Sunday, March 16, 2008

Of Prostitution and Hateful Homilies

This past week, two attention-rocking temporal “revelations” grabbed the collective attention of a wearied nation already aurally and visually battered from insidious and incessant political sniping coming from all sides. And definitely not buoyed one bit by the dismal reports coming from the economic sector.

First came the shocking exposure that the heretofore unsullied and morality- crusading governor of New York was no more or less like the rest of us – with moral flaws and with muddied feet of clay. He was caught literally with pants down consorting and trysting with prostitutes and worse, trying to cover payment trails for his habit. Payments that may well be judged illegal not only with regard to methods but also as to sources.

The second one though still decidedly of grave political consequences actually partook more of a religious or spiritual nature on the basis of the fact that the very visible source of the challenged statements is an experienced passionate pastor of a church in Chicago and declared mentor and spiritual adviser of leading Democrat presidential candidate, Barack Obama. His fire-and-brimstone rhetoric emanating from the hallowed pulpit of his Trinity Church in Chicago of about 6,000 parishioners came crashing down on the rest of the nation, a showering which was a bit reminiscent of biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. Except that the showered rhetoric was essentially directed against a complicit government and a dastardly nation personally judged to be run and controlled by racist Whites, bent on destruction directed toward minorities, especially Black America. With very fiery deliveries from prepared text and at times revealing visible traces of an almost gleeful smile(IMO), the pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., came barreling down into our consciousness with collated snippets of incendiary sermons archived in his church’s website, bought and collated by some media sources.

Since all the sordid details and images have been splattered across the media firmament, including the continually burgeoning blogosphere, let it suffice that some links have been provided for those eternally curious about them.

Given that the cat is now out of the bag, the toothpaste extruded from the tube, the horses out of the barn, what can we derive from all this setting aside the satisfaction of our innate morbid curiosities for others’ misfortunes? Something positive and constructive to serve as sturdy guideposts for future decisions and actions.

There definitely are a lot of handy lessons, maybe mostly old archaic lessons that may need no recounting or maybe needing recounting to make a more permanent and emphatic impression on all of us in attendance.

Without any rhyme or cadence these are the possible lessons racing through my mind, lessons which personally are quite germane and useful in our current pursuits and whimsical fancies in the largely unsupervised blogosphere and media.

1. In the case of our ever vigilant crusades for pointing out and/or bringing out good in this world, we should never let our heated passions and ardent eagerness blind us to our own flaws and shortcomings. We should always temper our moralizing with a humble (though tacit) acknowledgement of our own failings; and start criticizing others within that framework, ever cognizant that our statements and actions better be congruent with our own moral situation whether known or not, and not hypocritical to them. Truth soon lets out and may also find us wanting of them in our own lives. Thus, truths that we pursued so eagerly and publicly may in fact be the same ones to indict us before our God and the public.

I believe this one lesson covers much ground in the two incidents highlighted. A singularly-focused crusading moralist soon realizes that he too is the victim or target of his own actions. A preacher, who represents a religion of peace, love, forgiveness, and Jesus Christ, soon realizes that his cavalier homilies of inflammatory divisiveness, angry and vile condemnations of certain actions that may be not proved, cannot find proper places in the venue he has chosen to expose them as judged by many among the discerning public.

2. A person blessed and gifted with considerable fortune (Ivy League education) and grace (gift of tongue) has a great responsibility to point out and denounce human failings and humbly propose the alternative things that are good, all in the name of noblesse oblique. It is not sufficient for such blessed individual to sit idly by and turn a detached cheek, all in the name of sacrifice to identity politics or to garner a political constituency. Not after sitting by idly for two decades.

The world is a world of imperfections and can never expect to be perfectible, but it is still incumbent for each one, especially those who wield great honor, respect, and command to steer mankind toward those noble ends. We will be judged based on our efforts, rather than the results of our actions.

3. Like any headline-grabbing incident not only are there hapless victims caught in the cross-fire, but the unintended negative repercussions on them are doubly intensified and felt. In the case of the governor, we have the innocent wife and the frightened daughters and of course, their entire distraught families. And the same holds equally true for the family of the prostitute. She is still the loved daughter of some mother and some worried father, aside from being the sister of an embarrassed brother.

What about the exposed hateful preacher? Same things, though many members probably believe in their hearts that his statements are okay and not worthy of censure, regardless of how others view them.

While most have written off the ascendant political life of the NY governor who comes from a very privileged background, what about the up and coming ambitious rookie senator who wants to be president?

Will this reduce his flaming star to a flicker and finally to extinction? Only the near future can tell. Already some partisan quarters have declared his current candidacy a toast. If the emerging media-initiated groundswell continues to build up, it may very well be the likely final scenario.

One bets surely that all sides will take advantage of this revelation for their own political ends, both the opposing party and that part of his own party that wants the lady senator to be the standard bearer.


  1. Whenever I hear a black say that no matter what they say that it cannot be considered hateful or prejudiced, as only THEY went through slavery and were beat down by the white man, I practically burst from within from rage and resentment. Watching and hearing the snippets of Wright's harangue turned my heart to stone. Obama and his family sat in front of THAT vile man's pulpit for two decades and listened, which is tacit approval, and more likely nodded and said "Amen!" . Along with Michelle's earlier disparaging words, I feel I now KNOW where the Obamas are "coming from." They are nothing but two-faced political animals. I have more respect for WRight, since he spews his vitriol right in our face, albeit behind church doors, while the Obamas think it while saying fluffy things to get votes. BHO has already admitted that Wright is HIS inspiration; that's undeniable. This is NOT a case of guilt by association, its a case of "NOW we know."

    You speak in your post about lessons learned. The real lesson learned is that in this day and age, we WILL find out... If there's something wrong in your past or in your heart, its going to come out. Rev. Wright is Obama's "swift boat."

  2. Your last paragraph should be added as another lesson learned.

    That the capabilities of modern man to learn about another person has expanded exponentially as to render impossible non-detection or non-exposure of actions of public personalities, whether done in public or private. Hopefully as caution to make them more honest and forthright.

  3. On your last, some people, perhaps most, will never be fit to be president, at least as far as some voters are concerned. For me, the Obamas fall into that unfit category. I've seen and heard enough to know they aren't for me.

  4. I agree that it takes some special but discernible qualities not found in many to be president.

    But I will withhold permanent judgment on this ambitious and maybe even brash young rookie. The future will determine if indeed age and time will mellow him and teach him the necessary lessons. Humility and forthrightness would be a couple, however hard they may come.

  5. Why oh why pray tell would we put a rookie blank slate amateur no nothing in THE most powerful position the world has ever known? We did this once before in my voting lifetime in '76. Jimmy Carter was one of the worst presidents ever. I rack him just ahead of Harding.

  6. No, Phil, I do not mean this election cycle. Maybe in the future.

    I project that he will not get the nod this time. The Clintons have so much in it not to fight to the finish, regardless of what happens to the party. Unless, Obama accepts the VP position which I doubt very much.

    Which is just okay for me, given that I cannot vote for her either.


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