My man O-Breezy has been doing some big things up in the White House throughout his 5 years as president that our country hasn’t seen done since the times of platform shoes and jheri curls. From signing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act into law to maintaining that the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional – there is no denying that this guy is a certified Rain Man. He single-handedly – or at least at the surface level – passed into law provisions to universalize the United States’ healthcare system. And by American standards, that is a pretty big deal. My parents and their generational counterparts have bent over backwards to associate ideas of universalizing anything besides the price of a Big Mac with the boogieman of Socialism. But what the hell is Socialism to a person who cannot even recall what a Black List symbolizes? My major point in referencing all of this is to stress that Obama has become a huge deal in American history, not necessarily for his award winning, hard-hitting policies on Capitol Hill on deregulation and prospects for free education, but for the fact that he represents an idea of what America’s so-called free world should be – accepting of high-achieving minorities with exceptional backgrounds.
And this is where I absolutely need to keep it one hundred. Despite his undeniable smoothness at the podium, rhetoric on a hundred thousand trillion, and patient demeanor that could put a giant to sleep, Obama does not really strike me as the great leader we all thought he would be as depicted in his New York Times Best-Sellers Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. And the audacity he does have in expecting me to support him after all the slick shit he’s been doing in the past year. I don’t even want to begin with the whole North Korea scandal. So let’s throw it back to the winter of 2011 when he stood up in front of the fiscally starving nation and proclaimed that he had an invested interest in the success of America’s education system and students-turned-leaders of tomorrow. Oh, yes. I remember that State of the Union speech. I stopped reading for a super important class just to watch my man work his magical discourse on the people that are innately deaf to his political rhetoric. But I kept up, I knew what he was saying. And I believed the shit outta him. Although I was only 17 when he first ran for Prez and won, I still felt like I made a difference by simply believing he would be elected, like some Biblical/Disney magic shit. He told me I would have my debt taken care of by the time I graduated. But it is 2013. I am out of school. I am not going to school for a cool minute. And I’m still trying to figure out how to disaffiliate from the Democratic party via Google.
But I had higher hopes for the dude. He has that kind of swagger only had by that kid on campus that was overly involved with everything, and won awards and respect strictly from his impeccable merit, and we all knew he would become a CEO of something important, et cetera. But what if home boy wasn’t Black? Would he be as cool as we all think he is? Or more specifically, would we feel obligated to support him despite his blatant pitfalls and poor decision-making skills if he was simply old Mitt from New England? Let’s be honest. Our country thrives off the artificial attitudes toward racial politics, if such even exist anymore.
Affirmative Action has transformed into a program to give ranking level minorities – white women, Asian Americans, and lower income Whites – leverage in the market place. I don’t even know what the Black Caucus does anymore. Are they down with NAACP?
It seems like Black people can never catch a break in this country without being attacked for not protecting their “own” when in positions of great power. But I’m not putting Obama on the defense to grill him on his blank record for not taking care of Black America from his Ivory Tower in Washington. I’m just trying to gauge the attitudes of Americans in terms of the degree of sympathy they have for him when he fucks up yet gets dapped up for having a tight edge up for the year’s G8 conference.
So let’s think in contemporary terms. In the wake of the Syrian dilemma that took the world’s citizens by storm in the form of CNN tweet blasts, Al-Jazeer news headlines, and even in the trolling comments of Kenneth Cole about fall fashion, we all thought that our Prez “got this.” That he was going to put his foot down and tell the world powers straight in the eyes, “America is not, and will not, be about [this] life.” I mean, after taking out Osama Bin Laden, Americans would think that he would probably want a war-less second term to ride out the rest of his presidency in peace and quiet. But low and behold, and not at all surprised from our nation’s history with foreign relations, he sends his low-eyed, flip-flopping, Secretary of State to his personal pulpit to preach down to the people to tell them about how the nation simply cannot stand idle in the face of terror and inhumanity. America’s government has a really neat case of selective memory syndrome that causes them to ignore most regions that either have become incredibly fragile due to U.S. intervention or deny its presence within territories that already have U.S. military bases littered in them. It’s a beautiful thing.
