brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Making A Case For Change

“With all due respect, I’ve just got to take this last question as an example of how it’s very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we’re going to do, because the whole question was structured as a talking point for running — running a campaign.” – President Barack Obama in response to a question from Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas

President Barack Obama knows when he is working with people who have ulterior motives. Mr. Obama was invited to speak at the annual conference for Republican members of the House of Representatives. Feeling confident with the win of Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by the death of long term Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, the GOP probably thought they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. And the White House, smarting from the contention that the election of Scott Brown was a referendum against Mr. Obama’s agenda, probably thought it had nothing to lose either.

The result was pretty interesting. Mr. Obama and the Republican men and women of the congress who were questioning him made assertions points about their combined failure to get along over the past year. Mr. Obama felt that his moderate, centrist effort to reform the healthcare system was being derided as some kind of Bolshevik plot to push the country into socialism. Mr. Obama told his audience that without compromise and consensus it is virtually impossible to get anything done in a democracy. There’s no way to find bipartisan common ground when lawmakers portray him as somebody doing all kinds of things to destroy America from the oval office. Mr. Obama knows first hand how it feels when the other side refuses to compromise or negotiate in good faith. The quote above was taken after Mr. Obama listened to a rather long, rambling “question” from the congressman from Texas who was obviously intent on scoring political points at Mr. Obama’s expense. And appropriately, Mr. Obama called out that which was obvious.

Now it would be nice to see Mr. Obama take this lesson, internalize it, and think about it when someone tries to talk to him about the issues impacting the black community. Not too long ago, in an interview about his inability to do anything to help the black community in his first year of office, Mr. Obama replied that he is restricted by law from passing any laws that favors one group. And that is true. By law, as the President of the United States, as the chief of the executive branch, Mr. Obama cannot pass any law. The development of the law is a function of the legislative branch. While Mr. Obama’s statement is true, it is rather intellectually dishonest and totally misdirects the point of the question.

And as if to add insult to injury, in a bid to sell his economic agenda and re-energize his presidency, Mr. Obama work to promote an idea to free up money to lend to small businesses that are hurting. While Mr. Obama isn’t passing any law designed solely to help struggling small businesses he is nevertheless capable of doing something to help one specific group. Mr. Obama is planning on funneling thirty billion dollars to local banks so they can lend to small businesses that can grow their enterprises and create jobs.

To reduce help from the President of the United States to the black community as nothing more than passing laws is, with all due respect, fraudulent. Help can come in so many ways. If Mr. Obama would devote just a fraction of his time to taking an interest in the black community instead of coming up with lame excuses as to why he can’t pass laws to help, I’m sure he could do a lot more than what he already has done which is about zilch. The plain truth is that Mr. Obama has no intention of doing anything out of fear that someone would be quick to label him as the President for black people. The clear supposition is that the black community doesn’t deserve to have a President that is sensitive to its needs.

Mr. Obama obviously knows first hand how frustrating it can be to work with someone who is less than truthful and is working against what should be a common objective. The President wants to stand in front of the Republican Party and complain about the gridlock about making change when it is so important. Nothing can get done and when people are more interested in scoring political points and protecting the status quo. Maybe Mr. Obama should simply come clean and admit his adherence to the status quo when it comes to the condition of the black community. Then again, when did Mr. Obama ever say that the change we could hope for, the change that his administration represents, is the type of change that could actually help black people.

Like a chain of links, America is a chain of communities. And like a chain that is only as strong as its weakest link, all of America will be impacted by a perpetually weak black community. A good President would know that. A President that wants what’s best for all Americans would pick up on that. Instead, Mr. Obama would rather go to the Republicans with his hat in his hand and make his case for cooperation on behalf of all of America and an end to the legislative log jam that prevents change. Maybe Mr. Obama should listen to his own lessons and do something about the log jam that prevents change for the black community.

Monday, February 1, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts

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