Senator Obama makes Wright decision Tuesday

Ryan Day

Political radicalism — or anything that seems like political radicalism to the middle-of-the-road voting majority — won’t get you the presidency in this country.
Some called me a pessimist and a pawn to the two-party system when I denounced Ralph Nader’s bid for presidency in a previous column. I just call myself realistic, but more to the point, I have an immense fear of John McCain as president. I don’t want to open up that old debate, I just want to use Nader as an example. To the voting public of the United States, Nader is a radical. The majority of voters won’t vote for him; that’s just a reality that we liberals have to deal with.
Another example of a person who the typical voter sees as politically extreme is Reverend Jeremy Wright, former pastor of presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Wright has used the terms “imperialism” and “genocide” in his sermons and the media has taken every opportunity to rouse up a good story by taking parts of these sermons out of context. The average voter has not seen these sermons in full and instead knows only the mass media sound bite attributed to Wright. These quotes taken out of context make the man sound like an extremist, no doubt.
When Senator Obama went on record on Tuesday, Apr. 29 and spoke out against the latest speech of Reverend Wright, focusing especially on one of the media’s favorite Reverend Wright sound bites — the suggestion that the United States perpetuated the spread of AIDS among black communities — I applauded his decision to do so as an intelligent one. As a supporter of Obama, Wright is a thorn in my side every time he speaks. It is not because he says anything that I find particularly offensive, but because of the risk he poses to my personal favorite presidential candidate.
The situation with Reverend Wright is an unfortunate one. The mass media has taken the sermons of this progressive religious leader and cut them up into offensive sound bites and, in the process, have thrown Wright under the steamroller of modern politics. His quotes are frequently taken out of context in order to vilify the man and make an interesting news story — the un-American pastor of Barack Obama.
Let’s go back to Ralph Nader for a moment. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt by saying that he’s probably smart and realistic enough to know that he’s not going to win elections, yet he still runs.
Why? Because it is an opportunity to get his ideas out to the people of the United States. What better way to advertise your political ideology than on the national stage of a presidential election?
Wright is the same sort of opportunist. Who can blame him? Having a direct connection to a presidential candidate is an easy way to gain the spotlight, and if you have opinions that you think need to be heard by the public, this spotlight seems like a dream come true. Neither Nader nor Wright buys into the game of politics, and the media tromps both of them.
But this race for the presidential bid of the Democratic Party is politics, and politics is all about public image. With someone like Reverend Wright on his coattails, Senator Obama will soon fall under the extra weight. Obama’s decision to denounce Wright’s comments and distance himself from his former pastor is the correct political move if he ever wants to see the Democratic bid, let alone the presidency. That’s the way the game works.