Clarence B. Jones, appearing in 2008 on Tavis Smiley's PBS show.
I had lunch with my oldest son yesterday and he asked if I thought there'd be a primary challenge to Obama. I told him it wouldn't happen unless the black voters supported it, and I didn't think we were quite there yet. That was before I read Clarence Jones' Huffington Post piece this morning.
Jones was a personal advisor, legal counsel, draft speech writer and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he's a Scholar in Residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. When someone with those credentials is calling for a primary challenge to Obama, something very interesting is happening. Outlier -- or crack in the dam? We'll see:
When few other public figures of national stature spoke out about Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, at New York City's Riverside Church, before a meeting of Concerned Layman and Clergy, on April 4th, 1967, said "A time comes when silence is betrayal." For Dr. King, it was "time to break the silence."
And, so it is with Obama's continued squandering of the extraordinary support he developed for his election as President.
Go and check out the video clips of the panorama of faces that assembled in Grant Park in Chicago after the election results confirmed his victory. Check out the million + people who came to Washington to witness his Inauguration.
It is not easy to consider challenging the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States. But, regrettably, I believe that the time has come to do this.
It is time for Progressives to stop whining and arguing among themselves about whether President Obama will or will not do this or that. Obama is no different than any other President, nominated by his national party. He was elected with the hard work and 24/7 commitment of persons who believed and enlisted in his campaign for "Hope" and "Change."
You don't have to be a rocket scientist nor have a PhD in political science and sociology to see clearly that Obama has abandoned much of the base that elected him. He has done this because he no longer respects, fears or believes those persons who elected him have any alternative, but to accept what he does, whether they like it or not.
It is time for those persons who constituted the movement that enabled Senator Barack Obama to be elected to "break their silence"; to indicate that they no longer will sit on their hands, and only let off verbal steam and ineffective sound and fury, and "hope" for the best.
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
The pursuit of the war in Afghanistan in support of a certifiably corrupt Afghan government and the apparent willingness to retreat from his campaign commitment of no further tax cuts for the rich, his equivocal and foot dragging leadership to end DADT, his TARP for Wall Street, but, equivocal insufficient attention to the unemployment and housing foreclosures of Main Street, suggest that the template of the 1968 challenge to the reelection of President Lyndon Johnson now must be thoughtfully considered for Obama in 2012.