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That Dog Don’t Hunt

By Annie & Buddy Spell

25 July, 2007

The 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”, the NAACP.

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 comment.

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 President.









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