I just finished listening to President Obama’s speech at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner and I’m still reeling with anger. Honestly, I’ve never been more afraid for my country or my people than I am right now.
In his speech, Obama told the mostly black audience;
“Take off your bedroom slippers. Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”
As writer Charing Ball noted, Obama may as well have said “take off your head scarf and wave caps, put away the jug of Kool-Aid and grape drink, stop frying that chicken.”
Of course, black people aren’t wearing “slippers”. To the contrary, we’re fighting, without any help from the executive branch mind you, to keep our heads above water in this recession.
But President Obama isn’t speaking to us, but about us – to conservative leaning independents. He’s speaking to the stereotype that they hold, that African-Americans are lazy critters who aren’t capable of self-actualization. And it was remarkable to hear Obama bark patronizingly at an African American crowd, then watch the crowd answer in applause. In a word, heartbreaking.
Basically, the most risk averse President in modern history is telling us to put our ass on the line for him. He’s telling us to put on our marching shoes even though he never marched for anything during his days as a “community organizer”. The only thing Obama knows about marching is what he read under a palm tree in Hawaii, and he’s lecturing us?
The man who capitulates at every turn and invalidates progressives as the “professional left” has the nerve to demand our loyalty? The man who answers the whining of the Tea Party with strong and deliberate action has the nerve to admonish us for our criticisms?
Instead of helping us navigate our way through a Wall St engineered recession, Obama has relegated us to the 1960’s. Truth is, if Obama had fought for something- anything- then maybe there would be less of a need to march.
And at least when folks marched in the 60’s, they marched against the escalation of the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, Obama ESCALATES war and wants us to march for him? He wants us to put our beliefs on the backburner for his careerist ambitions? For his legacy? For the continuance of our purely symbolic victory?
For those who are prepared to accept Obama’s call to arms, just know that Obama won’t have your back. If you strike out marching and get arrested (or worse), Obama will look on you with the same indifference that he looks upon the “Occupy Wall. St.” protesters. Unlike JFK, who protected black protesters with the national guard, Obama hasn’t even acknowledged the Wall St protesters, let alone protect them. He won’t help you expunge your record and you won’t pass the background check for that new job you had your heart set on. That’s change you can believe in only if you’re stupid.
Saddest of all, though, is that Obama would never have told the Jewish community or Wall St. bankers to stop complaining and go march. He is, of course, respectful of and beholden to those constituencies. But he has no problem adding a little base to his voice and chastising us like toddlers.
I know Obama’s new to this, but the job of a politician is to ask for our votes, not berate us and give us our marching orders. He works for us, not the other way around. He should get busy doing his job. Maybe if Obama had fought for something other than his own skin, we’d fight alongside him. Maybe if Obama honored those who marched during the Civil Rights movement by working on their behalf to save Social Security and Medicare, then maybe I’d stand at his side. But Obama is a careerist politician who only stands for himself, and he’s a man who defends himself by debasing all African Americans and our legacy.
From where I stand, Obama doesn’t even like us, much less have our best interest at heart. This is what a compromised and conflicted black man looks like. Let us learn from this, so as to avoid making the same mistake again. In so far as hope goes, that’s all we have to cling to.
- Obama Congressional Black Caucus Speech: Stop Complainin’ And Fight (huffingtonpost.com)
- Obama Offers Fiery Speech to Congressional Black Caucus, But Faces Challenge to Deliver (foxnews.com)
- Obama Tells Blacks to ‘Stop Complainin’ and Fight (abcnews.go.com)