By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — How can I explain this in a way everyone will understand, including conservative Republicans, liberal Democrats and the national and state press corps?
President Barack Obama is and must be our political Jackie Robinson.
You may recall or have heard that Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. He broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947.
He quietly and with personal character and class endured the barrage of racial insults thrown at him from the stands and even off the field for years, and as a result of that and his great achievements on the field, on his first year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, Robinson was elected on the first ballot, becoming the first black player inducted into the Cooperstown museum.
Barack Hussein Obama is the first African-American elected to the highest office in the land, President of the United States. As he joked in his 2015 State of the Union Address Tuesday night, he won those two races. Yet he has endured a massive barrage of racial insults as well, if not as blatant as what Robinson faced in the era of widespread, legalized segregation.
Even the national press corps, some of which came to the aid of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma during the 1960s, have crapped all over President Obama for the past six years in the interest of pretending to be non-partisan and to profit from that pretension, constantly calling him unpopular even if his public approval rating is twice as high as his predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush, at the end of his eight years in office.
Mr. Obama is a rock star of a politician. He has conducted himself with class in office, doing nothing to stain the presidency and trying everything he could think of to move the country forward both economically and environmentally. The Democrats could not ask for a better spokesman.
Yet many Democrats have joined the tea party in constantly attacking him. I have been spat upon myself in the nation’s capital for supporting him editorially and simply reporting on the policies of his administration without feeling the need to constantly seek out the crazed and yes racist opposition to counter his every word and move.
Would these same Democrats have joined the Ku Klux Klan in calling Jackie Robinson the n-word from the peanut gallery? Did the press go into the stands and quote the hecklers who went after Robinson? I don’t think so. So why do they help try to destroy the reputation of the first African American president by joining the opposition against him?
In his inaugural address in 2009, he said he could not make the necessary changes to bring America back from the Bush Great Recession alone. He said it would take a long time and a lot of hard work by all of us working together.
But by and large, we have not worked together. Many of us have sat on the sidelines and shouted obscenities from the stands instead of rolling up our sleeves and getting the job done. This includes some key members of the national Democratic coalition, especially many union members and environmentalists, who should be on the same political page for good, green jobs and the future of American democracy.
Once again the president has come before Congress and asked for their help and the help of the American people to move the ball forward, not back.
“My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times,” the president said in concluding his remarks. “Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We’ve laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let’s begin this new chapter — together — and let’s start the work right now.”
But the backbiting and second guessing has already begun. The president asked the Republicans in Congress to stand up to their political base on the hard right and help him create “a better politics.”
“A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than ‘gotcha’ moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives,” the president said. “A better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up, with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building America.
“If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments,” Mr. Obama said. “But let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.”
Now that I would like to see.
But no sooner had he shaken all the hands and exited the chamber that the backbiting and second guessing had already begun, fueled by the mainstream American news media’s obsession with appearing to cover both sides of the story -— even if one side is obviously lying through their pretty white teeth on TeeVee.
This Congress has already started out as the worst rated on record. The Republican leadership are the ones who have put a great stain on the American government. They should be ashamed. The interested and active public should protest that — not the man who is trying with all his might to be on their side.
If the Democrats want to prevent a one-party Republican government in 2016, they better stop competing with each other and start cooperating where it matters. Otherwise me may face another eight years of laissez faire government in Washington with Jeb Bush in the White House.
Just saying. Now you can spit.
© 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.