President Obama, you are No Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
By Agnes Cross-White
In 2008, this country elected Barack Obama as its 44th president. I didn’t vote for him because I didn’t like the policies that he espoused or his platitudinous rhetoric. I thought then as I do now, that his inexperience and the policies that he espoused would be detrimental to the country and blacks in particular. Many blacks voted for him because he was “black, “and they wanted to see a black person in the office of the presidency. They did not consider who he was, what he was, and most importantly what he stood for. For many millions of Americans, they only considered the color of his skin.
Never in my wildest dream would I have thought that black people or a black man would issue in an era filled with divisiveness, mistrust, and increased hatred among black and white Americans. Even in the turbulence of the 1960s, when the nation for the first time confronted raw hatred and evil perpetrated against us, did we ever see the black rage and rhetoric to the extent we see it today from the White House, to the NAACP, to the streets.
The civil rights era was characterized by peaceful marchers, singing and praying while they were attacked with guns and dogs while venomous and vile speech spewed from the lips of George Wallace, Bull Connor and others.
Little, innocent girls were killed while attending church. We saw a little girl, about 6 years old wearing a white dress with white ribbons in her hair, being forced to walk between lines of National Guardsmen who were protecting her as she walked into a school house. She never flinched or lowered her head as epithets and taunts were hurled at her but she maintained her dignity and composure.
For many millions of black Americans, these events are not just an historical event, but one that represents what it really had been like for many generations. But through it all, we had maintained dignity and resoluteness. Our forefathers did not strike back in the expected manner; nor did they in most cases inflict violence and retribution on our oppressors.
Although we had more than enough provocation from slavery through Jim Crow, our people did not HATE and when the time came for us to fight back against our oppressors; we were sent an apostle of love, forgiveness and non-violence-Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.
President Obama during his political career has held himself up as a model of a post racial era. He has tried to convince us that his election demonstrates the irrelevance of race to the political process.
However he has not governed as a post racial president. He has become the most racially divisive president in recent history. He has allowed himself and those in his administration to show preference for one group over another; allowed himself to become a black president rather than an American president. He took the side of a black professor against a white policeman, rather than remaining neutral and recognizing there were mistakes made on both sides. He automatically drew a conclusion without knowing all the facts. It was not his job to mediate the situation and use the power of the White House to pressure anyone.
He has allowed his Attorney General, Eric Holder to engage in selective prosecution, choosing not to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation and hate speech at the Philadelphia polling places in 2008. He has sent a message to his supporters that he supports these black radical activists.
J. Christian Adams, an attorney in the Justice Department’s civil rights division resigned over the Holder decision saying Holder’s decision to drop the case after the government had already won it was motivated by race.
“There is a pervasive hostility within the civil rights division at the Justice Department toward these sorts of cases,” Adams told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.
Adams has said that this decision is a symptom of the Obama administration’s reverse racism and “that the Justice Department will not pursue voting rights cases against white victims.”
What is the difference between what was done to us and today’s ignoring of the rights of white voters?
Obama is increasingly polarizing the country racially, reigniting old feelings and fueling old prejudices and bigotry. He is playing the race card, revving up his base in order to keep control of Congress and win re-election.
As black Americans, we have all been aware of the importance of being “the best” Walter Williams, Political and Economics professor at George Mason University said, “For the nation and for black people, the first black president should be the caliber of a Jackie Robinson and Barack Obama is not. Barack Obama has charisma and charm but in terms of character, values and understanding, he is no Jackie Robinson.”
Unfortunately, the Obama presidency will probably be a failed presidency like that of Jimmy Carter. His policies will be destructive for the nation and may take decades to reverse, but it will be devastating to the black community.
Let’s face it, no future white president will have to carry Carter’s baggage for being a poor president. But unfortunately, a future black presidential candidate will have to carry Obama’s baggage.
Obama has forgotten or never understood the African-American experience in this country. He has an African and a radical white American experience. He is an “academic African-American,” an adoptee. He is not a child of slavery and Jim Crow. African-Americans have overcome oppression with nobility, purposefulness, and dedication to principles, not promoting divisiveness, hatred and polarization.
We are the progeny of Fredrick Douglas who said, “In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…. I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … Your interference is doing him positive injury.”.
We followed Dr. Martin L. King who taught love, forgiveness and reconciliation, not retribution and violence and hatred.
Dr. King said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. “
Our experience as African-Americans led us to follow Dr. King and not Stokely Carmichael. King said, “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
In your quest President Obama to acquire power for yourself, you have sacrificed decades of black American history and achievement and you have impeded the progress of future generations.
“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control. “
President Obama, you are no Frederick Douglas, no Jackie Robinson and no, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr and the futures of black Americans will suffer for it.
___________________Agnes Cross-White lives near the beach in Daytona Beach, Florida where she writes editorials about the human condition, the cultural wars, politics and their effect on the black community.