He was a renowned civil rights pioneer. A man who led his people out of harsh oppression and into the light of freedom. A southerner whoÃ‚Â rose from poverty to become the greatest black leader in history.
But enough about Bill Clinton.
Yesterday was the groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. Seemingly lost in the mix of the groundbreaking for the memorial was the groundbreaking for the memorial, as the crowd consisted of more camera hogs than a pig farm with a trough full ofÃ‚Â sugar-coated Nikons. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were there, of course,Ã‚Â due to theÃ‚Â hypnotic “moth to bug zapper” draw of television lights:
Jesse isn’t crying because of MLK, but rather because he found out all the votes were counted last week.
Others at the groundbreaking were Oprah Winfrey, who gave a way a new car to everybody in attendance (or so I imagine), and Maya Angelou read poetry. She wasn’t invited, she was just happened to be there reading “Why the caged bird sings” to anybody who would listen.Ã‚Â
President Bush was also in attendance, along with possible future FirstÃ‚Â Gent Bill Clinton. Does this picture help sum up why the Republicans got stomped last Tuesday, or what?
When Bill Clinton was introduced, heÃ‚Â received a standing O from the crowd,Ã‚Â whoÃ‚Â later started clapping as well.
I’ve never figured out how Bill Clinton can be such an easy sell with a good portion of the African-American community. What am I missing? What did he ever do for them?
For most of the ’80s, as Arkansas governor, Clinton did his best to see to it that blacks didn’t fall for all that “decade of greed” talk, with 1990 census statistics showing white families in ArkansasÃ‚Â with a median income of $22,550, and black families at $12,128. Good thing Clinton was there to fight for them, or else black families in Arkansas would have finished the ’80s owing money.
Later on, as president, Clinton also offered his now famous sage advice to a black business executive. At a town hall meeting, Herman Cain, the CEO of the Godfathers Pizza chain, raised concerns to Clinton about the cost of employer mandates. Clinton’s answer Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as the most powerful man in the world displayed an economic intellectual energy so low it couldn’t even power a potato clock Ã¢â‚¬â€œ was stunning: He offered Cain an idea to fight high taxes that the CEO probably hadn’t thought of Ã¢â‚¬â€œ hadn’t thought of because of its inane stupidity. The answer was, essentially, “Just raise your price.” This solidified my desire to leave the garage door down when I started my car the next morning.
What would have happened if Cain had, in a fit of neuron-fizzle, followed Clinton’s advice? More than likely, his customers would have fulfilled their pepperoni and mozzarella needs at a place where a pizza didn’t cost as much as a Cadillac El Dorado. Then Cain, and all his employees, would have been out of work Ã¢â‚¬â€œ victims of the man who loves them so much.
Clinton has also displayed a tremendous respect for black heritage. In 2001, the historic landmark, the Choctaw Terminal, built in part by craftsmen who were former slaves, a building which was truly a piece of black history, was leveled to make room for the Clinton Presidential Library. Arkansas finally gets a library and it’s got to be smack on top of a piece of black history? That’s OK, I suppose, since Clinton’s blacker than the Choctaw craftsmen, right?
In the name of fairness, here’s one creditÃ‚Â Clinton does deserve from the black community: HeÃ‚Â assists the residents of Africa and the Caribbean in the fight against the spread of crime and sexually transmitted diseases. He does thisÃ‚Â mostly by virtue of not visiting those places very often, but still, it’s something.
Here’s what President Bush had to say at the memorial groundbreaking:
“[The memorial] will unite the men who declared the promise of America and defended the promise of America with the man who redeemed the promise of America.”
Don’t you wish Bush would just give it up? It’s nice that he wants to speak at these ceremonies honoring civil rights leaders, but hopefully he realizes that there’s no political gain to be found there, as among black Democrats Bush is about as popular as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a Bar Mitzvah.
Remember whenÃ‚Â Dubya spoke at the funeral for Coretta Scott King, and subsequent speakers took to the podium and roasted more Bush than an out of control bonfire at a nudist colony? It was disrespectful, it was inappropriate to the occasion, and it was — not surprising in the least.
Dr. King, your dream has turned into an agenda driven poverty pimpÃ‚Â photo op nightmare.
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