This has been an interesting week in that a number of the imperfections of American society have been surfaced, a dialog begun, and the media has punted. Digby discusses it all at length.
There's not too much I can add to what Digby wrote. But the conservative use of Rev. Wright's sermon shows such a narrow-minded blind view of some mythical perfection of America that I am amazed. America is a fantastic experiment in how to make a society better. But it is yet an experiment, one with many flaws, surrounding the great American original sin of slavery and the racism that grew from that to the fear-based segregation - a fear-based solution which South Africa copied in 1948 when they passed their Apartheid Laws based on South Carolina's segregation laws.
Racism is not a thing of the past in America. It has only changed, and been removed from written law, and yes, reduced somewhat. But it is hard to look at statistics that show de facto segregation still exists and further statistics that show that altough Blacks, who represent only 11% of the American population and are only 20% more likely to use illegal drugs, they for some strange reason represent nearly half of America's excessive prison population. Racism causes that? Sure. And the racism is based on fear. As Digby points out regarding racism: "...the single most powerful lingering vestige of racism is an irrational fear of an angry black mob --- led by an angry black man." The continuous loop of Rev. Jeramiah Wright's sermon demonstrates that fear perfectly. That loop is on the news because he is Black and seems angry. The Rev. Pat Robertson called for assassinating Hugo Chavez, and Rev. Hagee calles for speeding up the war that will end the human race and destroy all Jews, but do those get endless media loops? Of course not. Those two guys are White, so they don't threaten White conservatives.
The upcoming Presidential election is becoming really complicated. I had originally thought that it would be a battle over the obvious idiocy of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The recent economic events clearly demonstrate that the three decade experiment with conservative free market - no government economics has led to economic disaster as we enter what even Alan Greenspan, one of the key architects of the economic disaster agrees is the worst economic downturn since the Depression of the thirties. But apparently that's not all.
We are also going into an election that has also surfaced the blatant misogyny that runs through America, and with the half-White, half Black Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President, the conservatives are grasping the only competitive weapon they have that might win the Presidency for them - Fear of the Angry Black Man.
Compared to that, the heavy strain of fear of Muslims is really a minor note in the overall symphony of fear that is the basis of John McCain's Presidential campaign.
As I say, this is becoming a complicated Presidential election and it still has over seven months left to run.
Go read Digby. She's right and I don't have time at the moment to explain why, even assuming that I could match her for clarity and expressiveness.