Courtesy of WaPo:
Speaking on the anniversary of a 1963 bombing that killed four black girls and galvanized the civil rights movement, former vice president Joe Biden said that the hatred on display that day is not dead — and that Americans are still grappling with white supremacy, which “has been the antagonist of our highest ideals from before our founding,”
“Lynch mobs — arsonists — bomb makers and lone gunmen. And as we all now realize, this violence does not live in the past,” Biden said to a mostly black crowd in a sanctuary lighted by a stained-glass image of black Jesus.
“The same poisonous ideology that lit the fuse at 16th Street pulled the trigger in Mother Emanuel, unleashed the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh and Poway, and saw a white supremacist gun down innocent Latino immigrants in an El Paso parking lot with military-grade weapons declaring it would stop a quote ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas.’ We have not relegated racism and white supremacy to the pages of history.”
Biden did not mention President Trump and alluded only obliquely to his own White House aspirations, but his remarks at the 16th Street Baptist Church underscore the prominent and often volatile role that race has played in this presidential campaign. Biden, who said he was motivated to enter the 2020 race after seeing the rally of Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, has positioned himself as a candidate who would help heal a divided nation that has never fully overcome its racist past.
I have to admit when this came on my TV early this morning that I muted it and completely ignored while I worked on other things.
For some reason it just felt wrong for Joe Biden to be the one to deliver a speech on race in America on the anniversary of these murders.
Well now I have watched all twenty minutes of the speech and though there is nothing specifically wrong with what Biden says, it still feels forced to me and as if it was a political ploy designed to do damage control after his disastrous response to the reparations question during Thursday’s debate.
It does not help matters that perhaps one of the all-time greatest speeches ever delivered about race in America was delivered by his old boss, Barack Obama, when he was still just a candidate.
Yeah, it does not get any better than that.
So I don’t know if Biden’s speech was one that he has wanted to give since he first announced his candidacy, or if it was quickly cobbled together as some form of damage control.
But what I do know is that it did not leave me convinced that he is the candidate to move this country beyond the current racial strife inspired by the presidency of Donald J. Trump.