When America was attacked without provocation on Sept. 11, 2001, Barack Obama's longtime pastor said we had it coming -- that America's chickens were coming home to roost.
With that pastor, and having associated with a homegrown terrorist, Obama may find that he, himself, has a chicken coop that's starting to fill up.
For the better part of a presidential campaign now stretching well over a year, the Illinois senator has been an enigma -- a pleasant, inspiring presence that was difficult to see through. A voice for change, but never quite explaining what kind of change.
And for all these months, the bulk of the national news media have been content to report mostly on what you already could see and hear -- not venturing very far backstage into the candidate's past.
Then it came out that Obama's pastor was an anti-white, anti-American flamethrower.
At first, Obama claimed he never heard his pastor Jeremiah Wright's verbal assaults against the United States and against whites. Then he acknowledged hearing some, but insisted he wouldn't disown the pastor. Still later, he claimed he would have left the church -- after 20 years -- if Wright weren't already retiring.
Meanwhile, Michelle Obama has been quoted as saying America is "just downright mean," and that she'd never before been proud of her country until her husband's campaign. Despite a college education at Princeton and Harvard Law School, she once wrote of her distaste for "further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant."
She disparages the very country that has helped lift her up -- up to the point of possibly becoming first lady.
Now, a direct association between the Obamas and an unabashed, unapologetic terrorist named William Ayers has come out.
The mainstream media were loath to admit it at first. They've known about it for months. But the association was brought out into the open by ABC News' Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulus at the Democratic debate Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Some see a pattern here.
"Why is Barack Obama so comfortable around people who so despise America and its allies?" writes former terrorism prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. "Maybe it's because they're so comfortable around him."
Obama's explanations for the company he keeps are somewhat lacking, too. When reminded that his church honored the virulent Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan -- who has said that blacks are the original people and that whites are "blue-eyed devils" who have yet to evolve into humans -- here's what Obama had to say:
"An award was given to Farrakhan for his work on behalf of ex-offenders, completely unrelated to his controversial statements."
This, from a candidate who earlier in the campaign ("Just words? Just words?") stressed the critical importance of words. Hmm.
Moreover, besides honoring the despicable Farrakhan, Obama's church also has been influenced by the doctrine of "black liberation theology" inspired by New York professor James Hal Cone, who once wrote:
"Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community.... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal."
These things are hardly trivial. They reflect the vividly racist, often radical America-hating views and actions of those who have influenced and surrounded Barack Obama over the years.
He needs to explain, as McCarthy says, why he is "so comfortable around people who so despise America and its allies."
Otherwise, his claims of wanting racial unity and loving his country risk being seen as just words, just words.