Put Mrs. Obama's comment in context

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Recently much has been made about Sen. Barack Obama's wife's comment: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."

There are people who do not understand what she meant, so I will try to explain.

I am a retired soldier who volunteered for the Army in 1950. I was part of a segregated military during the Korean War. I was assigned to an all-black unit at Camp Polk, La. We were not given rifles to train with for a long time, even though white units had weapons, Our food was not the same. We were given only one dress uniform while white soldiers had two. I was assigned to an artillery unit, and for training we had to borrow weapons from a white unit to train on. We were authorized liberty passes to go off post, but we blacks could not enter town the front way as the whites did; we also rode in the backs of the buses when going off post.

When President Truman issued the order for the military to integrate, chaos broke loose, but because of Korea the transition went, to some degree, smoothly. But when we returned home we were still denied access to bars, food counters and movies alongside fellow white soldiers.

I say all this to say that this is a time in America like never before, so when Mrs. Obama said for the first time she is proud to be an American, she was just reflecting on her past. America, without a doubt, is the greatest country on Earth, but over the years it has experienced some of the greatest problems, too.

As a veteran, I am proud today to be an American. God bless America!

Joseph Diggs Sr., Augusta

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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 05/23/08 - 05:44 am
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Mr Diggs, thank you for your

Mr Diggs, thank you for your service. I'm sorry for your mistreatment on a racial basis and I'm sorry that our nation had to go through those horrible times. BUT, we are through them and have been for a generation or more. Mrs Obama was raised in a privileged household and has lived a life of privilege because as a country we HAVE moved beyond the cultural narrow mindedness of your youth. Her comment was intentionally insulting to her country as a vote gleaning move to secure 90% of the black vote....and it worked. It did, however, give an indication of what this country can look forward to if she and her husband gain a leadership role.

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 05/23/08 - 05:56 am
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I am sorry for what happened

I am sorry for what happened to you, Mr. Diggs, and if Michelle had a similar story I would understand her not being proud to be an American a little more. But Michelle was born in 1964 in Chicago, graduated from a Magnet High School, went on to Princeton University where in 1985 she graduated with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in African American studies. After college, Michelle continued her education at Harvard Law School, where she earned her degree in 1988. For three years after law school, Michelle worked as an associate in the area of marketing and intellectual property at Chicago law firm Sidley and Austin, where she met Barack Obama. In 1991 she went to work as an assistant to the mayor of Chicago and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago. Later she would work as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center and also headed their diversity program. If ANY of these things happened to you, Mr. Diggs, would you find a reason to be proud?

christian134
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christian134 05/23/08 - 06:09 am
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The apologies should have

The apologies should have been made years ago...With the apologies my thanks, Mr. Diggs, for your great service to our nation....That being said Michelle should never have made a comment of such a nature at such a time in our country when men and women of all color are serving and dying for our country right now...Honor them by not holding up for a woman who does not honor her country....

JohnCarlStrass
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 06:12 am
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Why is NOW the first time she

Why is NOW the first time she has been proud. Why not last year? It's amazing the extent people will go to rationalize hateful speech.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 05/23/08 - 07:28 am
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What does the experience of

What does the experience of this person have to do with Michelle Obama and her comments. Does she know Mr. Diggs. I guess typical white is like typical black to Mr.Diggs. So whatever happened to him happened to all. Michelle grew up in Chicago went to Harvard, had a normal childhood with father, mother, and brother. I would think she has a lot to be proud of. Why the contempt for the U.S. for its past-Oh I see you can't punish those responsible so go after a new generation which is trying to change it and put it behind us. You see it is an affront if you call Michelle a Ho, but she can present herself as the first lady and say I have never been proud of America till now. That sounds like a Bizarroism to me, and that demonstrates she is not first lady material. So nothing America has ever done she has been proud of till now. Makes you wonder what is her vision of an America she can be proud of. It has something to do with being black given her first remark.

Republicant
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Republicant 05/23/08 - 08:01 am
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So, for the last 7 years, you

So, for the last 7 years, you have been 100% proud of the actions your country has taken? I am proud to be an American, and if anybody from another country criticized her, I bristle. But amongst fellow Americans, I can say that I have been less than proud with some of the actions we have taken in the last few years.

getalife
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getalife 05/23/08 - 08:04 am
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Mr. Driggs, first I want to

Mr. Driggs, first I want to thank you for your service to this country and the hardships that you and many others have gone through. But Mrs. Obama has lived a life way above the average person. She has never had to experience the hardships you talked about, nor food stamps or welfare. She is and has been part of the privileged few, regardless of color. I don't think she is first lady material nor is her husband Presidential material.

yak11
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yak11 05/23/08 - 08:16 am
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As long as we continue to

As long as we continue to look back and blame our inability on past events we will CONTINUE to never be able to move forward. Each day we do not move forward, those who did what they did...WIN ANOTHER ONE. The sad truth is you can either sit there and be a freaking victim for what happened years ago, and that is exactly where you will stay. Or you can grow up (that means MATURE) look for the learning, and make a difference in tomorrow.

christian134
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christian134 05/23/08 - 08:16 am
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Republicant your comment can

Republicant your comment can be attributed to actions of the United States since it's founding...Not all this country's actions are something to be proud of but like a family, we can say it, but not aloud so the world can hear us say it....What happens in the rooms of the nation should stay in the rooms, so to speak, that way we will not always give the gossip-mongers of the world the impression that our nation is hopelessly divided...To the world we are Americans, strong and capable of meeting any challenge or threat, together not divided. As such that woman's remarks are uncalled for and she has no business trying to become a First Lady....

griesella
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griesella 05/23/08 - 08:17 am
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We get it Mr Diggs. She

We get it Mr Diggs. She doesn't like white folk and since the U.S. is heavily white, it is natural that she doesn't like the country. The two would go hand in hand.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 05/23/08 - 08:21 am
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Well Republcant of course

Well Republcant of course there are things that America has done that are wrong, appalling, without honor, etc. but does that mean you have never been proud of your country. We all have done things that are wrong, appalling, without honor, etc. Does that mean we should always be ashamed and never proud of ourselves forever. What she said was she was proud because America is ready for CHANGE. I just want to know what she considers CHANGE she can be proud of means. I am not proud we used nuclear weapons in WWII but we ended the war and that I am proud of.

owensjef
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owensjef 05/23/08 - 08:48 am
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Get over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This comment from Mrs Obama has been blown way out of line by right wing talk radio. in other words So what!
John Carl thinks this is hate speech , give me a break. This is more selective outrage, I tried to show you this last week Carl.

JohnCarlStrass
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 08:56 am
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Get over it? You are the one

Get over it? You are the one who keeps saying that we don't know what the person's experiences are, or how they or their ancestors have been treated, and if we did we would "wave the flag" so much. Well owensjef.....GET OVER IT!

JohnCarlStrass
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 08:57 am
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How is it selective

How is it selective outrage.....when someone insults my country, regardless of who they are, I am outraged. How is that selective?

owensjef
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owensjef 05/23/08 - 09:00 am
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You are a meat head and I

You are a meat head and I refuse to reason with a meat head

JohnCarlStrass
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 09:02 am
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And why do you say that?

And why do you say that? Because you can't answer the questions? Otherwise you would be able to state the reason you call me names? Let's hear it.

JohnCarlStrass
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 09:04 am
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I asked, "how is it selective

I asked, "how is it selective outrage?" A simple question, but your response is "you are a meat head." Why not just answer the question? Does using your own words against you make me a meat head? You really seem to have a problem with the truth. It seems that you refuse to REASON with ANYONE.

gagirl40
192
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gagirl40 05/23/08 - 09:08 am
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Please people! Boy the right

Please people! Boy the right can turn anything around and blow it way out of proportion. But when the shoe's on the other foot they rationalize it better than anyone! (Rev. Wright vs. Rev. Hagee is a prime example) What Michelle Obama was specifically proud of was...for the first time in our history we will either have a woman or a black man as a major party nominee. Up until now, there was never a chance in a million of this happening. That's what she meant...in the context of race and gender equality, this is the first time she has been proud of her country. And in that context, I agree with her. While I have and will always be a proud American (as is she)...our sad history of bigotry, that continues today, especially in the South, is nothing to be proud of.

JohnCarlStrass
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 09:11 am
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How long did McCain spend in

How long did McCain spend in Hagee's church? How do you put "America is downright mean" in the right context? How do you put "the government created the aids virus to kill blacks" in the correct context?

