Happy Birthday, Mr. President
Perhaps the double murder at Jackson State in Mississippi on May 14, 1970 was preordained. In an attempt to escape racial discrimination and racist harassment, the teacher's college was obliged to move its campus to a predominantly African American neighborhood. But the new venue they chose was the unfortunately named Lynch Street.
On the heels of Kent State (which had occurred ten days earlier), heavily armed Mississippi policemen, hearing reports of rioting on the campus that started when a female student had been hit by a car driven by a white man, massed on the campus and confronted student protesters. When the carnage was over, investigators found over 160 bullet holes. Two young African American men, 21 year-old husband and father Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and 17 year-old James Earl Green, were dead.
For at least 20 minutes, ambulances weren't called for the dead and wounded students because Mississippi patrolmen wanted to pick up their shell casings. Meanwhile, the inevitable Three Stooges coverup had already begun, with Jackson city officials actually claiming that Mississippi police never fired a shot (the only others who could've with that degree of firepower were the Mississippi National Guard, which had guns but no ammo). Even Erik Prince, in the wake of the Nisour Sq. shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, wasn't so stupid as to claim total non-involvement.
To this day, we have to be reminded about Jackson State. People can't even seem to reference the mini massacre without recalling Kent State. Obviously, this is because all four of the Kent State victims were white.
Despite Richard Nixon forming a commission of Campus Unrest, not a single arrest or conviction was made for the two murders and injuries.
President Barack Obama turns 49 today and was only eight year old when the Jackson State shootings took place. But he's had more than enough time to acquaint himself with this, one of the last examples of race-based executions in American history.
In the wake of the Shirley Sherrod fiasco, two years after the Rev. Wright fiasco, over a year after the James O'Keefe/ACORN fiasco and one year after the Prof. Henry Louis Gates fiasco, it would be easy to imagine African Americans, especially those who'd voted for the President, to feel some sticker shock.
About the most vociferous defense that Obama made on behalf of his people was when he called the Cambridge Massachusetts Police Dept. "stupid" for arresting a black man on the door step of his own home (which they were). But even then, the President adopted a more conciliatory tone and even invited Gates and the white officer who'd stupidly arrested him for contempt of cop at the White House for a very carefully choreographed beer.
If it angers liberals that Barack Obama has forsaken them save for a videotaped message he'd audaciously made for Netroots in Las Vegas telling them not "to give up the fight", imagine how it must anger African Americans who have seen literally thousands of their own people get thrown under the wheels of a bus to appease racist right wingers who will never be appeased no matter what.
Perhaps it's unfair to judge how Obama would've responded to Jackson State if he'd been president instead of Richard Nixon. But given his dismal track record for civil rights, which paved the way for his election to the presidency, it's all too easy to imagine Obama clucking his tongue and calling the Jackson, MS PD "stupid" for killing two innocent African Americans.
Maybe he would've called them over to the White House two days later for a Pearl Beer and to publicly apologize for calling them stupid and angering the Dixiecrats with his uppity reaction. Because bipartisanship, even futile overtures to that end, is far better than justice even when innocents are murdered.
Mouth-breathing wingnuts, their eyes wider than clay pigeons, will tell you this is the same Barack Obama who is a Socialist, black power separatist who's assembled a group of black thugs to take the place of the Secret Service and to trample white opposition.
This is the same Barack Obama who, starting with his own aunt, in reality has deported more immigrants in his brief time in the White House than George W. Bush in his eight. In fact, if you look at W's centrist, conciliatory track record on immigration, Bushie looks like a bleeding heart liberal compared to Obama.
Barack Obama has been much more of a colossal failure than current history seems willing to judge him. Granted, he had many handicaps facing him, with many more fully-developed crises already in midseason form than Kennedy had awaiting him in early 1961.
But some of Obama's first reversals as President, starting with not closing Gitmo and not releasing the pictures and videos of US soldiers torturing detainees, were but the first couple of signs to come of what would prove to be one of the most abominable track records on human rights in recent memory.
And the betrayal to his own people started on the campaign trail.
So, yeah, maybe it's unfair to judge what Obama would've done about Jackson State if he was president. But do any of us reasonably think that a federal investigation would've resulted and that the Civil Rights movement would've gotten a much-needed boost when those involved with the massacre would've been brought to justice?
Or would Obama had clucked his tongue and pronounced the whole thing as a unfortunate misunderstanding that could be solved over a beer?