Obama’s Poisonous Embrace of BLM

President Obama has elevated Black Lives Matter to a chilling historical plane.  Speaking in Madrid before returning to the U.S. in order to visit Dallas during this time of trauma, Pres. Barack Obama noted the following,

“The abolition movement was contentious…. There were times when activists might have engaged in rhetoric that was overheated, and occasionally counterproductive, but the point was to raise issues so that we as a society could grapple with them. The same was true with the civil rights movement….  And I think what you’re seeing now is part of that longstanding tradition.”

Obama has four premises here:

  1. that the problem with Black Lives Matter (BLM) is merely “overheated rhetoric”;
  2. that abolitionism and the civil rights movement were merely “contentious” or “messy”;
  3. that BLM has an historical equivalence to abolitionism and the civil rights movement; and,
  4. that BLM and even the shooting of cops should all be accepted because, well, it’s part of “tradition.” 

We love America; we love our traditions; mass protests with peaceful parading, but with violent statements, sometimes violent acts, are American traditions; therefore, let’s embrace all the garbage thinking, trashy behavior, and even murder (ultimately in a good cause, of course) as pure Americana!  In the President’s specious remarks, history combines with logic to form a perfect syllogism which every rational human being should be able to accept. This is the perverse, consciously deceptive and even sinister thinking coming from the highest office in the land.

BLM is feeding the scenario that rioting, looting, public expressions of rage, throwing stuff at cops, breaking store windows, taking the microphone away from potential Presidential candidates (e.g., Bernie Sanders), or shouting slogans to validate killing cops is “peaceful protest” and legitimate.   Even Mayor Bill DiBlasio of New York City warned his son against police racism and, while he didn’t agree with some of the chants calling for killing “pigs” (police), he found the BLM movement is advancing the conversation about race in our country.  His public bias against the police led many NYC police to turn their backs on him as an expression of spontaneous rejection of his attitude towards them.

BLM may in the interests of public relations say that rioting and looting are illegitimate, but will add that they are partially justified by circumstances of life in the African American communities. In those communities, the police fail to promote and uphold proper standards of justice.  Overheated rhetoric?  Or an appeal to something much worse in the hearts and minds of our African-American fellow citizens?     

Abolitionism was not dealing merely with some supposed abuses of power by some public officials.  Rather, it was dealing with a long-standing de jure form of bondage preventing the African American slave population from participating in the political process and from enjoying the rights of freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.   Abolitionism had, in fact, been an issue since the very founding of the country, and despite what the left likes to throw in the faces of the founders about Jefferson’s hypocrisy as a slave master, in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson strongly condemned slavery, but this was removed by other delegates before the final draft. 

Abolition was assumed [mistakenly] to be the course of history for the USA as it moved forward from independence.  After Great Britain’s defeat in the War for Independence, in the 1780’s, the Northwest Territory that was gained from the British was not allowed to have slavery within its boundaries as it developed. It was assumed by many of the founders that slavery would be economically unfeasible over time because of the high overhead.  But because of the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, the declining profitability of slavery was reversed.

It was only as slavery, instead of gradually disappearing, became more entrenched did abolitionism become more aggressive.  Abolitionism confronting the slave power of the South was not merely contentious.  Rather, it went forward by a mobilized Christian stridency, citing the incompatibility of Biblical Christianity with the institution of slavery.  Just as independence from Great Britain arose with the support of the churches, abolitionism also was promoted from the pulpits of America. 

Slavery was expanding in the USA legally, allowed by “compromises” which would enable various territories to be free or to be slave, and by legal attempts at compromise in Congress.  Yet, the abolitionists insisted that compromise was not possible nor appropriate considering the degradation and un-Christian values that slavery represented. An evangelical giant, Rev. Graham Sumner, stood at the forefront of anti-slavery.  Other heroes from the black community, in particular Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, helped slaves to escape from bondage and rallied thinking people and the masses of white people against slavery. 

Yes, there were some slave rebellions (e.g., that of Nat Turner) and murderous expressions of anti-slavery in Kansas and Nebraska, as well as by John Brown in Virginia.  But the brunt of anti-slavery was not born by the slaves, but by whites seeking to find a path to justice acceptable to both man and God. Contentious, as used by the President to refer to abolitionism, is a mealy-mouthed word for the crisis which finally led to Civil War and the deaths of over 600,000 soldiers, mainly white.  Abolitionism went forward from a Biblically informed consciousness, and finally was resolved by a vast, bloody struggle.  To call such an effort contentious is disagreeably…stupid.  Further, to even remotely imply that another civil war developing from our present contentious issues is not only possible but part of our tradition is revolting and disgraceful.

The civil rights movement after WWII was also not merely contentious.  Segregation in the South was a de jure reality.  It was not about merely an abuse of power in implementing the law, but about the law itself that denied African Americans in certain states the right to an equal education, to sit where they wanted in public conveyances, and to have a host of legal rights that white citizens had. In short, they were being denied the due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.  Non-violent, Biblically inspired protests were led by Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernethy, Fred Shuttlesworth, and Andrew Young. Later, in order to have greater appeal to young black males, Jesse Jackson, energetic and cool, was added to the inner circle.  But mainstream civil rights protests led by King and Abernethy were rejected as strategies by the black power advocates that were the forerunners of the present BLM movement. Those leaders included Huey Newtown, Eldredge Cleaver, Stokeley Carmichael, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, and Bobby Seale.  They were the angry leaders of that generation of protestors who rejected the ideals of non-violence that King and his team had borrowed to some degree from Gandhi in India (satyagraha).  Those more violent figures with their black power pumped fist salute were the forerunners, the spiritual parents and grandparents, of the BLM cause. 

What we are facing in our racial divisions today is not merely overheated rhetoric or contentiousness. We are seeing a repeat boiling over of the hatreds and provocative anti-police rhetoric of the Black Panthers and of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee(SNCC).  Only now, almost sixty years later, the Democratic Party is so much further to the left, so determined to dismantle our free nation and turn it into an unrecognizable socialist paradise that the kind of rhetoric and unconscionable philosophy the rioters, the looters, and the BLM protestors are expressing is getting more mainstream support than it did in the 1960’s.  Today we have a Black Panther supporter in the White House who seeks to minimize the threat that their philosophy poses to civic order.  To him, all we are hearing is just overheated rhetoric. Never mind riots in Memphis, Atlanta, Minnesota, Louisiana, Chicago, and other places.  He might have said, “I’m just a traditionalist.”