by Paul R. Hollrah –
Rarely do I wait with anticipation to hear what Barack Obama has to say on any subject. After more than six years of his political presence we’ve come to expect that we can place little faith in anything he might say on any subject because he has a totally different view of what otherwise reasonable people might believe.
However, as I watched the Obamas climb the steps of Air Force One on Saturday morning, March 7, on their way to Selma, Alabama to participate in the 50th anniversary of the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, now widely referred to as “Bloody Sunday,” I couldn’t help but think back to March 4, 2007, when Obama spoke from the pulpit of the Brown Chapel A.M.E. church in Selma, the starting point for the “Bloody Sunday” march. In that speech, Obama attempted to fashion an imaginary link between himself and the events of March 7, 1965.
He said: “…something happened back here in Selma, Alabama… Something happened when a bunch of women decided they were going to walk instead of ride the bus after a long day of doing somebody else’s laundry, looking after somebody else’s children. When (black) men who had PhDs decided ‘that’s enough’ and ‘we’re going to stand up for our dignity,’ that sent a shout across oceans so that my grandfather began to imagine something different for his son. His son, who grew up herding goats in a small village in Africa, could suddenly set his sights a little higher and believe that maybe a black man in this world had a chance…
“This young man named Barack Obama… came over to this country. He met this woman whose great great-great-great-grandfather had owned slaves; but she had a good idea there was some craziness going on because they looked at each other and they decided that we know that, (in) the world as it has been, it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child. There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don’t tell me I’m not coming home to Selma, Alabama.”
It sounded good; it was great oratory. But what was the truth of the matter? The problem with Obama’s version of history was that he was born on August 4, 1961, while the first of three marches across the Pettus Bridge in Selma didn’t occur until March 7, 1965, three years and seven months after he was born.
On March 7, 1965, an estimated 550-600 civil rights marchers, led by John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (who now represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district in Congress) and the Reverend Hosea Williams, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, departed the Brown Chapel in Selma and marched east toward Birmingham. The purpose of the march was to call attention to continued efforts by white Democrats across the South to deny blacks their right to vote under the 15th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The march was well publicized in advance and in the hours preceding the march Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark, a Democrat, ordered all male residents of the county, over the age of twenty-one, to report to the county courthouse to be deputized.
The march was peaceful and well-ordered until the marchers reached the Pettus Bridge, where they were confronted by a phalanx of Alabama state troopers and deputized civilians. The marchers were ordered to disband and return to their homes, but when the Reverend Williams attempted to speak to the commander of the state troopers he was told that there was nothing to discuss. It was then that troopers and the members of the sheriff’s posse began shoving the demonstrators backward. Many were knocked to the ground, beaten with nightsticks, and tear gassed, while a detachment of mounted troopers charged the marchers on horseback. Seventeen were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization.
In his passionate remarks on the 50th anniversary of the march, Obama recounted the progress that’s been made since the civil rights era of the 1950s and ‘60s. He said, “Because of what (the marchers) did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African Americans, but for every American. Women marched through those doors. Latinos marched through those doors. Asian-Americans, gay Americans, and Americans with disabilities came through those doors. Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past.”
Yes, the South did rise again, and as it did, century-old Democratic traditions such as Jim Crow, Black Codes, and the night riders of the Ku Klux Klan came to an abrupt end during the 1950s, in part because of those who marched on “Bloody Sunday.” But as it joined the 20th century, the South became the most solidly Republican region of the country. Of twenty-six U.S. senators from the thirteen southern states, twenty-two are Republicans and only four are Democrats.
Nor could Obama resist the temptation to play the “race card” once again. He said, “Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country. I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the civil rights movement.”
He went on to say, “Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the ‘race card’ for their own purposes.”
It is difficult to understand how a man who can read a teleprompter as skillfully as Obama could possibly have failed to notice that it is he, his wife, his attorney general, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and nearly every member of the “progressive intelligentsia” who regularly play the “race card” for purposes of propaganda and political advantage.
In spite of the fact that no one in America has access to a wider variety of information than the man who sits in the Oval Office, he seems not to have grasped the fact that Michael Brown was not the victim of racial animus in Ferguson, Missouri. Instead, he was a common street thug who was shot to death while attempting to do serious, if not fatal, harm to a police officer.
Then, with a straight face, he said, “With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity. Americans don’t accept a free ride for anyone, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes. But we do expect equal opportunity, and if we really mean it, if we’re willing to sacrifice for it, then we can make sure that every child gets an education suitable to this new century… We can make sure every person willing to work has the dignity of a job, and a fair wage, and a real voice, and sturdier rungs on the ladder into the middle class.”
This in spite of the fact that everything he and congressional Democrats have done since he entered the Oval Office has had the exact opposite effect. It is clear that he is totally ignorant of what it is that causes poverty and who it is that provides economic opportunities. In terms of the educational opportunities necessary for social and economic progress, it is Obama and his Democratic friends who have done everything in their power to destroy the quality of a public education and to eliminate as many opportunities for parental school choice as possible… leaving private schools and parochial schools to the very wealthy and the politically powerful.
He concluded his remarks with a totally insincere plea for voting rights and the protection of the right to vote… what he referred to as “the foundation stone of our democracy.” He said, “Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed…
“Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought…?”
Yes, as recently as fifty years ago, millions of blacks risked their lives attempting to exercise their franchise; thousands were shot to death, hung, or burned to death by Democrats hiding behind masks and white sheets. The only efforts at voter oppression we see today are efforts by liberals and Democrats to make voter registration and voting evermore fraud friendly, insuring that every Republican vote is canceled out by at least two Democratic votes… one legal, the other fraudulent. Nor does it seem wise to increase the percentage of voting age people to enter the voting booths on Election Day. Generally speaking, the American people know less about their government and basic economics than voters in any other nation of the free world. Would any of us want to live in a country in which the number of Obama-style voters was increased by a factor of two or three? Could such a nation actually exist? And if so, for how long?
As one of my black conservative friends, radio talk show host Eddie Huff, quipped in 2007, as Barack Obama became a serious contender for the White House, “We need to ask some very serious questions of the senator from Illinois. It’s not enough to be black, it’s not enough to be articulate, and it’s not enough to be eloquent and a media darling… The only question will be how deaf an ear, or how blind an eye, will people turn in order to turn a frog into a prince.”
On March 7, 2015, Barack Obama delivered what may well be remembered as the signature speech of his political career. It’s just too bad it couldn’t have been delivered by a prince… instead of a toad (er, frog). | March 7, 2015