Last night the President gave a fire breathing speech before the Congressional Black Caucus during their Foundation’s annual Phoenix awards. He had a special message for members of the CBC who have been for the last few weeks openly criticizing the President even going so far as Emmanuel Cleaver discussing that had the President been White there would have been protest marches organized against him.
The fact that for during the entire 8 years of the Bush administration and the horrors visited upon the community by him Mr. Cleaver did essentially nothing popping off to the McClatchy newspapers seemed more than a betrayal, considering the most push back they were able to organize were angry letters, it seemed cheap and displayed a stunning lack of leadership and knowledge of where we are and have been as a people in these United States. Well last night the President reminded them.
And I know at times that gets folks discouraged. I know. I listen to some of you all. (Laughter.) I understand that. And nobody feels that burden more than I do. Because I know how much we have invested in making sure that we’re able to move this country forward. But you know, more than a lot of other folks in this country, we know about hard. The people in this room know about hard. (Applause.) And we don’t give in to discouragement.
Throughout our history, change has often come slowly. Progress often takes time. We take a step forward, sometimes we take two steps back. Sometimes we get two steps forward and one step back. But it’s never a straight line. It’s never easy. And I never promised easy. Easy has never been promised to us. But we’ve had faith. We have had faith. We’ve had that good kind of crazy that says, you can’t stop marching. (Applause.)
Even when folks are hitting you over the head, you can’t stop marching.
Even when they’re turning the hoses on you, you can’t stop. (Applause.) Even when somebody fires you for speaking out, you can’t stop. (Applause.) Even when it looks like there’s no way, you find a way – you can’t stop. (Applause.) Through the mud and the muck and the driving rain, we don’t stop. Because we know the rightness of our cause – widening the circle of opportunity, standing up for everybody’s opportunities, increasing each other’s prosperity. We know our cause is just. It’s a righteous cause.
So in the face of troopers and teargas, folks stood unafraid. Led somebody like John Lewis to wake up after getting beaten within an inch of his life on Sunday – he wakes up on Monday: We’re going to go march. (Applause.)
Dr. King once said: “Before we reach the majestic shores of the Promised Land, there is a frustrating and bewildering wilderness ahead. We must still face prodigious hilltops of opposition and gigantic mountains of resistance. But with patient and firm determination we will press on.” (Applause.)
So I don’t know about you, CBC, but the future rewards those who press on. (Applause.) With patient and firm determination, I am going to press on for jobs. (Applause.) I’m going to press on for equality. (Applause.) I’m going to press on for the sake of our children. (Applause.) I’m going to press on for the sake of all those families who are struggling right now. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I am going to press on. (Applause.)
I expect all of you to march with me and press on. (Applause.) Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. (Applause.) Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC. (Applause.)
God bless you, and God bless the United States of America
If he had been holding a hand held microphone at the end of the speech he would have dropped it fell to a knee and waited for Macio to bring out his coat and walk him off the stage. He had the place rocking and rolling.
See for yourself.
Here are some reactions from various CBC members of the performance, and for these representatives let me say good, because I’m coming to the conclusion the Cleaver’s etc. may need a lesson.
After the speech, several CBC members said they were pleased with the message. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Maryland, said it was a “call to action.” She said both sides of the aisle know where the battlelines are drawn on the issues and that complaining about that will not accomplish anything, members must fight for what they want.
“He showed he’s going to fight,” she said.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said the president “took his gloves off” and that it was the right approach. “This is the first day of the beginning of a season of pressure” on Republicans in Congress, she said. “I think that this is now, for his own sake, a sense of reckoning that although his temperament as president of the United States for everybody – is to include everyone – there’s a time now that the marching has to begin, because he’s got to
The days when the Black community might expect a specialized program funded and designed solely to help the children of the middle passage have been over for a generation, and the generation of Black leadership that might expect such a thing has seen their time pass.
They have become as useful as the little thingy in the middle of old 45 records albums and just as timely. Our President has shown that Black people can lead White ones from the highest offices in the land when just 20 years ago White people wondered if we had the “necessities” to run a baseball team. The President just did so with strength and swagger, and he shouldn’t have to waste any more words addressing the Cornell West/Tavis Smiley wing of Black leadership. We’ve got work to do as he has so succinctly pointed out, and that work doesn’t include the jaw jacking from a previous era.
I expect all of you to march with me and press on. (Applause.) Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. (Applause.) Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC.
Damn right Mr. President