Opening commentary by Lila Garrett for CONNECT THE DOTS, Monday morning at 7, May 5, 2008, on KPFK (Pacifica affiliate in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara).
Hi. Welcome to CONNECT THE DOTS. I’m your host Lila Garrett wondering what word would best describe the American voter today. I think I found it. Cynical is the word I’d choose. And nothing gives better testimony to that word than the competition between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Tomorrow will tell the tale of course, when the two are tested in the Indiana and North Carolina primaries. A month ago it looked like Obama was a shoe-in but an obscure pastor changed all that When ten minutes of fame beckoned he grabbed it and Jeremiah Wright, the minister who married Barack and Michelle Obama, baptized their children has turned from their mentor into their nemesis in what feels like a split second.. Why would the good pastor destroy his friend’s future? Why would he smash the hope of millions of voters for the redemption of our country?
He’d like us to think God made him do it. Poor God gets blamed for everything. More likely it was Wright’s ego. He went on Bill Moyers show, started talking about himself, put Obama down as a mere politician and his motor mouth hasn’t stopped since. Of course the media jumped on it as they jump on anything that jazzes up a slow news day. Suddenly the level-headed basic decency of Barach Obama, which was so apparent to millions of Americans who never before considered voting for a black man, was in question. The self serving minister whom Obama had so eloquently defended weeks before put the idea in the nation’s mind that the charismatic candidate who gave us hope for the future, was just another politician. Like Kerry, Obama has been swiftboated. Kerry took too long to fight back and sank. Will Obama be able to swim? He fought back quickly, brilliantly, with authority and class. Is that enough to repair the damage. Tomorrow’s primaries will tell.
Meanwhile, the nation seems to forgive Hillary Clinton everything. When you point out that she lied about being shot at on her trip to Bosnia, people dismiss that with…”oh well they all lie”. When you bring up her votes for the war, her passionate support for NAFTA which she now denies, her seeking and receiving the endorsements of Rupert Murdock and America’s #1 radical right billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife, the very man who funded that “vast Right wing conspiracy” she used to complain about….people say…”oh well, they all take dirty money”. When you point to the subtle use of racism by both her and Bill Clinton in this campaign those same people shrug it off. “It’s a campaign they say.What do you expect?”. Even if you remind them that Jerimiah Wright was one of the ministers Hillary consulted years ago to save her marriage they don’t want to hear it. Yes a new corrosive cynicism is eating away at the better instincts of Americans. Can we stop it? And if we are forced to accept it, what do we do to prevent the decline and fall of not only our country, but our civilization.