“Now, I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, no matter what some folks say.”
It’s funny: when I was searching Google after entering this quote, I found one site the had as a headline, “2o Quotes From President Obama’s Farewell Speech That Will Melt Your…” and that’s where it cut off. Which was it, I wondered, “heart” or “brain”? It was heart….and the 20 also included the quote about race relations.
I also checked the Washington Post, which “fact-checks” major speeches with annotations. In the transcript, that line was indeed highlighted—I thought there was a 50-50 chance, knowing the Post’s pro-Obama bias, that it would let that whopper slide. The annotation by reporter Aaron Blake in its entirety:
Obama has seen the polls. A July Washington Post-ABC News poll [showed 6 in 10 thought race relations were bad, and a majority thought they were getting worse](Poll: Majority of Americans think race relations are getting worse)
Now that’s a tentative fact-check! Obama has seen the polls, so …he must know something we don’t? Obama has seen the polls, so…he’s basing this certitude on his own impeccable wisdom? Obama has seen the polls, so….he’s having a little fun with us? Obama has seen the polls, so…he’s lying through his teeth? What is the Post saying?
For this is rather significantly counter-factual. Yet demonstrating the hard-hitting investigative reporting that the Post is renowned for, the paper recently launched an investigation into whether Donald Trump was LYING when he told the Times, in one of his typical, off-hand, “this just popped into my head” moments, “There will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars [at the Inauguration] All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.” AHA! This is NOT TRUE! This is further proof that the man is NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT! And EEEEVIL!!! A Post reporter actually interviewed multiple dress shop owners, and concluded,
“It’s hard to imagine how Trump came to his conclusion, and a transition team spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But for all of the president-elect’s promises about economic stimulus, it doesn’t seem that he’s making Washington dress-shopping great again.”
In contrast, when the first African-American President of the United States, having seen his performance lead to the devastation of his party and the installment of a new President so antithetical to his world view as to risk the two of them exploding if they shake hands, makes a completely ridiculous assertion about a crucial American problem like race relations, we get a 27 word shrug and a link.
American journalism in 2017.
Of course race relations are worse. Since relations by definition involve how people feel, the polls results are dispositive, and the studies are unanimous. No one has found race relations to be improving; all studies, including the most recent by Pew, have found that they have plunged under Obama. The President, not for the first time, is essentially saying, “I don’t care what the facts say, I’m the smart one, and I’m right.”
But we don’t need polls on this topic, do we? We have major race riots to look back on in Baltimore, and Ferguson. We have seen protests and demands for racial segregation on many college campuses, with black students doing the demanding. Democrats under Obama have used accusations of racist bias as a means of suppressing dissent: that’s unprecedented. Shameless anti-white bigots, like Al Sharpton (with which the Obama Administration curried favor), Melissa Harris Perry, Joy Reid and others, have polluted cable TV with anti-white viciousness. The number of the nation’s police officers murdered in the line of duty doubled during President Obama’s tenure, with many of them assassinated by black assailants. A major movement, Black Lives Matters, is demanding a presumption of guilt for police officers when black citizens are shot in police-involved shootings, and while being endorsed by President Obama’s party, continues to spread false accounts to ratchet up racial distrust. Prosecutions have been brought against officers without probable cause, to pacify black demonstrators. Public events like the Oscars ignite into racial disputes.
Although the facts are indisputable, most of the news media has neglected to report on their implications regarding Obama’s impact on race relation, other than duly publicize the latest depressing poll. An internet search shows that Obama’s terrible legacy has been embargoed by the mainstream press and broadcast media; the conservative media has done most of the “But the Emperor has no clothes!” reporting regarding race. When a liberal pundit ventures into the area, the spin is usually like the analysis by the Times’ Frank Bruni, who argued that while race relations are bad, it isn’t Obama’s fault.
At least Bruni didn’t insult his readers’ intelligence by pretending that race relations have improved. That’s what Obama did in his speech, and that’s an Ethics Alarms Jumbo for the ages. (For those reading who are uninitiated, a Jumbo occurs when a public figure’s denial of an undeniable and very apparent fact reaches the absurdity of Jimmy Durante’s famous “Elephant? What Elephant?” response when caught red-handed trying to steal the biggest one in captivity in the musical “Jumbo.”
The deterioration of race relations will be the most significant part of Obama’s legacy. It represents an absolute failure, and for him to refuse to acknowledge it is cowardly, dishonest, disrespectful to those who expect him to give them facts rather than spin, and displays a deep flaw in his character.
Is he lying, in denial, or deluded regarding this topic? He certainly isn’t right. In the past, Obama has tried to spin what “race relations” means to make the argument that it constitutes an improvement because tensions and suspicions beneath the surface have been brought into the open. This is approximately like arguing that a couple’s marital relations have improved when they move from being polite but chilly with each other to screaming and throwing things.
My guess is that he is in denial. For the first black President and the most recent Presidential narcissist before Trump, this has to be a shattering failure to accept. Obama doesn’t have the fortitude or integrity to accept it. That he would make such an obviously false assertion in his final speech is signature significance, and explains the wreckage of his entire administration. An effective leader must be honest with himself, accept accountability for mistakes, defeats and failures, learn, and do better. Surrounded by sycophants, enablers and a fawning news media, Obama was able to convince himself that everything good was because of him, and everything that wasn’t should be blamed on someone else, or didn’t exist.
Race problems? What race problems?