I'm fed up and can't take it anymore!
My experience is that desperate people are dangerous -- to themselves and to others. The McCain campaign has just taken me to my limit with this redistribution of wealth thing. One of the double-edged swords of the Information Age is fact-checking. However, there is a twist. Depending upon who is checking the facts, there is a different version of the truth. We all want to believe the best of the candidate we ae supporting, so we agree with "facts" that support our perceptions, and we ignore "facts" that disagree with our opinions.
I was so outraged by the suggestions of Marxism and Socialism, I had to do my own fact checking on this one. This took much more time than I wanted, but I must share what I leaned with everyone who really wants to know the truth.
The propaganda that the McCain/Palin folks are buying into is summarized in this blatant distortion of Obama's comments:
"Yes he just said it's a tragedy the constitution wasn't radically reinterpreted to force redistribution of wealth for Americans . . . and it's still an issue today."
See and hear the distortion at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck
Clearly, the McCain campaign and some news reporters would rather use a Youtube source for the basis of their questions and conclusions than listen to the full context of the discussion -- "The Court and Civil Rights."
This was a 50 minute discussion, on the NPR program "Odyssey" on WBEZ radio in Chicago in 2001, and his comments were taken from short segments near the end. I took the time to listen to the entire discussion and offer the excerpts below in the time context. I would recommend that you listen to as much or little as you want to make up your mind about whether his comments are Marxist.
Click here to listen -- (http://audio.wbez.org/Odyssey/CourtandCivilRights.mp3)
39:00 minutes: (Dennis Hutchinson) "The idea that you can use the due process clause to redistributive ends ... "
40:00 Minutes: Obama -- "Essentially, it has never happened. . . If you look at the victories and failures of the Civil Rights movement and its strategy in the courts, the Civil Rights movement succeeded in vesting formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples... But the Supreme Court never ventured into issues of redistribution of wealth. . . and sort of basic issues of political and economic justice in society. . . Generally The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. . . it says what the Federal Government and State Government can't do to you. But it doesn't say what the Federal Govenment or the State Government must do on your behalf. And that hasn't shifted."
41:00 minutes: Obama -- "One of the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement is that the movement was so "court focused" that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the coalitions of power that bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that." (the court focus. Parentheses are mine)
Reparative Economic Work? (in response to a listener's question)
46:00: Obama -- "I am not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn't structured that way."
46:00 minutes: Obama -- "It is politically very hard to legitimize opinions from the court. You can craft theoretical justification for economic change legally -- to bring about economic change through the courts. As a practical matter our institutions are poorly equipped to do it."
The court makes distributive decisions all the time. (moderator)
49:00 minutes: Obama -- "The court is not initiating funding streams, but their decisions do. . . have a distributive aspect to them."
There is nothing in the context of this program or Obama's comments that advocates redistribution of wealth. Yes, he mentions economic redistribution as a consequence of the Civil Rights movement. But it is intellectually disingenuous to suggest that his remarks or political philosophy has any Marxist implications.
I had to do this fact check on my own. If you want a short verson of this dialog, use mine. This is the truthful version.
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