A fellow blog (DelawarePolitics.Net) put up a piece decrying why no outrage developed over Takei’s remarks, yet Duck Dynasty and Chick-Fil-A each got pummeled for their remarks.

I thought it a good question.

It boils down to what was said by Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court…

“Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them.”


Did a black man just say that?

One loses their dignity just being locked up in jail for one night.. Otherwise our jails would be full every night because no one would care.  Plus we see Guantanamo photos.  We see propaganda showing prisoners of  ISIS.  Being locked up even briefly is very damaging to ones dignity. So how is it that one can not lose their dignity or humanity over being locked up for their whole life?

Really, did a black man just say that?

To this date from Clarence Thomas there has been no clarification over this remark.  It stands naked in all its glory just as you read it.

But one has to wonder…. seriously…  What non-human sits on our supreme court?   His statement makes as much sense as if someone said the sun never gave off radiation.

To this Takei replied:

“Justice Thomas was a clown in black face and a disgrace to America who does not belong on the Court.”

So… is there any question that Thomas is a clown?  After that remark by him, there isn’t… Thomas is a clown just like Duck Dynasty was a clown (and still is (has he shaved yet?)) … Chick Fil A owner wasn’t a clown as his actions later proved.  He was simply misinformed prior to his speaking from the heart… Upon being correctly informed he promptly changed his entire attitude to the question in hand…..

So Takei got the clown part right….

Is Clarence Thomas’s face black… In all the photos I’ve seen it is…  He is rather dark even by most African standards

So the remark comes across as true by most people’s standards… We have a clown… with a black face … (most clowns have faces painted white)…

Therefore:  there should be no outrage against Takei (there isn’t) because everything he said was true, quite unlike what was uttered by Chick Fil A’s CEO and Duck Dynasty’s errant head of household….

Case dismissed.

Thanks to Kevin’s sleuthing this morning we now can predict within a degree of accuracy the opt out rates across the state of Delaware…. Simply compare the two charts provided by the DOE.

Smarter Balanced Test FakersStudent Enrollment 2015

(Forgive the format: I’m just figuring out percents as I go…) :(

Grade 3: 10,529 enrolled…. maximum taking single test 10,253 so 97.37% testing rate…
Grade 4: 10,278 enrolled … Maximum taking single test 9,984 so 97.13%.
Grade 5: 10,304 enrolled…. Maximum taking single test 10,021 so 97.25%.
Grade 6: 10,416 enrolled…. Maximum taking single test 10,095 so 96.91%.
Grade 7: 10,185 enrolled…. Maximum taking single test 9,794 so 96.16%
Grade 8: 10,072 enrolled…. Maximum taking single test 9,574 so 95.06%
Grade 11: 8941 enrolled…. Maximum taking single test 7,668 so 85.75%

Notice how the participation rates differ as parents become wiser as their kids grow older?

So just for giggles what were the percentages on those tests with the minimum takers? The theory being that the first test was a “surprise” for parents and would spurn more and additional parents to instruct their child to refuse to take the test and opt to sit in study hall through all subsequent tests….

Grade 3: 10,529 enrolled…. minimum taking single test 10,166 so 96.55% testing rate…
Grade 4: 10,278 enrolled … minimum taking single test 9,890 so 96.22%.
Grade 5: 10,304 enrolled…. minimum taking single test 9,923 so 96.30%.
Grade 6: 10,416 enrolled…. minimum taking single test 9,959 so 95.61%.
Grade 7: 10,185 enrolled…. minimum taking single test 9,698 so 95.21%
Grade 8: 10,072 enrolled…. minimum taking single test 9,472 so 94.04%
Grade 11: 8941 enrolled…. minimum taking single test 7,446 so 83.27%

Evidence makes it appears Delaware’s educational system has contrary to Markell’s, Murphy’s, Sokola’s, Jacques’ assertions, always been working rather well since as one grows older in our educational system, one becomes less and less likely to always do what one is told by improper authorities… There may be hope for America yet….

Usually things can be easily grasped if you avoid the details and look at a broader picture…  Of course, I’m not saying never look at details… That would be silly…  But I’m saying that if you approach all situations from the bottom up, you really don’t have a clue unless you luckily enough to reach the summit and look down…  It is like climbing a mountain… If you just walk uphill… you may get there… or you may hit a wall that cannot be climbed… But looking at a satellite photo of the mountain first, you can easily track a general path, then deal with the details discovered on the ground when you get there….

