Tavis Smiley: Obama Leads Nation in Conversation on Gay Marriage But Not on Race
Unlike most of the Obama-loving media, PBS's Tavis Smiley has been deeply critical of the President's comments Friday regarding race and the George Zimmerman verdict.
Smiley continued his criticism on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday saying, "I don't know how he argues he can't lead us in a conversation on this, but he can on gay marriage?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
TAVIS SMILEY: Nobody has argued that he has been up against a headwind. The obstructionism is real. But with all due respect to my friend Charles Ogletree, the professor is wrong about this. I would ask you, lay on the table right now the evidence of how the President has been trying, Tree, to have a conversation about race.
SMILEY: I'm talking to professor Ogletree. Let me finish my point. I don't think that we have a litany here of things, of moments, where he's tried to have the conversation. To the contrary, respectfully, he's tried to avoid the conversation, number one.
Number two, when he says a politician can't have an impact on this, so yes, he gives a wonderful speech, but he basically kicks it back to the community, to community leaders, to business leaders, to celebrities and athletes, and that's real, but the President can't absolve himself from it, number two.
And finally, number three, I don't know how the President argues that he doesn't believe that he can have a role in leading us in a moral conversation. This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue. I don't know how he argues he can't lead us in a conversation on this, but he can on gay marriage? He can on a litany of other? He can on Israel and Palestine but not rice?
Those that were watching saw Smiley go on quite a Twitter rant Friday shortly after Obama finished speaking:
Took POTUS almost a week to show up and express mild outrage. And still, it was as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid.— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) July 19, 2013
Another forced lecture on race. And STILL skirting his MORAL responsibility to lead on the most vexing societal issue. #TrayvonMartin— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) July 19, 2013
POTUS still kicking the race can down the road. His lack of courage and leadership on this issue is emotionally debilitating. #TrayvonMartin— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) July 19, 2013
Race is not a personal reality, race is a political reality. We need moral leadership from our nation's influentials starting with POTUS.— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) July 19, 2013
In 1997 we had a WH Race Initiative. Pres. Obama should consider concretizing his words into a plan for action. That’s what's lacking here.— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) July 19, 2013
Smiley took some heat on Twitter Friday and Saturday for these comments.
Makes you wonder whether it's going to get hotter for him after his Sunday remarks.