Thursday, November 1, 2012

The hope and change message has changed drastically

Is this really the mindset of an American civil rights icon? The Rev. Joseph Lowery of Atlanta said some things in Forsyth, Georgia last weekend that apparently caused some in the audience to feel uneasy.

From the Monroe County Reporter, a local newspaper:

"I don't know what kind of a n----- wouldn't vote with a black man running," said Lowery. "All that he did with the stimulus was genius. Nobody intelligent would risk this country with Romney." 
Lowery praised Obama's commitment to the poor and said politicians should quit saying 'middle class' and go ahead and say 'poor.' Then he urged individuals to look at their own character and conduct. 
"We've turned our backs on the faith," said Lowery. "America is going to hell in a hand basket. We need to straighten up so God can use us." 
Lowery said that when he was a young militant, he used to say all white folks were going to hell. Then he mellowed and just said most of them were. Now, he said, he is back to where he was. 
"I'm frightened by the level of hatred and bitterness coming out in this election," said Lowery. 
Forsyth Mayor John Howard, a member of St. James who opened Saturday's program, said he was "pretty shocked" by Lowery's comments. He said if a speaker had made the same comments about black people, he would have gotten up and left.

Lowery is a retired United Methodist minister. If this unorthodox view on salvation is indeed his position, he certainly appears out of step with his denomination. Lowery is also the minister who delivered the benediction at President Obama's inauguration. He's considered an icon of America's civil rights movement from the 1950s to the present day.

Yet here we have another minister associated with Mr. Obama seemingly eager to stoke the fires of America's racial divide to an attempt to generate emotional buzz in support of the president.

We were told Mr. Obama was going to usher in a post-racial era. It was a major part of his mainstream appeal in 2008. In reality, divisive themes of race and class war are now used on a scale not seen in America for decades.

Politics of division may be a cheap and dirty path to power (or to hold onto it), but it demands a high price down the road.

How's this brand of Hope and Change working out for you?

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