The talking heads say that Rev. Jeremiah Wright is way outside the mainstream. Maybe. I’d like to
point to two important pieces of writing by leftwing women, right after
9/11, that are remarkably similar to stuff Wright has said. Here is Susan Sontag’s famous piece in the New Yorker (that I believe sent her into purdah at that magazine, after the piece caused tantrums and protest):
Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on
"civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an
attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a
consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many
citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the
word "cowardly" is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those
who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to
those willing to die themselves in order to kill others.
And here is Arundhati Roy’s powerful essay on a related theme (I remember my wife excitedly giving it to me 7 years ago, and I remember the discomfort it gave me, as being too black and white):
Could it be that the
stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American
freedom and democracy, but in the US government’s record of commitment
and support to exactly the opposite things – to military and economic
terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and
unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary
Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their
eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be
indifference. It isn’t indifference. It’s just augury. An absence of
surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually
comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but
their government’s policies that are so hated.
You go, girls! Tough stuff, yes, but the American media ought to reflect the fact that Jeremiah Wright’s statements are within the discourse of the worldly left. Intemperate, yes, but within that discourse.
Just now I heard Tim Russert reading a vicious screed by Charles Krauthammer against Obama in the Washington Post, calling his speech on race a "fraud" because Obama never walked out on Rev. Wright. (And think of all the anti-Arab conversations that Krauthammer has happily participated in over the years.) I think the real reason Krauthammer is upset is cause he sees the writing on the wall. The left is coming inside. Krauthammer was lifted up by the conservative movement of the last 30 years, well now it’s over. That’s my bet anyway.