My choice for the White House last won the office in 2004 (it’s been a minute), but just the same, for 100 reasons I can’t list here, without consuming several columns, I want EVERY U.S. President to be successful. I want even more for them to lead by example, have actions and deeds which mirror their campaign promises, and respect the importance of the Office of President to which they have been elected.
I’ve been disappointed a lot lately. Suffice it to say, even when I agreed with some of President Donald Trump’s appointments or policy choices, his delivery and communication of same I more often than not found lacking. And after the November 2020 General Election contest which he lost, and since, I think we have seen his true colors, and at least for me, it’s not a pretty sight.
This brings me to this President Joe Biden, along with his Vice-President, Kamala Harris, and their most recent visit to Atlanta. We are not in the throes of a heated Presidential campaign, nor even the upcoming mid-term elections, with some high stakes for this White House. Yes, I get we can’t take politics out of politics, but there is a place for rhetoric, hyperbole and stretching the truth, facts, and reality past the point of breaking. Perhaps save that for political ads or the National Party Conventions.
The White House captain and co-captain did briefly place a wreath at the burial crypt and resting place of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., allowing enough time for the requisite photo opp. Then back in the motorcade to the scenic and historic Atlanta University Center. Dr. King was among many things a Morehouse Man.
The Voting Rights Act of 1964 was last re-authorized during the Presidency of George W. Bush. Martin Luther King Day became a federal holiday during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. In Georgia, it was the GOP, not the Democratic Party that brought in Advance Voting, No Excuse Absentee Voting, Drop Boxes, Souls to the Polls, and Saturday voting, expanded Motor Voter Registration and Online Voter Registration.
I’m not suggesting that I found every aspect of SB 202, the Georgia Voter Integrity Act necessary, but I also don’t think it is wrong to secure the chain of custody for absentee ballots, require the same standard of identification for In-Person voting as Absentee and Advance voting and to require that EVERY county offer drop boxes and keep them secure INSIDE an early voting location. Congressional Democrats are proferring two pieces of Voting Rights legislation. One would restore and require the U.S. Justice Department pre-clearance of any and all changes in Election law by all southern states. Southern states met those requirements for nearly four decades. I do not see a need to turn back the clock in that manner either.
And yet this President who well knows better, borrowed language heard days prior by a news anchor on a network known for leaning in. “Jim Crow 2.0″ makes a great bumper sticker, except for the reality is soooooooo far from that sad, past truth. Poll taxes? Poll I.Q. tests? Barred from polling places by armed sheriff deputies? Beaten, drug behind a truck or lynched for challenging the local and predominantly white power structure? I don’t think so. And again, who was running almost every southern state during the era of Jim Crow? It was not Republicans.
“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?” Again care to guess the political party of either then-Alabama Governor George Wallace or Sheriff Bull Connor?
Joe Biden may be a few steps shy of his Senate prime (or more), but he knows the answers to all that. And as he previously admitted plagiarizing British Labour Leader Neil Kinnock during a prior Presidential campaign, he knows those words and thoughts were not even his own. Again, Joe may be a little slower now, but he also knows the story of Chicken Little as well as the Boy Who Cried, Wolf. If truth and reality are there for the ignoring to score political points...what will you do when you REALLY need to move and inspire the American people?
I still wish Joe Biden well and want his Presidency to be successful. America and Americans have too much riding on the opposite, but like his predecessor, most of the damage and decline so far has been self-inflicted. This President and the people around him know better...and by God we all deserve better.
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