Thoughts on President Obama’s State of the Union address last night?
It was a great campaign speech. It took me back for a moment to 2008 when all the euphoria and desire for hope and change kicked in..
Was it a lot of hot air?
At the end of the day it was..
Am I mad at him for delivering it?
No.. I’m not
In thinking about Obama’s speech I was reminded of a conversation I had last summer with rap artist KRS-One. He said people need to be get one thing clear when dealing with President Obama; ‘He’s not your man.. He’s not your homeboy. He’s the president’, KRS said.
He’s not your buddy he’s the commander and chief, and as President he will do what they all do… protect and manage this system as corrupt as it is.
KRS added it was important to not project too many things on him and get too emotionally attached. He urged us to see him as he is and move accordingly. In short make sure your interests are protected… KRS was on point..
It was clear last night with all the flowery rhetoric, President Obama was concerned about one thing… getting himself into political position to be re-elected. That’s his agenda. That’s his interest. As former Vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente pointed out in our round table interview the other day, ‘President Obama’s job was to make a good speech to make everyone feel better even as things are progressively getting worse for many’.
His job is to prop us up. keep the proverbial natives from being restless and run some more game that takes us further down the hole. That’s his goal. What’s ours?
My goal is to figure out how to make rent. My goal is to figure out how to pay this whooping 900 dollar electric bill which is the result of these new fangled smart meters and 2 weeks of bitter cold weather during from last month.
My goal is to figure out how I can avoid paying 39 dollar late fees to a bank that absolutely refuses to change my due date to the end of the month when I do a get a pay check that has been slashed 20% and may have to take another hit.
Wells Fargo was one of those bailed out banks who got their chance to rebound, and then turned right around and smashed on their customers who are seeking to get back on their feet. We won’t even talk about the credit game these institutions are running. Pay late, get bad credit. Get bad credit, no job or stay stuck in the one you got until you can repair your credit, which is constantly being upended by fees, fees and more fees. Thats the battle millions of us our waging. That wasn’t talked about last night during the State of the Union.
My goal is to get away from this sort of madness. My goal is to escape this indentured servitude and to no longer be a sharecropper to a bank, gas company or some other entity that is ‘air-lining’ (charging all sorts of fees) me to death.
My goal is to see what can be done to make sure my neighbor who owned her spot for 30 years doesn’t lose it because she had to refinance a few years ago to send her only child to a college that was charging more than most homes cost. When all was said and done her situation was upside down…Her husband died suddenly, money got funny and the next thing you know a bailed out bank is at her door talking about her home is now owned by them. Was she able to get bailed out by one who was bailed out? Hell naw. It’s hard watching an elder in our community who struggled for years to make sure we get our civil rights lose out in the end. It’s almost like it was payback from a system that is resentful and refuses to change.
Again, such stories are not unusual. They’re typical for far too many who live in my world and sadly it’s not something that was or would ever be addressed in any real way during the State of the Union.
Nope President Obama while he may bear some resemblance to the Black men in my neighborhood with his beautiful wife and kids at the end of the day is not my man. When I don’t hear him pushing for policies that are designed to clear a path to serious economic relief, then this point is underscored even more.
It was frustrating to watch him stand before us and tell us about how we can all go on-line and be innovators and entrepreneurs knowing that he sat back and let his boy who chairs the FCC Julius Genachowski gut Net Neutrality protections, after getting over 3 million letters saying keep them in place. Watching him gloss over that and casually suggest that we could be innovators in cyber space knowing that the large telecoms will forever be in our way thwarting our every effort , something that Netflix is seeing happen right now, than its clear President Obama is nowhere near being a friend.
Hearing him say go online and be innovators while Homeland Security has been steadily shutting down seizing and shutting websites without a hearing or due process didn’t sit well. I kept thinking to myself, a true friend, a real homeboy doesn’t lie to his peoples. The guy on stage last night did.
And no we should not have to charge his transgressions off to some half ass wisdom that states: ‘that’s what politicians do’ or ‘that’s how the game is played’.. That’s all nonsense.
I’ve heard president Obama speak on numerous occasions to folks in our community where he’s demanded that we ‘pull up our pants’ and strive for excellence. I’ve heard him demand dead beat dads stand up and be counted. I pretty much heard him last night call for all of us to make a commitment to excellence and to not settle for being mediocre.
Maybe someone needs to tell our President its mediocre when you lie and omit truths. That’s not excellence. That’s called pimping. It cheapens the lofty ideals he puts forth. It’s like praying to God to help you be good at committing a sin.
Anyway, after last night, things hit a point where I no longer care if crazy white folks are running around carrying signs with him eating watermelons, or dressed like Hitler. He’ll be alright. He’s got money. Both him and Michelle are lawyers..plus he’s the Commander and Chief so he has the military at his disposal and they got Secret Service protection.
Many who I know don’t have any protection. They’re not protected from increased foreclosures, increased deportations, increased police brutality and increased prices for basic things like food, heat and shelter. There’s no protection from the outright lies being told by TV pundits who make a few thousand for a speech telling us the flowers are starting to bloom when we know damn well it ain’t.
What’s the solution? many say we needed to get out and work for the Hope and Change.. That’s a pimp game gone awry. That’s an attempt to refocus us and dismiss the truth. People need to be reminded, long before president Obama came along, we were working for Hope and Change.
We did this in 2000 when millions of voters were disenfranchised in Florida as we watched all 100 senators including the fool we voted for Al Gore, not raise their hands to fight for further investigations and recount counts. Y’all remember that right? Y’all remember the opening scene in Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9-11?
We saw folks take to the streets only to watch a lot of Hopes dashed on that one.
In spite the immense disappointment we regrouped, got ourselves together endured 4 years of hell under George Bush and came back swinging in 2004.
We had large anti-war rallies, some which numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
We saw artist step up and record at last count over 200 anti-war songs. Folks forget what went on back in those days.
We all came together pushed for more change… We stepped up and brought out record numbers of voters (the most for any presidential election). We saw folks standing in long lines in the rain in some cities ready to do what needed to be done to turn things around..
Sadly at the end of the day, we saw our hopes dashed by voter disenfranchisement in Ohio..I recall talk show host Tavis Smiley sitting on ABC News speaking to this.. We saw some of our champions like the late Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs speak to this..but there was no change and no real fight to correct the wrong.
Instead we saw many criticize P-Diddy and his Vote or Die campaign for not bringing out the Youth Vote when in fact young people not only came out, but was the only demographic to vote in the majority for John Kerry.
Nevertheless we all got up dusted ourselves off, regrouped and went back to work. We organized, strategized and in doing so, we got behind one of the emerging bright stars who were first introduced to in 2004. We voted Barack Obama who electrified us during his speech at the 04 DNC into the US Senate. Impressed that he was speaking out against the war and echoing many of the ideals we had fought for since 2000 we saw him as another catalyst for the change we were pushing for.
Around that time, we saw millions of Brown folks take to the streets, flexing potential political power demanding immigration reform. We saw a proposed Draconian bill The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 that would’ve criminalized undocumented folks defeated.
We saw our Hope and Change manifest itself when we gave the Senate and Congress Democratic majorities with the expectation that those who were newly minted with power would stop the war, impeach the President (GW Bush), bring about election reform to stop things like Swift Boat campaigns. We gave folks in power the tools and mandate to start correcting a lot of wrongs
We saw impressive sea changes locally all over the country. This was best symbolized in a city like Dallas, which is notoriously known for being red. We saw it flip to blue. We saw folks vote in a new DA named Craig Watkins who started looking into questionable cases where folks were wrongly convicted and he started to correct things. he was overturning cases and making moves to bring about justice.
We elected Nancy Pelosi, a long time liberal from San Francisco to be the Speaker of the House. She was the first woman to ever hold that seat and many figured since she came from place that was a key epic center to anti-war fever she would exercise her power to wheel and deal.
The stage was set. Tools were given. Folks were anxious for the change to began. We were told to hold off and wait just a bit longer. Everything would be set once we put in a president. This would ensure us not being vetoed. So everyone bit their tongue and got behind the election of the man who personified the Hope and Change. He was the crowning jewel and the key to putting everything in motion.
Many of us worked, gave money and followed the game plan to get him into office. Once elected he had the excitement and enthusiasm of the people. He had Democratic majorities in both houses. He had all the tools.. All that was squandered. Very little has happened. There’s been surface changes at most, lots of lip service, and tons of excuse making. The cold part about it is that there’s been an attempt to erase the hard work that was put in for the past 8-10 years to turn things around.
So last night’s State of the Union was hollow and the realization that as much as I would like and naively expected, this president is not trying to address the realities that are impacting my world on a daily. There is obviously another audience he feels needs to be reached. Maybe its corporate backers, or some phantom independent voters in the middle of the country. Whatever the case it’s certainly not the activists who was leading those huge marchers or organizing to bring about the changes I described.
So God Bless to those he was speaking to.. For the rest of us, we understand this script. We dust ourselves off, regroup and come up with a better game plan…one that ensures the interests of poor and working class are not only protected but pushed forward. That’s the goal for 2012 Support and votes are not guaranteed
That’s how President Obama is playing it. He doesn’t see us as friends, his homies or anything like that. He sees us as potential voters who need to be seduced or conquered into buying his agenda which bears little reflection of our realities. I understand.
Great Speech, Great show.. President Obama deserves an Oscar. His act is convincing. key word ‘Act’
Something to ponder