How Barack Obama Begot Gwen Berry
"I never said that I hated the country,” said Gwen Berry, the world’s most famous hammer thrower -- male, female or non-binary. “All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand or acknowledge something that disrespects them. I love my people point blank, period."
Berry, who finished third in the female hammer throw at the U.S. track and field Olympic Trials, was attempting to explain why she turned her back on the National Anthem. If her subversive pout appalled half of America, it surprised no one. In the year 2021, sports fans have come to expect athletes, black and white, to disrespect symbols of national pride.
It didn’t use to be this way. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, race relations were better than they had ever been. As to athletic protests, it had been forty years since any Olympian grabbed the kind of attention Berry got.
At the 1968 Olympics, 200-meter medalists Tommy Smith and John Carlos famously gave a black power salute while the Anthem played. Unlike Berry, however, they at least had something to bitch about, Smith having grown up in the Jim Crow South and Carlos having been schooled there.
Berry had no idea what she was protesting. Born in a St. Louis suburb in 1989, she likely cast her first presidential vote for a black man. She may have even believed Obama’s insistence that there “is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.”
The more salient question is whether Obama believed it. If he did, he did not believe it deeply enough to resist the pressure he faced from the left’s old school race hustlers and new school critical race theorists. Clearly intimidated, he made a decision in March 2012 that committed the Democratic Party to the corrosive madness of identity politics for the foreseeable future.
On February 26 of that year, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin gratuitously assaulted George Zimmerman, a Hispanic civil rights activist and Obama supporter a half-foot shorter than Martin. After nearly a minute of crying out for help while Martin straddled him, punching down MMA-style, Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. Predictably, the alchemists of Big Media transformed the thuggish drug-fueled Martin into an innocent little boy and Zimmerman into a white supremacist.
For four weeks Obama said nothing. After relentless prodding from the left, Obama finally gave in. “Obviously this is a tragedy,” he said solemnly. “I can only imagine what these parents are going through.” Had the president stopped here, he would have said enough to appease, if not the hardcore among the activists, at least the media. He would have won no honors for political courage, but, as he knew, courage led in another direction altogether.
By this time, the White House had access to all the information the Sanford Police Department did. The courageous step for Obama would have been to defend the Sanford Police Department and to demand an end to the media lynching of George Zimmerman. As an African American, he had more latitude to do this than a white politician would have. He chose not to. Concluded Obama, “But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon -- If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
So saying, Obama put the presidential seal of approval on identity politics. America heard him saying something very much like what Gwen Berry said, “I love my people point blank, period." If no one cares what a hammer thrower thinks; what a president thinks matters.
Getting neither satisfaction nor any corrective truth from Obama, the day after Zimmerman’s acquittal a trio of sexually ambiguous Marxists launched Black Lives Matter. Historically, leftists had been content with declaring the guilty innocent. In this dark new phase of American justice, they would ignore all evidence and declare the innocent guilty.
In August 2014, a year after Zimmerman’s acquittal, Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown in self-defense. With a huge assist from Big Media, BLM activists and their camp followers were quickly able to replicate the Trayvon tragedy, this time as farce.
Throughout it all, Barack Obama played to his base. Five days after the shooting, he spoke of Michael Brown, much as he had of Trayvon, as a victim. “We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances,” said Obama at a press conference. “He was 18 years old, and his family will never hold Michael in their arms again.” In truth, Brown’s family had not held the “gentle giant” in their arms in a long time, if ever.
Like Trayvon, Brown’s parents separated when he was three. Like so many abandoned young black men, Trayvon included, Brown projected the anger he felt towards his parents onto the authority figures in his orbit: the Asian merchant he roughed up in the minutes before his demise, and the white cop he recklessly assaulted in his own patrol car. Being high at the time did not improve his judgment any more than it had approved Trayvon’s.
Once again, Obama had a chance to address the fatherhood issue as he had when a candidate. At the very least, he could have shared the facts of the shooting. Once again, he could not muster the courage to do either. Now fully identifying with Michael Brown, he told a BET audience, “My mind went back to what it was like for me when I was 17, 18, 20.” He noted too that America had a “systemic problem,” the police being the most obvious symptom. The Ferguson lies were allowed to stand.
As late as June 2015, Gwen Berry was not yet fully compromised by identity politics. At that time, she posted a photo of herself on Instagram proudly holding an American flag behind her. Unfortunately, Colin Kaepernick proved more vulnerable. The biracial adopted son of a white Christian family, NFL quarterback Kaepernick was as confused about his racial bona fides as Obama and, like his president, sought refuge in identity politics.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick, explaining why he chose to sit out the national anthem. “There are bodies in the street,” he added, “and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Yes, there were bodies in the street, but Kaepernick had no idea how they got there. Misled by his president and the media, he somehow concluded that America “oppresses black people” and leaves them to die where they fall. He reached this conclusion, it should be noted, in the eighth year of the Obama presidency while making $12 million a year.
The rest, unfortunately, is history. The media lionized Kaepernick. Corporate America enriched him. And airheads like Berry emulated him. Lacking adult supervision, BLM and pals shouted “racism” from the rooftops and strove to turn American justice into a Bizarro World-version of Alabama’s circa 1930.
The damage done, the Obamas retreated to their $12 million beachfront manse in Martha’s Vineyard, there to fret about climate change and income inequality and pretend they had no responsibility for the wreckage left behind.
Jack Cashill’s new book, Barack Obama’s Promised Land: Deplorables Need Not Apply, is now available wherever you buy books.
Image: Public Domain Pictures
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