But here’s my question that’s burning right through my finger tips and eating away at my keyboard: if Obama wasn’t Black, would America even fuck with the man? According to my carefully calculated projections based on the many unbiased opinions of the citizenry of the United States, I predict the answer will be a “hell no.” Unfortunately, Obama’s pop-cultural significance in American history will not out-shadow all the shortcomings of his time in office.
While he indeed did breathe life into a new era of political mobility during my generation – especially generating a new outlook on nationalism for young and disenfranchised voters – he has also created an artificial climate of racial solidarity in America. Light skinned and bi-racial, America became blinded by O’s façade of racial progression in the U.S. when he took the stage as the official Democratic nominee for the presidency in the spring of 2008. Black Americans began claiming Obama as his own after he land-slided McCain in November of that year, disregarding their previous comments about him not being “Black enough.” Well, now Black America began to finally feel “American” again with their newfound affinity toward him when we finally had a first lady with laid hair in the White House that looked like our mothers, sisters, aunts and cousins. And then in 2012 after the death of Trayvon Martin became America’s most important topic of the season, he stood at that pulpit and proclaimed to the world that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon. And Black America was all like, “Right? I know what Hessein.” Real bold, no doubt, but what if O-man wasn’t a brother? Would we still awe at his bravery to make statements claiming slain young black men as his own kin? I have a feeling the answer is going to be another “hell no.”
In sobering honesty, Obama really hasn’t done as much as we all think he has. Sure, he has signed laws into legislation and talked a heavy game in challenging conservatives to rethink their partisan beliefs to transcend allegiance from party lines, O has been a puppet of his cabinet. So, let’s talk about Syria. I was going to dedicate most of this piece to slander Obama’s administration for being backwards on their initial foreign policy platform he ran on in 2007, but decided against it and began to re-think my approach to the issue. In retrospect, I suppose he had no choice but to act quickly. But damnit, O, you had to put Kerry up on the stand to talk on your behalf? I’d rather have had Biden go on a rant about pigeon poop threatening the security of Americans and end up staining the integrity of the Democratic Party than have Kerry talk all that bullshit he was talking last week. From a prisoners’ dilemma point of view, there was no real vantage point where Obama could have come from that would have allowed him have neutral opinion in the matter. In fact, it was either not do anything and risk a counter-attack or stand firm on taking immediate action, use pre-emptive measures and plan accordingly in the case some Syriaus shit did happen. And that’s a pretty place to be when the world is burning a hole in your back with waiting eyes eager for you to make a decision. I get it, O. But, I’m not buying it.
For the record, I did not support Obama in his journey to become the first non-white president of the United States simply because he was Black. I did not defend him against the mongrels of Washington during his campaign because his father is Kenyan (although, that is probably the main reason why my father voted for him). And I definitely did not back him up on his whole shuck ‘n’ jive about the economy regaining momentum again. Because in the enriching words of Jay Z, we don’t believe you, you need more people. So, the next time you go to defend Obama, imagine if he was a regular, old white dude with the same intellectual, accomplished background and all, strolling into Washington trying to be down for the presidency. Not only would we yawn and side eye the shit out of him, but we would not even bother to criticize his decision to run. I, for one, do not find Obama – outside of his personality – dynamic, nor do I believe he has exerted his full potential as a leader that he has been prior to taking the White House. I bet you five dollars that if the nation elected McCain instead into the White House, we would have run him back to Arizona quicker than the life span of Regan’s memory in his last hours of life. But in all Syriausnous, I didn’t think Obama had it in him to start another war. Especially when America took his word for truth after he pledged, “no more” to Iraq and Afghanistan. I just wish his pledge was referring to the Sean Bell’s and Amadou Diallo’s of the world.
- Blacks Aren’t Backing Obama on Syria (theroot.com)
- Race Based on Associations: Disbanding Unnatural Monoliths (theprattdynamic.wordpress.com)