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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An Open Letter to Reverend Jeremiah Wright

This is a copy of the letter that I recently sent Pastor Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of Senator Barack Obama, after he defended his sermons on C-Span During the week of April 27, 2008.

May 6, 2008

Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
Senior Pastor
Trinity United Church of Christ
400 West 95th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60628

Dear Reverend Wright,

Until the controversy erupted over the stinging words that were directed towards the United States in a number of your sermons, it appeared as if Barack Obama was sailing towards victory in his effort to become the Democratic candidate for president. However, since the media frenzy over the sermons, Senator Obama has been defending himself and his longtime relationship with you and the Trinity United Church of Christ. When he delivered his rebuttal to your remarks in his speech on March 18th in Philadelphia, I was disappointed to see him distance himself from your words. In fact, I criticized Obama on my blogsite - http://thepeoplespulse.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html - because I believed that a speech in support of your controversial remarks was easy for a black man to give.

When one considers slavery; the Dred Scott decision at the U.S. Supreme Court; the Tuskegee Study of untreated syphilis; the FBI’s counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) aimed at suppressing political dissent within the black community; and thousands of other illegal/unethical acts perpetrated by Federal, state and local governments against people of color over the last hundred years, it is not unreasonable for many blacks in America to have a healthy dose of suspicion against its government. Consequently, it is not a far fetched notion within the black community when the Jeremiah Wrights of this country suggest that the U.S. Government created the AIDS virus as a means of racial genocide.

In fact, if all other things were equal and you were a Holocaust survivor hurling damnations at Germany, your diatribe would have found global support. However, this is not Germany, and you do not appear to be Jewish; consequently, your actions make me and many others wonder about your motivation for the timing of your defense. Certainly you had to be aware that your performance at the Press Club last week could fatally injure Senator Obama’s slim chance of becoming president, while the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson could go on a tirade blaming feminists, gays, abortionists, pagans and the ACLU for 9/11 without any blowback to our current President, even though both of them supported his presidential runs and campaigned vehemently on his behalf. This is the double-standard that blacks have had to endure since the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

I watched your speech before the Detroit NAACP and the National Press Club and found them to be articulate and very informative. I particularly enjoyed the distinction you drew between “being different and being deficient.” However, with all due respect, I was stunned by the contrast between the speeches/sermons and the performance that you gave during the Q&A period at the Press Club. The former seemed to be a cogent response to your critics, while the latter appeared theatrical and at times mean spirited, like when you ridiculed the moderator when she queried you regarding Senator Obama’s church attendance.

I am certain that you have had sufficient time to digest all of the media analyses regarding your sermons and subsequent defense; therefore, I will not waste your time offering one of my own. However, I must say that I was disappointed to witness the blow you made to your former member's presidential aspirations. I say this as a voter who is as disenchanted about politics as you are. In fact, I did not vote for Senator Obama in the primaries and neither will I vote for him in the general election should he become the Democratic candidate. I have voted for myself as a write-in candidate since Ronald Reagan’s second term, because quite simply, I believe that the office of the President of the United States is much bigger than the candidate and his/her promises. Consequently, the President is beholden to the Pantheon of the political, industrial and economic gods; who get the first slices from the pie, and if there are any crumbs left, they trickle down to the masses. And unfortunately, lately there’s been none left after Lockheed Martin, Exxon/Mobile, Wall Street and the likes.

If you recall, former President Bill Clinton ran on the same theme as Senator Obama – Change – during his 1992 presidential campaign, and it doesn’t take a political scholar to see how he betrayed his three biggest constituents: blacks, labor and gays. But I guess in hindsight there was change, and it affected the working class adversely. Will President Obama – I say tongue and cheek – have a similar legacy after all of the promises are made and he settles into the reality of the Oval Office? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, in a global world where China and Middle Eastern Sheiks are demonstrating their political and economic power by purchasing large segments of the United States, the American working class is no longer a priority for the President.

I ran into the congressional representative from my voting district in the grocery store a few days after he was soundly defeated in the Maryland Democratic primary this year. I approached him to bid him God’s speed in all future endeavors, and I initiated the conversation by saying, “Politics is a hazardous sport.” He agreed; we chatted for a few minutes; I thanked him for his service to the community, and we parted our separate ways. In some respect, I believe that the same words I spoke to Representative Albert Wynn are appropriate as I end my letter to you – ‘Politics is a hazardous sport…’ but I should also add, ‘…but when religion is added, it becomes a blood-sport and potentially lethal.’

I'm sure that you are a busy man; however, should you have a time windfall to respond to my letter, I would welcome it.

God Bless You,

David R. Tolson, Sr.


D. Brown said...

This is great. I completely agree that mixing politics with religion is like mixing ammonia and bleach ... it just shouldn't be done. This is not to say that we cannot find some good moral advice from different religions and act on that advice. It is to say that while we can look to religion for some things, government is not one of them.

Dawn Wolf said...

It is difficult to make a stand without a command of self, words, and a grasp on the issues at hand. You hold your own elegantly, David. I want to share this perspective on FACEBOOK. Your knowledge, sensitivity, and level of personal power should not be couched in the tight folds of an intimate few. - Greg

David said...

Thank you for your kind remarks Brother Wolf. I am delighted that you would like to carry the baton in another segment of the race. Feel free to share this as far and wide as you see fit.

God Bless.