wright's sermons lead any intelligent person to Christianity?
Helen R. Falls, Redington Shores
A white man's view: First, I know Americans of black, and Asian descent that I am honored to call friends/relatives.
But it is my belief that the black community finds it easier to follow leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who find whites to blame for their problems, than to take responsibility for their own communities.
Black communities do not take responsibility for their high rate of school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, fatherless families, and crime. It is a life cycle that cannot be broken until the black communities take responsibility. Until they do, we can have all the dialogue you want, but there will not be a solution.
The governments (federal, state and local) already throw a disproportionate amount of money at the problems (without good results), and the Jesse Jacksons continue to preach, "More is good."
The black community needs to find new leaders, and I believe they are already out there. But you need to listen to them!
We are not the bad guy!
James K. Wright, Valrico
Obama's political bravery
For too long, every presidential candidacy has involved a strategy of fracturing the nation into pieces and grabbing for the biggest piece. I commend Sen. Barack Obama's political bravery for stepping up to the podium and saying what needed to be said: We can't do that anymore.
Those who seek to be the president of the largest slice of a fractured nation (or simply to be a part of that largest slice) have made extraordinary — and extraordinarily disgraceful — efforts toward distracting us from his message of unity by seeking to link him, no matter how tenuously, to any distasteful person or statement they can find.
He knew, as he spoke on Tuesday, that they were watching, looking for anything to distract us from what he was trying to say and put our attention on him instead. For the first time in years, we have a presidential candidate who didn't let that stop him from speaking the truth.
I applaud Obama for not taking the cowardly, yet all-too-common, route of sacrificing his pastor on the altar of political expediency and, instead, showing us how to hate the sin and love the sinner. He showed true leadership in being brave enough to acknowledge the cancer of racial divisiveness from all perspectives, address its causes, and call upon the principles of our great nation to help us move past it.
They may criticize Obama the man if they like, but they miss the point. He is pointing to the moon, and they are looking at his finger.
James Michael Shaw Jr., Tampa
Phony black friends ditch Sen. Clinton
March 16, Bill Maxwell column
Thinking for himself
Bill Maxwell wrote a tendentious article highlighting his attempt to shame blacks into voting for Sen. Hillary Clinton. Therefore, I am sorry that I chose to think for myself and vote for Sen. Barack Obama. In the future, I will stay with the same political candidates until they retire or die.
Sadly, Maxwell's article is indicative of why blacks can be taken for granted by the Democratic Party leadership because we are supposed to blindly follow out of "loyalty." According to Maxwell, "Hillary Clinton has earned the right to never trust the word of another black person." This statement is as fatuous as former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro's recent comments regarding Obama.
The Clintons allowed black Yale Law School graduate Lani Guinier, whom they tapped to head the Justice Department, to fend for herself at her confirmation hearing after she was attacked by opponents for being a "quota queen." In fact, the Clintons abandoned her without a fight. The Clintons also developed a sudden concern for family values when Bill Clinton launched an attack upon an obscure black rapper named Sister Souljah, to the delight of many whites who feared the specter of menacing blacks.
Perhaps before the next election, blacks should contact Brother Maxwell so we can be told where our loyalty should lie. Regarding Maxwell's past complaints about media bias toward Obama, I have never seen a more biased story in favor of the Clintons than his latest fairy tale.
Keith Berry, Ph.D., Tampa
Phony black friends ditch Sen. Clinton
March 16, Bill Maxwell column
Forget blind loyalty
Yes, longtime supporters of Hillary Clinton have changed their mind about who might be the best next president.
Yes, some of them are black.
But doesn't the rational, inquisitive, analytical mind have the freedom to listen, read and change? Are we to teach our youth that changing your mind based on analysis, review, and well thought out conclusions is "betrayal"?
Blind loyalty is a major part of what is wrong in Washington. Your favorite candidate has now lowered her campaign to innuendo, lies and personal attacks in a desperate attempt to keep the rodents from fleeing a sinking ship. Mr. Maxwell, please take off the blinders.
Doran Cushing, St. Petersburg
Although Bill Maxwell is among the few who dare criticize the phonies and hypocrites who, unfortunately, are leading America into a chaotic mess, he should be assured that there are those who admire his courage to "say it like it is." If people are willing to be led like dumb cattle once more by the pleasing sounds a man makes, then they deserve what they shall surely get. I pity them when they realize what they have created.
Maxwell has the misfortune to be what the old folks used to call a "straight arrow."
Paul Sato, St. Petersburg