A friend of mine tweeted the other day a few pleas to other African-Americans that it is our duty to back President Obama as he gets publicly defiled towards the end of his first term. She said that he is our first Black president, so it behooves us to support him. This was the argument given as to why African-Americans should vote for him back in 2008, and it swayed me a little bit. Fact is, there had never been a Black candidate that had a legitimate chance and I felt that he deserved the shot to run the country as much as anyone, so why not vote for him? 3 years later, President Obama has had to defend his actions all the time to a vociferous public that nitpicks and searches for issues. He hasn’t been a perfect President, but by and large he’s tried to do what he said he would and has stuck to his guns on his most important issue – easing the financial burdens for the middle class and below (though the below part is where people like Cornel West have taken issue with his policies). But the other side of Obamamania, the BLACKLASH, is what I want to talk about today.
My friend (@DpJeter and check out her business @AffairsofIsis – event planning extraordinaire) really struck me with her pleas. She implored African-Americans to support President Obama because he’s Black, but I would like to think that she backs a lot of his policies and proposals and his presidency in general on top of his Blackness. The difficulty lies in that when I see a lot of political programming and the talking-heads and pundits, the public vitriol towards President Obama seems unchecked. One guy called Obama a dick because he had no other word to express himself with. Even as a proponent of foul language, there’s still a time and a place for everything and he wasn’t trying to establish new norms of language – he was trying to say something rude because he had the space to. George Bush was about as close to war mongering as we’ve seen in a while, not to mention the multiple wars the United States jumped into aided by inept government oversight on business led to the unfortunate economic meltdown that plagued the country for the back end of the decade. Amidst all of this, Bush was talked poorly about but the volume seemed quieter compared to now. For anything potentially positive that President Obama has done, the volume gets raised to a 10 to drown out whatever good works have been done.
A recent example of this – Obama got Osama. Osama bin Laden has been the face of terrorism in the United States (and in many senses, globally as well) since at least September 11, 2001. Bush made it a point to send troops to smoke him out of his hole and yet 10 years later, it’s Obama who helped set up the mission and gave the go-ahead to eliminate, I repeat, THE FACE OF TERRORISM IN THE UNITED STATES. The response? “I can’t believe we ran up into his house and murked him; we’ll never know what really happened.” Thank you, Rashard Mendenhall. “I can’t believe we’re celebrating somebody’s death – that’s terrible.” “What about gas prices and improving our schools?” Fox News spelling it “Usama.” Everybody seemed to try to find a problem with this event when the truth is that this was a momentous event that took a decade to do. I can’t shake the feeling that if Bush got him in mid 2008, nobody would have been nitpicking or downplaying it – this would have been some “heroic call that President Bush made to end the terrorist threat of Osama bin Laden.” Instead, Osama’s death is marred with comments about how his body was set out to sea.
This isn’t a new topic – but watching it play out like it has might be why my homegirl was imploring Black people to back Obama. She was mad at the way even Black people tear down the President. Listen, if he’s messing up, call him on it. But it seems like it’s “the thing” for some folks to claim they’re being political by assassinating the President’s character or, in other words, talk shit about him. You can hear the frustration in his voice when he’s doing the press conferences and he keeps on getting second and third guessed by pundits and outsiders and he has to deal with insinuations that he’s STILL not capable of being the President and he’s getting sick of it. He should be. This job has taken years off of his life, no doubt, and he just doesn’t seem to get the public favor that he should. I’m not saying worship Obama, but respect what he’s accomplished and also the bullshit he’s had to deal with without losing his cool. I wish he came to the podium and said:
“I’m getting tired, uh, of you motherfuckers second guessing me. Now goddamnit, I did the shit I said I would and then some, and, uh, all you people can talk about is birth certificates and my wife and uh, I’m not having that shit anymore.”
I completely forgot about the birth certificate business until just now. Donald Trump, of all people, charged up President Obama on his birth location, because if your name is Barack Hussein Obama then clearly you must not be from the United States. Or if you’re born in Hawaii, you must not be from the United States. I once said that even if he produced his birth certificate, somebody could say, “Well, you’re the President – you could have a new one forged,” as they overlook the fact that a requirement for one to be the President is that you’re born in the United States (hence why the former Governator, Ahnold, can’t be the President). The fact that he’s had to deal with such questions and he’s the President speaks volumes of the respect that the Black President gets. This country doesn’t normally deal with politics, by and large – why do you think we’re a representative government and not every vote counts? Now, all of a sudden, everybody is a political analyst and thinks they can do better than Obama because he played up his role as John Q. Public, identifying with the common man and woman. Just because he played that role as he ran doesn’t mean we can play his role right now. I got mad and told people to know their role and shut their mouth with regards to their own place in life and knowing their self-worth, and this needs to be remembered for us wannabe political “pundits.”