Center of the Universe, Part I

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At the memorial service for five slain police officers held Tuesday in Dallas, President Barack Obama gave yet another disgraceful performance. Rather than focusing attention on the officers murdered in the line of duty by an admitted racist assassin, Mr. Obama hijacked the event to pitch his warped view of American history, shill for Black Lives Matter, and exhonerate sans evidence the criminal suspects recently shot by police. But mostly he used the event to tell us all about Barack Obama.

Barack Obama mentioned himself 45 times during the speech, which he personally  wrote. He told us “how Americans are feeling” because  “I know  America.”

Then there was this:

We also know that centuries of racial discrimination — of slavery, and subjugation, and Jim Crow — they didn’t simply vanish with the end of lawful segregation.  They didn’t just stop when Dr. King made a speech, or the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act were signed. 

The United States just celebrated its 240th birthday. This country, which mounted a successful colonial rebellion against its ruler Great Britain, inherited chattel slavery from that country. While the Revolution was still being fought, the practice of slavery in the new nation was already in the process of being abolished, with Vermont leading the way in 1777. In 1785, a group of New Yorkers, including Alexander Hamilton and  Aaron Burr, formed the Society for Manumission of Slaves. By the 1790 census, 94 percent of the 698,000 U.S. slaves lived in the South.

The U.S. Civil War, which ended slavery in the United States, cost the lives of 620,000, North and South. Slavery in the U.S. was officially ended on the 1st of January, 1863,  a scant 87 years after the founding of this country.

The passage of the 15th amendment  in 1870 — 94 years after the founding of this country –gave black men the de jure (and in the North, de facto) right to vote. (No woman of any race, class or economic situation would have the right to vote in any federal election for another half century.)

Beginning in 1874, “Jim Crow” laws were passed in the 16 former Confederate States and the District of Columbia as Republican rule ended. The Democrats’ racial laws segregating the South were only ended in the 1950’s. By that time, there were 48 states in the US.

African-Americans have rights equal to those of all other Americans. In fact, the Supreme Court recently upheld Affirmative Action laws that give an advantage to African Americans in college admission –a decision with which 57% of African Americans disagree.

African Americans are in every profession from President to janitor.  Americans of all races have African American friends and co-workers. We grow up in the same neighborhoods. Most Americans have had African American teachers or professors.  One of the priests at my church is African American.  Sports and entertainment fields are filled with talented and highly paid African Americans.  There are many African American entrepreneurs. And recently, the top pediatric neurosurgeon on the planet –an African American –ran for the Republican presidential nomination.

While the President seems to believe that ours is a deeply racist country, that “racism is in our DNA”, I  think he is not only wrong, but lying. He claims that “we are not as divided as we seem.” And one thing is certain: we are nowhere near as divided as we seem to him.

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