Friday, July 3, 2015

the president speaks to the nation

The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, delivered the eulogy for State Senator Clementa Pinckney at the College of Charleston on June 26th. Pinckney was pastor at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, he was assassinated with eight other companions at a bible meeting, on June 17th 2015.

Dylann Roof a hateful, young, white man came to kill black people at the most historically significant black church in the state of South Carolina. The confederacy began in Charleston South Carolina. Roof was acting out the rhetoric and slogans in the environment about him.  As Republican after Republican has vowed since the day after Barack Obama won the popular vote for the presidency by ten million on November 4th 2008, "we will take our country back", Roof using similar words took action. But what country is Roof's? He has been photographed desecrating the flag of the United States of America, but celebrating the Confederate battle flag.

An old cry was 'the South will rise again'. What happened to 'the South'? The South lost a war over slavery, particularly over black chattel slavery. They knew they were beaten, and they loathed it. Immediately, they began a propaganda war that has been very successful. Edward A. Pollard wrote "The Lost Cause" 1866, and "The Lost Cause Regained" 1868. He was a journalist who supported slavery and white supremacy. In 1860, a new mostly liberal political party, the Republicans ran  Abraham Lincoln as a candidate. He was not on southern ballots. He received a plurality of the nation's popular vote, but a majority of the electoral vote. The Confederacy began before he was inaugurated. The rebellion was defeated, Lincoln was assassinated by people wanting a continuation. Pollard started the propaganda that the war was fought over states' rights and sovereignty, and that the brave, skilled soldiers of the South were overwhelmed by the resources and manpower of the larger, and richer North. There are no Lincoln dinners in the South.

'Reconstruction' came to the South, and lasted to 1876. It ended after a political agreement to grant the presidency to a Republican candidate. Slavery per se did not return to the South, but civil rights were taken away from blacks. When liberal Democratic presidents (Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson) began to support civil rights, blacks started leaving the Republican party, and southern whites became Republicans. When Harry Truman signed executive orders to desegregate the federal civil, and military workforces in 1948, Strom Thurmond* walked away from the Democratic Party, and ran as a Dixiecrat States Rights candidate and won four of the deep south states. In 1964 Lyndon Johnson signed a Civil Rights Act, and lost five deep south states. Johnson won the presidential election of 1964 in a landslide, for the only other state he lost was the Republican candidate's home state. The solid Democratic South has become the solid Republican South over the years

Between the Charleston assassination and eulogy, there has been a removal of Confederate flags. Since the flags have receded, a number of black southern churches have been burnt to the ground (some by arson). This is a southern tradition, the original church building of Pastor Pinckney's congregation was burned down in 1822.

Mr. Obama is a dignified man. His judgment is not perfect, and he can not have circumstances controlled; but he has been a success as leader of the nation.  Mr. Obama and his family have suffered the most amount of unwarranted, and disrespectful abuse of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his family.  One of the vicious and absurd attacks have been on his 'supposed' religion. His eulogy were said in the words and spirit of the American black churches, to sing "Amazing Grace" perfectly ended an homily.

Mr. Obama gave a religious speech, and it was also a political speech. He spoke of the true loving Christianity of the dead. He spoke of the importance the church in the black community, "our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people in inviolate".  Then, he told what he believed God has shown us at Charleston, "...Oh, but God works in mysterious ways. ...Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer would not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love that shown as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle. The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. ...".  The black church has been a gift to America.

There has already begun political change from that act of violence. The Confederate flag has been seen to be the symbol it really is, "that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression…and racial subjugation. " And he went on further, and spoke on the "unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation". That was somewhat bold words, but true. It was good that he uttered them, but they won't gain much traction. The economic interest of the arms and ammunition industry have created, through their propaganda and political activity, a rabidly loyal electorate. But here, they have not gotten the usual press coverage of their false statements of the ungainly untimeliness to comment after a tragedy they helped create.

Mr. Obama calls for God to grant grace to an undeserving nation.
* Thurmond became a Republican in 1964

1 comment:


    the war was over slavery. Had the south not rebelled they could have kept
    slavery for decades, given the slow gridlock of legislative process. But
    they were very keen to continue expanding slavery, and Lincolns election
    made it clear they would probably not succeed at continuing to do that. It
    is much easier to start fighting than it is to stop fighting.

    Today the confederate flag is a popular ornament in the south, and even
    among southernors who have moved north generations ago. If the war really
    was over states' rights, maybe they would feel more pride in using their
    individual state's flags as ornaments.

    Then again, people view mice as vermin, but mickey mouse merchandise is also
    a popular ornament. The meaning of symbols can transform over time. the
    cross is not the symbol of capital punishment doled out under roman law.

    The Klu Klux Klan frequently used the cross as an icon during the lynching
    days, but we do not ban the cross. Because that would be....a really stupid

    There is also the risk of overanalyzing the issue. Putting much more
    thought into it than most of the people who were actually there at the time.
    the American philosopher Wendell berry said something to the effect "it is
    place, not politics". The best reason to fight, is because everyone else is
    doing it, or because someone tells you to. And also the most common reason.