What politics all comes back to, is what I first heard while making the rounds with my dad. That old man on the porch who said between cigar puffs…. “Kid… politics is about who gets the money and who controls it…”

That held for my county then, for our counties now, for our state, and federal too… Understanding  that politics is all about money, makes one understand ahead of time what will pass legislature in any given session, and what will not…

There are many ways to divide the pie…  one can base it on color of skin which has been tried in our history.  One can base it on gender, which has been tried in our history… One can base it on land ownership which as been tried in our history…  But over the course of time, each of those distinctions have fallen.  And good riddance.

Now, thanks to mass media, there is a new distinction… Between those who can buy ads to threaten lawmakers, and those who can’t…  (For simplicity more than accuracy, we will from henceforth, call them the 1% versus the 99%…..)

If one looks at the 1%’s slice of pie, prevailing wage bites into it… They have to pay a higher wage than what they could find in cheaper labor…  I mean who could not be against prevailing wage if it meant you had to pay more money which you could, if the trend were gone, keep to yourself?    So these guys do have motive, one that is dear to each and all of our hearts. Keeping their money.

But even rich people know that an argument saying:  make these people suffer more so I can become EVEN richer does not hold water in any forum.  In fact that argument is the kiss of death… So instead they find a third party to portray as victim… which is the government…  Their argument:  our government is paying more than it has to which is a waste catches more flies especially during hard times….

There are some mis-truths here that need pointing out…

One is that doing away with prevailing wage does not cut cost for government…  It does nothing like that at all in our system of bids …. Our government asks for bids, and it chooses one…. Most often there is only one bid.  That bidder gets what they ask… And with prevailing-wage-principles now gone, the owners pocket that extra incremental which was previously blamed on Prevailing Wage…

So whereas on paper one can anticipate all the labor being used on government contracts and take several dollars off every total and call that a potential savings…. it does not show how other mysterious costs will bite into and suck out those alleged savings, funneling the money over to the 1%’s bank accounts.

In other words, there will be no savings because the 1% will steal them… WE THE PEOPLE will still pay $65 million for a construction job, but instead of 53% going to wages which get spent in our state, now only 43% goes to that place… Losing prevailing wage takes money like a giant vacuum cleaner right out of Delaware’s economy… Instead of funding projects to benefit people working, we are funding the same projects to benefit those who take the money immediately right out of the state’s economy which quickly gets locked up and we will never see it again…..

Bottom line of losing prevailing wage?… A.) No money is ever saved by our government.  B.) Our Delaware local economy suffers net loss. C.) The top 1% grows 10% richer with every project the state funds….

In very surprising language from a very Conservative Pope, (Pope Francis’s predecessor)  Pope Benedict lays it out very clearly…

Today, budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers’ associations. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past…

Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself. 

So, if you read the above you can plainly see  we have a head of the largest Christian denomination the Roman Catholic Church, calling for the continuance of policies like Prevailing Wage, and endorsing it…. “What God has brought together; let no man cut asunder.”

What just happened June 30th, was that the total economic pie of Delaware, the one that gets divided up between the haves and have-nots, just got a little smidgen taken from the Have-Nots and  added to the side of the Haves which already own over 50% of the pie .

  • A.) No money gets saved by the Government.
  • B.) Less money now filters through our grocery stores, our restaurants, our small businesses, our handyman our landscapers, our repair shops, or our mechanics….
  • C.) The noose for 99% of us becomes tighter by another notch, which with a one way slit knot, can never be undone except by cutting away the noose altogether..

The good news is that some form of prevailing wage still stands for larger contracts.   The bad news is that we have less pie than we did a week ago, to feed all 1 million of us living today in what once were the three former counties of Pennsylvania….

But the effects of reducing prevailing wage can be countered by a government and local economy…. If we would just create an excessive tax on the top one percent while giving them the option to write off everything they spent on capital investment that year…. they themselves would have the incentive to pay more and government would not have to step in and support wages with a minimum floor… Pictorially, If the top 1% had to continuously give back the slices of pie they continuously stole from us, they would stop stealing, is basically the point of taxing excessively those only in the top tier.

