God Bless Peggy Noonan

I mean that really. I hope that God has and continues to bless Peggy Noonan greatly. Because she has stood in the face of the ridiculous demagoguery which has surrounded the whole Obama-Wright debacle and spoken sense where sense has not been welcomed. Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan talks about her indifference to Pastor Wright’s ranting and puts it into some perspective:

I also think that if Hillary Clinton wins because of the Wright scandal, it will leave a sad taste in the mouths of many. Mr. Obama reveals many things in his books, speeches and interviews but polarity and a tropism toward the extreme are not among them. What happened with Mr. Wright should not determine the race. Mr. Obama’s stands, his ability to convince us he can make good change, his ability to be “one of us,” that great challenge for a national politician in a varied nation, should determine the race. . .

I do not feel a sense of honest anger or violation at his [Jeremiah Wrights’s] remarks, in part because I don’t think his views carry deep implications for our country. I have been watching America up close for many years – if you count a bright childhood, for half a century. I have seen, heard and respected the pain of a people who were forced to come here when they did not want to and made to live in a way that no one would want to. Who could deny them their grief or anger? I have seen radicalism and extremism, too. I have seen Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panthers, the Black National Anthem, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Louis Farrakhan. I came to see their radicalism as, putting the morality of policy based on rage aside, essentially unhelpful and impractical. It wouldn’t work as an American movement, not long-term. Hatred plays itself out, has power in the short-term but is nonsustaining in the long. America, and this is one of its glories, has a conscience to which an appeal can be made. It may take a long time, it may take centuries, but in the end we try hard to do the right thing, and everyone knows it. Hatred is a form of energy that does not fuel this machine and cannot make it run.”

Thank you! I have written before that I see the relationship between white Americans and black Americans as being like a bad marriage. One of the first steps to healing a bad marriage requires us to stop being so self-defensive. Stop seeing everything as a personal affront and threat. It requires a level of maturity which, judging from the rhetoric which has swirled around this fiasco, many Americans and virtually all pundits are lacking. Bless Peggy Noonan for being more mature and using her position to speak a little bit of wisdom into the situation.

More from Ms. Noonan:

This week I talked to a young man, an Irish-American to whom I said, “Am I wrong not to feel anger about Wright?” He more or less saw it as I do, but for a different reason, or from different experience.

He said he figures Mr. Wright’s followers delight in him the same way he delights in the Wolfe Tones, the Irish folk group named for the 18th-century leader condemned to death by the British occupying forces, as they say on their Web site. They sing songs about the Brits and how they subjugated the Irish and we’ll rise up and trounce the bastards.

My 20-year-old friend has lived a good life in America and is well aware that he is not an abused farmer in the fields holding secret Mass in defiance of the prohibitions of the English ruling class. His life has not been like that. Yet he enjoys the bitterness. He likes going to Wolfe Tones concerts raising his fist, thinking “Up the Rebels.” It is good to feel that old ethnic religious solidarity, and that in part is what he is in search of, solidarity. And it’s not so bad to take a little free-floating anger, apply it to politics, and express it in applause.

He knows the dark days are over. He just enjoys remembering them even if he didn’t experience them. His people did.

I know exactly what he feels, for I felt the same when I was his age. And so what? It’s just a way of saying, “I’m still loyal to our bitterness.” Which is another way of saying, “I’m still loyal.” I have a nice life, I’m American, I live far away, an Englishman has never hurt me, and yet I am still Irish. I can prove it. I can summon the old anger.

Is this terrible? I don’t think so. It’s human and messy and warm-blooded, as a human would be.

The thing is to not let your affiliation with bitterness govern you, so that you leave the Wolfe Tones concert and punch an Englishman in the nose. In this connection it can be noted there is no apparent record of people leaving a Wright sermon and punching anyone in the nose. Maybe they’re in search of solidarity too. Maybe they’re showing loyalty too.”

One of the things which has been so frustrating has been the people who keep saying, “why would Obama stay in association with Wright for all these years?” Almost to a one, these people aren’t looking for honest answers and ignore the answers. When they can’t ignore them, they write them off as inadequate or disingenuous. The only explanation these people dishonestly pretending to seek answers will accept is that there is no acceptable explanation.

Once again, God bless Peggy Noonan for understanding that people are just people. Even politicians are just people. And I’d rather have a politician who shares all the quirks and foibles of the human race than those perfectly calibrated automatons who are consistent in all that they say and do. Those people who would never allow someone who is too messy, too fallible, too unrepresentable close. Those politicians who the punditry want us to accept aren’t real people! They’re packages for consumption who must hide and repress their humanity to render themselves more impervious to the sort of attacks which Obama has been subjected to for the past couple of weeks.

God bless Peggy Noonan for being willing to see people as people and not go along with the crowd on this one. I agree that there will be something very, very sad if Obama is brought down by this whole thing. IMO, a loss for Obama on the back of Wright will make this country a worse place and take us that much further down the road filled with politicians who are inhuman enough to care more about money than they do about their fellow country men. It is a burden which will be carried by us all that the demagogues will have placed on our backs. Shame on them.

4 thoughts on “God Bless Peggy Noonan

  1. Reading your posts about the Obama/Wright thing has been so validating. I’ve been really frustrated by the reaction of many whites over the past couple of weeks. It’s a little balm to come read someone else who feels the same. To be able to nod in agreement feels good right now.

    I’m glad Peggy Noonan gets it too. I don’t read the WSJ, so I would have missed her column. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.



  2. Stephanie, thank you for your encouraging words. A month or so back when I was participating in the conversation about the Wright thing at Crunchy Cons, I was so frustrated but my husband kept encouraging me to engage. I did have a couple of people contact me off the board to thank me for keeping up the fight. However, I finally had to leave the Crunchy Cons blog when after Obama’s “race speech”, Rod put up a post saying, “it was nice that Obama acknowledged the legitimacy of white anger, but what is he willing to do to address those things that white people are angry about?” After all the terrible discussions which had gone on there, it was like a slap in the face. We’ve never done anything to address the legitimate causes of black anger and disadvantage, but we’re supposed to ask Obama what’s he’s going to do for angry white people? That and an offline conversation with Rod about some issues of race which he cut off after I challenged him to stop complaining and step up just lead me to decide to let it go.

    After seeing the way this whole discussion has gone down, I feel much worse about this country than I did before which is why I was so glad to see Peggy Noonan’s column today. We can only hope that the voices of reason are present and plentiful, but are currently just being shouted down.

    I haven’t talked about the Wright-Obama thing too much here because it’s just too messy and people aren’t willing to listen. So I’ve been trying to write about race in a more general way. You mentioned before that those of us in loving, committed interracial relationships could probably help get a real conversation going which has encouraged me to keep writing about issues of race. But it’s such a big, complicated issue and it’s so hard to get people to think about things differently, you know?


  3. I do know. It’s tough work. I need to do more about it myself, but I’m not sure what yet. I’m keeping my heart open for a leading from God on this.

    I had to bow out of the Crunchy Cons discussion as well. I didn’t have the time to engage in the discussion at the level I would have wanted to, so it just left me feeling angry with no outlet. Thanks for hanging in there as long as you did. Hopefully you made some people think.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s