Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bloody Sunday

Thank goodness for C-Span. I enjoy my news non-filtered and preferred to watch the Showdown In Selma without Wolf Blitzer nattering on about how significant the occasion was. I remembered watching the original news about the Selma march in 1965 and being horrified, as was most of the nation, by the brutality of the police as they mowed down the marchers with horses and billy clubs. C-Span allowed me to hear the electrifying address by Congressman John Lewis and the always magnificent Rev. Joseph Lowery speaking about the "good crazy people," which the major networks picked up on, but without context. Barack Obama was invited to speak at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church by John Lewis, a hero of the Selma March who was beaten and bloodied on that dark day. Obama did not give a stem-winding speech, although his emotion rose several times during the address. Rather, he was measured and respectful, aware that he was only a child when the events of Bloody Sunday took place, but cognizant of the personal effect of the movement on both his life and campaign for the presidency.

If Obama came in humility, Hillary came in hubris. Uninvited to attend, Hillary leaned on Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, another hero of the movement, to ask her to address his congregation, only 100 yards from where Obama spoke. As if that weren't chutzpah enough, she brought Bill along for the first time in her campaign. For Hillary to bring Bill for her speech to a black audience reminded me of President Bush insisting that he would appear before the 9/11 Commission only with Dick Cheney by his side. Her speech in the church was more minstrel show than commemorative address. It could only have been more entertaining if she had done it in blackface. Hillary is so scripted and managed, you can almost see the key in her back. And why is it that when white people from the North speak to black people from the South, they get a sorghum molasses twang in their voice and an exaggerated drawl that seems more condescending than a poor attempt to "relate?" Sister Hillary had the cadence going and the sing-song voice rising when she attached that bloody day in Selma to her own candidacy. She neglected to say that in 1965, she was a Goldwater Republican from a wealthy Chicago suburb. She was all call, and no response.

If Sen. Clinton is so committed to civil rights, how does she explain her recent co-sponsorship of a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning? And how can she bitterly critique the Iraq war without denying her vote helped enable BushCo. to launch this war of choice? She mentioned the Little Rock Nine and how they had been friends all these years, echoing the implied but unsaid, "some of my best friends are Negroes." But her Hambone routine reached its zenith when she went for the Bill Clintonesque recitation of the classic Rev. James Cleveland gospel song, "I Don't Feel Noways Tired." It sounded a little like Pat Boone singing "Tutti Frutti." If it's true that Bill Clinton was our first black president, then he was definitely in a bi-racial marriage.

I would welcome a woman president, as I would welcome anyone justifiably qualified, but Sen. Clinton is as calculated a candidate that's come along since Bill Clinton, only without the finesse. Her new nickname should be "Slick Hillie." The senator's supporters always say how intelligent and capable she is, but she plays dirty, as evidenced by the ridiculous attempt to insist Obama distance himself from David Geffen and his critical remarks about the Clintons. I don't know a whole lot of people outside of the music business who even knew who David Geffen was until Hillary saw a chance to pick a meaningless fight with Obama over Hollywood contributors. (Geffen was the recording executive that Joni Mitchell sang about in "Free Man in Paris"). She exudes falsity. Her statement that when attacked by a political opponent, "You have to deck them," sounds like it came from the thesaurus of Karl Rove. If she expects to win the womens' vote, who advised her to be so macho? She is certainly demonstrating more testosterone than John Kerry, but do the voters wish to continue down this same road of divisiveness we have experienced for the last fourteen years?

The "Thing That Wouldn't Die," Newt Gingrich, recently referred to Hillary as a "nasty woman." I believe Gingrich to be a "horrible man." But could it be considered "nasty" to attempt to cut the legs from your political opponent by crashing a commemorative day in Selma, a turning point in the civil rights struggle marked by the blood of martyrs, and turning the entire affair into a political carnival? Was it "nasty" to use the occasion to unveil Bill on the campaign, just when the polls show Hillary dropping among black voters? Was it "nasty" for Bill to call John Lewis before the event and instruct him not to endorse Barack Obama? Maybe I'm just suffering from Clinton fatigue, or an all-encompassing weariness with the dynastic politics of these times. I would hate to admit that I agreed with Newt Gingrich about anything. But on Bloody Sunday, it would have served Hillary well to remember that the civil rights struggle was about measuring a person by "the content of their character."


Anonymous said...

again you filtered thru the b/s and hit the nail right on the head. You go.
d in 10 a c.

will said...


much as i love bill i agree that this was a seriously tacky moment.

davethedog said...