Or, if we could again legally protect every American worker from being fired if they stopped workage as long as their work stoppage was linked to getting higher wages, then those wages would increase through bargaining under that threat, and laws supporting prevailing wages would no longer be necessary…

But since 1980 we have cut back on those two forms of balance so until they are restored, today’s current political climate which is controlled by the owners of excessive money , demands the necessity of continuing prevailing wage just to keep all wages higher, both private and public, since all wages have to compete for labor against the highest one on the market…

But it is ultimately our failure as a state to jump-start massive local investment by levying huge taxes on all monies the top one percent won’t spend on local capital improvements here within our state’s boundaries,  that causes us to have to defend the concept of prevailing wage.. We NEED prevailing wage just for the simple reason that all of its well-spent money comes straight to us… to all of us in the local economy when those receiving it in their paychecks, spend it!… Without prevailing wage,  it’s the Caymen Island bank accounts which swell with yours and my money…………  instead of our local economy.

Prevailing Wage like every thing in politics… is only about who gets to get their hands on the money….. Why shouldn’t it be you?  There is no reason.  Just that you didn’t ask for it; You didn’t defend your rights to it; you elected people paid for by the other side… Your lack of having enough money today comes down to your own damn fault….

Isn’t it time you did something about it?

DCAS Math 2014DCAS ELA 2014

Those students getting the equivalent of an A+ are in blue… Those getting A’s and B’s are in Green. And those getting C’s are in yellow… The red stands for those who got D’s and F’s… This comes from last spring’s (2014) DCAS testing….

When the Smarter Balanced scores eventually come out… forget the semantics of “proficiency” (A, A-, B+, B, B-)… Instead, look at those who actually failed or are below basic….  The rates are amazingly low…

Which means that our schools are doing a really good job… But… I would bet that because this was intentionally hidden from you and because the News Journal, and the blogs, and the politicians all focused on the word “proficiency”… you were really unaware of just how good our teachers are doing today in Delaware’s schools…


There are more A+ students than there are F’s?   That is one huge distortion of the standard Bell Curve and can only happen by a lot of hard work by very dedicated individuals…

But, if you and every one else knew that public schools in Delaware were doing such a phenomenal job, you probably would object to $37 million being funneled to “Friends of Markell”  Ie (AIR which makes the Smarter Balanced Assessment)… If everyone was aware of how great public schools were performing, they probably would object to a new charter going up in their district which would TAKE AWAY MONEY FROM THEIR GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOL.   If everyone knew how good Delaware’s children were doing right now, they would abandon charters and return to our public schools…

Which is why we are getting scores that will make schools look worse than what we’ve been told… This August, when the News Journal publishes the Smarter Balanced Results for 2015, and decries that everyone is not proficient (not in blue), the hope is that those who can benefit financially at your expense from a failing public school system, will finally get the chance…

It boils down to semantics.  If someone tells you that Jack is not proficient… it pops in your mind that he must then be a failure… That is just our immediate impression.. Of course, all we have to do is ask… “what is your definition of proficient”  to discern that what they were claiming as the level of proficiency sets a new record for mankind’s highest ascent. If we ask (and we should all scream it in August when the Smarter Balanced Results come out)…. “WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF ‘PROFICIENT'”  (and how does that translate to a letter grade) then we would under the Freedom of Information Act, eventually find out that they are decrying we must change EVERYTHING in education because only 33% of our children are A+ students.

Which is pretty damn good…

So OK. In this semantic inflation, how many are really failures?   From the red in the DOE’s charts above, it appears to be in the low 10%’s … which is also realistically pretty good.  Especially when many of those don’t speak English.. Or get meals at home… Or have parents read to them.   Or have parts of their brains missing and inoperable through no cause of their own…

When you see the  Delaware DOE reporting that they taught 35.8% of all students in 2014-2015 who were below the Federal poverty level (much lower than those previously eligible for free lunch (a higher threshold)).. yhe fact that only 10% of those failed, means we were able to teach and pass those 25.8% of those most vulnerable citizens…

Teachers pat yourselves on the back.. No other civilization on this planet can do what you just did.. Teach and pass 25% of the population who are below poverty. (China sends them straight to factory assembly lines) As a collective force, you are truly amazing….

