By Arthur Piccolo
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 24, 2012: So here is my Barack Obama story, for this week’s commentary. This is symbolic of why he should not be President any more. A lack of core integrity.
I could cover more important matters this week as I usually do week after week but as has been said again and again by sage after sage symbolism is more important than day to day reality. So this week my focus is symbolism.
February 25, 1870, addresses an underlying flaw in Barack Obama ignoring the date represents in its own simply way how he has largely ignored the real needs of African Americans no matter how many Black star studded parties he hosts at The White House.
So back to the Spring of 2004 – my personal episode with him. I read back then that a young African American from Chicago had just won the Democratic primary in Illinois to run for the U.S. Senate and that he was having his first ever New York City fund raiser.
I had never heard about him prior, just like almost everyone outside of Illinois, but I decided to attend the fund raiser having become familiar with how few Black Americans had ever served in the U.S. Senate and there were none at all in 2004.
So I paid my $100 and stood there with a packed crowd of 800 or 900 other almost all young professional NY African Americans and me there with a small video camera in my pocket for no particular reason. Yes the atmosphere was electric and when Barack Obama arrived and took the stage a few feet from where I was standing he did NOT disappoint. Everyone there heard as engaging and as good a speaker as anyone in that room had probably ever heard. I still remember it clearly.
I took my small camera out – I was the only one there with a video camera – and there was not even one member of the media there. I recorded it all came back to my office excited and made copies on DVD and began distributing them to anyone and everyone I knew.
In every case the response was the same who the heck is BARACK OBAMA and why should I care. Almost no one did.
My personal enthusiasm was unabated and a few weeks later someone I know who was invited but did not want to go to a private meeting with Obama with only a dozen or so in the conference room of a midtown Manhattan law firm asked me if I wanted to take their place. Of course I would and did.
And that was when I first began to find out Obama was not who I hoped he would be. What I brought with me was some of my previous research on the history of African American in the U.S. Senate. Also a few copies of Obama’s so called autobiography “Dreams From My Father.” That is what caught Barack’s attention. I was the ONLY person at the meeting who brought copies of his book for him to autograph and he noticed right away as he said to me.
In fact, after his pitch for support around the table he excused himself from the others so he could autograph the copies of his book I brought with me. Something quite different was on my mind. I hoped to interest him in what I and others were calling the “African American Congressional Pioneers.” 22 Black men who served in Congress after Emancipation and up until the end of the 19th century. Most of all FIRST among them U.S. Senator HIRAM REVELS, the very first African American to ever serve in either chamber of the U.S. Congress when Senator Revels was sworn in on the floor of the U.S. Senate on February 25, 1870. Long, long before February became Black History Month.
I even gave Obama a prized RARE biography of Hiram Revels I had recently obtained through great effort online and hoping he would too take up the cause of the African American Congressional Pioneers. Forgotten HEROES of American history.
These early African American Members of Congress risked their lives ALL of them from the South and with White Southern HATRED rampant following Emancipation and the Civil War.
HIRAM REVELS holds a special place, not only as the FIRST Black American EVER to hold a substantial post in the American government, but also because of what he had to ENDURE to become the FIRST Black U.S. Senator. The U.S. Senate REFUSED to accept his credentials a mere formality when he arrived from Mississippi on horseback in January 1870 to take his seat in the U.S. Senate.
For weeks Senators battled over whether they would EVER let a BLACK sit in their “august” body. That Emancipation in the minds of some of them did NOT mean being equal to Whites in any way least of all in the halls of Congress. The battle RAGED as the nation watched. Fists flew in the Senate and one Member was beaten badly right on the Floor for favoring Revels admission!
FINALLY, late on the Friday afternoon of February 25, 1870, with the Senate gallery PACKED to witness history take place, Hiram Revels credentials survived a majority vote and he proudly walked into the Chamber down the center aisle into the Well of the Senate just as it is today raised his right hand and walked into American history as The New York Times proclaimed on its front page in the prized center column the next day.
So of course I thought Barack Obama would be impressed. WRONG! I got my first signal that spring day in 2004 when he took all the material I gave him but hurried off after that. The last time I ever personally saw or heard from him to this day was riding the elevator down to the lobby – he standing alone with one young aide unnoticed by the others in the packed elevator. I watched him walk to the street to look for a cab. No idea he would be President.
That November of course Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate after capturing the attention of the nation with his speech at the Democratic National Convention. ALL my attempts to speak with anyone in his Senate office about Hiram Revels and the other African American Congressional Pioneers failed as did my efforts to get my book and material returned. So what was the problem?
Why would this “noble” young new African American who entered the U.S. Senate following in Hiram Revels footsteps refuse to have anything to do with him or the other almost two dozen African America Congressional Pioneers all but one other served in the House not the Senate. Rather than as I had hoped that Obama would become their Champion across the land.
Here is the dirty dark “secret” about Hiram Revels and the other original African American Congressmen that Barack Obama fell right in line with avoiding and his conscience sadly ‘untroubled.’
U.S. Senator Hiram Revels and ALL these other Black Congressional Pioneers were REPUBLICANS. And Obama just like all the other regular Democrats (that is all he is – a standard issue insider Democrat) in Congress did NOT want to give them any attention let alone praise because they were REPUBLICANS.
There are two MAJOR ironies here. Never forget the irony. Needless to say The Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln was REPUBLICAN. Second NO African American would have ever even have conceived of being a Democrat in the 1870s. The Democratic Party was the party of RACISM all over America. Indeed the Republican Party was formed in the 1850s by Lincoln and others because the Democratic Party was the Pro-SLAVERY party.
So rather than PRESIDENT Barack Obama using the highest office in the land to FINALLY bring these important legendary Black Americans to everyone’s attention and giving them the recognition they are long, long over due … Saturday, February 25, 2012, the anniversary of one of the landmark events in American history, President Barack Obama will NOT celebrate the life and accomplishments of U.S. Senator Hiram Revels and the African American Congressional Pioneers.
Instead Barack Obama will remain SILENT to his eternal shame for blatant narrow minded political reasons. Just like any one “normal” (sic) politician. Maybe he’ll go to a basketball game instead if it isn’t warm enough for golf.
Shame on you Mr. President Barack Obama!
Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.