On Thursday, veteran broadcaster and Republican pundit Bill O’Reilly did what most Fox News broadcasters rarely do. He went on the air during his show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” and stunned his viewers by making an apology. O’Reilly had reported that no republicans had been invited to speak during the 50th Anniversary of the “March On Washington” which turned out not to be true.
After doing minimal investigating it turned out that all the top republican lawmakers, politicians, and even Mike Huckabee received an invitation to the event. Since none of the invited republicans responded to the invitation it would have been ludicrous to put them on the program as a speaker. O’Reilly admitted that it was his assumption that his party’s favorites were excluded because none of them were seen anywhere near the event.
The most notable of the absentee republicans was newly appointed senator from the great state of South Carolina, Tim Scott. Scott’s absence was noticed by the obscure fact the he’s Black. If that logic seems reasonable to you, then let’s take a closer look at what O’Reilly had to apologize for.
Let’s not even consider the march which too place one week ago on Saturday which clearly was a demonstration. It was a demonstration demanding jobs, justice and freedom. Surely these are not partisan concerns but no republican participated in that demonstration either. For the sake of clarity, we will only focus on the commemoration which took place on Wednesday where President Barack Obama took to the podium around the same time Martin Luther King, Jr. did 50 years earlier.
One of the most famous quotes from the “I Have A Dream” speech of Dr. King was, “That my four little children will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.” Even though Tim Scott, (R.Sen. SC) opposes every thing that Dr. King proposed on that memorable day 50 years ago, he was invited to speak during the commemoration. But the question Bill O’Reilly and those of his ilk should have asked was, “What is Tim Scott going to say?” Not only Tim Scott but any republican. This event should have been the crowning glory of the dream of Dr. King. But the character of the republican party and not the color of their skin made it impossible for anyone of them to support an event that goes against their political ideology.
We heard speakers demanding increases in minimum wages. Others demanded a more inclusive voting standard instead of trying to suppress and keep people from voting. We heard speakers demanding a fairer justice system that doesn’t profile citizens based on their skin color, and other demanded repealing all the “Stand Your Ground” Laws. These ideas are not just good for democrats but they are good for a just and moral society.
It would have been more appropriate if Bill O’Reilly had criticized statements made by the speakers instead of worrying about why the leaders of his party shunned the event. Who would have though that on the 50th Anniversary of the “March On Washington.” the there would be a bi-racial president in the White House. Not only in the White House but serving in his second term as the re-elected leader of the free world. It’s a sad commentary to report that on such a monumental occasion to show unity to the world, we are discussing why a black senator appointed to fill the seat of a senator determined to see the current president’s policies fail, did not speak at an event that by his mere presence would make him look like a fish out of water.
We understand Bill O’Reilly. If you can’t attack and criticize the message or the messengers, then find some abstract object to draw people’s attention to in order to avoid discussing the facts. O’Reilly would better serve his audience by focusing on the recent autopsy of the republican party. Is it just me or do you perform an autopsy on things that are dead. Usually after an autopsy there is a funeral and a burial. But even in their own autopsy report they determined that reaching out to minorities was in their best interest. Unfortunately supporting a half white and half black president has them so polarized that, dreaming of a brighter future for the nation or rallying around a common cause was a dream for a few and a nightmare for many.