28 October 2008

Consider The Sacrifice That Made You Free Before You Demand I Pay Your Bills. UPDATED

"If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in the society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that."

Barak Hussein Obama, NPR 2001. http://www.vinceautmorire.mu.nu/images/od-010118.ram

Update to bring the newbs up to speed: There has been a movement inside the civil rights movement for quite a long time that believes that because their grandparents were once slaves that society at large, especially white people, owe them financial compensation for "their" suffering.

Something I want to address about his "grievance": Us white folk paid in blood to free y'all black folk. Paid more than can ever be repaid, just so you can be free. We don't owe you anything. If anything, you owe us for fighting and dying for that freedom. We didn't ask to be repaid for the service we rendered unto you, we did it because we thought it was the right thing to do. For you to demand payment now after the sacrifices made for you? How dare you, sir? How dare you?

If you were not slaves, then you would be in Africa. Checked the politics there?
If predominately white men had not fought and died to grant you freedom, you would still be enslaved. Be grateful, take the gift go forth and prosper!

Barry, your father was not the descendant of American Slaves, nor are you. You don't get to put on that mantle. It's not your heritage.

Oh, by the way, the Service Oath I took way back in 1987: I, (McThag), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Support and defend the Constitution of the United States Barry. That document you are finding in your way. Shall I put you in the foreign or domestic category? We had classes on lawful orders and several of us (not me at the time) asked about what would happen if the President issued an unlawful order. "Unlawful is unlawful, and the order does not have to be obeyed," is what the Drill Sergeant told us.

28th-Oct-2008 11:21 am (local)


I read the entire quote, and thought about it and the voice of the speaker and his meaning, before I read that it was an Obama quote.

I mention that because I want you to understand that I didn't bring to it any preconception or preconceived position because of my personal feelings (positive or negative) about the speaker.

But when I read your next sentence, "Something I want to address about this 'grievance'...", I thought "What grievance?"

Because I read the quote in (apparently) the exact opposite tone that you had. I read the speaker affirming the correctness of the court in "investing formal rights in previously dispossessed people...", affirming the court's actions in not addressing redistribution of wealth or "political and economic justice", and defending the Warren Court as not-terribly-radical because it conformed to the "essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution", specifically that "...the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf...", a statement with which I think you agree.

Let me repeat that what I heard, on first reading the quote, was the speaker stating his position that neither the Constitution nor the courts should undertake any "redistributive change", but rather that such is the province of "political and community organizing and activities on the ground." He feels it's unfortunate that that the civil liberties movement became so court focused, and that "in some ways we still suffer from that".

In other words, if we want "redistributive change" (You know, poor people getting wealthier. Which isn't in itself evil. I think you heard "take money and give to poor", but "redistributive change" could just mean poor people getting better education and better jobs.) Anyway, if we want to seek this "redistributive change" it should be sought by the community in a local way, "on the ground", not by the courts.
Another sentiment with which I think you agree.


So, as I read the quote, I came to believe that your reason for quoting it was to cite it in some position you were going to make in the middle of the post. You have in the past quoted and cited from others who you claim can put things more clearly or succinctly than yourself.

Then you jump in with "grievance", retort with the civil war, and express indignation that the speaker would "demand payment now after the sacrifices made for you".

And my eyes crossed and I went "Huh?"

28th-Oct-2008 01:46 pm (local)


I've gone one about reparations for slaves before. And that is what this is, and will be.

28th-Oct-2008 12:34 pm (local)


Just stumbled upon a quote (on foxnews!) from the Obama campaign regarding this quote.
article is here http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/27/radio-interview-obama-laments-lack-supreme-court-ruling-redistributing-wealth/

"Here are the facts. In the interview, Obama went into extensive detail to explain why the courts should not get into that business of 'redistributing' wealth. Obama's point -- and what he called a tragedy -- was that legal victories in the civil rights led too many people to rely on the courts to change society for the better. That view is shared by conservative judges and legal scholars across the country," Burton said.

"And so Obama's point was simply that if we want to improve economic conditions for people in this country, we should do so by bringing people together at the community level and getting everyone involved in our democratic process," Burton continued.

John McCain's campaign said the tape proves that Obama is too liberal for the White House.

"Barack Obama expressed his regret that the Supreme Court hadn't been more 'radical' and described as a 'tragedy' the court's refusal to take up 'the issues of redistribution of wealth.' No wonder he wants to appoint judges that legislate from the bench," Holtz-Eakin continued.

28th-Oct-2008 01:48 pm (local)


And I listened to the interview and I stand behind my interpretation. I don't need someone else telling me what he was thinking. If he was thinking that, he should have said that. But he didn't, did he?

And don't trot out Fox like they are somehow vastly different and more reliable than the others. They are simply more to the right than the rest of the mainstream media. Still quite left of center.

28th-Oct-2008 03:11 pm (local)


*deep breath*

I didn't mean to tell you what Obama was thinking. My entire post discussed how I read the quote, before I even knew who was being quoted.

Of course Bill Burton means to tell everyone what Obama meant, but then again, he's an official Obama campaign spokesman. I wasn't presenting his quote as a substantiation of fact, more along the lines of "That's how I read the quote you posted, and now a campaign spokesman says that was the intended interpretation." I only linked the foxnews article because that's the first place I found an official Obama campaign quote regarding the issue.

I reserve the right to revise my interpretation of the quote in question, at the top of your OP. I haven't listened to the whole interview, as I'm currently at work.

That said, I really still don't see how the part you quoted supports your interpretation.
Please don't take that as an attack or get terribly upset. I'm not saying you're incorrect. I'm saying I don't see. If you want me to see, could you please explain what connection you're seeing or how you interpret the quote. Use baby words if you think it'll help. Feel free to call me a mendoucheous asshat, or self-lefteous obamatard, as you see fit.

The quote I read says (paraphrased) "Neither the Constitution nor the courts are (nor should they be) in the business of meting out 'economic justice'. Despite its successes, I think it's a tragic legacy of the civil rights movement that we've come to rely upon the courts to enact social change, which should rather be forged at the community level."

Now I suppose it's fair to interpret that as supporting community level organization to fight for "economic justice" and "redistributive change."

But how do you get from there to "reparations for slavery"?

Or Holtz-Eakin's interpretation, "Barack Obama expressed his regret that the Supreme Court hadn't been more 'radical' and described as a 'tragedy' the court's refusal to take up 'the issues of redistribution of wealth.'"

Which, apart from the fact that the Obama quote does contain the words "radical" and "tragedy", seems a complete fabrication.

28th-Oct-2008 03:13 pm (local)


Thag shake head. Know him not ever going to be able explain.

Thag sad.

28th-Oct-2008 03:24 pm (local)


Racist crap deleted.

We owe them, forever, for slavery.

Wright, Farrakan, Mifune, Jackson, they are all about this. What the white people owe the black people.

I reject this supposition.

When a disciple of Rev Wright starts talking about spreading the wealth, he will be assumed to talking about this. Honestly, is it better if he's merely talking about Communism?

I am sorry you are coming into this late and don't understand. This is a continuation of several earlier posts, not a complete tutorial on all the issues just for you. Grab a drink, read the archives, hit the internet.

Perhaps they don't intend to be offensive, but they are awfully damn ham-handed about it.

Racial tensions run both ways. One side is over sensitive, the other is under. My tender sensibilities have been rubbed raw these last few months about this election and I would appreciate you playing "gotcha" on your own fucking blog for a while. Put your own position out there for people to flay and see how touchy you get.

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