By John W Lillpop
It seems like just yesterday that a young, clean-cut, articulate,”without a Negro dialect” Democrat senator from Illinois captured the imagination of the nation and the entire world with ringing oratory and powerful promises of “hope and change.”
Among Barack Obama’s most inspiring words back then was his lofty promise to usher in a “post-racial” era in which, under his leadership as the first American president of color, divisions between the races would be reconciled and racial healing would commence, from sea-to-shining sea.
It was to be a righteous ministry that would dissolve eons of seemingly intractable enmity between Americans of differing ethnic and racial backgrounds. Ultimately, the Obama ministry would transform the American motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” which is Latin for “out of many, one” into reality.
He could do it, Obama promised, because of his unique genealogical roots, and superior intellectual and moral properties. All he required was the keys to the Oval Office, unimpeded access to presidential pens and phones, inexhaustible inventories of blank Executive Orders, AND the authority and powers vested in America’s Commander-in-Chief.
American voters took the bait and elected Barack Hussein Obama to the US presidency in 2008. Alas, the Obama presidency has not improved racial relations; in fact, relations have deteriorated during Obama’s watch.
Of course it would be foolish to blame Obama alone for the current racial strife that permeates American life, but one cannot help but wonder if the flames would be less intense if the president had made an honest effort to put out the fires, rather than enflaming passions with intemperate comments and actions that have had the ill effect of pouring gasoline on raging flames.
One of Obama’s most controversial acts in this regard was his recent defense of the “Black Lives Matter” movement which has included calls for killing police and white people in general.
As reported in the media:
Defending the Black Lives Matter movement, President Barack Obama said Thursday the protests are giving voice to a problem happening only in African-American communities, adding, “We, as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously.”
Obama said the movement, which sprung up after the deaths of unarmed black men in Florida, Missouri and elsewhere, quickly came to be viewed as being opposed to police and suggesting that other people’s lives don’t matter. Opponents have countered that “all lives matter.”
At the conclusion of a White House forum on criminal justice, Obama said he wanted to make a final point about the nexus of race and the criminal justice system before launching into his defense of the movement.
“I think everybody understands all lives matter,” Obama said. “I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that’s happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities.
“And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
Regrettably, rather than working to calm racial tensions, Obama’s words appear to be making excuses for those who advocate violence against law enforcement and white Americans.
Perhaps the president could soothe, rather than aggravate, the situation by choosing his words more carefully and by promoting unity, rather than further division.