Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Band Is Bullied, But Will Play On At Inaugural Parade
The president of Talladega College in Alabama---a predominately black college founded by former slaves---says the college band "will" march in the inaugural parade Friday, regardless of the bullying.
The New York Times says the band has "taken a lot of heat in the last few weeks for agreeing to perform in Donald J. Trump's inaugural parade."
The "heat" the NYT refers to has been outright bullying.
Because of strong opposition by the alumni and others close to the college, by last Friday the band had not raised the entire amount they needed to make the trip to DC this Friday.
Then a miracle happened.
The New York Times reports "on Friday the band learned that political heat can also be quite lucrative."
The band had raised only about $50,000 dollars due to the opposition, but they needed about $75,000 to cover all expenses for the 230 members to make the trip.
Then, the miracle.
Here's what led up to it.
President Billy C. Hawkins had made the decision to accept the invitation to march in the parade. He felt it was about America, not about politics.
Much "heat" followed. The bullying began.
Carl Singley, a 1968 graduate of Talladega and a former dean of the law school at Temple University, wrote a letter to President Hawkins and the board of trustees, urging them to cancel.
Singley wrote, "Growing up, I had Klan night riders coming through my neighborhood. My freshman year we loaded up in a bus and went to the march on Selma. Racism is not theoretical to me. The idea that a college that has long stood for civil rights would celebrate and normalize a man who got elected denigrating the first African-American president really is appalling."
This, of course, would be the narrative he would have also taken into the classroom as he indoctrinated a new generation of young lawyers.
Mr. Singley should be reminded that racial discrimination is not "theoretical" to many of us white guys either.
If we are to look back, as he is suggesting, we are reminded that hundreds of thousands of our family members fought a war---a Civil War, to right the wrongs of slavery.
Father fought against son and brothers against brothers. President Lincoln was ultimately assassinated for his part in leading our country to do the right thing.
That is not theoretical. It's real.
Only this past Monday we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and message. It was King who said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness--only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
It's an act of "dark" thinking to believe that Trump---or millions of Americans who disagreed with Barack Obama's policies and agenda did so because of the color of his skin.
It's time to turn on the light, Professor Singley.
We did so because we profoundly disagree with his far Left secular progressive views, including his undying support of Planned Parenthood, the organization founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger that to this day preys on black communities.
We felt the same regarding Hillary Clinton.
Monday, Trump met with and prayed with Martin Luther King III, for his father's dream to be realized and for healing in America.
But "hate can not drive out hate."
According to the NYT, the school's alumni and many in the black community have been condemning Hawkin's decision to allow the band to march. One of the main arguments against doing so was "No other historically black college is participating."
The message to the 230 students in the band, I believe, was "follow the crowd---don't think for yourself---don't be open minded---nurse the hate---don't move on---don't make real progress. Don't allow healing."
Not a single band member had even suggested they didn't want to march---even in the face of strong opposition, and the lack of financial support from those closest to the college.
Last Friday Fox's Bill O'Reilly, having heard about the bullying of the band, contacted Mr. Hawkins and asked him to share how his brothers and sisters were opposing the band's participation in the parade.
At the end of the interview, a comment was made that the band had almost raised enough money to pay for the trip---but not quite.
By Friday night---a few hours later--the band's go-fund-me account had grown from about $50,000 to more than $330,000.
By Saturday it was being reported that over $500,000 had been given and contributions were still coming in, mostly in amounts from $5 to $20.
The interview was not even about the money, it was about the opposition---the bullying of the band.
CNN is reporting that Devon Julian, 21, the head drum major, said marching in the parade would be "an honor and an accomplishment."
He said, "Not too many people could say they were able to march for a president of the United States in an inaugural parade."
Hawkins said, "We respect and appreciate how our students feel about our participation in this parade. As many of those who chose to participate in the parade have said, we feel the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power."
Following the overflowing generosity from the public, skeptic Singley said he fears "Mr. O'Reilly's viewers who made donations were motivated mainly to try to prove Mr. Trump and his supporters were not racists, and had little interest in the fortunes of his small, financially struggling alma mater."
President Hawkins has a different view. He says, "If you don't come to the table, you're not going to be able to eat. Talladega College is going to be at the table."
Perhaps it's time for Professor Singley to come to the table as well.
It was Taesha Matthews, 20, a student at Talladega and band member who correctly defined the moment and the future, much like MLK would have intended.
Taesha said the backlash against the band's plan to perform hasn't bothered her much.
She said, "No matter what people say about the band, we will always keep marching on, with or without your support."
And speaking of marching on.
On Friday, the Presidential Inauguration Committee announced yesterday, that Trump will use 2 Bibles---his own Bible and a Bible used by Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, when he took his first oath of office on March 4, 1861.
Vice-President- elect Mike Pence will place his hand on Ronald Reagan's Bible and take the oath of office becoming Vice-President of the United States.
This will be the first time since Reagan used it that the family Bible has been out of the possession of the Reagan family. Andrew Littlefair, a former Reagan aide and current member of the Reagan Foundation's board of trustees, will be accompanying the Bible.
Reagan's Bible will be open. Pence will place his hand on II Chronicles 7:14 as he takes his oath, which will be administered by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
VP Mike Pence, Justice Thomas and millions of Americans know this is the only true path forward for our country:
"If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."