(CNN) - The revelation of controversial comments made by the longtime pastor of Sen. Barack Obama, and the equally hot aftermath from the general public that led to the junior senator from Illinois delivering a strong speech/sermon on race in America, has opened anew the explosive connection between three of the most volatile issues today.
If a poll were taken, there is no doubt that race, faith and politics would be the most emotional, passionate and divisive topics. Why? Because all three are so deeply personal. What one person sees as a negative, another would determine as a strength.
Republicans strongly believe that they are superior and right on the direction of the nation compared to Democrats. African Americans are protective of their culture and ways of living, while whites routinely ask why we can't just be one nation with no labels. Catholics contend they are the one and only true church, while Baptists will say that being dipped in the water after making a personal decision to give your life to Christ is the true way of salvation for the believer.
As a Christian, I've seen church members go toe-to-toe when discussing either one of these issues, and can remember some late night debates in college that would have made the toes of Lincoln and Douglas curl.
So why did the comments of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright strike such a core, and how did it lead to Obama to give a speech on race? That was the question posed to me in a number of e-mails, and like Obama stated in his speech, it's really America's lack of understanding - no, refusal to accept - how the different races live and act.
–CNN Contributor Roland Martin
From CNN Contributor Roland Martin
As this whole sordid episode regarding the sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has played out over the last week, I wanted to understand what he ACTUALLY said in this speech. I’ve been saying all week on CNN that context is important, and I just wanted to know what the heck is going on.
I have now actually listened to the sermon Rev. Wright gave after September 11 titled, “The Day of Jerusalem’s Fall.” It was delivered on Sept. 16, 2001.
Obama should skip Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union forum.
Sen. Barack Obama took a lot of heat last year from participants in Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union annual confab, which was held in Virginia. To be fair, he was a little busy that day…announcing HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!
Some of the folks there were beside themselves, and frankly, were childish about it, even saying that he should have put off his presidential announcement to be there.
Read Roland Martin's full column on the AC360 Blog.
(CNN) - Ever since we got into the thick of the presidential race, reporters, anchors, pundits, columnists and writers have spent a considerable amount of time on the fact that nearly 50 percent of the people who will vote in the South Carolina primary are black.
Considering you have a black male candidate - he's really half white (mom) and half Kenyan (dad), but identifies himself as African-American - and a white woman - who is the wife of a former president beloved by black folks - leading the pack for the Democratic nomination, everyone has been waiting to see how this fight will turn out.
But for the life of me, I don't understand - and have been literally screaming this fact on CNN, on my Chicago, Illinois, radio show and on every possible platform I have - how we can focus on blacks making up nearly 50 percent of the voters, and absolutely, positively, unequivocally ignore the other 50 percent!
Note: Watch Roland Martin on CNN.com Live at 11:10 am ET Wednesday.
(CNN) - The personal lawyer, draft speechwriter and confidant to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said he is sick and tired of presidential candidates trying desperately to link themselves to the legacy of the civil rights leader.
Clarence B. Jones, a prominent businessman and attorney, told me this morning that the recent disputes among Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama about King and President Lyndon Baines Johnson, as well as the discussion in last night’s debate regarding who King would endorse, are silly.
“I don’t understand this preoccupation with 'Martin King did this, Martin King did that,'” said Jones, who accused candidates on both sides of the political spectrum of trying “to expropriate Martin’s legitimacy for their own purposes."
He added: "I guess that’s just the nature of politics. It’s regrettable.”
(CNN) - A good assessment of how a candidate successfully takes a message and makes a mark on voters is when you begin to hear them repeat it over and over in calls, e-mails and on radio talk shows.
After getting dusted by Sen. Barack Obama in Iowa, Sen. Hillary Clinton knew that she needed to change her position to combat the agent of change language presented by Obama. It was clear that just talking about her experience as First Lady wasn’t enough, because taking credit for all the good done by the administration of President Bill Clinton also meant assuming the bad.
But what Clinton has done is reframe her experience by expanding it beyond the eight years she’s served in the U.S. Senate. Now, you hear her talk about having 35 years of experience as a change agent.
The key part really isn’t being an advocate for change, but the emphasis on 35 years.
And it has caught on because I’ve noticed the phrase taking foot among the electorate, and they are now repeating it.
Judging by her resume, the 60-year-old Clinton has decided to reach back and suggest that all that the work she has done since graduating from college matters. The compare and contrast is that with Obama being 46, Clinton is suggesting that she has been working on issues since her chief rival was still in junior high school.
The biggest knock on his campaign has been Clinton defining him as being inexperienced, even though it is true that he’s served longer as an elected official (11 years) than Clinton (eight).
(CNN) - During last week’s debate in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton took some heat from rival Barack Obama, by essentially saying words don’t mean much without action.
He responded that words do have meaning. With that in mind, do the words of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have a hidden meaning?
In a discussion with an Albany radio station, Cuomo offered this assessment of Clinton’s win in New Hampshire as it relates to retail politics: ”It’s not a TV-crazed race. Frankly you can’t buy your way into it,” Cuomo said. “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference. All those moves you can make with the press don’t work when you’re in someone’s living room.”
Yes, shuck and jive.
Now, Cuomo has quickly tried to clean up his statement by suggesting that it wasn’t meant at Obama – so who was he talking about, Bill Richardson? Yeah, right. He also said that he meant something akin to bobbing and weaving and ducking the tough questions. Well, why not say bobbing and weaving?
Some of you may be saying that this is stupid and ridiculous. But understand the racial history of America.
Former President Bill Clinton.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Former President Clinton was in the Windy City this week to speak at an environmental conference, but it was his presence at a rally, attended mostly by African-Americans, that has Sen. Barack Obama’s hometown talking.
A Chicago-based group of African-American pastors and civic activists, the 21st Century Alliance of Progressive Leaders, hosted Wednesday’s event that attracted nearly 600 people. But the media was kept away, even moved from sidewalks by Chicago police to across the street, according to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell.
Clinton said he would have preferred that reporters be allowed inside.
But Thursday morning on my Chicago-based radio show on WVON the leader of the group said that a collective decision was made between his organization, the former president’s office and the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is Obama’s chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
So did the former president tell the Chicago media one thing, and his staff decided another?
Bishop Tavis Grant initially told me that the event was billed as a conversation with Bill Clinton on a variety of issues, including global warming, but he later admitted that it was a rally for the senator’s presidential campaign.