But…. educational reformers can’t have any of that… How can they fire long-term teachers and replace them with computers or cheap substitutes, if our well-trained teachers are doing a really great bang-up job?

They can’t… and so they have to lie…

Remember: when the scores come out… to grab those hawking the demise of public education, and hold their feet in the fire; don’t let them squirm out. Demand they give you the letter grade of what “being proficient” really stands for:

An A+

That was the feeling one got from yesterday… in general when it comes to the state of Delaware.  Everyone is just so tired.. A lot more than from other years…  Our legislature is too old.  The same characters have done it all over and over without change… Like week-old bread, the taste has molded, and the texture toughened…

There were moments of lucidity.  Legislators there for their first closing sessions provided some passion and freshness but they were frozen out of the mainstream by the lobbyists and legislators who’ve repeated this charade since the early 90’s.

I was reminded of many a small business, run for 40 years, where ideas fresh and invigorating 30 years ago like the merchandise, were still on the shelves, collecting dust. too young for antique dealers, too old for everyone else…  When one walks in banging the screen door, the owners stir, suspiciously watch you peruse their merchandise, standing at attention to ring up an anticipated sale, then shrugging their shoulders as you exit and drive away…

Our state has reached that point…  We are tired… We are tired of having no money.  We are tired of always cutting back. We are tired of not raising taxes.  We are tired of doing without…. We are tired of blaming prevailing wage. We are tired of sticking it to tolls and fee-payers to raise our revenues.  We are tired of this overbearing, oppressive, stifling , thick humidity crushing summer air that makes all move in slow viscous motion to avoid being smothered in buckets of sweat.

We are a tired state….

And why?

The answer as any CEO will tell you, is because we have reached our end of hope.. We have no new visions in front of us, which is accurately cartooned by the Rodel name changes originally in 2006 from Vision 2009 to  Vision 2015, to Vision 2025, which despite all the name changes, essentially remain exactly the same.

We are tired of going to work making less, then have to do with less to pay for our higher bills, since someone somewhere up there is making a lot more than what they once did for the same service they’ve always provided…

We are tired of being brushed aside, by those who have money and pull with legislators they’ve now sat at banquet tables for over one fifth of a century.  We are tired of not seeing change…

That is essentially it…   We are tired of not seeing change….

Oh, those who want the middle class as serfs again, don’t seem to feel this ennui… They are pumped up cheering as every earned right we’ve had for hundreds of years, gets stripped away…. But they are a thin minority… The rest, just muddle on, lost in their distractions of NetFlicks or Amazon shrugging their shoulders complaining how nothing ever improves….

There are bright spots on the distant horizon… Bernie Sanders may actually become a force of change even if not elected, by breaking the ennui on the playing field with something new.  Or we may go to war with an unknown enemy today, which always sharpens our focus even if upon simple survival…

The road map is clear.

Although two months too early to talk about football, I am going to break that rule here… In the contest between people and money, the American people are down 24-7 in the 3rd Quarter… We all know that comebacks in the NFL happen all the time.   We know that with only 2 unanswered touchdowns and a field goal, we again have a tie game…  But with every minute time is running out..   Our chances are lessening that we will ever again have the middle class prosperity under which we grew up… With every passing second which we do not have the ball, our future becomes dimmer, and dimmer, and dimmer, and dimmer….

As any football aficionado will tell you, there comes a time in every game, where playing defensively is not an option.. You’ve already lost by being defensive; it is too late to focus only on stopping the others from gaining… Your only option is to finally run or throw the ball, and if you don’t have a clear shot… you take the chance with a “Hail Mary”….. because at 24-7 against you… you don’t really have a choice….

Here is what is missing…

Taxing the top one percent… That alone, like a 70 yard pass and 20 yard run into the end zone, will make the game into a battle again… That alone will put the adrenalin back into life.  That alone will give 315 million Americans the one single ray of hope they have, that though things are tough now… at some future point, they too will be able to relax and enjoy the game of participating in the American dream….

Because when it comes down to it… and this isn’t just me but the entire course of human history, when you put all your faith into a system that believes in getting the most out of every worker…. you will never be paid what you are worth.. You will be always paid the minimum allowed to keep you in in that spot…  Doesn’t that make perfect sense?  Why would anyone pay you $100,000 when they can fill your spot with a kid for $25,000?

