In one of the most famous speeches uttered in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood astride the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and spoke of his dream for America. In this dream, King wished for a day in which his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Accordingly, I was more than a little surprised to read the remarks associated with Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaRahm Emanuel: Sanders is 'stoppable' 5 takeaways from the Nevada caucuses Ex-CIA chief calls Trump intel shakeup a 'virtual decapitation' of the intelligence community MORE (D-Ill.) when they shared their thoughts on race before the NAACP convention earlier today. Rather than judging individuals by their successes or failures, these candidates pandered shamelessly to the NAACP by trotting out the tired race/class warfare tactics I believe have taken our country further apart rather than bringing us together. Consider the following example.

When discussing Scooter Libby’s pardon, Senator Obama noted: “We know we have more work to do when Scooter Libby gets no prison time and a 21-year-old honor student who hadn’t even committed a felony gets 10 years in prison.” There is no question that there are discrepancies in how persons of color and whites are treated at every juncture of the legal system in America. Blacks and Hispanics are pulled over by the police at a greater rate than whites and often serve more prison time for similar crimes.

However, for Obama to say that his country has work to do when the president of the United States exercises a power that is unilaterally given to him under the Constitution to commute a sentence versus a black male who was improperly convicted, that’s playing the race/class card too much. For that matter, why didn’t Sen. Obama make the similar observation about the pardons issued by President Clinton? Marc Rich, the infamous financier who fled to Switzerland from the United States after illegally making a fortune with the Iranian government during the hostage crisis in the late 1970s faced no similar condemnation from Obama.

In fact, I didn’t hear anything from Sen. Obama when President Clinton pardoned his half-brother, Roger Clinton, for cocaine-related charges, nor did I hear anything about the pardons Sen. Clinton’s brother was hired to arrange for his clients. If there is truly more work to be done to level the playing field for all Americans in the legal/criminal justice system, Sen. Obama must apply the same level of scrutiny/outrage regardless of political party in order to sound more even-handed. Cherry-picking and finding injustice to criticize Republicans for partisan gain rings hollow, indeed.

I believe Obama’s comments earlier today move us further away from Dr. King’s dream and closer to an American where racial and class distinctions erect a barrier of resentment that will be difficult to dismantle. I’ll comment on Sen. Clinton’s remarks before the NAACP in my next post shortly.