Are we all feeling good and patting ourselves on the back?
The celebration and speeches of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington have come and gone.
Since there was very little from the 2013 March that will be memorialized 50 years from now, it might be a good time to reflect on where we really are in terms of Dr. King’s “dream” of equality, racial harmony, justice and his call to “Let freedom ring.”
Of course things have changed for the better in America on the racial front. After all, we have a black president of the United States and attorney general; we have had two black secretaries of state and national security advisers; scores of black elected officials and judges at the local, state and federal level; and blacks assuming positions of power in corporate America.
Are there strides still to be made?
Of course there are.
As to race relations, things have seen progress. In fact, a recent Rasmussen poll found that 69 percent of likely voters think race relations are better today than they were 50 years ago when King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
This seems to be a perfect tribute on the 50th anniversary.
Let’s take a closer look at reality.
In that same poll, nearly 90 percent say race relations have gotten worse or remained about the same since the election of the nation’s first black president.
So what’s the problem?
We have a president whose skin is black — the same as Dr. King’s. But, in terms of working to help the poor as Dr. King did, skin color is about all that King and Obama have in common.
One would think that the first black president would be an advocate for black children trapped in underperforming urban schools; that he would be supportive of vouchers so they and their parents can have the same choice for educational excellence as he does for his daughters.
One would think that he and his black attorney general would want to “let freedom ring” for such children.
As if killing a popular voucher program for low income students in the District of Columbia was not enough, we now learn that he and his attorney general are going after the state of Louisiana in an effort to kill that state’s voucher program which benefits mostly poor black children.
No letting “freedom ring” for their educational benefit.
While King’s drummer was his God, conscience and helping the poor, Obama marches to the drumbeat of teachers’ unions — poor black children’s education is not in the band,
King and his associates, such as former U. N. Ambassador, Congressman and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, sought to build bridges and have allies among whites and politicians of both parties. Obama, his attorney general and their allies in the “civil rights establishment” have become masters at racial divisiveness and race baiting.
To the Obama cheering squad, the only crimes are those committed against blacks by whites. Those by blacks against blacks or blacks against whites are not worthy of condemnation. Not quite a tribute to Dr. King.
The answer to the question of why things have changed is simple.
King was from — and answered to the black masses. Obama is from and answers to the black and white liberal elite.
In King’s day, his support came mostly from blacks: lawyers, churches, newspaper publishers, owners of segregated restaurants and hotels in Atlanta, Birmingham, Washington, D.C., and Memphis, to name a few. Many sympathetic whites helped and sacrificed as well.
Today, much of the money and support going to the major civil rights groups, many black politicians (and the Jacksons and Sharptons) is not from black people. You guessed it — unions and the liberal Democratic Party establishment.
Just check out the District of Columbia City Council’s vote against bringing Walmart and jobs into economically depressed black areas of the nation’s capital.
I think I know whose side King would have taken. Unlike those — like former Mayor Marion Barry — who supported unions over Walmart, he would not have put union interests above those of poor black residents who needed jobs.
I guess he and others in union pockets did not want D.C. inner city residents to be “free at last” in their quest for neighborhood grocery shopping and jobs.
Of course, Obama was silent. After all, it was a local issue.
Finally, Obama as a black president could do so much from his bully pulpit. He could speak out on issues so important to the black community 50 years later — more than 70 percent out-of-wedlock births, the foul language gangsta rap of his entertainment industry friends, fathers not marrying the mothers of their children, baggy pants prison-like wardrobes, cover to cover tattoos that don’t enhance job prospects, and the need to be articulate and speak English as did Dr. King and the president himself not to mention the crisis of young black male incarceration and drop-out rates.
These are some of the issues that we still have to “overcome” 50 years after the March on Washington, issues that are inhibiting many blacks from enjoying the fruits of Dr. King’s labor.
It’s too bad the first black president won’t step up to the plate.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.
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