I was tooling around the internet yesterday, when I happened onto a site I visit several times a week whose latest blog post was titled "How Obama Lost My Support, And How He Can Regain It". It stung me so hard I went on a profane rant, which you can read here in the archives, since its not the kind of language I normally post or stuff that my syndicators would appreciate - but it felt damn good to write.
I guess you could say that I have styled myself here as of late as an amateur political critic. In doing so, I have written numerous diatribes that describe why I disagree with the Obama administration on certain issues, or feel that the president has gotten bad advice, or has made bad decisions. Since the White House has to weigh in on every major as well as most minor issues in the country, there are a lot of opportunities for me to not see eye-to-eye with the president or his designees on positions they take.
But does that mean that I should throw the metaphorical baby out with the bath water? Does that require me to draw a line in the sand when the president doesn't send me my own little love note with smiley hearts over the "i's" when it comes to the choices he and his staff make about areas of interest that are near and dear to my heart?
I wouldn't even put you in political novice category if you told me you were abandoning the president you voted for after eleven months in office. You would occupy the "political nincompoop" slot in my book, and be chalked up as "one for our side" by the GOP, whose operatives understand political math very, very well. There is no neutral zone, no zero equivalent in partisan head counts - you are either a "plus one" or a "minus one" when it comes to your view of presidential candidates.
I think the thing that probably boils my blood the most is the sentiment that I have encountered with increasing frequency over this holiday season. Circulating socially among old classmates and friends who for the most part consider themselves upwardly mobile African Americans, I was surprised at the amount of abject disgust and outright disdain some of them have for a president they wrote big checks for and campaigned for just eighteen months ago.
For many of these folks, only a generation or two separates them from the black trailblazers who opened the doors and made it possible for them and their cohorts to be judged on their merits instead of their connections, who made it possible for them to be seen more as a naturally occurring member of their workforce rather than an unwelcome anomaly.
But there seem to be, among this still exclusive group of upwardly mobile blacks, a sizable minority who will proclaim to anybody who will listen that they are through with Obama. That he has lost their support. That he hasn't been man enough, or shown enough backbone, or stimulated their hundred thousand dollar or two hundred thousand dollar incomes enough for them to go another step down the road with him or his kind.
These are the same people who still think the world of Bill Clinton, after his "all over the map" presidency, whose claim to fame largely rests on the performance of the economy, whose booming growth was not orchestrated from the White House. These are the same people who still think the world of the Bill Clinton who lied to the country when he proclaimed loudly that he "did not have sex with that woman", a personal failing over a private matter that nevertheless did irreparable harm to the entire Democratic party and Al Gore's 2000 presidential bid.
Did these Grey Poupon negroes desert Clinton when his healthcare reform efforts prematurely bit the dust? Or when the youthful and inexperienced Clinton staffers made their share of painfully public mistakes? Nope, they hung right in there the way they would have if it was a sibling of theirs on trial for murder.
But our own African American president isn't in office for ten minutes before his own people are ready throw him to the wolves. I guess I could break it down statistically, and show how small this group of well heeled, well educated blacks who no longer support Obama really is, but that would be a bit disingenuous. Even though 8/10ths of Obama's black voters support him unequivocally, this dissatisfied silver spoon sliver of African Americans has a disproportionate amount of influence on political sentiment, with a high degree of access to traditional media or their own outlets.
The enormity of an Obama presidency could not be overstated if this blog post was published on the billboards the entire country passes on the way to work, one sentence to a sign. The number of political appointees an administration selects is staggering. Black people are being appointed to areas of the government we never even knew existed, and heading up entire agencies for the first time in history.
I came across the names of Jarris Taylor and Dennis Hightower, two men I'd never heard of until last night while researching information for a companion piece to this post that will be published later today on my blog "Resurgence" at BigThink.com, where I will look more formally at why the Obama administration will set the new gold standard for minority participation in the executive branch.
This is how it works - reporters are lazy enough to quote the same statistics you've been hearing all year, while the appointment process is ceaseless - these two were made in the last six months. Many more have occurred under the radar.
Which means you will have an entire cadre of African Americans who get to see the inner workings of the arcane and often nonsensical processes that help keep our nation running. Processes that can often be tweaked, without any Congressional approval, or any reporters looking over their shoulders, in ways large and small that can directly benefit our community without bumping up against any of the established guidelines.
With a presidential campaign that has shown how to raise the most money ever by a presidential candidate behind them, and the assembly of an army of volunteers that dwarfs anything seen in modern politics, the Obama administration is uniquely poised to graduate thousands of Black America 5.0 political activists, whose understanding of the realities of nationwide electoral politics will broaden and reshape black american political leadership.
In case some of you weren't connecting the dots when you watched those civil rights documentaries on TV back when you were growing up, it took more than the men and women getting arrested to get to the next step of racial equality in the sixties - it took a whole lot of people behind the scenes, raising bail money, donating food and cars and gas money, and scouring the local statutes for legal inconsistencies, all of them working together to get something of significance accomplished.
Make no mistake, Afro America - this IS our moment, nigh the clock ticks while we dawdle.
It's time for us to play our position, and not be the opposition. Seeds this administration is planting will bloom in twenty years in ways we cannot imagine today. The experiences gleaned by the ever-growing number of African Americans in positions of influence at the federal level will open the doors to our community that we didn't even know existed.