Dear President Obama-
I hope this letter finds you well.
Its time for you to be the man who went to Philadelphia to deliver the speech “A More Perfect Union,” instead of a president whose administration is timid and clumsy when it comes to dealing with the issue of race. That speech was one of the most powerful, truthful, yet hopeful commentaries on race in America. We need you, the man who gave us that speech, to be the president who will move this country in the direction of “A More Perfect Union.”
As long as you concede your moral authority by remaining cautious/silent on the issue of race you allow FOX NEWS, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Andrew Brietbart, talk radio, et al to moderate this discussion and as a result our country risks further polarization. Under their moderation we have seen discussions of racism distorted and used to divide us, instead of bringing us together.
This group is responsible for manipulating the facts of the New Black Panther Party (NPP) case in an attempt to make you and Attorney General Holder look soft on racism directed at whites. They also succeeded in destroying the reputation of USDA employee Shirley Sherrod by creatively editing a video of a speech she recently gave to an NAACP chapter in Georgia. Sadly, in the case of Ms. Sherrod your administration took the bait and prematurely forced her to resign.
I can’t believe the man who gave us “A More Perfect Union” would have allowed his administration to be manipulated like that.
It should be pointed out Mr. President that neither the NPP or Ms. Sherrod were the real targets of this race baiting, you were and you will continue to be vulnerable to these attacks as long as your administration abandons its leadership role in this area. You have been taking the high-road, while people who seek to do you harm politically will stop at nothing, including dividing this country along racial lines, to destroy you and derail your agenda.
I understand how discussions of race can distract us and derail your legislative agenda, but think for a moment about the damage your silence is doing. Think about what is in the best interest of the country. The folks seeking to divide us along racial lines are going to attempt it whether you are silent or not, you may as well speak up and lead on this issue, because your administration’s silence will cost us for generations to come.
When the NAACP did the right thing and pushed back against some of the racist signs and rhetoric associated with the tea party movement, a number of folks in the media questioned whether or not they crossed the line. Think about it for a moment, there were blatant examples of racism, yet the NAACP has to be careful about how it addresses the situation.
Those attacking the NAACP are being reckless, accountable to no one.
After taking heat for coming out against the tea party the NAACP ended up on the defensive, took the bait and also prematurely condemned Sherrod. I may be in the minority, but I don’t blame them, they were manipulated.
Believe it or not, I don’t even blame those who manipulate these incidents in an effort to divide us. It is what they do, it is what I have come to expect of them. These folks are despicable excuses for human beings, but sadly they are only living down to the very low expectations I have of them. Your administration is allowing them to moderate and control the discussion of race in America.
The White House is in a position to foster an environment that encourages tolerance as well as understanding, and it needs to take the lead. By moderating the discussion in a healthy, inclusive manner you limit the damage that those who seek to divide us can do, while making this country “A More Perfect Union.”
Mr. President, I know you have a lot on your plate, but this problem will not go away if the administration doesn’t address it immediately. Its not just a discussion of race that this country needs, it needs an open and ongoing dialogue on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, tolerance and how we celebrate our diversity.
Americans want to get along with one another, sometimes they just need a leader to show them how. I am confident you are that leader.
As an African American I cannot tell you how proud I am of the example that you and the first family set for all Americans.
As a progressive I’m thrilled with your legislative victories and accomplishments (yes, despite what the blogs say, happy progressives do exist).
As an American I and others need you to be the President who went to Philadelphia to deliver that speech as a candidate, not because you are first African American President, but because you are the man who made this country believe in “A More Perfect Union.”
John V. Moore