Tag Archives: Politics

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Michael Eric Dyson 241x300 What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Apparently, Barack Obama hasn’t done enough for black people.

Black leader intellectual, Michael Eric Dyson, in a talk in Iowa last week, made a comment about President Obama’s lack of dialogue on race:

“What difference does it make to have a black president? Maybe not a damn thing. Maybe it’s worse than a white president, ’cause he won’t even talk about race.”

Dyson continued, “I love him, but I will not be silenced.  I’m not asking you to speak up (for black communities) ’cause you’re a black man. I’m asking you to speak up ’cause you’re the president.”

*First of all, if you’re somewhat familiar with Michael Eric Dyson, and have ever heard him speak (whether in person or on tv/radio), then you probably know this “talk” was full of all the Dictionary.com Words of the Day from January 1, 2011 through February 17, 2011.   If you’re also familiar with Dyson, then you know that black leaders intellectuals like him believe that anything black, or race related, is their bailiwick.  But that is neither here nor there….  I receive the daily Word of the Day from Dictionary.com, and I just wanted to use, “bailiwick,” in a sentence.

Back to Dyson, he’s earned his title as an intellectual.  He’s a tenured professor at Georgetown.  Last time I checked, that was a pretty decent school.  Being that Dyson is an intellectual, he should know that politics is a way harsher game than the lecture circuit which he frequents.  A few points:

-President Obama, in some circles, is viewed as a Nazi Socialist who wants to ruin America.  His every political move is challenged and questioned.  Some people don’t even believe he is an American citizen.  Despite undeniable proof of his citizenship, these same people still believe his mama paid the State of Hawaii to cover it up.   He has professed his Christian faith numerous times, yet people still believe he is a Muslim (like there is something wrong with him being a Muslim).  Even during the 2008 campaign, a simple sign of support, affection, and “I got your back,” with his wife was lauded as a “terrorist fist bump.”  White Whitmore fear is at an all-time high.  Yet, you want him to stand up and speak more about how black folks can’t catch a break race when white people overwhelmingly voted him in?  That would be political suicide.

- If Dyson would recall, one of Obama’s shining moments came in 2008, in the wake of the Reverend Wright issues.  Obama gave one of the most impressive, moving, and insightful speeches on race in recent memory.  If you go back and read that speech, Obama not only started a dialogue on race, but he sparked a dialogue on the idea of a post-racial America.

- Just the mere fact that Obama is the first black president has done more for black people since King and the Civil Rights Movement.  When teachers and adults tell black kids that they can be anything in the world, including president, then they are no longer selling a dream.  It actually happened.  And if it actually happened, then it can happen again.  Black kids now have more to aspire to than rapping, singing, playing sports, or acting.

- Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America, not just black people.  With that said…

How about we focus on getting him re-elected?  Follow me on this…

Everyone knows that President Obama is seeking re-election for a second term.  The Rethuglicans know that they have no viable candidate who can beat Obama right now.  During his first term, Obama has had to govern from the center.  In other words, he’s had to walk on eggshells and concede on issues he really believes in for the greater good.

Now imagine a black president in his second term, with no possibility of being re-elected.  If Obama is re-elected in 2012, then I’m predicting 2016 will be when he goes on his When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong tour.  He’ll be unfiltered.  He’ll be on his way out of office.  He will have the platform to say and do all the things he has always wanted to say since 2009.  Us black people might even get reparations checks out of the whole thing!  Who knows?  I just think that by 2015-2016, we could get this version of the president.

So my plea to Michael Eric Dyson is simple:  DON’T MESS THIS UP!

What do you think?  Should Obama talk more about race?  Is Obama doing enough for race relations?

Civility: The Loser’s Virtue

art wilson2 gi Civility: The Losers Virtue

The question of whether America is ready to embrace a black President was not answered November 4, 2008 and will likely remain unanswered until the end of Barack Obama’s Presidency and beyond.    However, a recent irreverent outburst by Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) on the floor of the House of Representatives during the President’s speech to a joint session of congress has caused some to answer the above question in the negative.  Maureen Dowd and former President Jimmy Carter have argued that Wilson’s comments were motivated by racism. Others argue that Wilson temporarily lost control of his emotions and his outburst was simply a momentary lapse in civility. I have no authority to judge whether or not Congressman Wilson is a racist, and I will not speculate on the matter.  However, I do contend that Congressman Wilson’s outburst was likely influenced by the twin themes of race-based politic and incivility that currently epitomize the Republican opposition.
 
The type of irreverent behavior exhibited by Wilson can easily be categorized as the height of political incivility.  Had such a slanderous offense been hurled at President Andrew Jackson, Wilson would have been asked to meet outside the chamber for a duel.  Although stunning in its ostentatiousness, Wilson’s lack of civility has been a trademark of Republican opposition throughout August and on full display in town halls across America.  While many Republicans approached these meetings as an opportunity to learn more about competing health care proposals, others arrived armed with republican talking points and determined to disrupt the free flow of information.  What’s more, this rancorous tone has been magnified by the race-based politics and name calling of conservative commentators.
 
Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Networks commentators, the de facto leaders of the conservative party, have been playing offense with the race card since President Obama’s inauguration.  Limbaugh has called President Obama an “angry black man,” while Glenn Beck called him a “racist…with serious issues with white people.” Glenn Beck further aggravates the race issue by calling the President’s efforts on health care, “Reparations by Health Care Reform.”  Beck contends that “Obama’s health care plan” is “affirmative action on steroids;” designed to give African Americans a privileged position in health care. In one fell swoop, Beck places America back into the pre-civil rights era black versus white binary. His call to white Americans is to “protect your own” because the black president is doing the same at your expense. 
 
Beck, and his fellow extremist foghorns, encourage whites to flock to gun stores and expos to purchase artillery and munitions to defend themselves against the socialist bent on destroying their way of life.  To this group, President Obama is not your normal socialist, he is a hybrid Nazi fascist-socialist in the mold of Adolf Hitler.  His goal is to destroy white America to make way for the reign of the black “master race.” Outside of being preposterous, this sort of rhetoric is wholly and completely irresponsible.  While the First Amendment gives these commentators the right to speak in this manner, it does not make it prudent.
 
The tone of the current debate has gotten wildly out of hand.  Understanding the convergence of race-based politics and incivility is useful in understanding Congressman Wilson’s outburst and the general tenor of the opposition in our current political discourse.  Opposition commentators and representatives have employed name calling, race-baiting and fear mongering in their quest to dismantle the President’s agenda.  I’m sure they all carry bumper stickers reading “You Lie,” and “Civility, the Loser’s Virtue.”