Barack Obama gave a presidential address about the George Floyd protests

Commission Mcc0093447 RoyAL ROTA BRADFORD

This past weekend was awful, as we saw protests spring up across the nation, and alongside those protests, police forces around the country were growing more and more violent. I worried that this would all be a repeat of other demonstrations around Black Lives Matter: that it would dominate headlines for a few weeks, but then the narrative would shift to “these people are rioters and looters and the cops are just and fair to shut it down.” Then on Monday, Donald Trump ordered the Secret Service, military police and actual military personnel to violently shut down an entirely peaceful protest in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Those kids – and adults, and clergy – were tear-gassed, hit with flash-grenades, beaten with batons and shoved with shields. And it was all because Trump wanted a photo-op in front of a church.

I bring this up because that was the moment everything changed. Even though that moment was one of the most horrible authoritarian acts of a fascist president, it changed the conversation entirely. An overwhelming majority of Americans support the BLM protesters and want police departments reformed. We want people to be able to protest and demonstrate without being tear-gassed or flash-banged. I don’t want to say that everything past Monday has been good, but it’s been better. And to go along with that, we even got our real president, Barack Obama, making a presidential address. He spoke in complete sentences with verb-subject agreement and everything.

Some quotes:

“For those who have been talking about protest, just remember that this country was founded on protest — it is called the American Revolution… Every step of progress in this country, every expansion of freedom, every expression of our deepest ideals have been won through efforts that made the status quo uncomfortable… And we should all be thankful for folks who are willing, in a peaceful, disciplined way, to be out there making a difference.”

“Now I want to speak directly to the young men and women of color in this country who … have witnessed too much violence and too much death, and too often some of that violence has come from folks who were supposed to be serving and protecting you. I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter.”

“In a lot of ways, what has happened in the last several weeks is that challenges and structural problems here in the United States have been thrown into high relief,” he said. “They are the outcome of not just an immediate moment in time, but as the result of a long host of things — slavery, Jim Crow, redlining and institutional racism.”

“I know enough about that history to say: There is something different here,” Obama said, referring to the protests of the 1960s. “You look at those protests, and that was a far more representative cross-section of America out on the streets, peacefully protesting, who felt moved to do something because of the injustices that they have seen. That didn’t exist back in the 1960s, that kind of broad coalition.”

“I’ve been hearing a little bit of chatter … voting vs. protest. Politics and participation versus civil disobedience and direct action. This is not an either or. This is a both and. To bring about real change, we both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable, but we also have to translate that into practical solutions and laws that can be implemented.”

[From CNN]

On one side, we have a baby-fisted fascist who ordered the military to tear-gas kids and clergy. On the other side, we have a president who tells kids that their dreams matter and their lives matter. I know some people are mad that Obama is possibly overshadowing Joe Biden, but A) a lot of people wanted to hear from Obama and B) this can only help Biden.

Commission Mcc0093447 RoyAL ROTA BRADFORD

Screencaps courtesy of the Obama video.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

29 Responses to “Barack Obama gave a presidential address about the George Floyd protests”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. MyNAME says:

    I had tears in my eyes watching this. It was just… so needed.

    • LeaTheFrench says:

      Same here. It was a thoughtful, uplifting, federating speech. So needed indeed.

    • Aang says:

      Same. He is such an inspirational speaker. And the contrast to what we have now is so stark that it actually hurts.

      • smcollins says:

        Me, too! I miss President Obama so much, let alone a President who’s actually thoughtful, insightful, uplifting, intelligent, and can address the nation without sounding like a schoolyard bully.

    • Becks says:

      Me too. I really really miss him. 🙁

    • CanadianK says:

      He sends a message of HOPE which is what we all need to hear in these times.

  2. S808 says:

    It’s crazy that our previous president constantly has to address us cause our current one is freaking racist idiot.

  3. runcmc says:

    This was absolutely beautiful. We really have a leadership vacuum right now- it’s unfathomable to me that we have a president* sitting on his butt in the White House while the former president (MY president, but I digress…) addressing and comforting the nation,

    Even Bush released a thoughtful statement of support. It’s not that hard, 45.

    • Jerusha says:

      No need at all for IQ45 to read words off a teleprompter. Words he’d never seen before they scrolled past his eyes. Words that have no meaning for him. Just empty words.

  4. Mia4s says:

    “See kids, once upon a time the United States was ruled by rational leaders who could form complete sentences and knew which way was up when holding a Bible…or any book really.”

    Kids: “Wow! This was back before the baby-fisted fascist orange sack of garbage become our leader?”

    “That’s right. Long ago in a magical time called…five years ago.”

    Sigh…please vote. And vote wisely.

  5. Marjorie says:

    Thank you Mr. President.

  6. Lmao24 says:

    Police brutality was no better under Obama. Racist white people and racist white cops faced no consequences under Obama either. Obama declared Flint an emergency and then left it to rot. Black and brown bodies in foreign countries were also brutalised and died under Obama’s violent foreign policy. You can make the case that previous presidents handled protests differently – but what did they DO to dismantle and reverse institutional racism?

