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The poignant day in American civil rights history, Sunday, March 7, 1965, came when unarmed civil rights protesters were met with violent resistance from local law enforcement during a march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.
Host Chuck Todd suggested Biden missed an opportunity to reflect on the brutality enacted on African-American protestors during the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965 as he addressed Ukraine’s fight for democracy.
“If there’s one thing that surprised me about the president’s State of the Union, it was the lack of connecting the fight for democracy and freedom abroad with the fight for democracy and freedom at home. Today’s Bloody Sunday,” Todd said.
“Were you surprised?” he asked author and Princeton University professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
“I was stunned,” Glaude responded. “I mean, it was an easy kind of rhetorical move: Let’s defend democracy abroad and secure democracy at home.”
“And what would it mean to secure democracy at home?” he continued. “We would have to address the question of what’s happening across the country in terms of the assault on voting rights, and we would also have to address the illiberal forces within our country that are driving the challenge to voting rights.”
“I thought [not saying it] was a mistake,” Glaude concluded.
President Biden’s Twitter account did recognize the anniversary on Sunday.
“On Sunday, March 7, 1965, time stopped and blood spilled as brave and righteous Americans sought to cross a bridge named after a Klansman in Selma, Alabama to reach the other side of justice,” the tweet read.
Others pushed for Biden to tackle certain issues in last Tuesday’s address, including “Squad” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who urged that the president highlight domestic issues such as the War on Drugs, education for Dreamers, criminal justice reform, affordable child care and the move away from fossil fuels.
Biden also received criticism for glossing over domestic economic struggles, including soaring inflation, as well as for overlooking the crisis at America’s southern border and for doubling down on green energy policies amid calls to ramp up American energy production after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Others pointed out that while he spoke at length about the escalating conflict in Ukraine, he failed to mention several other foreign policy threats and concerns.