Obama’s America – Episode 215 – Crossing The Bridge With Barack Obama

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Where Is This Bridge Taking Us?

By Arthur Piccolo

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Mar. 13, 2015: I was not in Selma, Alabama last weekend but President Obama was.

No one can fault him for that – not me!  But here in Obama’s America our job each week is to look past the simple manufactured reality of President Barack Obama and his administration to find deeper truths.

If all I do is produce the same knee jerk response of the other media, why bother? It would be as useless as their superficial views.

Here in Obama’s America when President Obama goes to Selma on the 50th anniversary we expect more than a photo op and empty rhetoric. When the President goes to Selma on such an important anniversary I expect – and you should expect – to find out all he has done in the Spirit of Selma these last 6+ years as the First Black President. Sit down Bill Clinton; it’s not you.

But what I am most looking for is what is President Obama going to do that is new, exciting and meaningful these last two years and then go even further tie Selma into an even wider context that will move us all forward.

So let me go and find a copy of his Selma speech on The White House Website I hope and begin this week’s episode there.

As I have at other times I am going to do a forensic analysis of Obama’s actual speech he delivered in Selma, Alabama, March 7, 2015 Dig into it for truths and revelations others in the media completely ignore.

Shall we begin …

“As John (Lewis) noted, there are places and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided.  Many are sites of war – Concord and Lexington, Appomattox, Gettysburg.  Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character – Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.”

So far so good.

“Selma is such a place.  In one afternoon 50 years ago, so much of our turbulent history — the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham; and the dream of a Baptist preacher — all that history met on this bridge.”

OK …


… and for perspective Barack Obama was 3 years old in Hawaii.

“It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the true meaning of America.  And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and so many others, the idea of a just America and a fair America, an inclusive America, and a generous America — that idea ultimately triumphed.”

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa .. we have encountered our first problem – the Obama rhetorical rose colored glasses … “the idea of a just America and a fair America, an inclusive America, and a generous America — that idea ultimately triumphed.”

Excuse me Mr. President?

A FAIR America, an INCLUSIVE America and a GENEROUS America has “triumphed?.” Are you still back in Hawaii or has the Big House and the Giant Jet gone to your head. This is NOT the way most African Americans live. And sorry NO fancy golf clubs to play at either.

Let’s get back to the speech and see where this is headed.

“As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation.  The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.”

OK we can dismiss that rhetoric as having no meaningful value. Next …

“We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching towards justice.”

Yea but this march is far, far from reaching its goal Barack. And here’s the thing. Obama what have you done these last 6 years to speed the march?

Nothing! Bla! bla! bla! Keep youf\r list of minor measures that amount to nothing that any Democratic President could claim not the first BLACK President.

What have you done MORE as an African American President? Up until very recently, worried about your legacy and how you would be perceived you had avoided any close identity with your AfricanAmerican community.

Of course you are crossing the bridge on the 50th anniversary it looks good.

I am leaving out some more sound good rhetoric here signifying nothing.

OK here is something further down the speech …

“What they did here will reverberate through the ages.  Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible, that love and hope can conquer hate.”

Again President Obama makes it sound almost like the victory is done. Most of the work behind us because some of the most hateful violent episodes are now rarer. Not my definition of victory. Here is Obama’s rosy analysis “they proved ………  that love and hope can conquer hate.”

Obama says CONQUER as in the victory is won. No way. Still just begun.

I need to jump ahead again past more feel good Obama rhetoric.

Ready for this …

“It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths.  It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what is right, to shake up the status quo.  That’s America.”

Here’s the problem with that statement. Too bad it does not characterize President Obama and his administration. Disruption, shake up the status quo. Sorry there us no way to describe Obama as a “disruptor” or challenging the Status Quo. Obama is a quintessential Status Quo Democratic President.

Being elected the first African American President  does not disrupt by itself, and simply being elected does not change the Status Quo it isi what you do and since the 50th anniversary of Selma was about African Americans, African Americans still have below average prospects.

Back to the speech …

“Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for black folks, but for every American.  Women marched through those doors.  Latinos marched through those doors.  Asian Americans, gay Americans, Americans with disabilities — they all 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.”

If you believe statements like that  you will picture a very different America the one “black folks” and mostly American face NOT “the doors of opprtunity swung open.”  I’m trying to picture all those with all the money and the power going up to their huge gold doors swinging them open and inviting EVERYONE in with African Americans at the head of the line.

That is NOT exactly the picture of reality President Obama.

I have reached the point I have in the past doing a forensic in an Obama speech there I still so so much to go. I cannot inflict that on my audience or myself. It is worse for me I have to do the forensic for you !

I’m going to jump to the last real paragraph before his concluding flourish.

Ready just part of it before he goes for the applause lines  …

“Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished, but we’re getting closer.  Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding our union is not yet perfect, but we are getting closer.  Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile.  Somebody already got us over that bridge.

That’s right President Obama says …

“Our march is not yet finished, but we’re getting closer.  Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding our union is not yet perfect, but we are getting closer ….. Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile.”

The first mile?  there are so many miles yet to go.

Just as many after 6+ years of President Obama as before.

Others will need to do far better or we will lose.

Be stuck on the bridge.

About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.