Barack Obama breezed onto the scene as one of the most articulate, seemingly reasonable and impassioned men to run for president since Ronald Reagan.
He happens to be black.
Imagine what a uniting black president could do for race relations and the status of American blacks. Black Americans have come a long way toward achieving equality, just as immigrant Catholics had in the 1950s.
It was the election of Catholic President John F. Kennedy, however, that brought communities of Irish and Italian immigrants fully into mainstream American life.
It seems, however, that Democrats are transforming unity politics into race rhetoric. Obama’s preacher and friend Jeremiah Wright publicly damned the United States, taking God’s name in vain during a sermon about race.
He ridiculed the Clintons for being white. He blamed the United States for the attacks of Sept. 11. He used the n-word and encouraged black Americans to condemn their country.
He called black Republicans sellouts, revealing a slavery-of-the-mind mentality that says skin color should dictate ideology. He accused the United States of inventing AIDS to kill off blacks.
He spewed a hatred of this country that would make Ward Churchill blush.
Wright sounds like another notorious fire-and-brimstone preacher: Fred Phelps — a life-long Democrat activist, former civil rights attorney, and pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas.
Phelps talks about homosexuals much the way Wright speaks of whites. He preaches of God damning America to hell. He thanks God for AIDS, and other such nonsense.
Imagine discovering a presidential candidate had spent 20 years as a member of Westboro Baptist. Suppose Phelps married the candidate and his wife, and baptized their kids.
Like Phelps, Wright is a minister of hate and Obama is his close friend. Wright was on Obama’s campaign.
And then there’s the Clinton campaign, which featured former U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro as a fundraiser. Ferraro said: “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position … .”
Forty million black Americans, 43 presidents, and not one of them black. Yes, Geraldine, we get it. Black people can take easy street to the White House and so far they’ve declined.
Then there’s Bill Clinton. Asked by ABC News if it would take two Clintons to win in South Carolina, Clinton answered: “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88.” In other words, it’s a black thing.
Democrats have the party of civil rights. In Barack Obama, they had a promising voice of change. Of late, however, the Democrats have delivered the ugly politics of racial hostility.
We hope they won’t bring it to the Democratic National Convention this summer in Denver.