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The Art (not the Book) of Lamentations

A friend of mine sent me an email inquiring what I thought of the eloquent and moving eulogy President Obama gave in Charleston this past week. I replied that I hadn’t watched it, or cared to read it, since I try and avoid the President’s public addresses whenever possible. My friend responded that I had “lost him” on the fact that I “cannot seem to give the President credit when he does something right.”

LamentationsI guess doing something right is a matter of perspective.

My perspective is that, had I watched, I would have been unmoved by a speech deliberately drafted to be moving that was given by a President who refuses to take personal responsibility for failing to quell the escalating division and hatred that have been brewing in this country ever since his election.

Talk is cheap.

Whether the 2009 arrest of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates involving the Boston police, the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida, the Ferguson riots, the Baltimore riots, the Detroit black on black murder rate or the Chicago black on black murder rate, President Obama has chosen to either 1) inflame situations by his rush to judgment; 2) use divisive rhetoric that acts to further distance black and white communities; or 3) abstain from any comment at all where thoughtful leadership would have gone a long way towards mitigating violent reaction.

Further, President Obama chose Al Sharpton as his White House Adviser on Race Relations. Al Sharpton is a crook, a liar and a race-baiter. “There’s a trust factor with The Rev from the Oval Office on down,” a White House aide told Politico. “He gets it, and he’s got credibility in the community that nobody else has got. There’s really no one else out there who does what he does.”

I agree. There is no one else out there in the Black community who can be so corrupt, inflammatory and media hungry as “The Rev” and yet gain unfettered access to the President of the United States.

So, when my friend opined that I can’t give the President credit for a moving speech, he is absolutely correct.

Where our first Black President has been nothing short of inept at improving race relations and, at times, been downright contributory in inflaming them, I could care less about his artful delivery in seizing the public moment (as he is wont to do a la bin Laden’s death by Seal Team 6) and giving lip service to his and the nation’s genuine grief over the deaths of innocent church members.

Talk is cheap.

I would rather the President had taken every preceding opportunity he was given over the last six years to unite the county. I would love to have been able to give him credit for that instead.

Sadly, wishing does not make it so.


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