(This was September 13, 2001, by the way.)
Frank Schaeffer, the son of influential Christian conservative Francis Schaeffer, isn’t surprised. “When Senator Obama’s preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association,” he wrote in a column for the Huffington Post. “But when my late father — Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer — denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.”
Consider also reaction to the newsletter filled with racist invective stamped with Ron Paul’s imprimatur to Wright’s comments that, um, America is chock full of institutional racism. Okay, admittedly, the AIDS virus thing is a little kooky, but a suspicion among many black people in America that they were guinea pigs for white scientists wasn’t exactly born in a vacuum.
But that crazy Rev. Wright, with his wild-eyed rhetoric about the growth of a private prison industry at a time of increased drug convictions, stiffer penalties and record incarceration with no correlation to crime rates! (Too bad he’s not lying.)
What good is the right to criticize government if there are all kinds of dishonest intellectual caveats about the conditions under which these critiques can be made ? How can we have honest conversations about policy and ignore the fact that America was a de jure racist country up until 50 years ago, and the ramifications of that racial stratification — and the attitudes that propped up those laws in the first place — didn’t just evaporate because those laws came off the books?