Barack Obama, a day after decrying his pastor’s racially and politically inflammatory remarks, lamented the “forces of division” at work in the presidential campaign, reported CNN’s political blog. He lamented Rev. Wright’s racial rhetoric:
“And it just – it reminds me that we have a tragic history when it comes to race in in this country – we have got a lot of pent up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding.
“But what I continue to believe in is that this country wants to move beyond these kinds of debates,” he added. “That this country wants something different.”
But how will we finally overcome our “tragic history” without some kind of debate, which inevitably arouses “pent up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding”? To borrow Cornel West’s simple but deep phrase “race matters,” and so it will continue for the foreseeable future. America’s 400 or so years of white supremacy and oppression won’t be resolved easily or quickly. Obama is strategically correct that he can’t win the presidency with a racialized campaign, but beyond the White House, the whole nation has to solve the problem.
The Baha’i Faith considers race unity to be “the most vital and challenging issue” facing America. Everybody probably knows it’s challenging, but it’s “vital” because the life of the nation depends on race unity.
How do we get there? I’ll beging by offering this prayer written by Baha’u’llah, the prophet/founder of my faith, and then adress the issue further in future posts:
Oh my God! Oh my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants and reveal to them Thy great purpose. May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law. Help them, Oh God, in their endeavor, and grant them strength to serve Thee. Oh God! Leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge, and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verily, thou art their Helper and their Lord.