Category: Homelessness


WHEN TIMES WERE GOOD: Dr. Cornel West & President Obama during 2008 campaign

As President Obama is gearing up for his 2012 campaign and election, Dr. Cornel West has created a name calling and mudslinging crusade attacking the president. There is nothing wrong with a valid discussion about how the president can improve his polices as it relates to poor people and Black people. But to turn the discussion into a circus and shouting match with other esteemed African American leaders, makes our community appear elementary and silly.

 

Dr. Cornel West, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University

Dr. Cornel West is a respected scholar and author, who is a

Political & celebrity media giant Tavis Smiley & Dr. West

African-American Studies professor in Princeton University’s Department of Religion, and has also taught at Harvard. His credentials are impeccable, and the educated intelligentsia in the African American community respects his volumes of work. He is considered a leader on race relations in America, and he is in great demand in mainstream media for his thoughts and theories.

During President Obama’s first campaign, Dr. West was involved in over 60 campaign events supporting the president. But once President Obama was elected, there was an ideological divide between the president and Dr. West. This problem was exasperated when Dr. West did not receive tickets to the Presidential Inauguration, and the president did not appear at a Tavis Smiley event during the campaign.

 

Once the president was in office, it appeared that there was a disconnect between Dr. West and the president, and things between the two got worse. Dr. West has consistently announced to the media that he is profoundly disappointed with President Obama’s policies. He has also questioned the president’s backbone, moral consistency, and fairness to working and poor people.

Many scholars, mainstream and Black agree with Dr. West’s attacks on the president for not launching an aggressive plan on poverty and jobs. With over 90% of Blacks who voted for President Obama in the first election, a large percentage feels that the president could have done more for the African American community.

Nevertheless, it appears that Dr. West has a personal vendetta against the president and his administration. He is constantly calling the president a technocrat, and asking what does he stand for. Dr. West does acknowledge that President Obama is better than John McCain, but the rest of the discussion appears to be negative.

From my personal standpoint, Dr. West is not wrong when he criticizes the president, but it is necessary to present a balanced discussion, which does not degenerate into name calling and mudslinging. The media has accepted Dr. West as a legitimate leader and spokesman for Black political thought. Spending his time criticizing and tearing down the president’s policies could force the independents and the different minorities to not vote in 2012.

NAACP president Benjamin Jealous

Reverend Al Sharpton

Political leader and radio personality Dr. Boyce Watkins

 
 

 

 

 

It is time for Dr. West, Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP, Urban League, Black politicians, Black media personalities, business and community leaders, Dr. Boyce Watkins, and other scholars to get behind closed doors, resolve their differences, and develop a Black political agenda for 2012. This agenda must be comprehensive and address the core and fundamental problems that impact our community.

Dr. West at BET Hip Hop Awards show in 2007

Shouting, name calling, and mudslinging makes us look unprofessional, silly, and elementary. President Obama is not confined to working people or Black people, but must include all classes and segments of the population. He has a responsibility to the military, Wall Street, the middle class, international corporations, as well as the man on the street.

The 2012 election will be here very quickly, and now is the time to get organized and mobilized for the campaign. Dr. West was has the opportunity and the ability to help mobilize the poor and minority community to support the President for re-election. Moving beyond derogatory rhetoric will improve the image of President Obama, and help get him elected to a second term.

 

Congressional Black Caucus

In the past few weeks, there appears to be some turbulence in the relationship between the President Obama and the (CBC) Congressional Black Caucus. Many of our congressional leaders, and political spokespersons felt the president was not concerned with African Americans or forgot we had special issues and problems.

Based on the present unemployment numbers for Blacks at 16%, and the national unemployment numbers stand at 9%, there is a crisis in our community. In certain cities, the unemployment numbers for African American men is over 50%, and there are no jobs or businesses in the community. It is obvious that the economic recovery has missed these communities, and the president refused to address these problems.

It was also in the news that the president and his advisors had canceled meetings with the CBC, and the relationship was strained with the 43-member organization. There was a need for the president and the CBC to sit down and clear the air, and work on having a better relationship.

Last week President Obama had a meeting with the CBC in the State Dining Room of the White House. The focus of the meeting was to discuss job creation, economic growth, and unveil a plan to help young people find jobs for low-income youth. He also introduced a plan for “Growth Zones”, designed to give tax incentives for investments in economically distressed areas.

A majority of the members of CBC represent residents who live in these kinds of communities and they need special help. The CBC has long complained that the president was not addressing their core problems and had negotiated away funding for key social programs. With the unemployment numbers for Blacks at almost 50% more than the national average, the CBC was frustrated with the president and his administration.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, head of the CBC

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the caucus, insisted that the organization’s relationship with the president is strong. “We want nothing more than to see the president succeed. No good solid relationship is devoid of disagreements. We look forward to building upon our strong relationship.”

The White House insists President Obama has not forgotten the problems that confront African American residents. In meeting with the CBC, the president is making sure the lines of communication with the CBC are open. The president is also aware that 80% of African Americans support his administration.

Very rarely has many Blacks heard the president talk about the African American community and poor people. The president always talks about the middle class and it appears that his target is Middle America. As the 2012 election gets closer, it will be important and essential to include all the races, with a special focus on African Americans and Hispanics.

The nation’s economic recovery missed the African American community, and it will take more targeted investments to move the needle. Money must be spent on education and economic development in the Black community. It will take more than talk, because there is a need for tangible programs that invest and modernize distressed communities.

With the Republicans in control of the House, a battle is brewing, and no one can predict the outcome. The president has taken a positive step by sitting down with the CBC to clear the air and present new programs. The programs will only get so far without proper funding.

The African American community has given and given when the president needed extraordinary support. It is time that the president gives extra support to the African American community with job creation and special investments for expanding small businesses.