I am "no ways tired" of the Born Again Hippie. Hillary provided a sound bite to embarrass her forever. Jon Stewart was heard to shout "Yes, Lord!" However, as bad as she might seem, she is merely calculating. The republicans are "evil". I am also not crazy about Obama. He is way too green and that usually results in a "deer in the headlights" moment. Also, Dude lay off the cigarettes. That's all he needs to ruin his credibility is a Utube of him blowing smoke rings with a Salem Menthol. If it was up to me, I would run Randy 4 President. Let's start a "grassroots" movement! Shake it like a "bowl of soup"!

Anonymous said...


As much as I distrust Obama, You are absoulutely correct about the Clintons. I'm waiting for the Democrats to bring someone that has integrity and is an American first. A trustworthy opponent.

I think they are coming because 'you' show me that there is hope.

Pat T

Betty Reid, Nashville said...

Just a note to let you know "I'm listening" . . . who knew 20 years ago there was such a liberal democrat in there? I enjoy reading your point of view, we are siblings from different mothers.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Randy....good job, man. As usual, I agree with you entirely. I wish your articles were printed in the CA. Keep up the good work.


Gregg said...

I saw that Obama and Hillary were both in Selma. Didn't know that Hillary was uninvited. I do know that I agree that she was showing the beginnings of what I believe will be her undoing. I think she'll start to get desperate and it will begin to show more and more. Obama is too strong and stable for her (at least that's my take so far on him). As the polls begin to show him creeping up she'll start to show her fear of losing. I don't know if she'll get surly, or angry, or try being "softer", but she'll implode.

It's interesting that as I write this and being an early and ardent fan of Obama's I pause realizing that when I was age 45 I still had a lot to learn. Honestly I don't know what to do with that bit of almost 60 year old wisdom. It does allow me to understand what people actually mean when they say that they are looking for someone with more experience, an older maybe wiser person. But, it may be that this "kid" who will be 47 on election day is really our best hope. What do I mean by "hope"? What I mean is why I think he'll be our next President.

I think a majority of us wants more than anything to have something we can feel good about and there is nothing more elevating politically than to feel that we have a President we can be proud of. Our pride has taken a huge hit over the past 6 years. It becomes way more than a sense of "political" loss, it becomes an emotionally draining loss of sense of esteem for who we are as a country, as a "people". There's no way around it, even for conservatives, Republicans, many on the religious right, that Bush is not up to it intellectually, and that it's really a tough job to be a "good" leader of the Free World, and that we've lost our moral authority, and that the group that tells him which way to pee are a bunch of hard core cold idealogues who don't know much about really helping anybody but themselves. They're nasty. We don't llke that. That it was becoming distasteful in a more widespread sense became apparent in Nov 06. The majority of the voters are embarrassed by the mess we're in as a country. We want it to stop. We want our country back. We used to like being respected. We don't like being disrepected.....worse, disrespected if we believe it the disrespect is warranted.

Obama's youth is the key here. It's his youth that will appeal to the desire for the unsullied. We want clean!! We'll cross old boundaries for it. We're sick to death of dirty... wore, dirty and stupid. This administration has burned any Republican's chances for at least 8 years unless the Democrats end up doing something as vile and stupid and as poorly planned and as long lasting and tasting as Iraq. The idea of "Republican" now has Cheney's and Rumsfeld's and Wolfowitz's and Rove's! stains all over it, and it smells bad. Real bad to Americans who want to be proud again.

Once the political pendulum has started to swing in one direction the momentum is more important than the message, fortunately or unfortunately for whatever we're going to be getting as it sweeps our way.

A Democrat will win in 08. There will be a greater majority in both houses of Congress. The Democrat who will win the nomination and then the Presidency will appeal to us (and to the Democrats voting in the primaries) as the person that seems capable of making the voters the most proud. It sounds funny but I think that that is at the core of what will move people. The issue is not an issue, it's what we want to feel about the person who will address the various issues.

That is the "Audacity of Hope". Audacity, indeed.
We shall see.

jimbob said...

southern whites will never vote for a black man. never have, never will.

Gregg said...

"You'll NEVER need more than 64k"...Bill Gates, 1970's

"Women will never be allowed to vote"....lots of guys for over a century.

"the world is flat"....a bunch of guys for a few thousand years.

"the south will never vote for a black man"...jimbob, 2007

I don't know, Jimbob. Funnier things have happened. "Never" is a big word. It's one of those words that keeps on moving. Watch what happens in states that would "never" do this or that as we get closer to Feb, 08 and have some primaries in the south. I don't know what's going to happen, but you don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Been blowing from the south to the north for a whle now, but why did I feel all that chill on the back of my neck standing in New Britain, CT, watching as a 16 term Republican lost to a first try Dem....and I believe I was facing south. I do believe I was facing south.
We shall see, Jimbob. Lots can happen on the way to wherever it is we are going.