A lunatic in Charleston, South Carolina, tried to start a race war a few weeks ago. He entered a black church, sat and watched for an hour as the congregation welcomed him into their worship and then murdered as many as he could. As nine laid dead or dying, he fled like vermin.
The nation was stunned. The police apprehended the killer. The killer confessed. The people of Charleston wept.
The killer’s diary revealed that he had no friends and no allies. He bemoaned the fact that even with the Internet, he could not find anyone — not a single person — to join him.
This lone loser failed to provoke that race war. He didn’t even provoke riots. Not even protests.
What he provoked was love. Strangers of different races held hands and hugged as they sang gospel hymns to honor the dead and embrace the living.
Just days later at the arraignment hearing, the murderer was forgiven by the sons, daughters, mothers and fathers of those he murdered. One said, “You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. May God forgive you. And I forgive you.”
Another said, “I forgive you and my family forgives you, but we would like you to take this opportunity to repent, … confess, give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ, so that he can change it.”
And so it went. If this is what they learned at that church — this power to defeat death and to transcend hate — then I see why they attend. These people don’t just sing “Amazing Grace”; they exude it.
The reaction up north was different.
Hillary Clinton declared in her political campaign that such abominations are perhaps caused by people listening to Donald Trump.
Other liberals said it is from watching their all-purpose boogieman, Fox News.
Then there’s the president, whose former chief of staff once advised, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” The president didn’t.
Within 24 hours, he was using the crisis to lobby for his pet project of gun control. Never mind that none of his proposed gun controls would have kept guns out of the hands of this killer.
Warming to the moment, he claimed that mass murders don’t happen in other developed countries. He believes that America is exceptional, you see, but not in a good way.
He’s wrong. Senseless murders happen everywhere. In Norway, 69 children were slain at a summer camp in 2011. In Germany, 17 teachers, students and a policeman were mass murdered in 2013. In Scotland, 17 teachers and students were mass murdered in 1996. In China, 29 people were killed and 143 injured in a rampage at a railway station in 2014. In France in the winter, 11 were murdered (but that one might have slipped Obama’s mind since, after all, he failed to join the other world leaders in Paris to honor the dead).
Then, the president, who promised to be “a uniter, not divider,” appeared for an interview on a comedy show. There he uttered an ugly racial epithet that had been relegated to rap music lyrics. His purpose was to tell Americans that they are still racists even if they don’t use that word and even if they don’t know that they are.
In a eulogy to the dead in Charleston, he again used their deaths to lobby for gun controls that would not have prevented their deaths.
And the guy who for decades attended a church where the pastor screamed “God damn America,” said that God opposes the Confederate flag. (For the record, I also oppose flying the Confederate flag, but the Creator of the Universe has not revealed to me his opinion on the issue, as he apparently has to Obama.)
He wound up using, er, I mean singing, “Amazing Grace” — while exhibiting nothing of the sort.
Let’s recap. While America condemned a killer, the president condemned America. While America grieved, the president exploited their grief to promote a pet political cause, to smear America’s culture and to inform us that God is on his side in political debates.
To top it off, he stoked the fires of racial resentment, fires that have blazed ever hotter under his presidency. On a comedy show, he spat an incendiary word that the rest of us would rather not hear — at least not until the tears are dry, the blood is mopped and the bodies are buried.
Maybe that demonic lunatic in South Carolina, who hoped to provoke a race war by killing nine as they worshiped, has friends and allies after all. He just never guessed that they were in such high places.
In the aftermath of Obama’s rhetoric, two racist groups that were practically extinct when he took office — the Black Panthers and the Ku Klux Klan — are planning dueling rallies this month in South Carolina.
Watch the president pour gas on their fires of hate.
(Published in the Aspen Times on July 5, 2015 at http://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/17095329-113/beaton-who-wants-a-race-war)