Obama, Wright and Socrates
While I generally disagree with Newt Gingrich, he does make some excellent points about Obama and Wright.
As Gingrich and others have pointed out, Obama presumably knew about Wright’s views in question and elected (and still elects) to remain part of the church. If Obama disagrees with these views, then one might conclude that Obama either shows poor judgment in remaining in the church or that Obama lacks the courage of his convictions. Either is obviously a bad quality for the man who would be President.
Further, if Obama disagreed with Wright’s remarks, then he should have taken him aside before and attempted to correct his friend. If Wright is a good man, then, as Socrates said, he would have changed his ways when he learned of his error. But, Obama apparently did not take him aside to correct him and instead allowed him to go on a path he now denounces. As such, he failed his friend in this regard.
Perhaps Obama did not wish to confront him, perhaps out of respect or perhaps because he thought he could not change his mind. After all, it might be said, we all have friends and relatives we disagree with but realize there is little point in trying to change their ways.
If Obama agrees with these views, but is renouncing them now for political reasons, then he is doubly wrong. First, for holding to wrongful views and second for acting in a deceitful manner by renouncing what he believes.
Obama did, once Wright’s words became known, give a powerful speech in response to the situation. I think that the speech was effective and made many reasonable points about race and anger in America. But, he had to make this speech because of what he had not done in the past.
Perhaps it is the case that he is now showing the sort of decisive action that is required to be an effective President. Naturally, his critics claim that he is merely doing damage control because he has to do so. In either case, he still handled the problem well and, most likely, avoided being harmed extensively by his association with Wright.