Obama, Race and Rev. Wright

If you’ve heard the sound bytes of Rev. Wright and been rightly offended, you should also listen to Obama’s speech addressing these comments specifically and the complicated issue of race in our country in general.

This will come as a surprise to exactly no one, but I thought his speech this morning was exceptional and I agree completely with commentators who are calling it the most instructive and important speech on race in a generation.

Obviously, Jeremiah Wright’s words are inexcusable. They are not the words of a prophet speaking truth to power and encouraging his nation to live up to its promise. Obama speaks to this towards the end of his speech:

"The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke
about racism in our society.

"It’s that he spoke as if our society was
static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country
that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the
highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black;
Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably
bound to a tragic past.

"But what we know — what we have seen – is that
America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we
have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what
we can and must achieve tomorrow."

But if Wright’s words are not prophetic, then they are hateful; and how is it that someone with a message so diametrical to the message of unity that Obama has been campaigning on could be such a close and trusted advisor?

"Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals,
there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are
not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first
place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if
all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons
that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if
Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being
peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in
much the same way.

"But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I
met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my
Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love
one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who
served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at
some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who
for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing
God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the
needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison
ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can
no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped
raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who
loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who
once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street,
and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic
stereotypes that made me cringe.

"These people are a part of me.  And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

"Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that
are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the
politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just
hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as
a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro,
in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some
deep-seated racial bias.

"But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to
ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend
Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and
stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts
reality."

This is the sort of reasonable, rational and nuanced response to a complex issue that is almost completely absent from American politics. If Barack wanted to be safe, he’d have come out with a handful of six second sound bytes which summarily disavowed any association whatsoever with Rev. Wright and denied through the General Election in November any previous knowledge of his controversial views.

With any luck, he’d manage 270 electoral votes. Yipee.

But he demonstrated exactly what his supporters have admired in him all along; that he is a refreshing change from business as usual, willing and able to speak with honesty and clarity about problems that are all too often simplified, stereotyped, and removed from reality.

On the one hand, this problem has certainly taken a lot of the wind from the campaign’s sails and I worry only a little bit that it may give Hillary the window she’s been waiting for.

On the other, one of the many positive things to come out of this whole mess has been an opportunity for him to show his mettle by speaking a brave word to a country who needs to hear it. I’ve been waiting for days to hear this speech, and despite how committed to this campaign I’ve been I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t had a few doubts. But today, more than ever, I am as convinced as I possibly can be that Barack Obama should be the next President of the United States.

Last Week

ok, here I am…week 2 of my new goal! 😀 

Last weekend we had a garage sale with our home group/bible study…it is amazing how junk adds up! 😀  In spite of 32 degree weather and a very cranky-me (why can’t all the garage-sale goers get together and decide that 9 a.m.would be a good time to start instead of right-after-the-sun-comes-up?  There were literally people helping us unload before 7 am.  and when I say "us," I mean Gordon and Brian.  I mean, SOMEONE had to stay inside with the babies! ;)), we raised enough money to buy a well for a whole village in Sudan through Water is Basic (waterisbasic.org).  What a great feeling — to see things that have been collecting dust in our garage get new life, and the money paid for it to give clean water to those who need it! 

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(it warmed up :D)

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This past weekend we hosted a children’s ministry conference at IBC.  good stuff! Brian is officially on Spring Break — yay!!  Because this upcoming weekend is Easter, which makes it a big week at work for me, we’re not going anywhere, but Brian has a few projects around the house and a sweet little bean to keep him happy this week!  Today, Larr and Christi visited us.  It was SO great to get to see them and spend time with them!   

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Clara loved being with her Aunt Chris and Uncle Larr.

And there you have it 😀

Clara Month 3

I am so inspired by my dear friend Kristi ("the Herrings" off to the right), who keeps up an AMAZING blog of her family.  She is so good about posting and now has this awesome "scrapbook" of their lives!  So, I have determined to get better about posting.  Let’s see how long it lasts!! 

February was SUCH a fun month with Clara.  She is SO precious!!  I absolutely can’t get enough of her!  I still miss her when she sleeps, and have to sneak in to peek on her, just to get to see her sweet little face.  She is such a doll, and constant joy.  To be honest, I was really nervous about "motherhood" and even up until the day she was born was not ready for it…wasn’t ready for my life to change, was really happy with the way things were.  But there is no way I would ever go back now.  I love her so incredibly much, and love getting to be her mom!  She turned 3 months old on February 13th.  It is so hard to believe how fast it is going!  I cried putting away her 0-3 month old clothes, and only found solace in knowing that there are so many wonderful things to look forward to!

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I can’t figure out why that is sideways.  but anyway…I put her in a cute frilly dress for valentine’s day, and all she wanted to do was eat it!!  *L* 
That is actually one of her favorite things to do these days — put anything within any proximity of her mouth right into it!  so, watch out if you get close… I was kissing her cheek yesterday and before I knew it she had turned and my nose was fully immersed in the slobber monster!

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ok, I’m really going to have to figure out that sideways thing.  but nothing is going to deter me right now from my new "one post a week at least" goal!  but I thought it was a funny "case in point" — I was trying to take a picture of her sweet face and she saw the cord dangling from the camera and went for it!  right into the mouth!

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This is her new favorite position — fanny up, legs in the air.  It is so funny to watch her try to "catch" her feet!

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Here she is hanging out with her best friend Drew – such a cutie!  Drew is more than twice as old as Clara but that doesn’t mean anything to a chunky monkey! 😀 

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We went to the Melting Pot to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It was so fun and the food was SO GOOD!  Aunt Kristi and Papi took care of Clara…

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Here we are at all three of our very first caucus.  It was so exciting to feel like a part of the process!! 

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Brian was elected our precinct convention chair.  He did a good job! 

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on March 6th, it snowed!  a LOT!  it was so pretty!!  Clara is our own little snow angel…

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And because I think her little snowsuit is so freakin’ hilarious, you have to endure just one more picture of it…

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We went to the lakehouse the weekend of March 1st and 2nd and had lots of fun with Mimi, Papi and Aunt Kristi.  Uncle Eric surprised us by coming back from a business trip to Canada early, and after an initial scare that had me literally jumping onto a flower pot, we were really glad he was there!  After a 6 year hiatus, I discovered that I do, in fact, like the game Cranium.  But badminton…let’s just say I put the "bad" in Badminton, and two Swasko sister’s make it even worse.  Brian is already working really, really hard on Clara’s hand-eye coordination skills to prevent a similar fate…

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Clara loves sitting in her bumbo!

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that silly Papi!! 

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happy March everyone!