12 April, 2008

Patriotism and Message Discipline

Two things.

About a week ago Senator Obama said a few things that seemed to denigrate the working, White-ethnic poor.

I watched the Republican campaign of Senator McCain and the Republican-light campaign of Senator Clinton react negatively to those comments, and in typical form the Obama response was swift and concise.

What I didn't expect was this piece: http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/election_2008/2008/04/11/pavoters/index.html

Joan Walsh is the editor-in-chief of the transparently pro-Clinton Salon.com online news magazine. In it, she goes on to say this about the recent Obama-working-poor "gaffe":
Barack Obama does have an affluent, educated, Ivy League sense of self-righteousness and entitlement that my Irish Catholic working-class side occasionally chafes at. So does Michelle Obama. So does Jeffrey Toobin. So do some of our Obama supporting readers. So sue me.

And I was prepared to try to explain the mounting irritation about Obama's remarks. But ... then I saw Obama's reply to his political critics. And it was awesome.
You can look up Senator Obama's comments on the news, its quoted in full in the link provided above. On to the next thing..

I received this from my dad today in email, everyone should read it and consider it carefully:
In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,' gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery.

For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.

What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/ sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father.

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.