The potential for hate and evil resulting from this comparison are great. But the strong parallel Between Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright and Abraham Lincoln and John Brown struck like a thunderbolt tonight when I read that Rev. Wright had been interviewed by PBS and that his remarks were already stirring new, hostile reactions against Barack Obama in the American public.
For those educated in California public schools, here's an introduction to John Brown:
John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859) was a white American abolitionist who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish all slavery. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas and the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859.
President Abraham Lincoln said he was a "misguided fanatic" and Brown has been called "the most controversial of all 19th-century Americans." His attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, electrified the nation. He was tried for treason against the state of Virginia and was hanged, but his behavior at the trial seemed heroic to millions of Americans. Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of the abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party, but those charges were vehemently denied by the Republicans. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that a year later led to secession and the American Civil War.
Barack Obama is the modern embodiment of that old Republican, Abraham Lincoln. In Lincoln's time, being Republican meant standing up for the values of the Republic over the values of the special or, "peculiar" interest of capital, i.e., the slave owners. In 1860 he was referred to by hostile partisans as a "Black Republican" and you are free to read into that any extension of evil darkness and race based prejudice you'd care to mention. Today, Obama obliquely identifies himself for the values of the Republic against the "peculiar" interests of modern capitalists.
More about Brown:
"Historians agree John Brown played a major role in starting the Civil War. His role and actions prior to the Civil War, as an abolitionist, and the tactics he chose still make him a controversial figure today. He is sometimes heralded as a heroic martyr and a visionary and sometimes vilified as a madman and a terrorist; black scholars have consistently held the first viewpoint while those who apologize for black slavery have held the second; those belonging to neither category have held various views. While some writers, such as Bruce Olds, describe him as a monomaniacal zealot, others, such as Stephen B. Oates, regard him as "one of the most perceptive human beings of his generation." David S. Reynolds hails the man who "killed slavery, sparked the civil war, and seeded civil rights" and Richard Owen Boyer emphasizes that Brown was "an American who gave his life that millions of other Americans might be free." For Ken Chowder he is "at certain times, a great man", but also "the father of American terrorism."
Please - I'm not suggesting that Rev. Wright is a terrorist but I am assuming that he can be seen as a controversial figure. I'm also not defending Rev. Wright or his words. He has injured my favorite candidate and I wish he had never said anything to offend the good and decent people of this nation. But I will go on with this comparison.
John Brown saw the evil of slavery and declared himself violently opposed to it. Reverend Wright saw the injustice of America and as he wiped the blood of it on our hands we were unwillingly brought to shocking awareness of what some people believe.
No matter how hard the 1860 Republicans tried to repudiate the actions of John Brown and his words, no matter how meticulous Abraham Lincoln was in observing the Constitutional rights of slave owners, history records the clear impression that Lincoln carried forward the mission of John Brown to rid the nation of of slavery.
And make no mistake, John Brown condemned America for allowing oppression under law.
Lincoln distanced himself from Brown. Obama distances himself from Wright. But guilt by association has been assigned to both Lincoln and Obama for all time.
Now for myself, I am a Lincoln man.
I will accept Lincoln's association with the guilt of one John Brown in exchange for the redemption of millions of slaves to freedom.
And I am an Obama man. I will accept Obama's association with the guiltly words of one Jeremiah Wright in exchange for a new birth of American freedom.
Barack Obama's association with Reverend Wright is as radical as Abraham Lincoln's association with John Brown. Neither is real. Yet they scare the hell out of us. That is what challenges us to look carefully at his election.
Obama is betting that America can look beyond race and that he can win the Presidency. Others calmly declare that we are still a racist nation and that he can't possibly win.
For the sake of my country, I'd rather bet on Obama and lose than bet on racism and win.