Opinion Columns & Blogs

“Shining city upon the hill”

Its original version, “city on the hill,” came from Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop’s 1630s sermon derived from Matthew 5:14. It signified the belief that America is God’s country and Americans are exceptional.

We, the shining city, are supposed to serve as an example to the world. And so, the world is watching.

This is what they are seeing. Unsatisfied with Obama’s ongoing negotiations to ensure Iran’s nuclear program remains a peaceful program, John Boehner going behind the back of the president, invited a foreign leader, Israel Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahou, to address congress and the American people as though Netanyahou was the true president of the United States.

This is equivalent to a child inviting someone else’s father to sit at the head of the family table to lecture his dad on how he should guide and protect his family. The intention here is more than obvious.

Thousands of state department documents have revealed that in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war Donald Rumsfeld under president Ronald Reagan, supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons. Would Boehner have invited Menachem Begin to verbally spank Reagan?

I thought Boehner’s behavior was despicable, then came along freshman Senator Tom Cotton.

Cotton penned an open letter to Iran, signed by 46 other Republicans stating any Iranian nuclear negotiations agreed upon with Obama can be voided by future presidents.

Effectively, he told Iran’s Ayotollah that America can not be trusted. With friends like Cotton, who needs enemies.

This treasonous act violates the Logan Act of 1799 which “forbids any U.S. citizen - acting without official U.S. authority - from influencing ‘disputes or controversies’ involving the U.S. and a foreign government.”

Is this Tom Cotton’s way of thanking Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel for the $1 million he received five months ago? Is this going price for selling out your country and your president? Is this respect for the office that Republicans hold so dear? Maybe their regard is not for the office of the president, but the color of the president. Yes, the world is watching.

Some argue that we are in a post-racial era because Obama got elected president.

That’s a hard pill to swallow given the unprecedented death threats to the president and a dramatic rise in racial tension. The Right blames Obama for the racial divide.

They would be right if being president while black is considered causality.

During a field trip, Oklahoma University SAE fraternity held a sing-a-long (“If You Are Happy and You Know It”), where students used the N” word numerous times in the song.

Incidents like the SAE fraternity, although reprehensible, are not the real issue. The real problem is when racism is embedded in our institutions as in law enforcement, the courts, the workplace, media and congress.

Justice Department investigations exposed racist e-mails among Ferguson police and the courts.

One showed a photo of bare-chested dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s high school reunion.”

Another described a man trying to put his dogs on welfare because the canines were “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no ... clue who their daddies are.” Another stated that President Obama could not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

In “United States vs. Screws,” also known as the Screws Precedent, was a 1944 Supreme Court case that made it difficult for the federal government to bring prosecutions when local government officials killed African-Americans in an extra judicial manner.”

In 1942, Georgia Sheriff Claude Screw punched and clubbed Robert Hall to death in jail. The beating was undisputed but the Supreme Court said willful denial of one’s Constitutional Rights is required to prosecute. Willful intent is almost improvable. Screw was freed in the same way why Holder couldn’t prosecute Officer Darren Wilson. It was not a statement of Wilson’s innocence.

“Black lives matter” is a message of awareness. It doesn’t mean police lives don’t. The black community, Michael Brown’s parents and Eric Holder demonstrated this when they condemned the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson.

Holder is vigorously pursuing the apprehension of the shooters and this time won’t be handcuffed by the Screwed Precedent.

They have set an example truly worthy of American exceptionalism and representative of a “shining city upon the hill.”