Friday, April 18, 2008

Controversy By Association -- A Bad Idea

The Media, the Clinton campaign, and I am assured, in time, the GOP, have and will continue to make great hay out of the fact that the Rev. Wright, Barack Obama's pastor, has some ideas about HIV, or said he had those ideas, that are fairly crazy.

I think there's a limit to how much crap one should have to accept for beliefs of people that candidates associate with.

Frankly, I feel the same way about McCain's 2006 reconciliation with Rev. Falwell. Rev. Falwell, as you will recall, said, in regard to the 9/11 attacks:

And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen."
--Jerry Falwell, quoted in the Washington Post, 9/14/01.

It is the nature of life, the nature of politics, and the nature perhaps of spiritual belief that we sometimes take the bad with the good, that we respect people in part for whom we see some really dumbshit ideas in other places. I'm sure that, having read this blog, you think I have some pretty dumbshit ideas, and yet you continue to read it. QED. :)

I do think it was fair to ask Sen. Obama how he feels about Rev. Wrights statements about HIV, I similarly think it's fair to ask Sen. McCain about Falwell's comments about whether gays and atheists and people who give a damn about civil liberties are the responsible for the 9/11 attacks. But I don't think there's any reason to take Obama's repudiation of those beliefs, or any repudiation that McCain would make (if anyone bothered to ask him, that is) about Falwell's beliefs, at less than face value. Asked and answered--can we please move the hell on to things that actually matter, like Iraq, the ethics of torture, the budget debt, the housing crisis, or the coming demise of Social Security and Medicare? I'd appreciate it, thanks.