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Obama Delivers Speech to Mark 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights March in Selma


#1

Obama Delivers Speech to Mark 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights March in Selma

Common Dreams staff

At ceremony commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the historic civil rights march that began in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, President Barack Obama delivered a speech on Saturday in which he celebrated the spirit and deeds of those who risked their lives facing down local police and state troopers as they demanded equal protection under the law and the right to vote half a century ago.


#2

Can he just go away. What a waste of 8 years.


#3

Clearly, a bridge has been crossed, but the march is not over. The right to vote, the most basic democratic act, is still under attack. Elections in gerrymandered districts are meaningless. Corporate money corrupts politicians. We still have a long way to go. The President's speech should be listened to by young people. It was inspirational, instructive, and challenging. The outlook and action of young people are the only hope this country has for realizing its promise. If they do not take the President's words to heart, the future for ordinary citizens is grim.


#4

Obama's eloquence and intelligence condemn him all the more in that
he has no excuse for having done nothing for ordinary people while
serving the oligarchy very well indeed. He makes me sick.


#5

Worst anti-civil rights presidend we have had since LBJ and Nixon, who had J Edgar Hoover and the CIA at their disposal to disrupt any civil non-violent activities by creating violence inside them.

Obama has no self-respect. He loves talking about all the politically correct things, then doing all the politically vicious things. One might suppose that someday it would wake up the comatose democratic party's loyal voters.

That overestimates those voters. Obama knows that he is their angel and therefore can do no wrong.


#6

Quite frankly these speeches that speak to a certain identifiable group as somehow being great or exceptional turn my stomach. Appeals to "patriotism" and "exceptionalism" are panderings of the lowest order.

I am sorry but the United States of America did not invent "freedom" nor were they the first peoples to struggle against tyrants. Oppressed peoples were rising up against tyrants the world over for centuries upon centuries before there even WAS a United States of America.

So the peoples of Soweto needed the US to inspire them? I really doubt those Buddhist monks even heard of John Lewis.

As to the United States of America being a country where power lies in the hands of the humble and the poor what absolute rubbish. It is the same as it has ever been. The Revolution was not about throwing off tyranny and removing the Aristocracy. It was about replacing one group of tyrants with another. The tyranny of wealth and privilege remains and has never changed.

The speech is nonsense. It speeches and myths like those repeated by this President and others before him and by those wealthy and privileged leaders in countries the world over that serve to ensure the status quo remains by promoting the illusion that the people somehow free and that tens of millions living in poverty as the fruits of their labor keep one small group of people rich is "liberty and democracy"

To that "american Instinct" that this president claims drew people from the world over to the United States of America to promote freedom and liberty and the right to vote. Is this the same "instinct" that led to millions being enslaved and thousands to be lynched? Is this the same "instinct" that led to the genocide of millions of the Native Americans?

Good people are good people in every place on this earth and one does not have to be "american" or "canadian" or "english" or "chinese" to be that good person.


#8

What a shameless asshole. In his Noble Peace Prize acceptance speech he dissed King and Gandhi for not being pragmatic enough to accomplish much and said the greatest peacemakers of the century were Nixon and Reagan (for blowing Glasnost.)


#9

Obama's speech is all boiler plate calculated to salve an African American and other minority constituency that is too smart to fall for his words. They know that the gang of five on the Supreme Court, America's most powerful and antidemocratic cabal, has done all it can to suppress the vote. Obama does not mention the utterly shameful Shelby County V. Holder (2013) in which the gang of five, including African American "justice" Clarence Thomas gutted the very Voting Right Act of 1965 that occurred in the wake of Selma. In the words of "Justice" Antonin Scalia, the Voting Rights Act is "a species of racial entitlement." As a result of the Court's action, states all over the country, including the very Southern states that formerly had discriminatory voting laws, passed voter suppression laws. They limit hours and venues of voting so as to exclude working people who have to work ultra-long hours or string together more than one job in order to survive. They require expensive and hard to obtain Voter ID cards, which are on the same order as the poll tax prohibited by Constitutional amendment. Voter suppression was so effective that it caused the 2014 electoral turnout to be the lowest since the middle of World War Two, when millions were abroad at war and minority votes were regularly suppressed. Student votes are also being suppressed, largely because they are "transient," and are restricted from voting in the venues where they attend college. So the oligarchy, the militarist plutocracy that rules America today, courtesy of the gang of five on the Supreme Court, has declared what happened at Selma and the resulting Voting Rights Act null and void. This is what Obama should have said. The fact that we are celebrating Selma this year in film and retrospective is nauseating, given the Supreme Court's sanction of criminal voter suppression and destruction of democracy. I would like to hear John Lewis's words on the Shelby case. I'm quite sure had much to say about it. But I don't see it anywhere in print. No one should know better than the octogenarian Congress member and former head of SNCC, who had his skull fractured by the Alabama Highway Patrol at the Edmund Pettis Bridge, that what he and his brave compatriots won at Selma has been thrown away by the worst Supreme Court in US history.


#11

And now, inspired by the predictable bleatings of the "Critics", I'm going to sit back and watch Obama perform.


#12

Some amazing, right on posts here. I can't duplicate those except to say that Obama's hypocrisy is well beyond belief. This man has trashed our freedoms and has no standing whatsoever to talk about what America means; he has continued the Bush work of destroying those things. Any more, his words and verbal theatrics resemble vomit spewed by someone in a St. Vitus Dance. So depressing. And yet the march, the event, are magnificent events--but Obama should not be invited to meaningful events such as these. End of diatribe.


#13

Everyone should be reading Black Agenda Report, to understand the incredible damage that this miserable tool has done to people of color, all over America.


#14

BINGO! Obama is one of the greatest con men I have ever seen! He makes slick Willie look like a small time petty crook. Obama is the silver tongued, consummate hypocrite. Glen Ford spoke well of this oligarchic drone murderer when Glen called Obama: " the more effective evil".