obama-on-phone

This past week, President Obama read an eloquent speech in Selma, Alabama addressing the pivotal events that occurred in Selma fifty years ago, and that ultimately drove progress in ensuring the civil rights of African Americans.

The press carefully avoided reporting, however, that eight years ago, then-Senator Obama also spoke in Selma concerning the Civil Rights movement, and that he lied blatantly about his Hawaiian family’s connection to that movement.

In 2007, Obama spoke before an audience that had assembled at that same bridge, and credited the Civil Rights march as the inspiration for his conception.

“This young man named Barack Obama,” said then-Senator Obama, referring not to himself but to his father, Kenyan national Barack Obama, Sr., “got one of those tickets [to study in the United States], and he met this woman whose great-great-great-great grandfather had owned slaves.” And here Senator Obama was referring to his mother and her slave-owning ancestors. The speech went on:

“But she had a different idea. There’s some good craziness going on, because they looked at each other and they decided that we know that in the world that it has been it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child. But something’s stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together…and Barack Obama Jr. was born.”

That is a very elaborate story for a man to tell about his parents, especially considering that Obama was born in 1961, three years before the historical events that occurred in Selma.

Let’s read another portion of the President’s 2007 speech, the portion that explains his decision to lie, that betrays his insecurity about how African Americans would view his connection to the civil rights movement:

“So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don’t tell me I’m not coming home when I come to Selma, Alabama. I’m here because somebody marched for our freedom.”

No, he was already here, and a toddler, before anybody marched for anybody else’s freedom. Moreover, none of his ancestors, on either side, lived under American slavery or segregation. His awareness of that fact is what drove him to lie about it.

The bridge in Selma, Alabama stands as a moving memorial to the inspiring movement that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was on that bridge that, fifty years ago, African American marchers led by Reverend Martin Luther King were beaten by local white citizens who wished to perpetuate the racial segregation that had been a shameful part of Southern history, and of American history.

That bridge is a hallowed American landmark. Politicians should not use it as a launching pad for self-aggrandizing falsehoods.

 

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