Wednesday, July 8, 2009

No Keith. You Can't Do That

(OK. I'm late again with this. Sue me)

I really enjoy Keith Olbermann. Watch his show religiously and I don't think it can be understated how much his show helped defeat the Pig Party and elect Barack Obama.But I also wake every weekday to a sermon by Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright, broadcast on WURD 900AM. A month ago, Reverend Wright, when asked by a reporter had he spoken with the President, responded, "Them Jews won't let me talk with Obama," or something to that effect.The comment prompted Olbermann that evening on his show, Countdown, to cite the pastor as one of "the worst persons in the world" and declared that Wright should turn in his collar and that he was no longer a man of God.Excuse me Keith, I dig your show and intend to keep checking it out. But, as folks say in the 'hood, "you ain't built like that." Yes, the right reverend's remarks were intemperate and flip, but you can't, even in your fantasy world of the media, strip Reverend Wright - imperfections and all - of his hard earned and well deserved status as a representative of the Most High.

I often find it passe or worst, irrelevant, when you take time to laud an actor or broacaster who did his or her job with dignity. Although I admire and strive to be one, my sense is the world is full of such folks, who do well what they're paid to do.However, people who put careers, reputations and even their lives on the line for others earn a special place in my heart and I'm quite sure in the hearts and minds of the thousands who know and love Dr. Wright. And because Dr. Wright has been so selfless and preached truth to power for so long, we can and will forgive this indiscretion.

Reminiscent of Jessie Jackson's "Hymietown" remark, we know neither of these Christian soldiers would do nor has done anything that would materially harm or disenfranchise Jewish people. For Reverend Wright, and for those of us still committed to justice and equality, the substance of the issues regarding southwest Asia (the middle east) is what matters. We know Reverend Wright takes seriously criminal actions that result in ethnic cleansing and refugees. After all, many of us are descendents of refugees. (What else do you call people who have to flee political and violent oppression?)

We have to give Reverend Wright some slack here because we can imagine what it must be like to have peacefully challenged corrupt authority for decades - and yet see people and nations profit so much from violence and hate. And then, to have to deal with sorry ass media reporters and even religious leaders who ignore atrocities committed in their name, and refuse to stand against it.

We forgive Reverend Wright and we can't let anyone diminish his importance because he has genuinely earned the accolades we bestow upon him. From his service in the U.S, Marine Corps to the U.S. Navy, then the National Naval Medical Center (where he helped care for President Lyndon Johnson, to his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Howard University and subsequently a Masters Degree in Divinity from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from United Theological Seminary to his Rockefeller Fellowship to his seven honorary degrees to his consistent, unrelenting determination to speak truth to power - on South Africa (before it was popular) to South America, Reverend Wright leads by his example, deeds and accomplishments. The Reverend was in error, but you, Mr. Olbermann cannot take from him what you did not give.
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