The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/26/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: – or you take it back and you give it a
turn and it pops off just like that. And so, you know, you`ve just got to
keep trying. And my dad has been doing that for his whole career. So,
thank you, dad.
Joy Reid and Josh Barro, thank you, both.
That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That was incredibly sweet, Chris.
Congratulations to your dad.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
This is a news day that is basically impossible to summarize. I will
But in terms of what has just happened, just in the last few minutes,
the New York state police and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just gave a
public briefing on those prison escapees in Upstate New York. The bottom
line here is that one of those two escapees was found by police today and
then shot and killed by police today. Richard Matt, police say, was armed
with a 20-gauge shotgun when they found him, when he was confronted by
police in the woods near the town of Malone, New York.
So, Richard Matt, the man on the left here, he tonight is dead.
David Sweat, the man on the right, is still on the loose. Police say the
search for the second man continues tonight. We`ll keep you posted as we
learn more on that manhunt tonight.
But again, the headline here is that one of the two escaped prisoners
from Dannemora maximum security prison in Upstate New York has not just
been found, but tonight is dead at the hands of police after they found him
armed with a shotgun, they say. This is after 21 days that these two guys
have been on the loose. Richard Matt`s fellow escapee, David Sweat, still
out there tonight, and the manhunt continues.
Beyond that very dramatic development in that story today, the news
in America today was almost too much to absorb. For example, just one
point. Were you home today between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time? It
would have been between noon and 1:00 p.m. on the West Coast. Were you
home or were you somewhere where you could see a live TV or at least listen
on live radio?
If you weren`t, if you were working today or you were in school or
you were running errands or something, if you heard about the eulogy today
in Charleston for the pastor who was killed last week in his church in the
Charleston massacre, if you heard that President Obama gave that eulogy
today or maybe you heard a little piece of it, maybe you heard that the
president sang – and that sounded like a strange thing for the president
to have done – maybe you`ve heard of it or heard a piece of it, but you`ve
never sat down and watched what actually happened, honestly, you should.
You really should.
We`re going to give you a chance to see it tonight this hour. And
honestly, it`s a little bit strange for us to do this, but I`m going to
give you a commercial break between now and the time when we start this so
you can tell your kids to come in and watch it with you or call your mom or
your dad and tell them to watch with you.
If you need to take a bathroom break ahead of time, you will have
time to do that. You need to get something to drink. I will give you a
minute beforehand, but that is, please, because I want you to sit down and
watch it. Just take a time, a moment out of time to do it, because no
other president has ever done something like this.
And before this particular president, none could. This was an actual
historic thing today, and we, frankly, have moved heaven and earth to be
able to show it to you tonight uninterrupted, without commercials, because
you really should see it.
And the fact that this happened on this particular day in the news,
in this remarkable time we are having in the news, it is almost getting to
be too much. I mean, think about where we are at right here. A week ago
at this time, a week ago today, our collective national heart did something
between over flowing and breaking in South Carolina, when the family
members of the people who were killed in Charleston looked at the accused
killer in that case and told them that they forgave him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE: You are representing the family of Ethel Lance, is that
DAUGHTER OF ETHEL LANCE: Yes, sir.
JUDGE: And you are whom, ma`am?
DAUGHTER OF ETHEL LANCE: The daughter.
JUDGE: Te daughter. I`m listening.
DAUGHTER OF ETHEL LANCE: I just wanted everybody to know, to you, I
forgive you. You took something very precious away from me. I will never
talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again.
But I forgive you! And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You
hurt a lot of people. But God forgives you. And I forgive you.
JUDGE: Thank you, ma`am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That act of grace on the part of the families in Charleston,
basically brought the family to our knees a week ago today, right?
Within days, the governor of the state of Alabama just very quietly,
without miss, without fuss, told state workers to remove the Confederate
flags that were flying at the Alabama state capitol. The Confederate
flag`s also going to come down at the state capitol in South Carolina soon,
In Mississippi, it`s even the Republicans now who are saying that the
Confederate emblem needs to be taken off the state flag of Mississippi.
And, no, it`s not done, but the Confederate flag issue has all of a
sudden just broken this week. It is not done, but it will be done. And
then, catch your breath, it was then the seminal issue of the Obama
presidency. The full force of every domestic political enemy this
president has, has been brought to bear for years against the signature
policy that he achieved as president, the signature policy achievement,
which has alluded presidents before him for half a century.
But yesterday, in a surprise ruling, the Supreme Court definitively
saved and upheld and ratified that law. And frankly, there was no obvious
reason for the court to take that case unless they were going to use that
case to kill the health law, and it was a surprise when the court ruled
that, yes, the health law is the law of the land and, no, it cannot be
easily torn down. It will not be torn down now and it will not be torn
down by some future president who replaces this one.
And again, on this issue, no, technically, it is not done forever,
because Republicans still say they`ll do anything they can to kill it. But
honestly, you know what, it`s done. This effort to kill the health law at
the Supreme Court ended up making it stronger. The ruling on behalf of the
law was definitive.
Yesterday, speaking realistically, the political efforts to destroy
Obamacare, to destroy the biggest policy legacy of this presidency, those
efforts yesterday broke. That was yesterday. Catch your breath, and then
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: Today, one of the most sweeping civil rights rulings in
American history, certainly the biggest gay rights ruling ever in American
history, a clear and resonant and easy-to-understand, blunt declaration by
the majority of the court.
“The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have
seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of
the fundamental right to marry is now manifest. With that knowledge must
come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from the marriage
right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter.
Especially against a long history of disapproval of their
relationships. The denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works
a grave and continuing harm.”
It`s all from the ruling. If you want to know the part of this that
you will hear at weddings from now until the end of your life, if you want
to know the part of it that will be written out again and again, as almost
calligraphic practice of what it means to articulate American justice and
American progress in your lifetime, this is it. This is the part that you
will hear over and over and over again for years to come. You can say it
with me now.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest
ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a
marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As
some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a
love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and
women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.
Their plea is they do respect it, they respect it so deeply that they
seek to find fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to live
condemned in loneliness, excluded from one of the oldest institutions.
They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants
them that right.”
It is so ordered. And that`s that.
You know, in 1993, a trial court in Hawaii ruled in favor of same-sex
marriage rights. The resulting freak-out about what that court was doing
in Hawaii caused the Congress of the United States to almost immediately
pass a federal antigay marriage law in 1996. Bill Clinton agreed to sign
that thing before it had even passed the House. That was 1996.
By 1998, 31 states had passed either their own law banning gay
marriage or a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Some
states ended up doing both for good measure.
In the year 2000, it was Vermont that passed civil unions. In 2003,
Massachusetts`s state Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage rights. But
the resulting backlash to Vermont and Massachusetts, the resulting backlash
went so high as the sitting president of the United States saying not just
that he`d sign a law but that the U.S. Constitution should be changed to
block gay people from ever actually enjoying that right. Change the
Constitution of the United States to stop gay people from getting equal
Inspired by that clarion call to stop the progress of social justice,
hoping that a chance to cast an antigay vote might really bring
conservative voters out of the woodwork and into the polling places, in the
presidential election year of 2004, 11 states passed state constitutional
bans on same-sex marriage. Two years later in 2006, eight more states
passed eight more bans.
The history of marginal advances on this issue, advances here and
there and different kinds of venues, the history of the advances on this
issue around the country, that history has been met by conservatives and
Republicans with ferocious and often disproportionate backlash, for decades
But as hard as they have fought to stop it, they have now lost. They
have lost, definitively and finally. After all these evolving maps that
we`ve tried to keep track of over the years about where you might have
rights and where you might not have rights, where your marriage might be
recognized and where it would be illegal, where your kids have two parents
and maybe they only have one parent and a friend.
After following these maps, after trying to put them together, after
trying to track this, after all of the push and pull and achievement and
blood-curdling backlash over the years, we can now make it very simple. We
can now very easily show the map of where gay people legally have the right
to get married in this country, if they want to, in the United States, just
like straight people can, because this is the new map. And it`s an easy
one to remember.
This is the new map that shows where your rights are recognized in
this country. It`s done. It`s everywhere. It is unambiguous.
And you can see that become true in the wires today, in this
incredible cascade of state-by-state news, place-by-place news. The
decision came down on the wires at 10:02 a.m.
By 10:19, look, same-sex couples in Texas may soon obtain marriage
By 10:28, gay couples in Nebraska will now have their marriages
legally recognized in the state that has had one of the most restrictive
same-sex union bans in the country.
By 10:45, the county clerk in the largest county in Arkansas tells
the “AP,” while choking up, quote, “It`s a special day. I`m honored to be
part of it.” And he says his office in Pulaski county, Arkansas, is
prepared to issue marriage licenses. That was 10:45.
By 10:46, it`s Montana – gay couples can now marry in Montana.
By 10:49, it`s Michigan, one of the states that fought this to the
Supreme Court. Look. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says state agencies
will insure that the state fully complies with the Supreme Court ruling.
By four minutes later, 10:53, it`s North Dakota. The Supreme Court
ruling nullifies North Dakota`s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Five minutes later, Ohio, Cuyahoga County probate court has started
issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
Three minutes after that, it`s Georgia. Atlanta court marries gay
By 11:51, it`s Kentucky. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has told
the state county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
And then it`s South Dakota, and then it`s Alabama, and then it`s
Tennessee. And this was today, and it is over. It`s over.
I mean, there are places that are going to go kicking and screaming
and say they don`t want to. In Mississippi, where they`re thinking about
taking the Confederate emblem off of their state flag this week, in
Mississippi, the head of the judiciary committee in that state`s
legislature said today that maybe Mississippi should take a step toward
banning all marriage. Maybe Mississippi should ban marriage for straight
people and everyone, and maybe that will keep them from going along with
this. Yes, good luck, Mississippi.
I mean, this may not be exactly done yet, but it will be done. This
is settled. The dam is broken.
And yes, a number of 2016 Republican presidential candidates say they
will defy the Supreme Court on this! How does that work? Maybe they`ll
move to Canada, I don`t know.
But at the end of one week, when it did not seem possible for more
change in our country, for another chapter to close, today made history.
This was a decades-long fight, but it is over. It`s really, clearly over.
People who say, oh, this is the first step! No. This is something
that`s done. It`s won, clearly.
And the woman who won it is our guest live here tonight, next. Stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Progress on this
journey often comes in small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one
step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And
then sometimes there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is
rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.
MARY BONAUTO, ATTORNEY/ARGUED FOR GAY MARRIAGE AT SUPREME COURT:
Today was a momentous decision, and it is going to bring joy to millions of
families, gay and straight, across this land. And now, every person in
this country who is LGBT realizes they can marry tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Today`s thunderbolt courtesy of Mary Bonauto. She is the
attorney who argued this marriage case decided today by the Supreme Court.
It was the first time she had ever argued a case at the U.S. Supreme Court,
but it was not the first time she had taken a case all the way or made
history with it.
The first time any state recognized equal marriage rights, it was
also because of Mary Bonauto and the case she brought to the Massachusetts
Supreme Court more than a decade ago. Now, she`s done it nationwide.
There are a lot of high-profile people, high-profile lawyers, high-
profile activists, high-profile plaintiffs who have been involved in this
issue as it has progressed through the courts and progressed through
American politics, but the alpha and the omega, the architect of this whole
strategy really is a knowable person, a woman named Mary Bonauto. She
started it, she plotted its course, and today she finished it – decisive,
done, nationwide, forever.
Joining us now for the interview is Mary Bonauto, who, as I said a
moment ago, did it.