Trusting business is trusting a brown recluse spider to take care of you…

The only way we will ever have a better future for our children, is if we tax those 1% just enough to pay for $100,000 accountants, scientists, and inspectors to keep those 1 per centers legal and in line…  Then, if  you don’t like your low corporate pay, there is a high paying government job waiting for you that will double your income….

Cuts, cuts, cuts, are old, old. old… Find someone who says tax, tax, tax,  and we will again hope, hope, hope…

There is only one way out of our quagmire… Tax the top one percent fairly until we have the nation we again want…   Till then, it will be the same ole, same ole, same ole, same ole, same ole…….. long after the day we die… Each day we don’t tax is like each minute we don’t play offensively; we bury our children’s economic future deeper and deeper and deeper.  The beauty of being American, is that we are supposed to make our own future…  Find someone out there who will raise taxes… and support them like hell. This time, vote like your future income depends on it… because frankly, that is the only thing it does depend on…

In Chess, the castle is sometimes called the rook.  Therefore the Rooks would be the ones protecting the public from the onslaught of evil, as would a castle in the days of Game of Thrones.

The Crooks are those who believe the Charter School Network is above the law, does not have to report to anyone, and can dip its hand into the money pot anytime they want… Those who’ve studied the General Assembly House, will nod their heads over how accurate this one bill’s vote tally splits the House into two sections… those with morals … and those without…..

Vote Type:SM Yes: 23 No: 17 Not Voting: 0 Absent: 1

Crooks…. versus…. Rooks…..

Barbieri Y J. Johnson Y Peterman A
Baumbach Y Q. Johnson Y Potter Y
Bennett Y Keeley Y Ramone N
Bolden Y Kenton N B. Short Y
Brady Y Kowalko Y D. Short N
Briggs King N Longhurst Y M. Smith Y
Carson Y Lynn Y Smyk N
Collins N Matthews Y Spiegelman N
Dukes N Miro N Viola Y
Gray N Mitchell Y K. Williams Y
Heffernan Y Mulrooney Y Wilson N
Hensley N Osienski Y Yearick N
Hudson N Outten N Schwartzkopf N
Jaques N Paradee Y
  • Higher taxes on the top 1%.
  • Fund Charters by line items in state budgets and leave local money to stay in the feeder pattern.
  • Do away with the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
  • Vote Delaware out of Common Core; create commission to develop new standards… Use only teachers to create those, but have their work overseen by a broad spectrum committee.
  • Mandate an 11:1 student/ teacher ratio in all schools over 50% poverty in grades k-5, and again in grade 9.
  • Require every adult to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

If Markell vetoes the HB 50, then what…

  • Everyone yells and gnashes their teeth..
  • There may be a special session to override it, but if not, then what….
  • The Standard Balanced Assessment goes forward another year.
  • Last years scores add gasoline to the embers still glowing with indignation and defeat.
  • The Opt Out movement, now much stronger than ever, again fires up the presses and urges parents to opt out. Bolstered by the knowledge that 90% of people support opting out, supported by some big organizations in education, this time they start early and pull their kids. Against which the Governor and Mark Murphy have no new ammo…  Opt out totals will triple over this past year; maybe go even higher…

All Summer, all fall, all winter we will have the constant battering of Common Core. of the Smarter Balanced, of Mark Murphy. of charter schools.  More charter corruption stains the daily papers.  More ineptitude as charter scores come out lower than public.  Everywhere all begin muttering how Markell has been the worst governor they’ve ever seen in office…

The General Assembly runs the other way from him starting the second week of January…. and we really will have no leadership at the helm of our state as every legislature scrambles to save himself, until the next session begins under new leadership in 2017.

Not a pretty picture….

But… if he signs the bill …. all of that goes away… There will be two minutes of celebration and we move onward… By September we will have forgotten Common Core.  We will have forgotten the smarter balanced. we will have forgotten who got in the way, and who helped immeasurably…   Instead there will be new songs on our radios.. New shows on cable, and new shenanigans surrounding the race for president that will suck all energy out from every other minor detail….

Sometimes it is best to go with the flow, especially when you do not have a game plan to counter it…

It is an amazing thing to watch… the dismantling of the Confederate Flag.  These 9 murders have had an effect far reaching than any event I can remember since 9/11.

