The Rev. William Barber dropped the mic
Dear Branch Leaders and Members of the NC NAACP and the thousands of North Carolina friends who are members and friends of the 215 partner organizations in our Forward Together Moral Movement,
Dr. Barber was almost arrested, in Cleveland two weeks ago, when he and other Faith Leaders tried to deliver their Petition for a Revival of Moral Values to the Republican Convention. The Petition was developed and has been endorsed by hundreds of Black, White and Latino leaders of all faiths. At the Democratic Convention they were able to deliver the Petition and, rather than arrest Rev. Barber, they offered their podium to present his prophetic message in prime time last night. He addressed the convention and its television viewers as a preacher and individual; he did not represent the NAACP. Today’s Washington Post is excerpted here:
The Rev. William Barber II from North Carolina brought the crowd at the Democratic convention to tears and then to their feet calling for a “shock” to “revive the heart of our democracy.” Ricky Carlot, Washington Post Photographer
Well, America what the Rev. William Barber II stopped by the Democratic National Convention Thursday night to tell you was just about the most engaging version of everything that every other speaker touched on over the course of the four-day event.
What he delivered —eight years after this brand of liberation theology took a beating from uninformed corners of the conservative commentariat — was evidence of a long tradition of liberal, religious patriotism. It was a call to action that, in Barber’s view, serves this cause — an articulation of a liberal and patriotic philosophy with what Barber said was the moral force to shock and resuscitate the heart of the nation.
“We are being called like our forefathers and foremothers to be the moral defibrillators of our time,” Barber said.
The call brought most of the audience in the convention hall to its feet.
Barber’s remarks were delivered with the force and lyricism of someone who wages regular war with words. So, they may not easily fade into the ether.
A few examples from Barber’s remarks which seemed to hang in the air:
“I am worried by the way that faith is cynically used by some to serve hate, fear, racism and greed.”
“Listen to the ancient chorus in which deep calls unto deep.”
“Pay people what they deserve, share your food with the hungry. Do this and then your nation shall be called a repairer of the breach.”
“Jesus, a brown-skin Palestinian Jew, called us to preach good news to the poor, the broken and the bruised and all those who are made to feel unaccepted.”
“Some issues are not left or right or liberal versus conservative. They are right versus wrong.”
“We need to embrace our deepest moral values…for revival at the heart of our democracy…When we love the Jewish child and the Palestinian child, the Muslim and the Christian and the Hindu and the Buddhist and those who have no faith but they love this nation, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.”
What Barber was all but saying in an address built around a metaphor of the heart and national health is that in an election where so much of the oxygen, the energy, and the attention has rested with the Republican ticket, those who believe in something different have a moral obligation to get about the business of defeating that party’s nominee, Donald Trump.
If you missed Rev. Barber’s address, please click here to watch it.