Sunday, June 28, 2015

The President & the Eulogy

I tuned in via TV the other day to President Obama's eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney in a Charleston, SC, church and listened for a while to what was a good and predictable effort. When the president turned from eulogizing to politics, especially the politics of racism, I did something else for a while. I listened long enough to realize that he was pushing all the hot buttons pointing to the evil of white people, with whom he is careful never to identify, all the Jim Crow stuff and the implied guilt of current whites who had nothing to do with slavery. Later, I tuned in again right at the end for the “Amazing Grace” finish, a nice touch.

Obama had the congregants on their feet, clapping, giving out the amens, and even brought in the old stars-and-bars for a good shellacking. It was reminiscent of his speech in January 2011 in Tucson, Arizona, at the memorial service for the victims who died in the assault that terribly incapacitated then-Congresswoman Giffords. He had the folks in the aisles clapping and cheering as he turned the sacred service into the kickoff of his second campaign for the presidency.

It was a sort of replay of the circus perpetrated by then-Senator Harkin at the memorial service for Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone in 2002, just days before the election. Wellstone died in a plane crash while campaigning. Harkin approached warp-decibels and near hysteria but Obama did not quite get to that level. Apparently not wasting a crisis, as his former chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel might have put it, he enhanced divisiveness, something he's done throughout his six years...pitting factions against each other. In the process, Pinckney faded into the background.

This may sound harsh until one remembers the Rose Garden presentation the morning after the Benghazi massacre in 2012 in which Obama told perhaps the biggest lie of his presidency, even more damning than his “you can keep your doctor, insurance...” fabrication back in the day or that he knew nothing about Fast-and-Furious and the IRS scandals until he heard about them on the news.

Using the Benghazi lie at the UN a couple weeks later, when everyone in the world knew the truth, was an example of arrogance to the nth degree. He, along with State Secretary Clinton, even lied personally to the survivors of the Benghazi dead when the bodies – all white folks – were returned. One wonders what he told Rev. Pinckney's wife and children as he consoled them.

When two New York policemen (one of Latino-, one of Chinese-extraction) were assassinated a few months ago by a black man, Obama sent Veep Biden to eulogize one of them and sent FBI director James Comey to the funeral of the other one. There was no reason for him to attend either funeral and he didn't.

But when a black man was killed by a white guy, he saw fit to make that a golden opportunity to vent his spleen upon whites in Charleston and by extension everywhere else. Not very presidential, especially when one remembers he quickly sent Attorney General Holder to Ferguson last summer to destroy an innocent policeman but helped foment the burning of the city instead. The Charleston “eulogy” said a lot more about Obama than Rev. Pinckney, who was also a highly respected legislator.

Manipulating grieving people – one doubts that he was asked to give the eulogy...probably Sharpton's idea foisted off on the family or SC officials – in the interest of not letting a crisis go to waste by giving yet another long-winded diatribe was unseemly as Obama (latter-day Harkin) made himself the center of attention, an obvious political ploy smothering a religious exercise and the memory of Clementa Pinckney.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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