No doubt Al Sharpton has already shown years of commitment to poor folks and his record is strong on civil rights issues and he should be the one most credited for bringing the Zimmerman issue to public attention that led to the prosecution. But being Obama’s mouthpiece on Politics Nation has undermined his credibility. It seems therefore redeeming that he is out there organizing rallies to get the Department of Justice to charge Zimmerman with violating Trayvon Martin’s civil rights.
We all understand Sharpton has to eat and he isn’t a young chubby bird anymore so he is looking out for his retirement money while he makes peace with the white liberal and conservative power wielding elites who suffer from the “White guilt” that James Baldwin talks about. Don’t forget they hated his guts over all these years. Perhaps now they will consider giving him few $30, 000-speaking engagements as they have been known to honor activists who to the establishment line.
I doubt Sharpton realizes he has become a fixture with an axe plowing trenches on Obama’s plantation as most commentators seem to be doing over at MSNBC. What has Sharpton gotten from this hardcore talking-point Obama activism, we can’t know for sure although word on the street is that Obama hooked him up to the Politics Nation gig? Sharpton denied it—so I guess we could take his word if we like.
Now trying to restore his integrity, trying to draw a fictitious line between himself and Obama, trying to show he can drop the axe and walk South of the White House to the North of the White House, Sharpton has been rallying the troops. Determined to get Obama to give a speech on the Trayvon Martin issue, the troops have peacefully mounted on Washington. This all could be an organized staging between Sharpton and Obama but at least the president responded.
Yes, didn’t Massa Obama speak? But “he was pushed to that podium,” Tavis Smiley notes. Who will not recognize the wisdom in Tavis’s observation? It seems reasonable to doubt Obama intends to change course and start prioritizing civil rights issues of race—not more than but—just like he has seriously been addressing immigration issues, Israel and Palestinian issues, and gay marriage civil rights.
But at least Obama came out in his blackness, out of his whiteness, outside the fashions of the white White House. Yet will Obama’s coming out really serve any purpose in alleviating the black community’s sufferings or did his speech provide additional platforms that glorify his rhetorical gifts? As is obvious, many commentators praised Obama’s speech. And it’s good to see others aside from Tavis capable of looking beyond Obama’s rhetorical genius to contemplate the question of—did the speech serve its purpose?
“George Zimmerman is a criminal,” Cornel West states on Democracy Now, one of the few media spaces he can dare state it so honestly. “But President Obama is a global George Zimmerman because he tries to rationalize the killing of innocent children, 221 so far, in the name of self-defense… Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen. So when he comes to talk about the killing of an innocent person, you say, ‘Well, wait a minute, what kind of moral authority are you bringing?'”
Indeed, Obama has no moral authority to address the Travyon Martin issue but his addressing the issue opens additional speaking spaces to reflect on crimes based on race in America. And perhaps his move will force the Department of Justice to seriously consider what Sharpton and others are asking it to. On the other hand, we might consider Obama’s appearance as strategically designed to set grounds for the Department of Justice to say, We don’t have a good civil rights case against George Zimmerman.
If that happens, Obama would feel very safe from any criticism that he hadn’t done anything. This would also make certain white voters in the mold of folks like the Bill O’Reilly’s, Ann Coulter’s and Rush Limbaugh feel comfortable that the president isn’t so racist at all—the president doesn’t have a black agenda.
By the way, have you guys noticed that no one has been saying, “Obama’s Department of Justice need to charge Zimmerman with civil rights violations.”
They have been saying “The Department of Justice”
If Bush were in office, would liberals have been so kind?