I wouldn’t/couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the OpEdNews headline, Rep. Conyers: Obama Demanded Social Security Cuts—Not GOP.
The author was Jeanine Molloff, who quoted Representative Conyers bold statement: “We’ve got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States. The Republicans, Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor DID NOT call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALLED FOR THAT,” declared the fiery US Representative John Conyers in a press conference held by members of the House “Out of Poverty’ Caucus on 07/27/11.”
Conyers added ““My response to him [President Obama] is TO MASS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN FRONT OF THE WHITE HOUSE TO PROTEST THIS.”
I thought for sure OpEdNews might be a conservative site trying to badmouth Obama. Drinking the Kool-Aide to vote for him and the havoc that ensued wasn’t enough for me. So I read the article again. But Jeanine linked her source, the Crew of 42 and sure enough there was Conyers speaking in a filmed link the words she quoted and more.
Molloff pointed out, “This declaration is significant both politically and morally as Conyers is not only the second most senior representative in the House, but was also the first member of Congress to endorse candidate Obama. Conyers doesn’t merely draw a moral ‘line in the sand’ but he presents a candid picture of violent contrasts between himself and the first African-American president,” or at least the first half/African-American president. Perhaps the white half is responsible for that slack backbone. Whoops. Someone will call you a self-hating white with words like that. But Conyers had more than enough backbone.
As Molloff wrote, “Rep. Conyers served as a force for civil rights since his heavy involvement in the 1960s. Conyers marched, organized and pushed the movement. Elected to Congress in 1964, Conyers championed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a dangerous and deadly time for civil rights champions. Conyers also introduced the bill designating January 15 (Dr. King’s birthday) as a national holiday—4 DAYS AFTER THE KING ASSASSINATION in 1968.”
He also defended unpopular civil rights cases over the decades at great risk to his own life. He was a founder and Dean of the Congressional Black Cause. He took part in the “Freedom Day” voter registration activity in Selma, Alabama, facing down hoses and attack dogs on October 7, 1963, in the racist South. This was the guy who should have been president, the man who also made 13th place on Nixon’s “Enemies List,” the Conyers who blew the whistle in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 on his foot-dragging colleagues re his Single Payer health care bill. This was The Man, or perhaps a younger man just like him still to be found, who meant what he said and said what he meant.
So how could I possibly doubt OpEdNews, Jeanine Molloff or the grave and truth-telling Conyers? I don’t know. I had just decided not to mention this piece in an article I was writing on the “Super Congress of 12,” which has to stand in for a full Congress according to Obama’s deal that came with raising the debt ceiling—more baloney from the baloney master. Yet as soon as my article Does America need a ‘Super Congress’? came out at Intrepid Report, a friend sent me an article called Ruin-Nation: The Obama Catastrophe by executive editor of The Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford. And this was a burner, too. Ford started out like this . . .
“After two and a half years of waging war against the Left half of his own party, while seeking a ‘Grand Consensus’ with the GOP, President Obama has finally set ‘in motion a rolling implosion of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.’ The final vote on the debt ceiling measure—actually a ruse to impose savage cuts in social spending—saw a substantial portion of the Congressional Black Caucus put the president’s prestige above their constituents’ vital interests. Ninety-five House Democrats, including 15 Black Caucus members, “voted for the certainty of losing trillions of dollars for tens of millions of needy citizens, rather than risk the possibility of unknown financial dislocations.” Go know.
It was mind-blowing to hear the unvarnished truth Ford told sync with Molloff’s truth, no punches barred. It was a victory for truth for and from black people and white people, as Ford wrote, “History will, without doubt, lay this ruin of a nation at the doorstep of Obama, the corporate Democratic Trojan Horse.”
Ford continued, “Barack Obama finally got the grand, bipartisan consensus he’s been working towards for two and a half years. His implacable, deep-seated hostility to the left half of the Democratic Party (“retarded,” said his boy, Rahm Emanuel)—which includes most of the Congressional Black Caucus—transformed a 2008 popular mandate for progressive change into its opposite: a de facto center-right governing coalition of Republicans, rightwing Democrats and Obama’s Executive Branch arrayed against roughly half the Democrats (on a very good day) in the House of Representatives, plus a handful of liberal Senators.
“Obama’s unrelenting hostility to ‘entitlements,’ which he vowed to put ‘on the table’ for cutting two weeks before taking the oath of office in January, 2009, came to fruition this week, setting in motion a rolling implosion of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society. It is a monumental catastrophe, worthy of a Mt. Rushmore in reverse (say, deep in a guano-filled bat cave). History will, without doubt, lay this ruin of a nation at the doorstep of Obama, the corporate Democratic Trojan Horse whose complexional characteristics neutered, neutralized or outright made insane the bulk of Black America and most of those whites that pass as “progressives.”
The truth of his prose moved my heart. There was more in Ford’s piece, much more, but I save it for you to be amazed by. Every time, I have criticized Obama, from his first choice of Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, all operatives of the bollixed financial system, I felt somewhat guilty as an all-white person for saying so. I knew it was the truth, but 246 years of slavery, a Civil War and KKK terrorism, had left its shadow on my own soul, too. I have been trying to expunge that since the early ’60s when my closest friends were Freedom Riders and I just hung back in Brooklyn, too uptight to go.
Not that I thought they were wrong, I didn’t want to end up murdered like Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. It took me awhile to fess up and put my butt on the line, writing the truth as I saw it. That Obama should turn his back on all of us who believed in him is still hard to swallow but easier now that I understand these brothers in conflict with him are of one color, the color of truth.
The truth is transcendent. It resonates in all ears that can hear. I thank Jeanine Molloff as I do Glen Ford and especially Representative Conyers for his bravery, his association with Dr. King and the other great fighters of the Civil Rights movement which continues the struggle. I feel very sorry for the man who had this great chance in the White House and blew it, becoming the Wall Street President.
In fact, I can remember when I was a young musician on the road, playing in a band in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama, in the middle of the segregation mayhem. I was shaken by the apartheid culture, the poverty, people living in shacks surrounded by a city of beauty and wealth.
One day I got on a bus from downtown and all the seats up front in the white section were taken. I was tired from walking, so I walked to the back of the bus and found a seat among the black folks. In truth I felt more comfortable there than with the white folks up front. The bus driver looked in his big rearview mirror and called out, “Hey, you can’t sit there, boy.” I didn’t move. He finally got up and walked to where I was sitting in the last row and said, “You can’t sit there, boy.” I, the kid from Brooklyn, looked up and said, “All the seats in the white section are taken. I saw a seat here and I took it.”
“That don’t matter,” the driver said. “You can’t sit here. Either you go to the front of the bus and stand, or get off the bus.” Everyone was staring at me. I knew it was a long walk in the very hot August sun to where I was staying, but I blurted out, “I’ll get off.” I got up, walked to the open door oozing air-conditioning and walked home several miles. The rest of the people on the bus looked at me through the windows like I was crazy. I don’t think I was. I was happy to do it.
As I walked, the briliant blue sky broke into a torrential rain as it can down South. It poured and soaked me for about 15 minutes as I walked; then it stopped like a faucet and the sun came out again. The storm had passed soaking the red earth of Alabama. Everything glistened. It made me feel good and still does in my 72nd year to think of what I did at 16 years of age, even though I didn’t take the Freedom bus. Today, I walk in my Upper West Side neighborhood amid people of all colors, faiths and languages. I think, God bless still what America could be if it wanted to be. And me, I don’t think of myself as a “white progressive” Glen, just an old lefty.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.