Clinton's Race Speech Was Too Little, Too Late

| by Nik Bonopartis
Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton

Speaking from the Old State House in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln delivered one of history's most pointed speeches about national unity and slavery 160 years ago, Hillary Clinton channeled the revered president in outlining what the country needs to do to heal its racial wounds.

Casting herself as a unifier, heir apparent to the nation's first black president, Clinton lamented the "house divided," a country embroiled in a bitter inner battle over racial disparity, police aggression toward minorities, and the lingering injustices that have survived since the U.S. abolished slavery in 1865.

"Despite our best efforts and highest hopes," Clinton said gravely, "America’s long struggle with race is far from finished."

Anyone aware of what's been going on in the U.S., anyone with an ounce of empathy and even a rudimentary ability to put themselves in someone else's shoes, will recognize the truth of that statement.

But Clinton wasn't being genuine when she delivered that July 13 speech, and only a fool would believe that she really cares about the struggles of black people in modern America. Clinton isn't the unifier she pretends to be -- she's a divider, one of the worst opponents of racial harmony in the history of U.S. politics.

It's just that right now, with her lifelong ambition of becoming president almost within reach, it suits her to pay lip service to unity, to court black voters by pretending to sympathize with the Black Lives Matter movement, and pretending to work for the interests of American minorities.

Lest anyone forget, it was Clinton who called urban youth "superpredators," who said in 1995 that they have "no conscience, no empathy." It was Clinton who pushed hardest for her husband's crime reform package, a universally reviled piece of legislation that put an entire generation of black men behind bars and imposed Draconian sentences to keep them there. It was Clinton herself who perpetuated the same racial injustices she now rails against.

Oh, but that was 20 years ago. People change, don't they? Is it fair, people ask, to judge someone for something they did two decades ago, especially if they've disavowed those actions?

Perhaps not, but Clinton didn't stop in 1995.

A decade later, during a private fundraiser, Clinton joked that civil rights legend Mahatma Gandhi "ran a gas station down in St. Louis." Because all people from India run gas stations; get it? Clinton thought her joke was pretty funny, until it fell flat and was reported in the press.

Just four years later, in 2008, Clinton's increasingly desperate presidential campaign leaked photographs of then-Sen. Barack Obama in traditional Kenyan clothing. When word got out that it was the Clinton campaign that leaked the photographs, a Clinton surrogate went on cable news to blast anyone who thought releasing the photos was a racist cheap-shot.

Obama was simply wearing "his native clothing, the clothing of his country," Clinton staffer Stephanie Tubbs Jones told an MSNBC anchor. Wink, nod. Get it? Obama's totally a Muslim, and the American people would have to be crazy to elect a Muslim as president!

The next month, Clinton herself appeared on 60 Minutes, where she again played the same subtle race-baiting game. Obama, Clinton said, was not a Muslim "as far as I know."

"I take him on the basis of what he says," Clinton said, as if Obama was simply claiming to be Christian and hadn't attended the same Chicago church for more than a decade.

Soon her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was getting in on the racially coded action. When Obama shocked the Clinton campaign by winning South Carolina in the 2008 Democratic primaries, good old Bill compared Obama to Jesse Jackson, suggesting the Illinois senator was no more than a flash in the pan who could only win in states with large numbers of black voters.

Like so many of the Clintons' race-baiting, the comparison was expertly designed as a back-handed compliment.

“Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice -- in ’84 and ’88 -- and he ran a good campaign," Bill said. "And Senator Obama’s run a good campaign.”

Then there was the Clinton campaign's leaked internal memo, published in The Atlantic, that instructed Clinton surrogates to remind voters of the rumors -- stoked mostly by the Clinton campaign itself -- that Obama was a Kenyan Muslim.

"I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values," Hillary's chief strategist, Mark Penn, wrote in the memo.

After months of Hillary's race-baiting, even the editorial board for The New York Times -- comprised of longtime Hillary cheerleaders -- was appalled by the former New York senator's campaign tactics.

"Mrs. Clinton will be making a terrible mistake — for herself, her party and for the nation — if she continues to press her candidacy through negative campaigning with disturbing racial undertones," the paper said.

But, supporters will argue, Hillary didn't really mean that stuff. She's not really racist.

What about the time when Hillary, at a campaign stop in a Selma, Alabama, church, adopted the most offensive, stereotypical "African American accent" she could muster to appeal to black voters? The video of the event has become legendary, taking its place among the most cringe-worthy moments in the history of American politics.

What about the time when Bill Clinton tried to pressure a colleague to endorse his wife by describing Obama as nothing more than an up-jumped hotel porter?

“A few years ago, this guy would have been carrying our bags," the former president said, reported the New Yorker.

What about the time, just earlier this year, when Hillary described Trump as going "off the reservation" in his remarks?

One or two insensitive remarks might be waved off. Dozens of them can't be. When you combine those dozens with all the racially coded language and race-baiting of Hillary's 2008 primary campaign against Obama, you start to see the portrait of a true, unambiguous racist.

Writing in The New York Times, Columbia University professor John McWhorter makes the case that, in her Dallas speech, Hillary didn't say enough about racism. On the contrary -- it's clear she's said more than enough.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: The New York Times (2) (3), New York Post, The Atlantic (2), TIME, YouTube (2), Daily Kos / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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