22 March 2008

Math Any Ten Year Old Can Do

I was just on the phone this morning with a friend here in Atlanta. I’d called her to inform her about the recent death of a young man we both knew, because we hail from the same town in South Carolina. It turns out she happened to be home this weekend, and had just found out herself. She was actually in the process of getting ready to go to the funeral when I called.

“Yep,” she exclaimed, “I know it’s got to be hard on his daddy. I guess I need to go sit in the church today. For his father.”

We traded a few remarks about the dead son. We spoke about the funeral, and where it would be held.

“You know the pastor can’t let you leave a funeral without making sure he’s taken you there,” my friend said. “He’s going to preach to us until he thinks we’ve got the spirit.” In the next breath, she brought up the controversy with Reverend Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor. “Speaking of pastors – how long you think they’re going to keep our boy on the ropes with this thing?”

I proceeded to talk about what the lack of diversity in the places that matter in America really means – that the overly homogeneous press corps we want to rely on as a Fourth Estate who represent ALL of our interests seem to only attend white churches. If there were more than a token amount of minority journalists and news reporters in this group, I asserted, maybe we would see some stories about kinds of churches she and I grew up around, where preachers understood that their job was to entertain as well as enlighten in order to maintain and grow their congregations.

She asked me if I thought it was a death knell for Obama – if the loss he was anticipating in Pennsylvania would put Clinton back in the lead.

“BACK in the lead? Lead of what?” I practically shouted into the phone. I proceeded to tick off the facts – “math any ten year old could do” is actually how I put it – that strongly suggested that this race would end up after the North Carolina primary the same way it did after the Texas/Ohio contests – with no net change to either candidate of delegates won, and no net change in the number of actual votes – now standing at 700,000 – by which Obama was leading Clinton.

“You need to turn that news off,” I continued, “and just use the links I send you to keep an eye on the raw numbers. If you listen to these people in the media, they will have you believing that 9 is greater than 10. That 1246 is greater than 1414. That 12.5 million is greater than 13.2 million.”

She laughed. “I see your point.”

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