It is as if we always knew they all had to go… by we I am including  vast, vast majorities, almost everybody; but because one shrill element was loud, obnoxious, and obstinate, no one really wanted to take them on…   Reminds one of dealing with a bully at school…. One could probably take him out with several properly placed punches, but in that process you’d get hit hard, suffer damage yourself, and so the status quo of accepting an undesirable outcome, was better than striving for a more perfect world.   Everyone knows that the bully is wrong, but no one wants to invest in the personal cost it would take to permanently fix the problem, despite all secretly wishing someone else would….

That is racism in America.  The big problem which if we try to address it by tackling it on the edges, we get besieged, almost attacked, by a vocal shrill anti-social element representing the excrement of society: those of us who simply hate for hate’s sake.

Yet, they are easily outnumbered.  But since they yell and punch and we stay silent because we don’t want to bog ourselves down, they win.

But with one killing spree. the bigots lost it all.  With one killing spree, everyone is no longer afraid to throw the bigots in social jail, and lock the key.  With one killing spree, the bigots are being finally beaten down like the bullies they are.. by superior force…

I am reminded of a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr i once read… which said that the true legacy that Martin Luther King Jr. left us, was to no longer be afraid to stand up for justice…  After Selma, the next day freedom fighters were singing a capella gospel in the jails… After Selma, the next day the wounds of the batons, dog bites, and fire hoses… hurt half as bad as the day before, and tomorrow would be half as bad as today….  Everyone looked around at each other and said… “Gee, that wasn’t too bad; we can do that again, and again, and if we do, we can win this”… and they did…  Once you beat fear, anything is possible.

I think that is what is happening today… In sort of an impetuous response to the impetuous act committed in a church basement in Charleston… the flags are coming down… The omen of slavery is being removed from the state capitols and governor’s offices across the entire South. Confederacy has lost its legitimacy. And that fight which we were all afraid of… which we all lowered our eyes and looked the other way to avoid, which we all thought was better to leave those old flags up there, than take them down, get beaten up, lose the public opinion battle, and have to reinstate them,…. really wasn’t that bad after all….

All of what we feared was a paper tiger… nothing more… nothing less…

Now that we’ve done this… we must not stop on the first step. Now let us take back our nation not just in race or sexual identiy… but in economics as well…

If everyone who commented on social media, who ostracized racists making them extremely fearful of speaking out for once, if everyone who gave their opinion actually voted every election, this nation would get back on track immediately… Instead of everyone racing out to vote, we got apathy in 2014, setting our nation backwards from where it could be by at least, the minimum of two years; because of the overall apathy, we have a minority with which no one agrees, controlling Congress, running this nation into the ground simply because more of them went out to vote….

We won this battle over flags… It wasn’t free… 9 people died… but we won… The world is wide open to us… If we vote on election day, like we respond on social media… what now seems impossible…. America running on 100% renewable energy… Global cooling instead of warming…. decent minimum wages… more spending money… lifetime health, .. is in our grasp…

We just have to vote like we respond on Social media whenever we see evil rise up and knock down good…. We can do this America… and it isn’t hard at all… Get active… Join something.  We have enough votes to allow America to improve, if we all go out and vote…  And as we saw with flags coming down… exercising our power really wasn’t that hard…

Our ultimate power, is our vote…  Vote like your own money depends on it… It actually does.

We live in the age of the internet… Most of you have seen clips from the speech with which Obama eulogized the gunned down Rev. Pickney in Charleston, South Carolina…  But being the age of the Internet, I bet only a handful of you have watched the full 45 minute speech in high definition….
That is because 45 minutes is too long for us  to focus on one thing…  But we can read on the Internet for hours… Why?  Because every word is new and thus engages our brain far more sharply than a video presentation…..

This eulogy is just one of many our commander in chief has given… All of them far more eloquent than other presidents were wont to give.  But this one will probably be read by our grandchildren, and great grandchildren, as are three of the speeches once uttered by Martin Luther King, Jr.

For that reason… I wanted to put it up in print…   Where most can read it in less than 15 minutes, instead of the 45 no one ever has time for…..

College of Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina

2:49 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Giving all praise and honor to God.  (Applause.)

The Bible calls us to hope.  To persevere, and have faith in things not seen.

“They were still living by faith when they died,” Scripture tells us. “They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on Earth.”

