Is race now an issue in the presidential campaign? Oh yes. Some thoughts on it:
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people." Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's former pastor, 2003.
"The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress had been made; as if this country--a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black, Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old, is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know...is that America can change." Barack Obama, March 18, 2008.
"I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist? An extremist for love, truth, and goodness... One has a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws. We should never forget that everything Adolph Hitler did in Germany was 'legal.' Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust." Dr. Martin Luther King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1962.
"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black." Robert Kennedy, April 4, 1968, breaking the news of Dr. King's assassination to a mostly black crowd at a campaign rally in Indianapolis, Indiana.
"The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through--a part of our union that we have not yet made perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care or education or the need to find good jobs for every American." Barack Obama, March 18, 2008.
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" Martin Luther King, August 28, 1968.