A very fair contention arising from the Shirley Sherrod affair is the idea that the President isn’t as in harmony with the issues of Black America as he once was or appeared to be. Not that he doesn’t care or isn’t sensitive, but it appears as if issues that should be no brainers to many Black Americans escape his normally razor sharp ability to recognize.
Join me after the fold for some discussion
As Maureen Dowd quoted Congressman James Clyburn from her thanks white lady but no thanks column in the New York Times on Sunday the 25th
"I don’t think a single black person was consulted before Shirley Sherrod was fired — I mean c’mon, "
"The president’s getting hurt real bad," Clyburn told me. "He needs some black people around him." He said Obama’s inner circle keeps "screwing up" on race: "Some people over there are not sensitive at all about race. They really feel that the extent to which he allows himself to talk about race would tend to pigeonhole him or cost him support, when a lot of people saw his election as a way to get the issue behind us. I don’t think people elected him to disengage on race. Just the opposite."
It occurs to me at one time the President had such a resource, but America wouldn’t allow him to have it. It occurs to me that resource was stolen from the President in the same manner as Shirley Sherrod had her good name and reputation stolen from her with a 3 minute clipping edited in such a way as to make the person appear like a Black racist. That clip was then fed to America’s Radio Rwanda Fox News for injection into the national blood stream. That resource was the Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Alvesta Wright Jr.
For those who are not of faith or in particular not a member of a predominately Black Church it’s difficult to explain the relationship one has with ones Pastor. Historically it has always been our religious leaders at the forefront for the causes of equal justice and economic outcomes for Black people. It can be no surprise considering even today those who are thought to speak for the Black community have Reverend before their names Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. The Reverend Wright could easily be mentioned in that sentence.
On another level though there is one thing that access to a Pastor has that no other advisor on earth can offer. The Pastors primary and overriding concern is not that you be elected President, it is not that you gain financial reward, it is his goal to get you into heaven. It is his goal to see that you are always morally grounded it is his job to see that you always do right.
I have a man right now who I could call at any time of day or night a man that I know would give me the straight answer or at least guide my thinking in an honest way as to the right and wrong of anything in the Reverend Lucious Smith of the First Baptist Church of Pasadena. He would not hesitate to tell me I’m a politician and I do what politicians do and I’m here to keep you honest I’ll see that you are answerable, or as a salesperson your first duty is to your client and not your profit and even though you could earn that extra bit there are higher standards to hold yourself to.
There is a reason why the President is reacting like this, and it’s because we poked one of his eyes out. We took away a base he had relied upon to discuss issues like this for over 20 years.
When the Obama’s gave up their church home I felt real pain for them. For we Black people of faith a church is more than a place of worship it is a home, a lodge, one of the only places where we can be free to commune and organize. That’s why it is such an attractive target for racist bomb throwers.
I for one knew what sort of handicap the President would feel when he decided to give up his relationship with the Rev. Wright. I know had Fox News not destroyed that relationship he would have called his pastor, and I have to think he knew who Shirley Sherrod was if he didn't I'm very sure he would have asked the president to give the Black lady the benefit of the doubt. If the President hadn't sought his advice I'm sure the Reverend would have had his direct number and the ability to call, mine does. When Officer Crowley told his lie and got a beer summit out of it I’m confident that Rev. Wright would have had him say a few more things about lying police before he sat down to drink with them.
I do not believe the President was in anyway responsible for the decisions surrounding requesting Shirley Sherrod to resign, however he was briefed. He did say he agreed with Secretary Vilsack’s decision to request her resignation, and he did say he supported it. People say they would like to see an "angry" black president from time to time. Maybe the reason we don't see that sort of passion is we took away the source of that passions fuel, and for that I lament.