The Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi invites a white liberal New England Senator to speak at an economic town hall on the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther Kings, Jr.
Some African-Americans in Jackson objected to the invitation saying that it was just the White Senator’s typical town hall meeting with an MLK label put on it. Laurie Bertram Roberts, the co-founder and executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, published an op-ed in the Jackson Free Press criticizing the invitation:
Is the message coming out of Jackson that the White Senator came to the deep South to denounce the racist policies of the Trump administration? No.
Is the message coming out of Jackson that the White Senator came to the deep South to call for unity in the upcoming midterm elections? No.
The principal point being reported is that the White Senator chose this solemn anniversary to dismiss the nation’s first African-American President by saying that the Democratic Party’s model
for the last 15 years or so has been a failure. People sometimes don’t see that because there was a charismatic individual named Barack Obama. He was obviously an extraordinary candidate, brilliant guy. But beyond that reality [Democats lost seats].
Democrats also lost seats under Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson and Clinton, but somehow I do not hear the White Senator dismissing them mere charming actors. The White Senator also ignores recent Democratic successes from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania to Alabama and Virginia since that would contradict his effort to sow division within the party.
Keep in mind, that THIS IS THE SAME WHITE SENATOR who was never a great supporter of President Obama and even toyed with challenging him in the primaries in 2012.
THIS IS THE SAME WHITE SENATOR whom African-American voters in his home state accused of “benign neglect”.
THIS IS THE SAME WHITE SENATOR who went 30 years in Congress without a single person of color on his staff.
THE SAME WHITE SENATOR who lost in Mississippi to Hillary Clinton 82.6% – 16.5% and lost the overall African-American vote 73.5% – 23.1%.
THE SAME WHITE SENATOR who, after losing South Carolina 73.5% – 26.0%, flew to Minnesota and proceeded to insult the largely African-American South Carolina voters by saying
There’s no way we’re going to lose Minnesota. I can see that. You are just too smart.
THE SAME WHITE SENATOR who, one of his supporters noted
Sanders has been in Congress for thirty years, but hasn’t developed meaningful relationships with many black elected officials and activists. The way he approached South Carolina was largely to bring in outside black, northern intellectuals—all men—who have made a habit of denouncing President Obama. And Killer Mike—a rapper. Women are 60 percent of the black electorate here, and you are hard pressed to find a black voter who does not feel strongly supportive of the first black President. Sanders might have missed the reality on the ground, since he held his events at the colleges. That isn’t a serious bottom-up strategy for getting to where working people in the community really are. . . . . This is a campaign run by some white guys in D.C. and Vermont with some Black Lives Matter talking points as soundbites thrown in. That just doesn’t cut it.
This is not to say that President Obama is beyond criticism. President Obama made countless decisions over the course of his 2,923 days in office and no doubt a number of them are worthy of criticism. But to be so dismissive of the President and his legacy on this day of all days is an insult.
I know my friends will call me divisive for pointing out the White Senator’s divisive and tone-deaf comments and claim that I am merely acting on a grudge so, instead, I will let others do the talking about the WHITE SENATOR’S APPALLING TONE-DEAFNESS.