Does President Obama Deserve African American Support for Re-election?
Now, nearing the end of his term in office, President Barack Obama is once again reaching out to the African American Community for support. This time for help in his bid for re-election. However, unlike circumstances when he first ran for office, he’s no longer an unknown commodity. To the contrary, he has produced a track record that is pretty much well known and being remarked about. In other words, he’s had time to show what he’s made of. He’s had an opportunity to produce on the promises he made to the African American Community and others – spoken and unspoken – which brings up the question as to whether or not he deserves their support for another 4 years in office.
For the most part, most African Americans seemed to be of the opinion that as president, President Obama would not be able to address and change the dismal plight of African Americans overnight. Nor did they expect him to try and do so. They recognized that though he was an African American like them, he was nonetheless the President of all the American People and was duty bound in heart, spirit, and law to behave as such and did not give much mention to the pressing needs of the African American Community. He took, what some argued, was a global approach to the difficulties facing all Americans as a whole, without preference one way or another.
In many a African American Community, African Americans argued that the president had to be given a chance to govern the nation in a fair and above board manner that vividly showed that he was the president of all the people and not one segment of the population. It was agreed by many that African Americans had to be wise not to place unfair demands upon this president by demanding of him things he could not give and would only wind up hurting the presidency of the first African American President. So most decided to wait and hold judgment as it regarded the sincerity of this president’s promises to address the concerns of the African American Community he is a part of in the hope that better days would come.
However, as time pasted and things like unemployment, homelessness, etc. continued to increase unabated in African American Communities, the view of President Obama as a caring leader who was unable to directly help the African American community due to unseen pressures, started to change. There were those in the community who argued that if he could advocate for crooks on Wall Street, he could certainly advocate for the beleaguered African American American Community that has been suffering in America for hundreds of years. Some began to say that he was merely using the African American Community to his political advantage and really didn’t care about it. They openly suggested that he was an Uncle Tom who secretly had no use or respect for black people.
This perception of the president worsened in recent months in regards to his actions in Libya and the subsequent killing of Colonel Muamar Gaddafi. While for some in American Society, Mr. Gaddafi was a sponsor of terrorist, for many in the African American and African Communities around the world, Gaddafi was an admired revolutionary leader who championed the causes of the downtrodden. Nelson Mandela on occasions openly stated that Gaddafi played a major role in the destruction of Apartheid in South Africa and spoke affectionately of him, both as a leader and a caring human being. Gadaffi spent billions of dollars providing financial aid and assistance to poor and struggling African Countries to help them fight hunger, poverty, and destabilization. In so doing, he gained a special place in the hearts and minds of Africans throughout the world as a fighter against poverty and western imperialism.
Thus, instead of bringing praise, the Presidents attack upon the Gaddafi Regime, brought immediate anger and outrage from many in the African American and African community world wide. Some went for far as to quickly denounce him as an Uncle Tom who was working in the interest of Western Powers to put a black face on efforts to recolonize Africa. This led to protests against him and his administration in this country and throughout Africa, notably Southern Africa. The image of him as being a tool of imperialism is unfortunately growing in African Communities worldwide.
Here in America, the president has started to experience increasing criticism from members of his own African American Community. Unhaulting increases in unempoyment, homelessness, and more have caused many an African American to look beyond their desire to have a black face in the White House to the cold hard facts of poverty and unemplyment. As some have argued, the color of the occupant of the White House does not put food on the table, nor does it give one back a life time of hard work and stuggle once it has been taken away or lost as a result of joblessness. Nor do inspiring speeches regarding future promises provide sustenance to the hungry. Today’s African American appears to be more concerned with substance than hopeful retoric promising future prosperity. How will they express this in their vote this upcoming election is anyone’s guess.
As it stands now, Black Unemployment is at a staggering 15.1, which fortunately is down from the 16.0 percent is was in September 2011 and 16.7 in August, 2011. While this slight drop can be viewed as encouraging, regrettably it comes nowhere near addressing the overall problems of unemployment and the immense suffering it causes. Continued hard times are still ahead for African Americans with little evidence of true relief in sight.
It would be unfair to dump the total weight of this tragedy solely on the shoulders of this President. To do so would not only be unwise, but fool hearty. The making of this disaster didn’t start with this current occupant of the White House but was put into motion years ago by governmental mismanagement and the actions of those on Wall Street, to name a few. However, to advocate that this president bares no blame would be fool hearty as well. Like it or not, when he took on the job of president, he also took on the responsibility of all that goes with the office. In other words, it has been his presidency up until this point and his alone. Like his predecessors, he has to assume responsibility for it in all its dimensions.
Whether or not this president deserves the support of African Americans is a matter for individual African Americans and them alone. They and they alone know the true answer as is the case with any community of people. However, whatever their verdict may turn out to be, it should be respected, whether you agree with it or not. The Democratic System is the one we’ve chosen to live by in this country. It should be respected. Leave a comment and let us know what you think about this matter.