Falling Out of Love With Obama

As African-American blues legend, B.B. King, continues to wail in his famous all-American lyrics, "The thrill is gone!" It has been reported that the black community is falling out of love with President Barack Obama. Loyal and hopeful voters, the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and of course, news commentator Tavis Smiley, are all on record as strong and doubtful critics of President Obama. After Obama amassed a ridiculous 96 percent of the black vote in 2008, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the first black man to run for president in the 1980s, who advised Obama in the politician's early rise in Chicago, addressed a number of issues in a recent interview with the German website Spiegel Online. He addressed the president's failures of the black community, including: jobs and employment, housing foreclosures, health initiatives, education, as well as standing up to the Republicans.

But let's keep it real here. Is it the president's job to employ common citizens, create fair housing practices and affordable mortgages, provide information, funding, research and programs on health issues, as well as provide fair, affordable and sufficient education, while negotiating with and taxing the mega-rich, who have the ability to take advantage of the poor and blame them for their own conditions of poverty? Well ... that sounds like the job of the American president to me. That's what we all vote and pay taxes for, to place a strong, fair and objective representative into office, who can do his or her best to address ALL of those very important national issues. And President Barack Obama has attempted to do so on every count.

Unfortunately, and ironically, this black man came into office during some hard economic times of which he had nothing to do with. The economy got even worse as soon as he stepped into the White House. The first quarter of President Barack Obama's term in 2009 became panic city. Financial budgets were dropped or cut all over the country, followed by jobs, family incomes, investment stock, public resources, and charity. And not only were Americans feeling the economic hit, but the WORLD felt it, including a number of international economies who depend on American consumerism. So when President Obama claims that all of Americans are in need of financial help and not just black Americans, those words are not just "politics," his comments are real.

But as the saying goes in America, "when white America catches a cold, black America catches pneumonia." So black people, percentage wise, have now lost more jobs, more houses, more health battles, more teachers, more schools, more charity and have more to ask for than any other group of American-born citizens in this country. Hands down! Then that same black community looks at having a black man in office, with a black wife, two black daughters, a black dog, and extended black family members, and they understandably shout toward the White House, "Yo, cuz, hook a brother up! We family!"

Everyone knows the world works with nepotism, it's all about taking care of your own. That's elementary for ALL humans. You take care of your own family FIRST, especially after they give you 96 percent of their inspired vote, compared to just over 50 percent from white Americans. Even Latino Americans jumped on-board the Obama bus with more than 60 percent of their vote ...

Nevertheless, here's the real problem for black Americans who expect a good-old family "hook-up" from Obama. Just 40 percent of the voting population of white America still trumps the 96 percent of the voting population of black America. And when you add in the other percentages of white Americans who would NEVER vote for Obama, but who he still has to represent in office, the specific needs of the black community becomes small again. Therefore, an objective "of the people" President Obama still has more white Americans to cater to than any other racial group, despite the fact that his own community is obviously the most in need. Translation: all acts of President Obama's so-called "fairness" to support the "common" American, may still not affect the specific needs of black people.

Now ain't that a blizzard! Black citizens would actually be better off with a president who is not fair, and who would be willing to bend the rules, so to speak, to look out for their specific issues because it's needed. Rev. Jesse Jackson admitted as much in his Spiegel interview when he noted that past President Bill Clinton was more able to address the specific needs of African-American issues during his presidential term because he was a white man, where Obama's apparent blackness would immediately be criticized from a white majority nation as showing favoritism. And this obvious conflict has forced President Obama to play the middle zone to the detriment of the black community.

To his credit, popular news commentator Tavis Smiley saw this difficulty Obama had to deal with early on. As one of the first and strongest critics of the African-American community's election of a black man in expectation of "hook-ups," Tavis became very unpopular when he questioned how much Barack Obama's presidency would affect the black community's needs. Tavis was more in support of electing a candidate who would stand strong for specific issues and goals, regardless of race, where the black community could fit under a goal-oriented mandate, instead of supporting a black man, trying to effect change for a black people in a white nation. Tavis Smiley understood how very complicated that was going to be from day one, and he was stoned for voicing those concerns.

But as we now head toward a reelection campaign, where the president now asks the people to "Finish what we started," the African-American community is forced to ask itself, which "we" is President Barack Obama referring to? Is it the same "we" of black people who vote for white Democratic candidates who rarely go to bat for black people or addressed specific American-American needs, or is President Obama hinting at the "we" of African-American voters who still expect for him to be able to exert more backbone in his second term, understanding that he has only four more years to do all that he can for a people of color, who have helped to build this great nation with their underpaid slave labor, which the nation continues to bypass any economic restitution on?

For the record, I personally plan to vote for Barak Obama again in November 2012, mainly because I have no other choice but to still believe that he will go all out this time to do whatever he needs to do to execute a plan that includes the specific needs of black people. However, at age 42, I clearly remember the every-four-year-argument where black political activists advised black people to vote for "the lesser evil," while we would go back to the same old American game of racism and historical inequalities, still singing, "We shall overcome?" Really? When?

In the meantime, B.B. King will continue wail at concerts, "The thrill is gone!" Indeed. So instead of being inspired to vote for an intelligent black man, where black people gather around the television in the hope that "we win" again to bring change to the nation "for us" this time, we go back to voting for the most charming guy who's not a Republican. And this time ... that guy just happens to be ... black, unless he can prove otherwise with his action.