We are puzzled by some of the harsh comments we read in cyberspace from African-Americans directed toward President Obama. It makes us wonder if these people were sleeping under a rock for eight years while George W. Bush launched two wars, cut taxes on the rich and blew a hole in the deficit, and folks in New Orleans drowned during Katrina, and Wall Street went berserk and corporations ran amok. It is one thing to express disappointment that certain areas of concern have not been fully addressed by this administration. It is quite another to live in blissful ignorance to the economic crisis this President inherited and just how deeply this country had fallen by the time he took office. Now, we hear some Black critics suggest he is not worthy of African-American support, and yes, some even again suggesting he is not culturally aligned with his community.
Let’s stop the madness. Yes, we have editorialized on issues that we want the President to move on more aggressively, such as the joblessness crisis affecting African-Americans. Our critique though is shaped by our understanding of the cards President Obama has been dealt. Quite frankly, all things considered, this President has proven himself worthy of the public’s trust as he has acted in an open and thoughtful manner throughout his first term. Even in instances when the debate has been heated, this President has kept his cool and maintained his decorum. Despite the barrage of silly attacks, from the “birther” movement to having to endure a sitting member of Congress shout an insult during a speech, this President has stayed focused and delivered – a national health care law, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the death of Osama bin Ladin, and the rescue of the U.S. automobile industry. Just to name a few accomplishments. Moreover, he did this with very little cooperation from Republicans on the Hill.
For African-Americans to think that there is another option beside the President is nothing short of delusional. The Republican field has already demonstrated their utter disdain for people of color and the poor. Their supporters have followed suit and daily make it known that they want nothing more than the removal of this Black President from office. This election just represents the culmination of racist fueled attacks in the form of derogatory comments, vile photos and illustrations, and insults hurled at the President and First Lady since the 2008 election. Perhaps the most symbolic example of the manner in which this President has been demeaned occurred on an airport tarmac last week when Arizona Governor Jan Brewer chastised President Obama and pointed a finger in his face. That episode was reminiscent of the Jim Crow era when southern white women habitually treated Black men like children. The level of disrespect for the nation’s commander-in-chief is unprecedented; yet some Blacks turn a blind eye toward the reality of the current environment and complain as if this President could wave a magic wand and fix every problem we face. Wake up.
Yes, expectations were high; too high for someone who would have to carry 400 years of history on his back as he entered the White House. To ignore the facts and act as if President Obama is responsible for our economic hardships is simply aiding and abetting the enemy. In the euphoria over the election of Barack Obama some of us seem to have forgotten that this is America and whatever we have achieved has come through hard work, sacrifice and the understanding that power is not given but taken. Our focus should be on exceeding the turnout of the 2008 election and sending a strong message to those in this nation that seek our demise.
This is not about the “lesser of two evils” as we saw posted on a popular social media site. There is a clear choice here and we are in a moment of decision. There is absolutely no viable option on the Republican side and to act as if there is reflects a complete denial of the racially insensitive, acidic and inflammatory platform upon which the GOP is mounting their campaign. We hope every registered Black voter will go out and register ten more voters by the summer, and then make it a priority to get those who you know to the polls on Election Day. Yes, we are still 9 months away, but given what we are witnessing in the Republican primaries we should be working every day to return the Obama administration to the White House. If you think things are tough now, let any of the Republican candidates win in November and you will rue the day that you were foolish enough to let disappointment turn into defeat.