The only serving black senator in the United States, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, was not invited to speak. How significant a statement on progress toward Dr. King’s dream is Scott’s serving in the Senate? Or Gov. Nikki Haley’s election — in South Carolina? Or how about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s election in Louisiana?
Apparently not significant enough to warrant their inclusion. But you can be sure that if any of them was a Democrat, they would have had an honored place at the podium today.
Allen West, career military officer and former congressman from Florida, was not invited to speak.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was not invited to speak.
But divisive white speakers like Bill Clinton, who misused his moment to make a partisan call for gun control and take a dishonest swipe at voter ID, were invited to speak. President Obama, who spoke nearly twice as long as Dr. King’s original speech, could have insisted on inclusion. He did not.
Today’s commemoration could have been unifying for America. Instead it just offered mostly partisan posing and sniping. The only prominent Republican present should not have been the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln.