Members of the Congressional Black Caucus want President Barack Obama to invite the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner to his State of the Union address in January, 2015.
Chief among these is Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), who said: “I think that would be appropriate and fitting. It would help educate and sensitize other members and humanize some of the issues that we’re going to confront.”
And Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) stated: “Those families are symbols of an issue that needs to be urgently addressed in America.”
If Obama does not invite the families, Black Caucus members suggested that they might use their guest tickets to invite them.
But they claimed that no invitations have yet been extended for the President’s speech.
Obama is expected to speak about the Brown and Garner deaths during his speech.
The State of the Union address delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of Congress every January.
The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows Presidents to outline their legislative agenda and their national priorities.
President Barack Obama giving his State of the Union address
The address fulfills Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the President to from time to time give Congress information on the “state of the union.”
For decades, Presidents have invited specific guests to join the First Lady in the gallery of the House of Representatives. These guests enable the Chief Executive to symbolize the policy points he wishes to make.
For his 2002 State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush invited Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan. This underscored the commitment of American troops to ridding that country of its Talibanistic elements.
Inviting members of the Brown and Garner families as Obama’s favored guests would send a message to both Americans and the world beyond.
But it would prove a highly controversial act of symbolism.
In the case of the family of Michael Brown:
- Shortly after the killing of Michael Brown on August 9, police released a video showing him robbing a grocery store and manhandling its owner. Click here: SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Police say Michael Brown was suspect in Ferguson store robbery – YouTube
Michael Brown (left) roughing up a store owner
- The citizen journalism website GotNews has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis authorities seeking the release of Brown’s juvenile record. The suit alleges that Brown was a gang member and faced a second-degree murder charge. Click here: Lawsuit seeking release of Michael Brown’s juvenile records claims slain teen was a murder suspect – AOL.com
- Michael’s mother, Lesley Mcspadden, could face felony armed robbery charges. She is being investigated by Ferguson police after being accused of attacking people in a Ferguson parking lot for selling “Justice for Mike Brown” T-shirts. Among the victims: Her former mother-in-law. Click here: Michael Brown’s mom may face robbery charges: report – NY Daily News
- Louis Head, Michael Brown’s stepfather, could be charged with inciting arson. On November 24, the night a grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot Michael, Head mounted a platform and urged several hundred frenzied protesters to “burn this bitch [Ferguson] down!” Click here: “Burn this bitch down” – Michael Brown stepfather caught making those comments last night » The Right Scoop -
Louis Head calls for arson in Ferguson
Does the President of the United States really want to link himself to this family of thugdom?
Then there is the family of Eric Garner, who died in a police chokehold on July 17.
While no incriminating evidence has yet come to light concerning his relatives, Garner himself had a lengthy police record.
- This included more than 30 arrests dating back to 1980 for assault, resisting arrest and grand larceny. Click here: New York City Police Officer Won’t Face Criminal Charges in Eric Garner Death – WSJ
- The widely-viewed video of his arrest clearly shows Garner resisting police efforts to take him into custody on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. He swats away the arms of a white officer, telling him: “Don’t touch me!”
State of the Union addresses are occasions where the President seeks to rally Congress–and, more importantly, the nation–behind goals that are certain to have widespread support.
Congressional Republicans fiercely oppose Obama’s unilateral decision to shelter up to five million illegal aliens from deportation and enable them to work in the country legally.
They have heatedly debated various ways of opposing him on this–including once again shutting down the government, forbidding him to appear before Congress to give his State of the Union address and cutting off fuel to Air Force One. Click here: Ground Air Force One? GOP Proposals to Stop Obama on Immigration – Washington Wire – WSJ
Inviting as his guests members of families whose members have a documented history of lawbreaking would prove widely divisive along racial lines.
Overhwleming majorities of whites continue to believe that Obama is “not one of us.” And members of law enforcement of all races would believe that Obama was taking the side of known criminals against them.
With only two more years in office, Obama will need all the unity he can create if he hopes to enact much of his remaining agenda.