The chickens that chickens produced?

In a recent interview, Mike Huckabee noted the left's double standard in analyzing religious sermons:

It's interesting to me that there are some people on the left that are having to be very uncomfortable with what Louis Wright said, when they all were all over a Jerry Falwell or anyone on the right who said things that they found very awkward and uncomfortable years ago. Many times those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon.
Reading that, most people would immediately remember the Falwell remarks blaming gays and abortionists for 9/11, but as Reason's Dave Weigel notes, that wasn't a sermon; it was on CNN:
Has the left been playing dirty pool by pulling statements out of Jerry Falwell sermons, though? Sometimes, maybe, although the most controversial thing Falwell said in his final decade (blaming the ACLU and abortionists for 9/11) was actually during a CNN appearence. The implication of the Wright-Obama attack, though, is not that Wright is crazy, but that Obama is a secret racist and America-hater, and that the truth of this is only revealed by the statements of his wife and his pastor.
I was annoyed as anyone by Falwell's remarks, but it would never have occurred to me to blame Bush and the Republicans. (Especially since Bush rejected the Falwell remarks.)

What matters more than what Wright said is whether Obama agrees with him. He says he doesn't agree with Wright, so that question comes down to Obama's credibility.

Disagreeing with many pundits and bloggers, Huckabee doesn't see the Wright flap as the defining issue of the campaign. Moreover, he actually comes to Wright's defense -- something which surprised me:

If this were October, I think it would have a dramatic impact. But it's not October. It's March. And I don't believe that by the time we get to October this is going to be the defining issue of the campaign and the reason that people vote.

And one other thing I think we've got to remember: As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, "That's a terrible statement," I grew up in a very segregated South, and I think that you have to cut some slack. And I'm going to be probably the only conservative in America who's going to say something like this, but I'm just telling you: We've got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told, "You have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had a more, more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.

In saying that, Huckabee is echoing the theme of a 1950s documentary called The Hate That Hate Produced.

It's a classic. Here's Part I.

If you like that, here's Part II, in which Malcolm X explains that the white man is inherently evil. Hell is here in America, and the white man is the devil, etc.

In many ways, I think it is fair to call Malcolm X the founding father of the hate-America style of religious (or quasi-religious) preaching. Indeed, Jeremiah Wright's "chickens have come home to roost" remark is pure, vintage Malcolm X. (Something Daniel Pipes does not see as progress.) In fact, most of Wright's message is pure Malcolm X.

OK, I'm not getting something. Or maybe I'm just confused again and someone can straighten me out.

I have some basic questions about hate and hatred. People across the political spectrum are condemning Jeremiah Wright's hatred. Even Barack Obama condemns it.

Hate is wrong.

America needs to move past hate!

What I want to know is, if Jeremiah Wright is so terrible, then why is the leading progenitor of his hate-America message honored, praised, and considered a symbol of good?

There are streets, parks, squares, playgrounds and schools named after Malcolm in countless cities (New York, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Newark, Detroit, Lansing, and of course Philadelphia, to name a few, and the list grows, because naming things in honor of Malcolm X is considered empowering.) There's not only a square but two Malcolm X Boulevards in New York City; one in Harlem and one in Brooklyn. (Bill Clinton's 125th Street office is just off Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem.) And New York's new governor sings his praises. (Fascinatingly, though, it is considered high treason to ask questions about the man's sexual preference. What sort of multi-culti-phobia might that be? )

Malcolm X's Wiki entry notes that he broke with the NOI and was subsequently converted by the Saudis to their brand of Islam. Whether that means he abandoned hate is of course debatable. He did stop calling the white people devils, but his anti-Americanism was stronger than ever.

Here's a 1965 interview in which he discusses his rejection of the NOI, the formation of the OAAU, his advocacy of the "by any means necessary" doctrine, and his belief that America cannot solve the race problem, and blacks should therefore turn to the United Nations for help.

Considering the ongoing adulation of Malcolm X, by what standard are we supposed to condemn Wright?

Whose chickens have come home to roost, and where?

MORE: I thought I'd add a little official imageism. Malcolm X became a postal icon in 1999:


AND MORE: I guess this should be captioned "WRIGHT FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE!" as it shows Reverend Jeremiah Wright looking quite at home in the Clinton White House:


(Via Hugh Hewitt.)

posted by Eric on 03.20.08 at 09:33 AM


How about:

"Don't count your chickens before they hatch?"

Politics is all about timing.

Y'all have lifted your hoods about six months too soon(see:Mark Foley).

alphie   ·  March 20, 2008 11:23 AM

The question was "by what standard are we supposed to condemn Wright?"


Eric Scheie   ·  March 20, 2008 12:17 PM

I'd say that the deal about Wright is that a racist has the ear of the potential next President.

M. Simon   ·  March 20, 2008 4:29 PM

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