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"Royal Presidents"

Rec. 2-18-07

1) 2:25 Radio essay Mp3

2) 4:37 Radio essay Mp3

“Royal Presidents”

 

U.S. presidents are virtually worshipped by Americans. There is a strong tendency, especially in the past, to make them appear better than they were. More virtuous, more brilliant, figures who were larger than life. If U.S. history as taught in almost every high school classroom is any indication, these people, chosen by “the people”, were the best of men. (I say men, of course, because in over two hundred years there have been no women, yet.) The truth is a bit more challenging. While some have been extraordinary, many, perhaps, most, were rogues and racists, who presided over systems of naked inequality, injustice, and brutality. There ain’t no need to sauce up this truth, stated baldly by John Hope Franklin, Duke University’s Professor of History Emeritus, who once explained “the truth is that we are a bigoted people, and always have been. Thomas Jefferson didn’t mean it when he wrote that all men are created equal. We’ve never meant it. The religion of this country is every man for himself, and getting it, and the Devil take the high road.” As fellow historian Howard Zinn noted, in his classic ‘The People’s History of the United States, as regards to the record of U.S. presidencies in the early twentieth century, between 1901 and 1921, the presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, whether Republican or Democrat, watched Negroes being lynched, observed murderous riots against Blacks in Statesborough, Georgia, Brownsville, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, and did nothing. The great Dubois spoke of this era with its ugly red summers, seasons of death for Black people, North and South, while the government sat back, doing nothing. The penultimate French student of America, Alexis de Tocqueville, once observed that presidents were kind of temporary princes, with their royal prerogatives. They were essentially anti–democratic officers, who, using vaguely democratic means to acquire power, then proceed to utilize it against democratic forces in society.

That’s what President George W. Bush means when he announces, “I’m the decider.” He could care less about non–binding resolutions or, for that matter, binding ones. And while it would have been easy to decry this as a decidedly Bushite trait, it would be inaccurate. It is the nature of the presidency to accrue more power to itself in every presidency since Washington has sought to do so. The national pool from which presidents have been drawn have been so shallow that they always tend to reflect white men of wealth from a very social base, for example, how many folks would think of Bush, the son, and Al Gore as distant relatives? They are. Both have British origins. Indeed, though Clinton is distantly related to the Windsors, the British royal house. So is Bush, for that matter. And perhaps there’s a reason Presidents are so close to princes, eh? Yet there remains, centuries after the Revolution, a deep tendency among Americans to follow the President’s biddings virtually without questions. Voices reflecting this view are echoed every day on the nations talk shows. None other than Abraham Lincoln said when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1848, arguing in opposition to the Mexican War, said there is a significant difference between the president and the country. Speaking on the floor of the House, he argued, “What the distinction between the cause of the president in beginning the war and the cause of the country after it has begun, is a distinction which you cannot perceive. To you, the resient and the country seem to be all one. You’re interested to see no distinction between them, and I venture to suggest that possibly, your interest blinds you a little. We see the distinction as we think, clearly enough, and our friends who have fought in the war have no difficulty in seeing it also. Perhaps when he was elected president, he thought somewhat differently on the matter. It’s a kind of madness to treat presidents like princes. In a true democracy, there can be no one decider. The people, in various branches of government, and indeed outside of government, decide. It’s about time to try that idea.

From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu–Jamal.

 


[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY
AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND
HELP CALL ATTENTION TO HIS CASE.

The campaign to kill Mumia is in full swing and we need you to
**please** contact as many publications and information outlets as
you possibly can to run Mumia's commentaries (on-line and
**especially off-line**)!! The only requirements are that you run
them *unedited*, with every word including copyright information
intact, and send a copy of the publication to Mumia and/or ICFFMAJ.
THANK YOU!!!

Keep updated by reading ACTION ALERTS!!
at http://www.mumia.org, http://www.onamove.com/ and their links.
========================================

To download Mp3's of Mumia's commentaries visit
http://www.prisonradio.org or http://www.fsrn.org
==============================================>

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - icffmaj@aol.com
AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Subscribe: mumiacolumns-subscribe@topica.com
Read: http://topica.com/lists/mumiacolumns/read
Subscribe ICFFMAJ email updates list by e-mailing
icffmaj@aol.com!


 

 

[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.] 

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

MUMIA'S COLUMNS NEED TO BE PUBLISHED AS BROADLY
AS POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT AND
HELP CALL ATTENTION TO HIS CASE.

The campaign to kill Mumia is in full swing and we need you to
**please** contact as many publications and information outlets as
you possibly can to run Mumia's commentaries (on-line and
**especially off-line**)!! The only requirements are that you run
them *unedited*, with every word including copyright information
intact, and send a copy of the publication to Mumia and/or ICFFMAJ.
THANK YOU!!!

Keep updated by reading ACTION ALERTS!!
at http://www.mumia.org, http://www.onamove.com/ and their links.
========================================

To download Mp3's of Mumia's commentaries visit
http://www.prisonradio.org or http://www.fsrn.org
==============================================>

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - icffmaj@aol.com
AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Subscribe: mumiacolumns-subscribe@topica.com
Read: http://topica.com/lists/mumiacolumns/read
Subscribe ICFFMAJ email updates list by e-mailing
icffmaj@aol.com!


For additional information and to order Mumia's new book We Want Freedom,

visit: southendpress.org

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com


The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa