Let’s Have That Conversation About America

From Jonathan Martin at The Politico:

For months, Republican party officials have watched with increasing trepidation as Barack Obama has shattered fundraising records, packed arena after arena with shrieking fans and pulled in significant Republican and independent votes.

Now, with the emergence of the notorious video showing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright damning the country, criticizing Israel, faulting U.S. policy for the Sept. 11 attacks and generally lashing out against white America, GOP strategists believe they’ve finally found an antidote to Obamamania.

In their view, the inflammatory sermons by Obama’s pastor offer the party a pathway to victory if Obama emerges as the Democratic nominee. Not only will the video clips enable some elements of the party to define him as unpatriotic, they will also serve as a powerful motivating force for the conservative base.

Kyle Moore thinks we should not be afraid to have that debate:

As scary of a proposition as all this seems, I say bring it on.

One of the overarching themes of Obama’s speech yesterday was that there must be a concerted effort to forge change or we will be stuck in the same routines. He attributed this platitude specifically, showing that we have a choice to either continue to treat racial tensions in this country as we always have, in a manner that fails to work, that continues to allow elections to be won to the tune of a dog whistle, or we can change that, we can admit our faults honestly, and actually start to move forward.

It is a theme that needs to resound among Democrats in the way they approach elections; timid, frightened, choosing the candidate that is the least likely to be damaged as opposed to taking bigger risks on candidates that could achieve so much more. We have seen the Republican Attack Machine, and we specifically choose candidates based on that Republican Attack Machine, we let it guide our decision making process and at that moment, we’ve already lost. We’ve already let the Republicans control the debate.

We have encouraged a culture within the party that is so afraid of getting hit because they think that candidates can’t get off the mat after taking one in the bread basket. The problem is, going that route, we tend to get candidates that don’t get up off the mat when invariably they do get hit despite our best efforts. I’m talking about Kerry getting swift boated and then being so politically paralyzed that the attacks festered and worked their way through the electorate while Team Kerry seemingly ignored it, praying for someone else to debunk the story in time.

And if we cow ourselves down to what Republicans are already making known will be their line of attack, it’s going to happen again, and again. I will often times criticize Democrats in governance for their lack of courage, but that lack of courage extends to the way they play politics. We’re the kids in the marching band who stop wearing underwear to avoid wedgies only to have our pants pulled down around our ankles in gym class instead.

So the choice to stand up to this perceived threat is scary as hell. But courage isn’t doing what is easy. Courage isn’t doing something others are afraid to do but you aren’t; it’s doing something you’re afraid to do because you know that doing what is right is worth possibly crashing and burning for.

And in this instance, in this definition of courage, Obama was tested and passed that test. He did not run from Jeremiah Wright, which would have continued the pattern. He didn’t deliver a speech full of political platitudes meant to passify the controversy of now, but instead began a conversation with America; a difficult conversation. It was not universally well received and is not easily chopped up into the kind of soudbites the media is designed for. He sat down, and had a conversation with adults.

Well said, Kyle. Bravo.

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One Comment on “Let’s Have That Conversation About America”

  1. Chief Says:

    I do not view myself as having courage. But, I do not understand fear. Good golly, who ever came up with the idea that life was 100% perfectly safe.

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