When a person causes a lot of trouble for another, it is said that a person will “Throw the person under the bus.”
This could have been the case between Sen. Barack Obama, presidential candidate, and his friend and former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The media criticized Rev. Wright, accusing him of preaching in a way that brings strong feelings of anger and hatred for the American system in the members of his Trinity United Church of Christ, and the African-American community. It implied that his preaching had angered the white community. With the criticisms and controversy heating up, Sen. Obama gave a speech on race on March 18, in Philadelphia. In his speech, he condemned the explosive language attributed to Rev. Wright. But he added, “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.” Sen. Obama made the right choice.
He showed strength of character by not rejecting Rev. Wright. He resisted the media who said he would lose independent voters if he didn’t. Independent voters voted for Sen. Obama in the Iowa Caucus because they believe he can bring change in health insurance, the Iraq War, and employment. And they will probably vote for him again after his race speech because, maybe, he can bring about a change in the way we look at and define racism.
Independent voters will cast their votes for a candidate who will not buckle down to opposition. Also, Sen. Obama resisted the media who said he didn’t exhibit a ruthless ambition. Most likely, he didn’t think it was necessary to disown a friend of 20 years to achieve presidential ambitions. The same week of that speech, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson endorsed Obama for president. Mr. Richardson said the Illinois senator demonstrated his leadership abilities that week with his speech on race. “You are a once-in-a-lifetime leader,” the governor said at an Obama rally.
“Above all,” he added, “you will be a president who brings this nation together.” Some people believe that in order to succeed in this world you have to be ruthless. But some don’t.
Sen. Obama showed good judgment by not rejecting his former pastor. His decision was probably based on the fact that no one raised an eyebrow about Rev. Wright’s remarks until Obama announced his candidacy for president in 2007. The media began gathering evidence against Rev. Wright at that time. His televised video sermons were on CAN TV’s (Chicago Access Network Television) Channel 36 in Chicago for many years. Rev. Wright spoke of racial injustices (the black experience) in America, among other things. Was the media interested in Rev. Wright’s sermon before this? A 2003 sermon he gave contained the following: “No, no, no, not God bless America! God damn America-that’s in the Bible-for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating her citizens as less than human. God damn America, as long as she pretends to act like she is God and she is supreme.”
Those video sermons and previous remarks were closely examined because of his relationship with a Democratic presidential candidate. Also, instead of turning his back on Rev. Wright, Sen. Obama used those angry sermons as a reference to talk about race. He said that his white grandmother might have at one time said racist things similar to what Rev. Wright said. He suggested that there are offenses on both sides.
Sen. Obama showed strength of character and good judgment in a very stressful situation. These are the qualities we want in a leader.