Back in March 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama found himself in a rut.
Video tapes had made the rounds of inflammatory sermons by the man who officiated his marriage to his wife and baptized his two daughters. All of a sudden Obama’s status as a “clean” candidate (his future running mate and vice-president’s description) was in jeopardy.
In what would be the pivotal moment of his campaign, Obama delivered an address on race at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to salvage his candidacy.
Though in retrospect, the speech, which was so special it has its own name, “A More Perfect Union”, and Wikipedia page, was nothing more than a cold calculated gambit to distract the public from the ravings of his family minister and redefine his candidacy as that of being more than an election for a public office.
Part of the reason someone less than four years removed from the Illinois state legislature was elevated to the nation’s highest office was the hope that he could heal the country’s longstanding racial animosities.
His election was to mark the beginning of America’s post-racial era. Whites demonstrated that they were willing to entrust the country’s future to an African-American politician and Obama’s victory would inspire blacks to fully buy into belief that this was a nation of limitless opportunities.
Centuries of distrust and cynicism on both sides of the racial divide would be swept aside in one magical moment, when Martin Luther King incarnate moved into the White House.
People did not so much vote with their hopes but with their imaginations as they made Obama out to be something he was not.
To say that Obama did not live up to his billing would be a gross understatement as he regularly exploited divisions within the country for his political benefit.
If anyone thought that a more sincere Obama would emerge after the 2012 election, such optimism should have evaporated shortly before the president strode to the platform to deliver his second inaugural address, for there in the VIP area was the Reverend Al Sharpton.
So much for distancing himself from controversial preachers.
Nobody has ever “accused” Reverend Sharpton of being a voice for healing or a peacemaker. Rather than being a salve, the self-promoting Sharpton is an accelerant of ill will whose purpose is to stir up emotions to a froth, the facts be ignored and the target be damned if not killed by those caught up in the fervor.
When Al Sharpton put his name on the ballot for president he was overwhelmingly rejected by his fellow Democrats.
In the 2004 New Hampshire Democratic primary, he received all 347 votes, only 90 votes than George W. Bush received as a Democratic write in.
Yet there was America’s leading race agitator literally in rock star seating (Jay Z was not far away).
On July 19th Barack Obama gave another speech on race in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in his fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Obama doubled down on his previous absurd assertion how the gangsta Martin could have been his son, to declaring that 35 years ago Trayvon could have been him. Beyond the involvement with illegal drugs, privileged Obama and troubled Martin had few shared life experiences and interests.
Why did the president of the United States feel a need to say anything at all about it?
Did Obama volunteer a comment when six year old Ahlitta North was stabbed to death and then discarded in the trash by a 20 year old black man?
No. What Zimmerman did was self-defense; what happened to that innocent little black girl was evil.
But discussing black on black crime by America’s first black president doesn’t put a fire in the hearts of his electorate nor does it fill up his party’s campaign coffers. Besides, holding your screaming fans accountable is a drag.
Instead of addressing the needs of a segment of the American population who disproportionately endures more misery than any other group, President Obama delivered a nebulous meandering talk implying that black Americans are paranoid about the very system he presides over.
It was giant rambling cop out surrounded by the trappings of the White House. It was also a sign that there would be no great national healing by this messiah.
By the president’s continued inclination to incite instead of inspire, this administration more resembles that of Reverend Al than Dr. King.