Newly Unearthed Obama Video: “Rich people are all for nonviolence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want.”
In the wake of the Daily Caller’s release of President Obama cheering Rev. Wright and invoking the race card in various ways, our friend Morgen Richmond decided the time was right to release some little-known Obama video of his own. He authorized me to release the video here first.
The following clips are from 2002. Obama is speaking in a church at a 2002 Martin Luther King Jr. Day memorial service.
The full speech is here, and by and large it is a nice speech by a rising politician. Obama speaks about the need for empathy in society, about taking responsibility for our actions, and the audacity of hope. He levels barbs at the wealthy and unempathetic, but also criticizes those who blame the system for the arrest of O.J. Simpson and the crack epidemic. Although the audio quality is poor because of the echo in the church, one can tell that Obama is well spoken and articulate. Joe Biden would have been proud.
But there are a few times when the mask slips, just a little.
My favorite clip is this one, where he speaks of Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence, and explains that it works only when there is empathy:
The philosophy of nonviolence only makes sense if the powerful can be made to recognize themselves in the powerless. It only makes sense if the powerless can be made to recognize themselves in the powerful. You know, the principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but rich people are all for nonviolence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want. They want to make sure people don’t take their stuff. But the principle of empathy recognizes that there are more subtle forms of violence to which we are answerable. The spirit of empathy condemns not only the use of firehoses and attack dogs to keep people down but also accountants and tax loopholes to keep people down. I’m not saying that what Enron executives did to their employees is the moral equivalent of what Bull Connor did to black folks, but I’ll tell you what, the employees at Enron feel violated. When a company town sees its plant closing because some distant executives made some decision despite the wage concessions, despite the tax breaks, and they see their entire economy collapsing, they feel violence . . .
Other clips are linked below. I was struck by the way that Obama portrayed those who commit crimes and become imprisoned are “caught up” in a “prison industrial complex” that would not be tolerated if white people didn’t think of blacks and Latinos as unlike them.
And the class warfare talk never ends.
What Obama really thought about the Clinton years. Quote: “Among African American males, one third to one fourth caught up in the criminal justice system, so that the number of young men incarcerated exceeded the number enrolled in colleges and universities. Throughout the nation inequality up, trust in mutuality down . . . the evidence was there if we cared to look.”
Obama on empathy, the powerful, and the prison industrial complex. Quote: “It’s hard to imagine that the powerful in our society would tolerate the burgeoning prison industrial complex if they imagined that the black men and Latino men that are being imprisoned were something like their sons.”
Local funding of schools is “fundamentally unjust.” Quote: “And Illinois, like many states in the country, has an education system that is funded by property taxes. It is fundamentally unjust. So you have folks up in Winnetka, pupils who are getting five times as much money per student as students in the South Side of Chicago.”
If you use any of these clips or transcripts, please credit Morgen, and mention that you saw them here first.