Two Ends of the Spectrum of Opinion

Today’s column by Nicholas Kristof summarized Barack Obama’s speech on race tuesday thusly:

Barack Obama this week gave the best political speech since John Kennedy talked about his Catholicism in Houston in 1960, and it derived power from something most unusual in modern politics: an acknowledgment of complexity, nuance and legitimate grievances on many sides. It was not a sound bite, but a symphony.

Rather than elaborate on the column itself, I’d like to go to the comments on the column, which are instructive. I’ll share two. Lest you think it unfair that I include a functionally illiterate commentor, my observation is that practically all the functionally illiterate commentors presented some variation of Alladin’s message.

First, Kennise:

50. March 20th,
12:49 am Thank you so much for your article. I am a member of Trinity United Church of Christ and have been for 17 years. Interestingly, I’ve never wseen Barak in church which may simply speak to the fact that there are 3 sermons and our family attends a different service than the Obama family. I was in attendance in the sermon after 9/11 that has been circulated. Ironically, I felt soothed following that sermon. I certainly remembered upon viewing the clips the infamous God Damn America comments, but that is not what stood out for me in that service. At the start of the service, Reverend Wright spoke poignantly about his fears as he was in New York on that fateful day. He spoke about the tremendous pain he observed, the evil and horror of the event and of his personal realization that he may never get to tell all of us how much he loved us. He spoke of realizing that his life with his family was not guaranteed and that he could not take anything for granted. He made a commitment to tell us at each service that he loved us and I experienced his words–I love you–simply and freely offered as real and soothing. Yes–he spoke about policy matters and clearly used strong language but at the time neither I or my three children or my husband found it the salient part of the talk. Despite the strong rhetoric I left church feeling that “there is a balm in Gilead”. Reverend Wright delivered the eulogy at my aunt’s funeral and it is not hyperbole to say that I was more moved by his words than I have ever been at a funeral. He was warm, compassionate, empathic and genuinely sad for as he said repeatedly about my aunt, “this was not ordinary parishoner, this was my friend”. Reverend Wright frequently chided those of us too constricted to freely experience the passion often evident in the sanctuary and suggested that we were too educated to show our love for Jesus. I, being one of the more reserved–ok–constricted ones simply smiled for I longed for the kind of intimate, passionate relationship with God that he seems to have cultivated with God.
In finishing, I have seen this man on too many occasions do too much that is good and meaningful. He is imperfect–he will tell you that in a minute but I am certain in my core that he is doing God’s work and he loves God’s children even if he is disgusted by their behavior at times.
There are two Americas and the one I occupy is often invisible. How I wish that the peek inside my world had offered a fuller portrait of this man and not the caricature.
Thank You for this opportunity.

— Posted by Kennise M Herring

Now, Alladin:

52.March 20th,
12:49 am THe fact is Sen. Obama was attending and listening to the preacher fo hate for years. I, personall, would seek another church that preach harmoney.

— Posted by Aladdin

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