President Obama spoke recently at the Black Caucus Annual Awards Dinner. After reminding his audience of the civil rights struggle he went on to say “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes” his voice rose in response to applause as he continued. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”
The same words can convey very different messages to different audiences. When a controversial black president tells a black activist audience to put on their marching shoes and press on, that the struggle has never been easy, it is an emotion filled charge equating opposition to his jobs bill to injustices against blacks in the Jim Crow days. Obama is fanning a breeze over the smolders of rage and playing the race card to the hilt. When Obama says to a black audience “We have shaped our own destiny before and we can shape our own destiny again” he is not making a patriotic appeal to the nation. He is pitting blacks against whites over the issue of unemployment.
There have been many great African-Americans down through the years. The first person to die for the American Revolutionary cause was a black man named Crispus Attucks. We can name Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice and of course, Martin Luther King. The list of great black American men and women goes on and on. It is a tragedy of tragedies that our first black president should turn out to be a professional agitator who opens old wounds to satisfy his personal rage.