John Denver wrote that the truth is hard to come by. That’s a fact, and by extension, trust, when truth is lost, is even harder. Regarding our politicians, it is more accurate to observe their actions rather than to listen to their words.
For example, with the current administration, we were told that under the Affordable Care Act, we could keep our doctors and our insurance plans. We have also been told that Benghazi was caused by a video and that the terrorist perpetrators there would be brought swiftly to justice. More recently, we’ve been assured that the IRS was not politically choosing sides nor was the NSA snooping domestically or collecting information on Americans. None of these proclamations is true.
Now our leaders tell us that the United States is compelled to attack Syria for Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his people. (To this notion, Sarah Palin said: “So we’re going to bomb Syria because Syria has bombed Syria. And I’m the idiot?”) Assad has already killed 100,000 over the past two years of Syrian civil war, and we did nothing. Are those deaths less terrible because they weren’t caused by sarin gas?
President Obama decided to abandon Iraq and, as a result, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. He also announced our exit from Afghanistan and the end of the war on terror. He said that all wars must come to an end. Have Islamic extremists in Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other groups agreed to that?
We should not spend more national blood or treasure on this Syrian exercise to give Dr. Assad the military version of a time out. We have no clear objective. Besides, the player who matters in the region is Iran. As Alan Dershowitz wrote recently, the important red line in the sand should be about Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. This will not happen because the decline of American influence in the Middle East is by design. We’re “leading from behind” and exiting the region.
The greatest untruth, however, is that Mr. Obama would be the post-racial president. Millions voted for him in the hope that this man would, in Lincoln’s words, “bind up the nation’s wounds” in regard to race relations. It hasn’t happened. Perhaps, given the president’s background with Jeremiah Wright, we were being naïve.
We should have seen the depth and seriousness of the divide between blacks and all other Americans with the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict in 1995. Blacks literally cheered when Simpson was acquitted. Other Americans were stunned at that reaction. The prosecution botched their case, and the verdict was proper, but the response broke purely on racial lines.
With the 2008 election, America’s hope for racial healing surged. Mr. Obama named Eric Holder to be the U.S. Attorney General. Holder first had to decide on prosecuting the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation in Philadelphia. He declined, citing the past treatment of “my people”, meaning blacks. As the U.S. Attorney General, shouldn’t “my people” include all citizens of the United States? An assistant attorney general later resigned and testified before Congress that Holder’s Justice Department was deeply polarized along racial lines.
Subsequently, a black Harvard University professor was arrested in Boston by a veteran police officer who was white. The president, without knowing all the facts, proclaimed that the police “acted stupidly.” When the facts were documented, the arrest had been proper. Later, beer was sipped in the Rose Garden to soothe all parties. For those who paid attention, the professor had physical difficulty walking down White House steps to the Rose Garden. It was the police officer who assisted him.
Recently we all learned that if President Obama had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon Martin. Did we need to know that? Why would a president of the United States inject himself into a Florida criminal case, and rarely comment on all the killings in hometown Chicago? Mr. Obama and others display, by their actions, that white on black crime is more egregious than black on white or black on black crime; they seem to think that the white on black victim is the most aggrieved because of America’s history. It appears that we are not about healing; we are about racial payback.
Of course, the mere mention of these issues will lead to calls of racism and/or hate. I do not hate or even dislike our president because I don’t know him. He is a talented and unique person with the world’s greatest smile. I would love to meet him. However, I do disagree with him on most issues, and I disagree with the white half of him just as much as the black. That makes it even.
The president promised to fundamentally transform America and has, but not for the better. The opportunity to heal the racial divide has been missed and the low road taken. In contrast to Dr. King’s dream, we are not about the content of character; we are still about the color of skin.
And that is why in black versus everyone else America, it continues that some days are diamonds and some days are stones.
Bill Hodges is a retired physician who lives in Morgan Mill with his wife of 40 years. He is also a member of the E-T's community columnists.