Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Obama’s fiery weekend speech to the Congressional Black caucus: Was that misplaced?

Keywords or Terms: President’s Speech; Congressional Black Caucus; Chastisements; Poverty; Black Americans; Jobs; Republican lawmakers; Tea Party; Grid-locks; Obama’s Administration

Many of us have heard this famous quote: “You are a sweet heart, don’t let anybody tell you anything different” Those are words uttered often affectionately to a lady, a friend, a family member, or the President. It is rather difficult to claim that these words can incite anyone to annoyance or outright disagreement. However, when the President speaks with a fiery tone to Congressional Black Caucus as reported this weekend, even ardent supporters of Obama’s Administration begin to wonder, if this current administration recognizes the unreasonable market condition that Americans are asked to survive; and, how less an effort the President has been perceived to have taken to address the huge unemployment rate in America. The blog tonight takes up the question: Was the President’s speech to the congressional black caucus misplaced?

With the declining retirement savings, huge mortgage foreclosures and convoluted stock market performance, many Americans are weary; and some are close to being completely out of their wits, with this current Whitehouse. Given that President Bush screwed-up with the two foreign wars and the associated expenses, shouldn’t the current Whitehouse have taken up the burning issue of unemployment in America before now? The Obama’s Administration took an awful long time before coming around to appreciate that many people in the right, and Republicans especially with flair for what the Tea Party group stands for, are never going to support progressive initiatives, whether it is a public policy that ask for more equitable taxation or a bill designed to help Americans who have suffered catastrophic experience from the down turn in America’s economy. The lateness in its realization of how much opportunity has seized for many, especially for black Americans, has somehow disadvantaged Obama’s administration and put it in a vulnerable position towards the 2012 general elections.

President Obama’s response to the apprehensive attitude of many blacks regarding his handling of the economy and the close to 25% unemployment rate among this group of Americans is: March on with me and press on! The President wants his loyal followers to take off their bedroom slippers, put on their marching shoes and shake things off. He wants them to stop grumbling and stop crying. If any black American has remained unemployed for the better part of Obama’s Administration, it will be rather hard for him or her to sing along with the President wishful thinking. There was reported thunderous applause from his audience at the black congressional caucus meeting; and, if the President believes that all is well in the hood, he is very mistaken; or, his political strategists are out of torch with reality; or, are not being truthful with him. The truth is: many black Americans are loyal to this President because of his august performance in other areas of national leadership; others, because he is considered as the first black American to hold that office. Bluntly spoken, if a Caucasian President had delivered an economy with twenty-five percent unemployment among black Americans, he definitely will be voted out by this minority group.

The President insists he is going to press on because we’ve got work to do. There is still ample room for the President to change the tide of history by working hard to bring back jobs to Americans before the oncoming general elections. Many blacks believe he can still do magic, only if the Republican lawmakers can forgo their self-preservation mentality on Capitol Hill. And, there goes the dozy! The nation today is in uncharted waters. The recession has nearly mopped off the remaining numbers of blacks and whites in the middle-class income group and worse more, our retirees are feeling the impact of a nonperforming economy on their retirement savings. Could  loyalty to a President out of other considerations withstand the assault of the present economy?

As the President’s 2012 campaign strategy evolves, it seems his campaign team is fast realizing that he has to hold on to his loyal base, some of whom are today wondering where his message of hope, that was as brilliant and crystal clear in the 2008 campaign, has been? Where is the message of hope for black youths, single-female black heads of households and new graduates of historical black colleges without a job? Where is the hope in the black families loosing many of their homes to foreclosures? Can anyone truly paper-over or sing ‘kumba-yah’ over tight credits for thousands of small-businesses ran by blacks? Who can keep matching on, when elderly retired blacks are loosing their retirement savings in troves and many of them, kicked out of retirement homes because they cannot afford the expenses of daily living? These are issues of concern to many Americans and one they all want their President to deliver on.

