When the assassination of John F. Kennedy horrified a nation, Black Muslim Minister Malcolm X declared it payback for America's violence in the world, a case of "chickens coming home to roost."
"Being an old farm boy myself," said Malcolm, "chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad, they've always made me glad."
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright surely had Malcolm's words in mind when, the Sunday after the 9-11 massacre of 3,000 Americans, he declared this, too, was a case of "America's chickens ... coming home to roost."
"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
So Wright told his congregation on Sept. 16, 2001.
In a sermon delivered at the Howard University chapel on Jan. 15, 2006, reports Ron Kessler of NewsMax, Wright "blamed America for starting the AIDS virus, training professional killers, importing drugs and creating a racist society that would never elect a black candidate president." Wright told the Howard students:
"Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. No black man will ever be considered for president ... and no black woman can ever be considered for anything outside what she can give with her body.
"America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. ... We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional killers. ... We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against (Fidel) Castro and (Muammar) Ghadhafi. ... We put (Nelson) Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority, and believe it more than we believe in God.
"We started the AIDS virus. ... We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty." Thus did the Rev. Wright conclude.
This virulent strain of anti-Americanism and Afroracism has long fed the rage, resentment and paranoia in precincts of black America, which manifests itself in the horrendous (and hidden) statistics of black-on-white crime in America. Nothing exceptional there.
What is exceptional is that Wright is the spiritual father of Barack Obama, the pastor, teacher and mentor who brought Barack into the church, married him and Michelle, baptized their children and has been a confidant to the man who would be America's president.
For 20 years, Barack has attended Wright's church, listened to his weekly sermons, entertained him in his home. Yet, says Barack, he never heard any racist rants at church, nor was he aware that Wright held so poisoned a view of his country.
Sorry, that is not credible. Wright is a famous preacher in black America, and Barack's denial he was aware of his views marks him down either as a dissembler or a man so obtuse he ought not be a security guard at Wal-Mart, let alone president of the United States.
It is easy now to understand why Michelle Obama, before Barack began to win, had never once been proud of her country. Who could be proud of the America that lives in the malignant imagination of the Rev. Wright?
Barack has now moved to separate himself from Wright's rants and removed him from the campaign roster. And he will likely be forced, with anguish, to turn his back on, repudiate, and reject his beloved friend and teacher.
But it is too late for that. For Wright has, for millions of Americans, filled in the blanks about Barack. Wright tells us the kind of company Barack keeps, the kind of men he holds close, the kind of attitudes and beliefs he finds acceptable, if not congenial.
That Wright is a revered preacher in black America also tells us that, far from coming together, we Americans are further apart than we were in the 1950s, when Negroes could be described as Christian, conservative and patriotic. Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad did not speak for black America then. Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young and Dr. Martin Luther King did. But Jeremiah Wright makes Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown sound like the Mills Brothers.
Truly, the Democratic Party is now headed for a train wreck. Though Barack seems likely to win more pledged delegates than Hillary, the super-delegates will have to decide whether they want to offer America a nominee whose pastor and mentor embodies the anti-white racism and anti-Americanism that has ever brought the patriotic blood of Middle America to a boil. Wright is not the sort of fellow you want to bring with you into "Deer Hunter" Country.