I know why--because when she hears Dr. King's speeches this time of year they sound like President Obama, who's been in office longer than she's been alive. She thinks all presidents sound like him.
Shocking, when you consider the momentum fifty years ago.
President Kennedy's 1963 Civil Rights Address that led to the Civil Rights Act was two months before the March on Washington, a televised speech in response to his emergency protection of two students desegregating the University of Alabama (excerpt below):
Kennedy's speech echoed Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order 100 years before, and set in motion the actions of President Johnson in his 1965 speech before signing the Voting Rights Act, his emotions inflamed by the violence and death in Selma (excerpt below):I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened......One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free. --JFK
This is the richest, most powerful country which ever occupied this globe. The might of past empires is little compared to ours. But I do not want to be the president who built empires, or sought grandeur, or extended dominion.
And then...crickets. There is no address on civil rights despite decades of highly charged racial tensions through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. That's more than 40 years between Johnson's speech and the president who addressed the issues of race and civil rights directly.I want to be the president who educated young children to the wonders of their world. I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of tax eaters. I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election. I want to be the President who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races, all regions and all parties. I want to be the President who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth. --LBJ
President-elect Obama's victory night speech in 2008 (at top of post) echoed Lincoln, Kennedy and King. You could argue that he echoes the best intentions of Johnson as well:
And he kept on speaking of civil rights at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in 2011 (excerpt below) :
And the president continued to speak out for the oppressed in his second inaugural speech, and his speech on the 50th anniversary of Selma , and on marriage equality and immigration and economic injustice and gender equality and human rights.
You can see how a young child can be convinced that all presidents speak about the need for tolerance, compassion and fairness in their society and reaches out to everyone for answers.
They haven't so far, but we'll see.