Ms. Bonauto, thank you very much for being with us tonight.
BONAUTO: Thank you, and it is a pleasure.
MADDOW: I am curious to hear not whether or not you expected to win,
but whether or not you expected to win this way, whether you tght it would
happen the way it did and whether this ruling followed the logic you
BONAUTO: It did, because this ruling is built on both liberty that
we get to choose who we`re going to marry and make that momentous, you
know, life decision with, and it`s also based on equality, that gay people,
same-sex couples have to have the same choices and freedoms and equality as
everyone else in the country. And both pieces were there in that decision
today, just as they were in marriage decisions starting with race in the
MADDOW: What was it like to hear it? I mean, after all of this,
much of your life, right, having been spent working towards this day. What
was it like today in the courtroom today to hear it?
BONAUTO: Well, you know, right away, they sit down, and the chief
justice announces the case and you can`t just hear people stopped
breathing, you couldn`t hear it anymore, and as people were continuing to
breathe. And as Justice Kennedy began to roll out the opinion, it was
clear that we had a victory. And then you started hearing the sobs and the
And I was elated. How can you not be, knowing how many people had
been, you know, just scarred by this experience in being denied this, you
know, this true expression of their love and all the protections that
marriage provides? So, I was – I was thrilled. And I also knew some
dissents were coming, so I was buckling my seat belt.
MADDOW: On those dissents, I might be wrong, but I think this is the
first time chief Justice Roberts has ever read a dissent from the bench
BONAUTO: That`s what`s been reported.
MADDOW: And he sort of went out of his way not to be mean, right,
not to be snarky, the way some of the other dissents were – Scalia. But
he did say – he said supporters of same-sex marriage have lost forever the
chance to win this by some other means, the chance to win this through
legislators or through referendum, some other part of the democratic
process and not the judiciary. He suggested that in this way, it`s a loss,
even if you like the outcome.
How do you respond to that?
ROBERTS: I feel like in this world that I live in, people have been
deeply engaged in talking to their neighbors and their co-workers and in
their faith communities, and you know, so much of the public has been
engaged. The opinion itself talks about the military, the federal
government – all kinds of institutions that have been engaging with these
issues for years now.
And so, frankly, a lot of the country has been talking about this for
a very long time. And the Supreme Court itself has been talking about this
for 40 years, you know, dating back to a 1970s case.
So, you know, I don`t – in our system, you don`t have to convince
every single person before the court vindicates your constitutional rights,
and that`s the role of our courts and the system of checks and balances, is
to say when laws draw the wrong line, and they play that role as final
arbiter, when we really – you know, we are ready for that final decision
and to make something the law of the land. And today, they made marriage
equality the law of the land.
MADDOW: Mary Bonauto, attorney, the strategic architect of this
fight that won marriage equality nationwide, the person who argued it in
the court. This is just a huge day, I mean, for everybody. But obviously,
this is a vindication of your life`s work. I hope you have an excellent
BONAUTO: Thank you kindly. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. OK.
Ahead, a historic, impassioned eulogy by President Obama in
Charleston today. If you did not get to hear this earlier today, please
watch it. Do not miss this. Trust me.
MADDOW: OK, have you got your mom with you? Have you got the kids?
This is something important, and we are about to do this without a
commercial break, because I really, personally believe this is an important
thing to see and I want you to see it.
Today, President Obama gave the eulogy for the Reverend Clementa
Pinckney, who was killed along with eight of his parishioners inside their
church in Charleston last week. It seemed like the entire city of
Charleston showed up to try to fill one of the 5,000 seats in the arena
where this service was held today. Hundreds of people were turned away
after the venue reached capacity.
But what happened inside at this funeral was remarkable, and it
culminated in this eulogy, which is one of the more remarkable public
statements ever uttered by our president, Barack Obama, and one of the most
remarkable public statements by any American president on any subject ever.
