Sunday, July 27, 2008

'You Sold Us Down the River, Bill; You Took Us for Granted'

Ah, to look back nostalgically on those heady days of the summer of 2001.

You suppose this moron even goes back to Harlem any more?
THE streets were bright with promise on the sunny July day in 2001 when former President Bill Clinton arrived in Harlem, the historic capital of black America, to celebrate the opening of his office on 125th Street. A chant of “We love Bill!” rose from the adoring crowd of 2,000 well-wishers, some of whom wore buttons and waved fans decorated with Mr. Clinton’s face.

After a violin rendition of “We Shall Overcome,” Mr. Clinton and the crowd sang along to a vibrant saxophone version of the soul song “Stand by Me.” “You were always there for me,” the ebullient former president declared before descending into the crowd for handshakes and hugs. “And I will try to be there for you.”

But the relationship between Mr. Clinton and Harlem’s African-American community has gone through a distinctly rocky patch this year. Many black residents say they were hurt and angered by what they perceived as racially disrespectful comments made by Mr. Clinton during the Democratic presidential primary fight between Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya.

As the seventh anniversary of Mr. Clinton’s arrival in Harlem approaches on Wednesday, it is impossible to predict whether the wounds can be healed. And to be sure, Mr. Clinton still has his admirers among black Harlemites and among African-Americans nationwide. But in dozens of interviews with Harlem’s African-American residents, business people and community leaders, strong currents of disappointment and resentment toward the former president were evident.

You sold us down the river, Bill; you took us for granted,” said Darlene Sims, co-owner of an Internet cafe in Harlem. “There’s a definite level of betrayal, of ‘You done us wrong by marginalizing us.’ ”
The only reason this boob wound up in Harlem was he tried to saddle the public with the tab for obscenely expensive midtown digs and figured he could just continue the fraud that he was the first black president.

A lot of good that did him and his wife.

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