    It is disingenuous to talk about racism without addressing the structural inequalities that African Americans face when you were in power.

    Ice T said Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same plane and I felt that. Democrats also need to be held to account for the racist and anti-black policies which came to fruition during their administrations, including the three strikes policy and their collusion in the prison industrial complex which has profited off the mass incarceration of black peoples for decades.

  7. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    The world needs this man so very badly. America needs him desperately. The complete contrast between a dignified, articulate statesman and a sociopathic, narcissistic monster has never been more pronounced.

    • Chachaaaa says:

      Obama is the biggest crook since Nixon? But idiots worship because he looks and sounds good. This is why we’re burning.

  8. Mellie says:

    Where’s that Seinfeld meme of all the gang dancing around when you need it?! I love this man.

  9. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    (Long time reader here. I don’t comment because everyone says what I think)
    I’m just here to say how very much I miss this man and his compassion and brilliance.

  10. Darla says:

    Democrats haven’t done anywhere near enough, it’s true. Am I crazy? I see something happening. First of all, I was so despondent when this began because I thought, this maniac can run people over with tanks if he wants, who will stop him? We have the plague and I can’t go out there, and I am an activist. So many in my position, can’t go out there. Then this week I kept seeing thousands of young people, so young. Not afraid! Standing up to the thugs who tear gassed them and shot them with rubber bullets. Not afraid. And I realized, dummy this isn’t about you or your old Iraq-war aught-era Gen X activist friends. This isn’t even about Millenials, so much. Maybe a bit.

    This is about Gen Z. Aren’t they beautiful?

    I was crying and crying last night watching the videos coming out of DC, where they were singing A Change is gonna come, and Lean on me. Just sobbing. If I had only raised one of them, it would be the achievement of my life. But I never had kids and my 2 nieces and nephews were raised by Maga and would never show up there. But the parents of those young people must be so proud. They should be.

    I see Biden choosing a black VP, AND a black AG. And two very highly qualified pro policy wonks who know how to institute policies to dismantle institutional racism, including in the police. I see him being radicalized. No, I never liked him. He’s old. Yet I see him changing in real time. Something is happening. Am I crazy? I don’t think so. We are living through something that will sweep in mass, radical change, and that will be studied by historians for a hundred years. I see some hope here. Just my opinion. And I am white, so that has to be taken into account.

    • Regina Falangie says:

      Darla, I so feel what you are saying. I can’t be out there either and it hurts so much. This generation of thoughtful, peaceful warriors make me so proud!!!! I am in awe of them. ❤️

  11. Veronica S. says:

    It needs to start *local.* That’s the one thing I really think he did well to highlight there – so much focus on the federal government, but nearly all police services and protocols are determined at the state and local level. It’s a system that has to be fixed from the ground up. It’s one of the biggest places where I feel liberal spaces have failed to highlight the places that really need attention. You have to make sure people have the ability to vote, you have to make sure they have the resources to educate themselves on how their vote best serves them, and you have to make sure they have access to it.

    I did years of ground level organization in my twenties, and it was astounding how difficult it was to get Americans riled up about the places where their vote mattered most – and I have to assume that’s by design. They don’t want you to think it matters, but everybody should be looking at the response to COVID and the refusal of certain states to bow to Trump’s will and considering that states rights may be far more important than we are trained to think. It may be the only thing that allows for any safe havens if things get worse.

  12. CatWomen says:

    Most intelligent president since Kennedy , many racist Americans went nuts when he was elected, then we got the flip side the Orange idiot. He should speak out more we need someone smart and knows the laws and constitution, and the history to be a voice of leadership. Politics be dammed.

  13. sunny says:

    I just want to acknowledge the work Obama is putting in here. The constant labour(emotional and otherwise) that we expect black people to do to dismantle systems built on white supremacy is a lot. It is exhausting.

    I can say that my week has been filled with this work and it has been difficult.

    • Mellie says:

      And you know, he’s doing it, knowing that he’s going to get roasted on Twitter by the orange man…of course, no one with any sense reads his tweets, but that has got to get old.

    • Veronica S. says:

      My mother said that while we were watching it – how tired he must be after eight years as a president, one who wasn’t allowed to be *too* black for America but who now has to fill in the void for the incompetent idiot who came after him riding a wave of racist backlash.

      And yet – what other solution has history ever shown us? People in power will never give it up willingly. Those that experience and those that see injustice are always the ones who are going to have to speak up. The fight is always uphill.

  14. reef says:

    Soooo…..*sigh* no one’s gonna acknowledge this same thing happening during Obama’s Presidency and how he ended up calling protesters “thugs”. Just like Trump. How Ferguson and Occupy Protestors were brutalized just like these protesters? AND to cap it all off basically saying FU to protesters with the Blue Alert law.
    I just don’t get Obama’s deification.

  15. Zen says:

    Everytime I see him I remember the Simon and Garfunkel lyrics “where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you” (sub out Joe for Barak).