In 1947. I was born, and Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. It was a huge event, because at that time, baseball was America's pastime and blacks were not allowed. Jackie was a pioneer and he had to set the example so that other blacks would be able to follow. The thinking was that if he failed, somehow it would stop blacks entry into baseball for some time. So it was a huge experiment and it was entered into with a lot of trepidation and the man responsible for confronting baseballs segregation, Branch Rickey showed a lot of courage in allowing Jackie to be the first to integrate.
Of course Jackie showed tremendous courage in being the first. Newsreels of the day show fans screaming almost as one for the nigger to get off the field, go back where he came from on and on. It was horrible. All the pent up negativity of racism was hurled upon one black man, and he had to keep silent from the boos the crowd directed at him, the merciless racial taunts from opposing players and teams. Pitchers regularly threw right at his head and he needed all of his bravery and exceptional reflexes to survive. Playing second base, many players came into him hard as they could with their spikes high,intending to physically wound him. Opposing players could abuse him and they did, and he suffered in silence. He had made a compact with Branch Rickey that he would remain silent. The thinking was that it had to be this way because if retaliated against his tormentors he would be cast as the angry Negro that would stoke white racists fears. So not only did he have to take the abuse,but he had to keep his mouth shut.
After two years of this horrid abuse on a daily basis, Jackie had a meeting with Branch Rickey and implored him to let him loose. In other words, give him the opportunity to confront his tormentors. It was past time of Jackie being a human pinata, not the. Branch Rickey gave him the okay. When that happened, Jackie became more assertive, which was his true self his true nature. When someone threw at his head if given the opportunity, he would lay down a bunt towards first base, where the pitcher would have to field the bunt ,Jackie would run over and spike the pitcher. A number of incidents like this and it stopped a lot of the bean balls. However, the bench jockeys, many of them from the deep South were still having a field day calling him every kind of nigger, it was unceasing. One of the biggest racial agitators of the day was Alvin Dark, Louisiana bred and a good ballplayer who would later manage many black players.
In one incident Alvin dark barreled from first to second, and started his slide with his spikes high as he had done numerous times on Jackie. Jackie leaped high with those great reflexes of his and came down and tagged Alvin Dark out, right between the eyes! As hard as he could. After the game,a message was sent to Jackie Robinson that Alvin Dark wanted to talk to him. Basically what Alvin said was that he wanted a truce.
In order for Jackie to become a leader, he had to lead. In order to silence his tormentors and gain his respect he had to do the things that he did that I have mentioned. He wasn't going to get their respect otherwise. Sometimes you just got to let people know you're going to kick their asses, if they keep up their bullshit.
Pres. Barack Obama look to the example that Jackie Robinson set .There is much to be said for being a conciliator, but there's also something to be said about not letting someone make you into a piñata. Without answering back strongly and unequivocally, your opponents treat you as a weak chump. If the Jackie Robinson example was too bold for you, Mr. President consider the example of Martin Luther King. Even though he was mild in appearance and his strategy involved nonviolence he epitomized a strong leader fearlessly facing violent mobs, snapping dogs and the like. Even though he was engaged in nonviolence his demands for integration of restaurants and other public places was non negotiable,along with things such as the right to vote. So even though he was mild, congenial and open to negotiation, there were things that he would not negotiate and his opponents knew that. Consider that. Mr. Pres. that we got your back. And who are we? We are true Americans who love justice and peace for everyone, even nuts of the right wing. We are true Americans.
Also consider the example of Nelson Mandel athough locked up for many years under harsh conditions. There were certain demands that were nonnegotiable. And just by standing for what he believed in gave power to the movement in that he led from a jail cell. Most of us know that he could have left jail years earlier if had accommodated his captors. When he became president of South Africa he used the power of conciliation to try to help heal the country. He made a number of concessions to the white population to include them in the new South Africa. However, there were things that he would not allow his political adversaries to challenge him on.They knew he had lines that could not be crossed Mr. President do not let these Tea Party fanatics and Republican wackos hold you and the American people hostage.
Mr. President if the United States defaults it will hurt me. I receive a military pension and Social Security. As a young man, I fought in Vietnam as a combat Marine and I went there three times. I would prefer not to have the inconvenience of not receiving my monthly stipends, however I would rather drink dirty water and eat grass, than allow the so-called patriots to ruin the government and our nation. You talked many times about defining moments and this is one of them. Get tough on these chumps. If they really cared about the budget, then they would be open to cutting up to a third off of military defense. If they're not open to that, then they're not serious about cutting the budget. Bottom line is be strong. It means a lot to your base and your opponents as to whether or not you are willing to be strong or willing to take a deal just to get along. As I have written think of Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. Lead like I and your followers know you can. Peace.