Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jeremiah Wright's Jeremiad. Right to Respect Wright as Right

A Jeremiad.  A Lament.  
Jeremiah Wright as one of the unsung whose message as a whole
 was propagandized to the periphery by The Threatened.

"*** O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! *** "

See, fair use snippet, from
Time for a Jeremiad here. How many thinkers, theologians, leaders, find their essential message Swiftboated, by those who will not or cannot let merit speak to merit, but have to undercut, in order to prevail. The prophets and sages hold up a mirror, and the reaction of the threatened is not to weigh merit, but to fog or even destroy the mirror. The world's unsung, who once sang; now heaved to the sidelines regardless.
Jeremiah Wright held up mirrors. Eisotrophiacs destroyed the mirrors rather than assess merit. Here, Planken, Liechtenstein.
The role of the preacher, in the news again.

  • Jeremiah Wright: a fellow American, perhaps not of your particular sect within a broader religion, but a pastor, former pastor to President Barack Obama.  Consider that Wright was right in putting the idea of a nation's accountability for justice and mercy for all its people, ahead of that nation's desire for a blessing even if it did not do those things. See the Chicago Tribune from 3/28/2008, article by Manya A. Brachear. She appropriately notes the total context of culture and religion, that frame the mere three words (rather than expecting God to Bless America, God damn America) then vilified by those who fear mirrors.  For many, indigenous, imported, desperate, overcome, America has not been the home of the free.

His message has never been sung, only truncated. Swiftboated. In a nation where we value freedom to believe, to speak, why do the same old propaganda techniques work so well to suppress those freedoms. Would people spot propaganda more effectively with real-time access to sustenance and quality education.
1.  Why propaganda wins.

Recall that it is only government that cannot unduly restrict freedom of speech and religion.  For the private sector, that is fair game. Game on!
Vietnam War Memorial, Washington. Freedoms more endangered by big corporate interests than big government

Can the ship be righted -- or even move -- when the right keeps piling the weight on the downside, so that downside goes under water.  Righting a ship is a matter of counterweight, then balance.  Requiring access to the total communication,not just the sauce reduction. Propaganda pushes the sauce reduction -- tasty, but available only in small bits, and only to the few.
2.  The defense to propaganda, to Swiftboating, is facts, and the willingness to assess.  People whose emotions have been highjacked first, will not be interested in facts, perhaps. The Threatened, however, have big purses.
Counter-propaganda skills will take massive education, access to media sources for facts, and is not likely to succeed where emotions are swept up first, but start somewhere. 

3.  Facts through mirrors.

Is this a counter-propaganda technique, the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us, see . Power opposes mirrors. The empowered do not like to think that America is not beautiful for all.  Jeremiah Wright pointed out that truth:  America is not beautiful for all, and there is accountability.  He is unsung for the appropriate message he offered -- the one that is right. The accountability.

3.1.  Jeremiah Wright and Black Liberation Theology:

Black Liberation Theology is a valid construct, with as much historical accuracy as any other construct, is that so?  See A Campaign Pitch Rekindles the Question: Just What Is Liberation Theology?, by Mark Oppenheimer NYT 5/25/2012. If your subscription works, find it at* Find there that Black Liberation Theology is rooted in obligations to the poor, the downtrodden, traditional Christian thought.

3.2. Propaganda rises to fog the mirrors.
History repeats. The value of mirrors is in the ability to see self, or perhaps gain protection by using the mirror in a periscope and save the self, or see behind, or ahead.

Angles of mirrors also limit what is seen:  ellipsis, death by dot dot dot, the omission, see Quotation abuse. The dreaded dot dot dot.  Pretend that the scene is complete, when it is not.

  • Meet eisotrophobia: fear of mirrors, fear of one's reflection. Propaganda against those who offer the look at self, is that kind of fear.
  • Meet catoptrophobia -- fear of reflection.  Body image connected.  I will not look at my too-heavy body, therefore I see myself as thin. I will not look at actual majority ethnicities around me, therefore I see myself as the rightful majority.  I refuse to consider facts that suggest my group identification is not superior in ability, exceptionalism. Therefore, my group is the only exceptionalism of value.
4.  Entitlements.  Who is entitled to supremacism, to control the thinking of others.  The private sector has no restriction.

Current thinking on the right is against entitlements that the non-right may enjoy.  Entitlement to control others' expression, however, is fine when it may jeopardize the supremacy.
  • Consider this one.  Would the right agree that America is entitled to no entitlement to favor, so long as the individual's right to express and describe experience, is quashed by those who disagree?  Or is that a dangerous mirror. 
5.  Jeremiah Wright and the "right" to a national blessing as entitlement.

Must religion affirm that a deity's blessing is an entitlement regardless of what the actor does.

Even for the non-institutional religious, myself included, accountability for national actions and omissions comes first.  Plaudits come later, perhaps, but only if the standards are met. Theology, but accountability as well.

A modern Jeremiah. Read the Jeremiah Wright sermons in their entirety. 

  • See NYT April 30, 2008, article, the Audacity to Hope sermon excerpts.  Newspapers will not let people read their stuff without subscribing now, I understand, so direct linking may be obstructed even though URL's are fair use * 
  • If you cannot get through, that is our Times. The education and information stream is hobbled for profit -- it is more important to make money than serve the common good by allowing fair use -- so subscribe if you must, or just go to your library. If it remains funded.  Ignorance serves the status quo, so get out of ignorance, is that so.
The point as to this unsung Jeremiah Wright is that he is sung for the wrong reasons.  issue arises again with some advertising funders on the right seeking to use this pastor's words to tarnish a listener, even a repeated listener.  The issue there is open mind, discussion, freedom to assess; or punitive conformity to an ideology, regardless.  Wright is right.  Then and now.

*  Discuss: Is this so?  A URL is not copyrighted:  the NYT may choose to determine the terms of viewing, but is a direct link usage permitted?  I think so, as it is in the nature of a footnote but more convenient. See copyright law at  How can a URL or an active link be an "original work of authorship."  If the person wants to limit or bar the look at the original work, fine. Technology can do that. But the path itself to it is open.

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