Re "A brilliant bad speech," Opinion, March 24
Sen. Barack Obama is guilty of nothing more than being naive in his associations. Further, if Obama truly believed all of the racially ecumenical and transcendent beliefs he deemed himself to personify, perhaps he should be asked what would cause him to be able to stomach such blatant racism from a black preacher.
However, to Obama's credit, what choice is he left with but to address race when it quickly becomes the only thing that the media will acknowledge because of the current flap? If Gregory Rodriguez is upset that Obama "lowered" himself to the level of acknowledging racial issues that are obviously brewing under the surface, perhaps he should evaluate the media apparatus that first demands a racial explanation, then crucifies the candidate -- even in spite of a brilliant defense and candid rebuke -- for having such a racial interlude.
Matthew J. Viator
Rodriguez misses the point. By citing his white grandmother and black pastor, Obama poignantly shows us two people who are both decent and caring yet harbor divisive racial resentments. Who can honestly deny that many of us fall into this category?
If, because of political necessity, Obama was not allowed to remain silent on the subject, we should consider ourselves fortunate that he brought the issue into focus and gave us the key to bridging the remaining racial issues that still divide us as a nation.
Obama did not ask us to "talk about the racial divide," as Rodriguez asserts. Instead, he asked us to rise above the angry feelings that divide us -- which he so eloquently described -- and to unite in solving our common problems. He asked us to talk about "lines in the emergency room ... filled with whites and blacks," about "shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race" and about how to bring home "the men and women of every color and creed who serve together" in the military.
This is more than rhetoric; this is leadership.
Paul C. Eklof