Monday, April 28, 2008

The Rub: Wright is Right, but not quite White

Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has a knack for saying things that are broadly incomprehensible to people in high places.

Here is one example:

Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles...

Now, to be sure, one can debate the extent to which the United States has done "terrorism on other people," particularly if one was raised within its borders, and especially if one has, with hard work, ascended to some position of importance within either its media or university system, or other avenue of influence.

But here is a useful rule of thumb: people who aren't in the line of fire can do lots of things that the people who are can't. When you are hiding your family from US produced ordnance, or from the "security services" of your US-backed dictatorship, you need not debate with loved ones over the "quality" of the experience being provided courtesy of the American tax-payer. And in the event that you lose a loved one, you need not debate internally whether or not it was "worth it" -- human life being a finite resource, it probably wasn't.

Do such circumstances come about as a result of US policy? It is the kind of question that is best posed to a Nicaraguan farmer or a Saudi Arabian woman -- people who live in close proximity to the effects of our policies -- rather than, say, our highly-educated friends at Harvard or NBC; or at the editorial pages of the New York Times -- people who hear the kinds of things Jeremiah Wright says and faint. Not that there is anything wrong with them -- they just don't see very far beyond their own experiences, nor are they paid to do so.

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