Bill Moyers first became known to the public as President Lyndon Johnson's press secretary, a thankless job for even the most ardent liberal, and Moyers is high atop that list.
Moyers has kept plenty busy ever since, providing political commentary at PBS, CBS, NBC, etc., and from his own media outfit, Moyers & Company. Flash forward to 2015 and Moyers is again providing useful cover for a left-wing president.
President Obama, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast last week, chided those with the gall to criticize ISIS for its medieval savagery to get off their "high horse" since the history of Christianity is replete with barbarism. Obama cited the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery and Jim Crow as examples, all justified "in the name of Christ."
While conservatives were appalled at the president's "dorm room" relativism, liberals fell in line to defend Obama. Moyers' reaction was unique, however, since his response appears to have been written in reaction to Obama's remarks while never acknowledging this.
What first catches your attention about Moyers's post is its title -- "The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality's Never Far Away."
"The Fiery Cage" is an obvious reference to the Jordanian pilot burned to death by ISIS last week. As for the "Lynching Tree" that's also "never far away," suffice it to say the alluded lynching did not occur last week.
Moyers wrote that he was so disturbed after listening to "newscast after newscast rightly condemn" the execution of the Jordanian pilot, he couldn't sleep -- "My mind kept roaming the past trying to retrieve a vaguely remembered photograph that I had seen long ago in the archives of a college library."
First flag goes up -- Moyers was reminded of a photo he saw "long ago" (keep in mind that he worked for LBJ a half century ago) in the "archives" of a library. Make that two flags.
His interest piqued, Moyers awakens in the middle of the night, hurries to his computer and types in "Waco, Texas. Lynching." A heretofore unseen connection to Janet Reno and the Branch Davidians' fiery demise? Instead, a photo appears showing the "charred corpse of a young black man, tied to a blistered tree in the heart of the Texas Bible Belt."
"The victim's name was Jesse Washington," Moyers writes. "The year was 1916."
Ahhh, so when Moyers refers to the "lynching tree" as "never far away," he's using geological time for measure. Even so, 1916 still sounds so distant. Not to worry, Moyers reassures us that this kind of savagery was happening in Amerika's more recent past.
"Jesse Washington was just one black man to die horribly at the hands of white death squads," Moyers writes. "Between 1882 and 1968 -- 1968! -- there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the U.S. About a quarter of them were white people, many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks."
Who were the despicable people guilty of such heinous crimes? Moyers tells us at the end of his post -- "Yes, it was hard to get back to sleep the night we heard the news of the Jordanian pilot's horrendous end. ISIS be damned!"
You just know there's a "but" coming ...
"But with the next breath I could only think that our barbarians did not have to wait at any gate," Moyers writes. "They were insiders. Home grown. Godly. Our neighbors, friends, and kin. People like us."
Take that in for a moment, if you will. This was written by a man who once had the ear of the most powerful person in the world, and for several years at that. Moreover, Moyers's way of thinking is nearly indistinguishable from the president in office now.
Is it much of a stretch to imagine that Moyers, having served in a top post in the executive branch, and President Obama, our current chief executive, both seek to influence the men and women in our military?
If we can agree this is a given, here is what Obama and Moyers want our soldiers and airmen and sailors to remember in their inevitable battles with our enemies -- Hey, we're no better. Whatever our foes have done, no matter its enormity, Americans are just as bad. Heck, all you gotta do is search Google for proof of that. Please stop misting up whenever you hear "America the Beautiful," that's so tea party.
If only the Founders grasped this back in the 1770s, with slavery a palpable reality around them, the bitter and unfortunate breach between the colonies and Mother England could have been avoided.
If only Lincoln realized this in 1861, as the Union began to break apart -- Mr. President, is the peculiar institution of slavery all that different from children slaving in your Northern factories?
If only FDR remembered America's shameful abuse of Native Americans before he condemned Japanese depravity in Asia.
Next up from Moyers, his steely-eyed reappraisal of World War II in the Pacific through the lens of our contemporary "war on terror" -- Paul Tibbets and Mohamed Atta: What's the difference?