Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Measure of Barack Obama

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
-- Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

Somedays, in spite of the many efforts to the contrary, something special really happens. This is one of those days.

Senator Barack Obama's speech addressing race relations in America.

As I shared on Catherine Morgan's blog, Political Voices of Women,

I’ve been privileged in my lifetime to have heard some of the best speakers of our generation -- JFK, MLK, RFK, Barbara Jordan, Jesse Jackson et al. Each speech they gave ( and in Jesse’s case still gives) helped move us all closer to understanding.

But this is a process.

Nothing will be settled in one speech that hasn’t been settled in the past 40-50 years. But just like the speeches given by others, Barack Obama’s speech today will hopefully help move us one more step closer to understanding.

As far as Senator Obama’s relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, I do not attempt to judge his heart or his faith. I can only take him at his word. For me, personally, as an African American and as a Christian, I do not feel comfortable with preaching from a minister, of any race, who uses the pulpit to preach anything other than the gospel of grace, love, faith and reconciliation with God (and your fellow man).

As a media watcher, I realize that the CNNs, MSNBCs, FOXNews, ABC, CBS, etc have played the clips of Rev. Wright ad nauseum. Controversy sells, it’s that simple.
* * * * *
Whether you are or are not supporting Barack Obama politically, I hope that you can appreciate the sentiments expressed in his speech. As for me, I do my best to live by the words expressed by one of my role models:

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound
to the starless midnight of racism and war
that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood
can never become reality.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love
will have the final word.
-- Dr. Martin Luther King

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