JohnCarlStrass
0
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 09:12 am
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So unless a woman or a black

So unless a woman or a black had a chance of being president, there is no other reason to be proud of your country. I guess we can see where her priorities really are.

convertedsoutherner
2
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convertedsoutherner 05/23/08 - 09:13 am
0
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why is it that when the obama

why is it that when the obama family, friends and followers say something we don't like - the followers say we are suppose to ignore and "get over it"? when we say something about slavery being years ago and we are doing everything possible to correct wrongs done in the past - we say time to "get over it" and live in the present. we are crucified for saying "get over it". everyone has past wrongs that have been done to them, but it's how you are living your life now that matters. comments by barack hussein obama and his family do matter because he is a candidate for the president of the united states.

JesusIsComing
9
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JesusIsComing 05/23/08 - 09:19 am
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gagirl, Saying that the South

gagirl, Saying that the South is bigotted just rolls off the tongue of leftists. If you have not visited areas surrounding Detroit, Cleveland, or Boston please do so and then come back and report about true bigotry and racism. And if you are interested in reverse racism, Crown Heights in NY would be a great stopover.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 05/23/08 - 09:23 am
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Well it is much ado over

Well it is much ado over nothing. Really think about how often we misspeak. I am sure her intent was she was specifically proud of this moment-not that she had never been proud before. That would be ridiculous. She probably meant she had never been more proud-for added emphasis. It is really not what the accusation is but how they respond that people watch-like McCain and the affair, the Obama pin, etc. During elections I am not surprised what idiotic or ridiculous crap either side will dig up. What I do watch is how they respond to such crap. Michelle seems gracious.

owensjef
13
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owensjef 05/23/08 - 09:23 am
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From the neck up "Meat Head"

From the neck up "Meat Head" gagirl you are right on target.

JohnCarlStrass
0
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 09:24 am
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Still waiting for you "meat

Still waiting for you "meat head" justification, owensjef, or were you just resorting to name calling when you couldn't answer the questions.........as usual. How about an "oh boy"

constitutionnow
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constitutionnow 05/23/08 - 09:39 am
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If we would all just remember

If we would all just remember that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men" we would be much better off. Men have mistreated men throughout the ages. My Irish ancestors were indentured, refused service and otherwise abused because of their origins as well. I'm also a proud veteran but I don't dwell on things that happened long before I was born. Each of us is given the gift of life to do with as we please. Sure, we're all influenced by outside forces, (I myself have been discriminated against because of my skin color), but I don't let that define who or what I am. I am a proud American who disagrees with a lot of things that our politicians do these days and I long for a return to the days of true statesmanship were a politician made his/her choices based on the overall good of the country rather than their constituents. If we could at least get that out of our politicians, we'd be better off but regardless, this is still the greatest country in the history of man.

JohnCarlStrass
0
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JohnCarlStrass 05/23/08 - 09:40 am
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Let's see how this

Let's see how this went....when Obama heard the outrageous remarks of Rev. Wright, his first response was to defend him. When McCain heard the outrageous remarks of Hagee....he rejected his endorsement. That sounds like pretty much the same thing.

mahem1920
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mahem1920 05/23/08 - 09:43 am
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Saw this bumper sticker

Saw this bumper sticker yesterday, "Obama, half [filtered word], all donkey!" Sounds about right from the looks of things.

jack234
857
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jack234 05/23/08 - 09:44 am
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Has anyone consider that

Has anyone consider that maybe Mrs. Obama wasn't reflecting so much on just herself but on others who have been victims of injustices and discrimination. There are people who care about other people although they might have personally had a priviledged life. And, not us just say its all in the past. Every other week we see a person been released from prison after 20 years that has been wrongly convicted and is now free through DNA testing. Those who can afford a good lawyer often walks free, O.J. a good example. Besides, first ladies don't have that much influence. We heard from Mrs. Bush last week - first time in 8 years - and that's only because the president has taken early retirement. If you're looking for an excuse to not vote for Obama, I guess you'll find one. If we had known then what we know now, I guess many of us wouldn't have voted for GW.

mahem1920
0
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mahem1920 05/23/08 - 09:47 am
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strauss, you can't argue with

strauss, you can't argue with an idiot, idiot = owensjeff, you had just as well quit wasting your time!

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