President Obama Thursday, reflected on the importance of the July 2, 1964 legislation that made it illegal to discriminate against an individual based on Color, Race, Sex, Religion, or Nation of Origin. It was a particularly poignant moment in a Second Term for Barack Obama, that has been quite turbulent, not unlike the Civil rights era.
President Obama made some interesting and flattering comments about Lyndon B. Johnson, a man who many regard as one of the more disreputable and despicable to ever have held the Presidency. After all, Mr. Johnson was practically on trial for corruption charges (one of which was intimately tied to the murder of a man who factored into his earlier Texas election)as he assumed the Presidency. That said, the fact remains, Lyndon Baines Johnson, on the 2nd of July 1964 signed into law, perhaps the most defining legislation of the last 6 decades (if not much more).
Sure, it was the Kennedy family who had pursued this legislation with fervor, but President Johnson’s pen was the one which signed it.
What is the takeaway?
Well, no matter what it is that you believe your President to be or to not to be, presidents do preside over world changing events. Mr. Obama himself perhaps more a direct beneficiary of the codification of this landmark legislation than any before him, was a perfect President to speak to the power of the law.
I remember, though I personally did not vote in the 2008 election at all, a sense of Pride in my country as I watched an historic event unfold on National television. The first African American to hold the highest office; a worthy presenter, someone who many of my friends adored and loved was to become the President of the United States of America.
So what if Obama’s America isn’t quite what it was supposed to be. I still value his contribution at some levels. It is not an easy task to fix the nation. Certainly it is not an easy life to be threatened and pushed and pulled and stretched so thin. While Mr. Obama and I do not agree on much, I do not hate him as a man, and I respect him as the President of these United States.
Has he brought esteem to the office of the Presidency? Perhaps not as much as some of the men before him, but he too, has presided over some incredible events.
No one will ever be able to accuse me of being unable to listen to reason or unable to present credit where it is due. Mr. Obama and Mr. Johnson, and any other President I don’t particularly idolize, still: aren’t all bad.
The Civil Rights Act is 50 this year. It is not a radical, progressive ideology. It is not under the sole custody of the Progressives. It is a human ideology. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is under the custody of the American People; the Human Family.
On a day where POTUS Barack Obama, the first Black President of the United States, honors the biggest human legislative achievement of this century, I stand with the President in honoring it and honoring Johnson’s push for its passage.