Dog Don’t Hunt
By Annie & Buddy
25 July, 2007
last person we expected to see at this year’s NAACP National Convention
was George W. Bush. Last summer, we spent a month in the ditches of
Crawford, Texas hoping to hear from the President to no avail. Little
did we know that, less than a year later, he would travel across town
to see, as Reverend Nelson B. Rivers, III says, the “big dog”,
As he stood at the podium
in the shadow of great civil rights leaders like Julian Bond and Reverend
Rivers, we came to realize why the President has, in the past, carefully
screened and scripted his slack jaw audiences. He would be well served
to return to the days of loyalty oaths and Republican thugs guarding
the doors whenever he speaks.
The mainstream media, thus
far, has painted a rosy picture of Bush’s foray into the heart
of the oldest and largest civil rights organization, in the world. It
wasn’t that pretty at all. The big dog was in the house and the
big dog was unimpressed.
Before Bush reached the
podium, a significant number of NAACP delegates rose from their seats
and left the meeting hall in protest. The remaining audience responded
to the President in what might be charitably described as a cool reception.
From our vantage point in the Louisiana delegation, it appeared that
perhaps one out of three actually applauded when Bush was introduced.
The President’s speech
writers are apparently on vacation this week. Repeatedly, Bush would
deliver what he believed to be a zinger, pause for a favorable reaction,
and then, receiving none, stagger on to his next lame and insincere
Behind us sat the Texas
delegation, a group who knows this speaker all to well. The delegates
from his “home state” grumbled and snickered throughout
the address while cheerfully making digs at the lone Bush supporter
in their delegation.
The only significant rounds
of applause came when the President so magnanimously announced that
he would sign the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and when
he acknowledged that black people just flat out don’t trust Republicans.
Much has been made in the
MSM about the two hecklers who were removed from the meeting hall. Please
know that these two young men engaged in their verbal dissent in a dignified
and non-violent manner. As they were led away, only inches away from
our seats, their heads were held high and their protestations continued.
One of these young men, as he passed us yelled, “How long will
you be his house Negro?”
Speaking of which, Bush,
lacking the courage to appear alone, had Secretary Rice on his arm.
Although we’ll never know for sure, we choose to interpret the
young man’s query to have been directed towards Condi.
Why Condi was there defies
any other explanation because the President failed to mention any foreign
issues whatsoever during his address to this worldwide organization.
He did not warn us about terrorism or acknowledge that we are currently
prosecuting a war in Iraq. Possibly the most striking feature of this
address was his failure to excuse all of his misdeeds on 9-11.
But, of course, we knew
that there would be no discussion of preemptive war, torture, detainees,
or domestic spying. We raised the issue by raising the peace sign silently
from our chairs throughout the address. From our seats in the Louisiana
delegation we quietly represented, as best we could, the peace movement
with that simple gesture.
In a perfect world, Bush
would have spoken to an empty hall this morning. However, the crowd
response to the President’s address was so weak that it just as
well could have been empty. Yes, the big dog was in the house this morning.
And the big dog was not George Bush.
The big dog was the NAACP
and the Freedom Fighters who came to Washington to renew the struggle,
not to endure a lame sales pitch from a failed president.
Annie and Buddy Spell are
peace activists and civil rights organizers in Covington, Louisiana.
Organizers of the Jazz Funeral for Democracy and “house lawyers”
at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas last summer, they are active members
of the Greater Covington Branch of the NAACP where Annie serves as Branch