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Today in
S.C.V. History
January 28
1850 - Death Valley '49er William Robinson dies in Soledad Canyon from drinking too much cool water [story]
Leaving Death Valley

The Real Side | Commentary by Joe Messina
| Monday, Mar 9, 2015

joemessinamugThe president went to Selma, Ala., to celebrate and commemorate the march across the bridge that helped bring civil rights to the forefront, into the living room of all Americans, and help move it forward. Yes, it was aimed at the black community, but as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed, all would be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin – black, white, brown or otherwise.

I say “commemorate” because the people involved in the Selma march (there were white folks there. too) were not welcome there. They knew they could be killed. They knew they would have no place to sleep, probably not much food, and certainly not much help. They didn’t care. They knew what they were fighting for was right and, as with our forefathers, believed it was worth losing everything for, even dying for. They deserve to be remembered and honored.

Unlike people today who say they are protesting about how they are being treated. “Hands up, don’t shoot” turned out to be a lie. Any apologies to the policeman who had to quit and move out of town because of that lie? Not so much.

These people would have made Dr. King proud, right? I am sure he would have encouraged them to loot and burn down buildings and beat up people in their communities, right? No, he would not have approved. He was for peaceful demonstrations, unlike the Rev. Al “Get-it-where-and-when-I-can” Sharpton. Rev. Al forgot that at his million marchers event in New York City. His followers chanted: “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now.” A perfect example of Dr. King? I think not.

I say celebrate because we celebrate the sacrifices made that day in Selma by people of all colors – yes, mostly black, but many others, as well. The actions of those people that day sparked and continued a movement that couldn’t and won’t be stopped.

Jump ahead 50 years. We have a black president, a black attorney general, and many positions of authority at the White House are filled by people who have black skin (sorry, I’m not calling them all “African American” because I have been told by many blacks that they are not all of African descent; some are from Belize, Jamaica, and so on). We have come a long way in 50 years. Are we perfect? No. I believe the Bible says let the one without sin cast the first stone. But we are still the best country to be living in on this planet.

Yes, I believe in American exceptionalism. Even with our faults, people still have more opportunity here than any group of countries on the planet.

I must first say, the president made many good and honest remarks in his speech about the sacrifices made that day for black Americans. But it stops there.

He went down the political rabbit trail. He mentioned Ferguson. Not to say we were wrong and jumped to conclusions with “Hands up, don’t shoot.” No, he talked about the report. And he said, “The Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson, Mo., police department shows that not enough has changed in the country with respect to race relations.” Really? He is using the report from one police department and applying it to all police departments across the whole country? Really?

The DOJ, run by his buddy Eric Holder, said there was no crime committed by the police officer in this incident. How much time did mainstream media give to that? Not much at all. Where are the leaders in the black community speaking to the issue of the truth of what really took place in Ferguson?

It’s interesting how the leader of the Democratic Party, President Obama, who wanted to pull God out of their platform, seemed to have no problem invoking and reading scripture from the Bible. OMG. Where are the Freedom from Religion Freaks when you need them? Or the American Humanist Association? They left us flat. Why don’t they come out and threaten to sue the president for reading from the Bible or using “God Bless America?” Because they’re cowards. But that’s a story for another day.

The president insinuated that the Votering Rights Act has been trampled on by asking people simply to prove who they are. And this is somehow setting black Americans back 50 years? I’m not going to beat it to death, but even the Supreme Court in its ruling against the DOJ’s authority to step into states’ business before any rights are violated said that we do not have the same problems today as they did when this was enacted. And El Presidente said essentially the same thing at Selma. (The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June 2013 in a case from Shelby County, Ala., eliminating the Justice Department’s ability under the Voting Rights Act to identify and stop potentially discriminatory voting laws before they take effect.)

President Obama himself on a radio interview in October 2014 said, “Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don’t vote from voting.” Obama said during the interview with Rev. Al Sharpton, “Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver’s license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient, it may be a little more difficult.” (Insert cricket sound here.) Well, we’re done here. You believe the president about everything else; why not this?

Most Americans feel you should have a picture ID to vote as long as the states make them easy to obtain. That doesn’t mean you walk up to the window, tell them who you are and get your ID. Even former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker agreed, photo ID’s are necessary to stop voter fraud.

Yes, President Obama used Selma to talk politics. On a day that important, and with such meaning in U.S. history, can’t we just stay away from political agendas? Can’t we simply applaud and appreciate all the work Dr. King and his team accomplished?

Wouldn’t this have been the perfect opportunity, Mr. Obama, to jump on that great man’s coat tails and push for peaceful protests, stronger family values, less dependence on government, and more reliance on family and church? Those are things that unite both sides, rather than further divide.

I have to wonder if the president has the same fortitude and conviction Dr. King had. Would he be willing to lay down his life for righteousness and freedom for everyone? To quote from the same book the president did, “Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

I don’t believe he would, but I’ve been wrong before.


Joe Messina is host of The Real Side (TheRealSide.com), a nationally syndicated talk show that runs on AM-1220 KHTS radio and SCVTV [here]. He is also an elected member of the Hart School Board. His commentary publishes Mondays.

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  1. Denny says:

    Great article, Joe. Thanks for further exposing our current President for what he truly is – a full-blown racist.

  2. Mike Navarro Mike Navarro says:

    I can’t guarantee you that President Obama isn’t half the man that Dr. King was. Peace and equality not supremacy, regardless of color.

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