Cleaver Speech at DNC; A Tale of Two Cleavers
LEE’S SUMMIT, SEPTEMBER 8, 2012 – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II gave a fiery speech at the Democratic National Convention on September 5th at one point having what seemed like the entire convention marching in place to the beat of his powerful voice. Reverend Cleaver was out in full force and anyone who watched that speech was touched deeply by his conviction for America and the UNITED STATES.
In the transcript, Cleaver opened his remarks with “America, I am a strong believer that how we treat each other matters.” Indeed that is true and cannot be argued against as a moral and deeply held value. How we treat each other matters.
He continued “Tonight, I cannot speak to you without acknowledging that the bickering and brinksmanship we see too often in our politics is advantaging no party, but weakening our nation. We can be fervent in our disagreements without being factitious with our beliefs.”
The fact is that people all over the world, in every walk of life, can have true and deeply held beliefs that differ from each other and cannot be bridged by any means; short of a hand shake and the agreement to disagree.
He built to the point that forced me to sit down and write this, when he started with “Congress is unable to do the work of the American people because too many politicians believe that compromise means capitulation.” And then gave the greatest quote line of the night “This must change, because just as bees cannot sting and make honey at the same time, members of Congress cannot simultaneously make passionate enemies and expect political progress.”
The visual image of a honey bee stinging me as a child was powerful – it truly could not make honey at that moment.
I have a problem with reconciling the same Reverend Cleaver who not only went against what his constituents were asking regarding the Health Care Act (more than 70% of Missouri voted against it in the next election). Did he ignore the will of the people he represents? If so, why? Was it because Representative Cleaver forgot and became Reverend Cleaver who is the moral compass to wayward parishioners?
Congressman Cleaver, the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, reached out fervently during his closing remarks by saying “And we, with our diversity and our differences, are all in this together. Let me be clear: when I say, “We,” I am not just talking about black people. When I say, “We,” I am not just talking about people of color. When I say, “We,” I am not just talking about Democrats. When I say, “We,” I am talking about all of America: Americans who can barely afford to make ends meet; Americans who employ thousands and create jobs; Americans who are in K-12, college, grad school, and professional school; Americans of all walks of life. We mean us—Americans! Proud Americans!”
The word “we” being truly defined as all inclusive very eloquently and with conviction in front of the camera, in front of America, and in front of his party. Powerful statement, yet I have difficulty reconciling Congressman Cleaver of September 5th 2012, with Congressman Cleaver of March 2010 on the steps of congress.
That old Congressman who was willing to force his political will upon those he represents (not the one of the speech Wednesday) walked by a shouting spectator. The chant in the background “Kill that Bill” so I assume this man who had his hands around his mouth was shouting to all who passed by with every ounce of lung capacity let his spit fly with his words and it landed on Congressman Cleaver.
Emotion rose quickly, and the Reverend came down upon this person. What he said was not and is not available anywhere I can find. His body language was clearly of a very unhappy man. Yes, I can see that having spit land on my face would not make me a happy person, but then I’m not a preacher; I have the temper of a Latin American that once in a while lets the blood pressure rise too quickly. I can see how Emanuel Cleaver could take it as an insult – but the Christian who so eloquently quotes bible verses hopefully has a softer, gentler, side.
I could not reconcile the images and the words of Wednesday with the divisive rhetoric from his past speeches.
I could not reconcile the words of unity, with the actions of divisiveness demonstrated over the last four years.
When the speech was over, I was obviously troubled by the tale of two Cleavers I was watching. The one in front of me on the screen; A man I could easily respect and admire even though we may disagree. The other version of Cleaver is a divisive and incompatible with the civility that would be incumbent upon a man of Faith.
When someone says: “Together, we must move the United States of America forward. There is more power in unity than division. Let’s do more than say the Pledge of Allegiance. Let us live it!” I want to believe!
Yet, I see so many inconsistencies. I see words without actions. I see rhetoric without conviction. I see a politician who follows, not one that leads. I see a politician who names Post Offices, but cannot create jobs. I see someone who is willing to help others, but does not inspire others to help him when he pens bill ideas in congress.
I see someone who sends earmarks to Kansas City, but cannot bring self-sustaining businesses into his district. I see words about jobs, but little success. Recently Congressman Cleaver promoted the 63 people in the Green Impact Zone that benefited from a $500,000 grant from the government – as creating job opportunities: yet the 63 were part of a group of 300, in a neighborhood of over 8,400 who desperately need jobs (50% unemployment).
Actions Congressman Cleaver; speak more powerfully than words. The actions of bringing jobs to the 5th District – not re-distributed tax money that should be used to pay down the debt – would have a true impact on the Green Zone (Green with private sector job dollars).
I truly wish that I did not know at all about the other Congressman Cleaver, because I want to believe in the one that spoke Wednesday evening – but I think actions do speak louder than words, and the divisiveness I’ve observed over the last 4 years, speaks to me more loudly than words of a carefully crafted speech.
I wish I could believe.
Cleaver spoke of being United in these United States of America; but he calls the Tea Party members racists for the simple fact they disagree with him. As the head of the Congressional Black Caucus Congressman Cleaver was asked by Congressman Alan West (R – FL) to condemn the divisive rhetoric of former chairwoman Maxine Waters who said that the Tea Party “can go straight to hell.”
Further, Representative Andre Carson (D-IN) took the rhetoric of divisiveness further by saying: “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.” Further adding in reference to the tea party caucus in congress stopping change and likening it to: “the effort that we’re seeing of Jim Crow”
Yet, Congressman and Reverend Cleaver failed to act publicly and call for a unifying voice – as he did on September 5th at the convention’s speech. Actions are required when men of conviction set a course. Actions such as the marching in place during the speech to show that you actually have to move your feet in tune with the words so vividly and powerfully projected from the motion of his lips.
That is why the tale of two Emanuel Cleavers does not reconcile one with the other.
Actions that bring jobs to the 5th district – private sector, self-sustaining, and well paying – is what the we need in Kansas City.
To be fair, Emanuel Cleaver (our Representative) was asked to do a job: Promote the image of President Obama so he could be re-elected. Emanuel Cleaver did his job, and did it well for the President.
My question is this: When will Emanuel Cleaver do his job for the 5th District in Missouri, and bring Jobs that instill personal pride in those who hold them and prosper because of them?
The Lee’s Summit Conservative