BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
On July 10, 2010 The United States Postal Service issued two 44-cent postage stamps honoring the Negro Baseball League. During the ceremony held in Kansas City, MO, Thurgood Marshall Jr., vice chairman of the Postal Service's Board of Governors, spoke on behalf of the postal service. While the issuance of the stamps was a laudable gesture, the gesture and the ceremony itself was fraught with irony.
Considering the postal service's abysmal record of employee abuse, the gesture was nothing less than a slap in the face to both the Negro Baseball League, whose members were the victims of the worst kind of discrimination, and to Thurgood Marshall Sr., who dedicated his life to the struggle for human rights. The ceremony was perfectly akin to having the first born of Frederick Douglass honoring the work ethic of former slaves at a Sons of the Confederacy convention.
I'm virtually certain that if the members of the Negro Baseball League were around today to see the deplorable conditions that the majority of postal workers are forced to endure, they'd say, "Never mind the stamp. Honor us by emancipating our people - all of the people, of every race, creed, and color. " And if Justice Marshall was alive, he'd be overcome with shame to see the human degradation that his son is presiding over.
There is yet another irony here, and perhaps, one even greater than those listed above. The blatant theft of employee wages, intimidation, physical and emotional abuse, and employees being forced to work between four and six hours a day without pay is going on in a United States government agency, and under an African American president. The fact is, that's more than ironic, it's absolutely unbelievable.
President Lincoln was willing to go to war to end slavery on his watch, where President Obama can emancipate over 600,000 American citizens with a simple phone call. Yet, in spite of repeated White House contacts and extended articles written and posted on the Democratic National Committee website, President Obama has failed to make that phone call.
It's hard to believe that the administration can be so tone deaf - then, they don't understand why the president is dropping in the polls. The problem is simple - the president is so preoccupied with trying to win over people that he'll never get, that he's ignoring the people who put him in office.
It's like deja vue. President Obama is making the exact same mistake that Tom Bradley did. After becoming the first Black mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley failed to stand with his core constituency. After the unconscionable Eula Love shooting by the LAPD, Major Bradley came up missing in action. So when he ran for governor he lost just by a hair - and that hair represented the main people whose vote he thought he could count on. I know, because I was one of those voters.While I didn't vote for Republican, George Deukmejian, I simply decided to skip the gubernatorial race on the ballot.
I like President Obama . He's one of the most intelligent presidents we've ever had. He saved the nation from another Great Depression, and he's accomplished more in his first two years in office than most presidents manage to accomplish in their entire eight years. But there's more to being a good president than what the president manages to do. We must also take into account what he fails to do - and unfortunately, what Obama is failing to do is protect the rule of law, and that can place us all in serious jeopardy.
Even before he became president Obama backpedaled on FISA and failed to hold Bush accountable for spying on Americans. Then once he became president, he turned a blind eye to Bush and Cheney's war crimes. Now President Obama is allowing 600,000 American citizens to be mugged by a United States government agency. That's unacceptable.
Maintaining the rule of law is THE most important function of government. Everything else hinges on it - it was the government's failure to maintain the rule of law that allowed lynchings to take place in the South. Without the rule of law you cannot maintain a democracy, since it is the rule of law that makes a democracy possible. That is exactly why the president is made to swear in the oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," because the Constitution is the law.
So regardless to how much good you do, President Obama, if you fail to protect the people from government corruption, it ain't enough. So while I'm one of your biggest supporters, "what's love got to do with it?"
Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.