Chastising the loyal black base, calling for them to press on with the President, may be asking for too much or, falling on deaf ears considering the plight of many blacks in the current America’s economy. Black America has remained a loyal supporter of the President; and, would probably remain so for other reasons that I may not be able to articulate at this time. However, many of them are losing spirit like a dropping yo-yo, not because they dislike the person of the President, but because of the predicament they have found themselves with unemployment under this administration. How can one justify the number of the homeless at this time? With a huge number of blacks loosing their homes and about 40% youth unemployment among blacks, to call for complete loyalty may sound unreal! On the issue of poverty, many Blacks have known more years of poverty than the President can fathom, so coming around to chastise them is hardly a good campaign strategy. Black Americans are not seeking a hand down, all they want is the opportunity to chart their future and be treated humanely, when it comes to finding opportunities or chasing the American Dream. What Black Americans seek, just like the other 18 – 20 million unemployed Americans, are jobs, jobs and jobs, not chastisements!

In an era of Republican recalcitrance, there must be a way to get to the hearts of these Americans, convince some of them, if not all of them, to work for the betterment of this country and our Democracy. Further, in an era where and when Republicans want to extract something out of anything, and any bill moving through congress is being held ransom for one excuse or the other, the President must actually be forthcoming regarding his strategy in the next twelve months to change the fortunes of Black Americans. He cannot be exasperated by the level of recalcitrance among his opponents or tired of fighting, as if he is wounded; politics is a tough game, not for the faint at heart, which is why only the best survive. That is why the President is considered a leader; and, leaders learn to accommodate and or, put themselves in the shoes of the led. President Obama cannot afford to be seen as lecturing his loyal base on loyalty and forbearance, as this occasionally, is interpreted as insensitive and probably abuse of privilege.

The President needs to speak directly to what he intends to do to change the perception of close to complete breakdown in leadership and cooperation among lawmakers that is hurting the chances of jobs creation for Americans. Yes, blacks are unwavering in their support for this administration; however, what blacks like any other American will be contemplating come next year’s election is this: I’m I better off than what I’ve been since the rise to power of this President? Americans of all stripes are more interested in whether they are better-off under a Presidency or not? Quite a challenging question for an occupant of the office; however, many Americans are deeply thinking if there is a better option out there. The message from this President, in this trying economic atmosphere, must be: Yes, there are options to me, but I understand the problem of this country right now better than any contemplated candidate to me. I am working hard as I can get and will do better to ensure that many more Americans are able to get a job, feed their families and have a roof over their heads. This is an essential message for a second term in the White house.

Congressional Black Caucus may have been polite to the President last weekend, out of  respect for his office and the need to hold forth on his behalf on his first time around; but, not because they are pleased with the sufferings among blacks and their constituencies. Many of them may not have spoken much after the President’s speech, or offered public comments regarding the chastising from the President; however, deep inside many of them is the same question: Is America better off under this President or not? The American Jobs Act is probably a first step to help turn around a bad job market; however for blacks, like other Americans who remain unemployed, this is an act that came a little too late; or is in limbo, considering the atmosphere in today’s congress. Frankly, the challenge is not found in a rousing speech to a committed constituent; rather, it is in establishing a relationship with Republican lawmakers so that bills like the America’s Job Act do not end up in a grid-lock, just like many other bills that have been introduced this year in congress.

Blacks want President Obama to be more forceful, for this is one genuine way to bring about accountability in congress. The President cannot be fighting from a weak point against the Republicans. He cannot always be snickered or bamboozled by Republicans, assuming that these lawmakers have good intentions for the nation, especially with regards to minorities’ concerns. The current Republican primary debates are unique opportunities to truly find out where Americans are truly hurting; or, where there have been some short-comings in the current administration’s effort to better the welfare of Americans. As things stand among Republicans, it seems there is hardly any top notch candidate among the slate of aspirants yet, if the results of the ongoing debates among the aspirants are taken into consideration. This is an opportunity for the Obama’s Administration to commit to greater goals and heights to see that the dysfunctional lawmaking atmosphere in congress is a thing of the past; and, the task of creating better employment opportunities for Americans and ensuring many retired citizens, have better retirement living, without stress and anxieties, are realities.


I still love President Obama and will vote for him, hands down. However, there is no better person to tell a brother, if things are upside down in the family because of his action or inaction, than another brother!


I still love President Obama and will vote for him, hands down. However, there is no better person to tell a brother, if things are upside down in the family because of his action or inaction, than another brother!
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