If you did not watch this today, or even if you did, do me a favor,
please watch this. Just sit down and watch.
OBAMA: What a good man. Sometimes I think that`s the best thing to
hope for when you`re eulogized, after all the words and recitations and
resumes are read, to just say somebody was a good man.
You don`t have to be of high distinction to be a good man.
Preacher by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. What a life
Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his
And then to lose him at 41, slain in his sanctuary with eight
wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound
together by a common commitment to God – Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson,
Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons,
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson.
Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people.
People so full of life and so full of kindness, people who ran the
race, who persevered, people of great faith.
To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our
pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church.
The church is and always has been the center of African American
A place to call our own in a too-often hostile world, a sanctuary
from so many hardships.
Over the course of centuries, black churches served as hush harbors,
where slaves could worship in safety, praise houses, where their free
descendants could gather and shout “Hallelujah”.
Rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad, bunkers for
the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement.
They have been and continue to community centers, where we organize
for jobs and justice, places of scholarship and network, places where
children are loved and fed and kept out of harms way and told that they are
beautiful and smart and taught that they matter.
That`s what happens in church. That`s what the black church means –
our beating heart, the place where our dignity as a people in inviolate.
There`s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel, a
A church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground
because its founders sought to end slavery only to rise up again, a phoenix
from these ashes.
When there were laws banning all-black church gatherers, services
happened here anyway in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a
righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps.
A sacred place, this church, not just for blacks, not just for
Christians, but for every American who cares about the steady expansion of
human rights and human dignity in this country, a foundation stone for
liberty and justice for all.
That`s what the church meant.
We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight
others knew all of this history, but he surely sensed the meaning of his
violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson
and shots fired at churches, not random but as a means of control, a way to
terrorize and oppress.
An act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination, violence
and suspicion, an act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace
back to our nation`s original sin.
Oh, but God works in mysterious ways.
God has different ideas.
He didn`t know he was being used by God.
Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace
surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group, the light of love
that shown as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join
in their prayer circle.
The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families
of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court in the midst of
unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn`t imagine that.
The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston under
the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley, how the state of South
Carolina, how the United States of America would respond not merely with
revulsion at his evil acts, but with big-hearted generosity. And more
importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we
so rarely see in public life.
Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so
well understood – the power of God`s grace.
This whole week, I`ve been reflecting on this idea of grace.
The grace of the families who lost loved ones; the grace that
Reverend Pinckney would preach about in his sermons; the grace described in
one of my favorite hymnals, the one we all know – “Amazing Grace”.
How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I`m found, was blind but now I see.
According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is
not merited. It`s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and
benevolent favor of God.
As manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of
blessings. Grace – as a nation out of this terrible tragedy, God has
visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we`ve been blind.
He`s given us the chance where we`ve been lost to find our best
selves. We may not have earned this grace with our rancor and complacency
and short-sightedness and fear of each other, but we got it all the same.
He gave it to us anyway. He`s once more given us grace.
But it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with
gratitude and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift.
For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate Flag
stirred into many of our citizens.
It`s true a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all
walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge, including
Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise.
As we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more
than just ancestral pride.
For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic
oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.
Removing the flag from this state`s capital would not be an act of
political correctness. It would not an insult to the valor of Confederate
soldiers. It would simply be acknowledgement that the cause for which they
fought, the cause of slavery, was wrong.
The imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to
civil rights for all people was wrong.
It would be one step in an honest accounting of America`s history, a
modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds.
It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have
transformed this state and this country for the better because of the work
of so many people of goodwill, people of all races, striving to form a more
By taking down that flag, we express God`s grace.
But I don`t think God wants us to stop there.
For too long, we`ve been blind to be way past injustices continue to
shape the present.
Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some
tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish
in poverty or attend dilapidated schools or grow up without prospects for a
job or for a career.
Perhaps it causes us to examine what we`re doing to cause some of our
children to hate.
Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens
of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system and lead us to make
sure that that system`s not infected with bias.
That we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that
the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve
make us all safer and more secure.
Maybe we now realize the way a racial bias can infect us even when we
don`t realize it, so that we`re guarding against not just racial slurs but
we`re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a
job interview but not Jamal.
So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder
for some of our fellow citizens to vote.
By recognizing our common humanity, by treating every child as
important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which
they were born and to do what`s necessary to make opportunity real for
every American. By doing that, we express God`s grace.
For too long –
For too long, we`ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence
inflicts upon this nation.
Sporadically, our eyes are open when eight of our brothers and
sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an
elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short
by gun violence in this country every single day, the countless more whose
lives are forever changed, the survivors crippled, the children traumatized
and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never
feel his wife`s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows
every time they have to watch what happened to them happening to some other
The vast majority of Americans, the majority of gun owners want to do
something about this. We see that now.
And I`m convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others,
even as we respect the traditions, ways of life that make up this beloved
country, by making the moral choice to change, we express God`s grace.
We don`t earn grace. We`re all sinners. We don`t deserve it.
But God gives it to us anyway.
And we choose how to receive it. It`s our decision how to honor it.
None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations
overnight. Every time something like this happens, somebody says, “We have
to have a conversation about race.” We talk a lot about race.
There`s no shortcut. We don`t need more talk.
None of us should believe that a handful of gun safety measures will
prevent every tragedy.
It will not. People of goodwill will continue to debate the merits
of various policies as our democracy requires – the big, raucous place,
America is. And there are good people on both sides of these debates.
Whatever solutions we find will necessarily be incomplete. But it
would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe,
if we allow ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again.
Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on,
to go back to business as usual. That`s what we so often do to avoid
uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society.
To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard
work of more lasting change, that`s how we lose our way again. It would be
a refutation of the forgiveness expressed by those families if we merely
slipped into old habits whereby those who disagree with us are not merely
wrong, but bad; where we shout instead of listen; where we barricade
ourselves behind preconceived notions or well-practiced cynicism.
Reverend Pinckney once said, “Across the South, we have a deep
appreciation of history. We haven`t always had a deep appreciation of each
What is true in the South is true for America. Clem understood that
justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other; that my
liberty depends on you being free, too.
That – that history can`t be a sword to justify injustice or a
shield against progress. It must be a manual for how to avoid repeating
the mistakes of the past, how to break the cycle, a roadway toward a better
world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind. But more
importantly, an open heart.
That`s what I felt this week – an open heart. That more than any
particular policy or analysis is what`s called upon right now, I think.
It`s what a friend of mine, the writer Marilyn Robinson, calls “that
reservoir of goodness beyond and of another kind, that we are able to do
each other in the ordinary cause of things.”
That reservoir of goodness. If we can find that grace, anything is
If we can tap that grace, everything can change.
Amazing grace, amazing grace.
(singing): Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch
like me. I once was lost, but now I`m found, was blind, but now, I see.
Clementa Pinckney found that grace.
Cynthia Hurd found that grace.
Susie Jackson found that grace.
Ethel Lance found that grace.
DePayne Middleton Doctor found that grace.
Tywanza Sanders found that grace.
Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace.
Myra Thompson found that grace.
Through the example of their lives. They`ve now passed it onto us.
May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift, as
long as our lives endure.
May grace now lead them home. May God continue to shed his grace on
the United States of America.
MADDOW: President Obama speaking today in Charleston, South
Carolina. A eulogy for the Clementa Pinckney but also presidential remarks
on justice and faith and race, the likes of which we have never seen
before. His presidency will be remembered in part for that.
I want to say thank you to MSNBC for letting me play that without
commercials. You can take it out of my paycheck, OK. Not really? Well,
yes, I guess, if you need to. Thanks.
Stay tuned now for a live update on the manhunt for one remaining
escaped prisoner in New York. That`s next right here on MSNBC.
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