John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


It Should Be O’Bama

Posted on May 10, 2016
President Barack Obama.jpg

It should be O’Bama.

The President is an Irishman. He has Irish blood. You can tell because he likes to have a drink now and then, has the gift for the gab and he is a politician, which is a strength of the Irish people.

Maybe that’s why Ted Kennedy endorsed him in 2008.

The fact that Mr. Obama only talks about his Irish roots on or near St. Patrick’s Day tells you a lot about what is wrong with America, stretching back to the beginnings of our Republic.

America was a nation conceived in liberty but only for those who met certain qualifications. Mostly those qualifications had to do with race, religion and ethnicity.

Over the next two centuries, because of the democratic system founded by our Founders, various peoples barged in, making certain that they qualified for liberty too.

President Obama came up through a political system of the one group of people that had the hardest time getting their portion of liberty, and truth be told, they still have a hard time.

Black people are the only ones to be originally and officially characterized as being subhuman under our Constitution. We fought a war between the states to finally get rid of that loathsome provision but the stigma sticks.

It was not that long ago (in my lifetime as a matter of fact) that it was illegal in some states for a black person to marry a white person.

Talk about an immoral restraint of freedom.

Many of the politicians who argued in favor of those types of prohibitions were themselves hypocrites who had carried out illicit affairs with people of African descent, Strom Thurmond being a prime example.

One of the most refreshing things about young people is that they are moving on from the race-based attitudes of the past.

Black people, Hispanics, Asians, white folks, they all get along fine among the younger generation. They acknowledge that people come from different ethnic backgrounds but they don’t obsess on it, unless of course, they are taking some ethnic studies class in college.

Then they can’t stop obsessing on it.

One of the worst aspects of the Trump campaign and its supporters is its race-baiting.

I don’t think Trump is a racist (given his past business relationships and his personal history) but I do think that his campaign has given voice to some who are worried that “white America” is somehow slipping away.

Trump’s irresponsible and unfortunate response to the David Duke question was reprehensible. He needs to apologize and make amends throughout the campaign if he hopes to win in the Fall.

And the fact is that Trump needs to embrace the great diversity of this country.

America is moving to a new paradigm when it comes to race and ethnicity and moving quickly.

There is no white America and black America. There is no Anglo-America and Hispanic America. There is no Asian America.

There is just America.

I filled out a form for a refinancing, and I was asked all kinds of questions about my ethnicity. Was I white? Was I Hispanic? Was I left-handed?

I’m just kidding about the last question. What difference does it make if I am white or not?

I should get the loan based on my credit history and that’s it.

Ethnicity should play no role.

We need to stop dividing America based on race and ethnicity.

People are people.

You can take a DNA test to find out about your ethnic background. People do that because they want to find out if they have royal blood in them. But sometimes the results can be pretty surprising.

Some folks discover cousins that they never knew that they had.

This can be fun but it can also be disturbing.

What we find in life is that we are the sum of our past lives but that our futures are still undetermined. We can move forward and live our lives the way we want to.

And it turns out that many of us are much more complicated than we originally thought.

And that’s a good thing.

Mr. Obama has a different racial makeup than his daughters do.

But while his daughters might not have taken Irish step-dancing when they were studying at Sidwell Friends, they should feel right at home if they decide to take a year and study at Trinity College in Dublin for a semester.

They are Irish, after all.

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