We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith.  A man who believed in things not seen.  A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance.  A man of service who persevered, knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed.

To Jennifer, his beloved wife; to Eliana and Malana, his beautiful, wonderful daughters; to the Mother Emanuel family and the people of Charleston, the people of South Carolina.

I cannot claim to have the good fortune to know Reverend Pinckney well.  But I did have the pleasure of knowing him and meeting him here in South Carolina, back when we were both a little bit younger.  (Laughter.)  Back when I didn’t have visible grey hair.  (Laughter.)  The first thing I noticed was his graciousness, his smile, his reassuring baritone, his deceptive sense of humor — all qualities that helped him wear so effortlessly a heavy burden of expectation.

Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived; that even from a young age, folks knew he was special.  Anointed.  He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful — a family of preachers who spread God’s word, a family of protesters who sowed change to expand voting rights and desegregate the South.  Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching.

He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23.  He did not exhibit any of the cockiness of youth, nor youth’s insecurities; instead, he set an example worthy of his position, wise beyond his years, in his speech, in his conduct, in his love, faith, and purity.

As a senator, he represented a sprawling swath of the Lowcountry, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America.  A place still wracked by poverty and inadequate schools; a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment.  A place that needed somebody like Clem.  (Applause.)

His position in the minority party meant the odds of winning more resources for his constituents were often long.  His calls for greater equity were too often unheeded, the votes he cast were sometimes lonely.  But he never gave up.  He stayed true to his convictions.  He would not grow discouraged.  After a full day at the capitol, he’d climb into his car and head to the church to draw sustenance from his family, from his ministry, from the community that loved and needed him.  There he would fortify his faith, and imagine what might be.

Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean, nor small.  He conducted himself quietly, and kindly, and diligently.  He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone, but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen.  He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.  No wonder one of his senate colleagues remembered Senator Pinckney as “the most gentle of the 46 of us — the best of the 46 of us.”

Clem was often asked why he chose to be a pastor and a public servant.  But the person who asked probably didn’t know the history of the AME church.  (Applause.)  As our brothers and sisters in the AME church know, we don’t make those distinctions. “Our calling,” Clem once said, “is not just within the walls of the congregation, but…the life and community in which our congregation resides.”  (Applause.)

He embodied the idea that our Christian faith demands deeds and not just words; that the “sweet hour of prayer” actually lasts the whole week long — (applause) — that to put our faith in action is more than individual salvation, it’s about our collective salvation; that to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society.

What a good man.  Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized — after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say someone was a good man.  (Applause.)

You don’t have to be of high station to be a good man.  Preacher by 13.  Pastor by 18.  Public servant by 23.  What a life Clementa Pinckney lived.  What an example he set.  What a model for his faith.  And then to lose him at 41 — slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God.

Cynthia Hurd.  Susie Jackson.  Ethel Lance.  DePayne Middleton-Doctor.  Tywanza Sanders.  Daniel L. Simmons. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton.  Myra Thompson.  Good people.  Decent people. God-fearing people.  (Applause.)  People so full of life and so full of kindness.  People who ran the race, who persevered.  People of great faith.

To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief.  Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church.  The church is and always has been the center of African-American life — (applause) — a place to call our own in a too often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah — (applause) — rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement.  They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart — (applause) — and taught that they matter.  (Applause.)  That’s what happens in church.

That’s what the black church means.  Our beating heart.  The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate.  When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel — (applause) — a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes.  (Applause.)

When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, services happened here anyway, in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps.  A sacred place, this church.  Not just for blacks, not just for Christians, but for every American who cares about the steady expansion — (applause) — of human rights and human dignity in this country; a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all.  That’s what the church meant.  (Applause.)

We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history.  But he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act.  It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress.  (Applause.)  An act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination; violence and suspicion.  An act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin.

Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.  (Applause.)  God has different ideas.  (Applause.)

He didn’t know he was being used by God.  (Applause.)  Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group — the light of love that shone as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle.  The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court — in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness.  He couldn’t imagine that.  (Applause.)

The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston, under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley — (applause) — how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond — not merely with revulsion at his evil act, but with big-hearted generosity and, more importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we so rarely see in public life.

Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood — the power of God’s grace.  (Applause.)

This whole week, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace. (Applause.)  The grace of the families who lost loved ones.  The grace that Reverend Pinckney would preach about in his sermons.  The grace described in one of my favorite hymnals — the one we all know:  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  (Applause.)  I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see.  (Applause.)

According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned.  Grace is not merited.  It’s not something we deserve.  Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God — (applause) — as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.  Grace.

As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind.  (Applause.)  He has given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves.  (Applause.)  We may not have earned it, this grace, with our rancor and complacency, and short-sightedness and fear of each other — but we got it all the same.  He gave it to us anyway.  He’s once more given us grace.  But it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with gratitude, and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift.

For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens.  (Applause.)  It’s true, a flag did not cause these murders.  But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge — including Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise — (applause) — as we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride.  (Applause.)  For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.  We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers.  It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — (applause) — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong.  (Applause.) It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history; a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds.  It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better, because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races striving to form a more perfect union.  By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace.  (Applause.)

But I don’t think God wants us to stop there.  (Applause.)  For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present.  Perhaps we see that now.  Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.  (Applause.)

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate.  (Applause.)  Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system — (applause) — and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias; that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure.  (Applause.)

Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it, so that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs, but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal.  (Applause.)  So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote.  (Applause.)  By recognizing our common humanity by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born, and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American — by doing that, we express God’s grace.  (Applause.)

For too long —

AUDIENCE:  For too long!

THE PRESIDENT:  For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation.  (Applause.) Sporadically, our eyes are open:  When eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school.  But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day; the countless more whose lives are forever changed — the survivors crippled, the children traumatized and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never feel his wife’s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows every time they have to watch what happened to them happen to some other place.

The vast majority of Americans — the majority of gun owners — want to do something about this.  We see that now. (Applause.)  And I’m convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions and ways of life that make up this beloved country — by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace. (Applause.)

We don’t earn grace.  We’re all sinners.  We don’t deserve it.  (Applause.)  But God gives it to us anyway.  (Applause.) And we choose how to receive it.  It’s our decision how to honor it.

None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight.  Every time something like this happens, somebody says we have to have a conversation about race.  We talk a lot about race.  There’s no shortcut.  And we don’t need more talk.  (Applause.)  None of us should believe that a handful of gun safety measures will prevent every tragedy.  It will not.  People of goodwill will continue to debate the merits of various policies, as our democracy requires — this is a big, raucous place, America is.  And there are good people on both sides of these debates.  Whatever solutions we find will necessarily be incomplete.

But it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again.  (Applause.)  Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual — that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society.  (Applause.)  To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change — that’s how we lose our way again.

It would be a refutation of the forgiveness expressed by those families if we merely slipped into old habits, whereby those who disagree with us are not merely wrong but bad; where we shout instead of listen; where we barricade ourselves behind preconceived notions or well-practiced cynicism.

Reverend Pinckney once said, “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history — we haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”  (Applause.)  What is true in the South is true for America.  Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other.  That my liberty depends on you being free, too.  (Applause.) That history can’t be a sword to justify injustice, or a shield against progress, but must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past — how to break the cycle.  A roadway toward a better world.  He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind — but, more importantly, an open heart.

That’s what I’ve felt this week — an open heart.  That, more than any particular policy or analysis, is what’s called upon right now, I think — what a friend of mine, the writer Marilyn Robinson, calls “that reservoir of goodness, beyond, and of another kind, that we are able to do each other in the ordinary cause of things.”

That reservoir of goodness.  If we can find that grace, anything is possible.  (Applause.)  If we can tap that grace, everything can change.  (Applause.)

Amazing grace.  Amazing grace.

(Begins to sing) — Amazing grace — (applause) — how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see.  (Applause.)

Clementa Pinckney found that grace.

Cynthia Hurd found that grace.

Susie Jackson found that grace.

Ethel Lance found that grace.

DePayne Middleton-Doctor found that grace.

Tywanza Sanders found that grace.

Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace.

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace.

Myra Thompson found that grace.

Through the example of their lives, they’ve now passed it on to us.  May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift, as long as our lives endure.  May grace now lead them home.  May God continue to shed His grace on the United States of America.  (Applause.)

3:28 P.M. EDT

Amen, and Amen. 


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 145 other followers