Thoughts on State of the Union: Great Speech, Great ACT-Key Word ‘Act’

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 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

‘Davey D





6 comments on “Thoughts on State of the Union: Great Speech, Great ACT-Key Word ‘Act’

  1. Like all State of the Union addresses, they are good PR blitzes that make everyone feel good. However, there were some things I noticed:

    1) What was with the display of sleepy heads (Dept. of Energy Sec. Chu, Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg to name a few)?

    2) Was it me or did the Republicans and Dems seemed uncomfortable sitting along each other.

    3) Boehner (apologizes if I mispelled his name) seemed bored (or constipated) as though he had other things to do, like a tanning appt. Also, I was waiting for another crying game episode when Obama gave him a shoutout. Close, but not cigar with the waterfall tears.

    4) When Obama mentioned spending freeze, most of Dems and Ms. Pelosi were quiet. When Obama mentioned immigration and gays in the military, Repubs were quiet. I will let the military get a somewhat slide on gays in the military since they must (okay should) show neutrality, but their faces looked like they were about to vomit at the thought of seeing openly gays and lesbians serve.

    5) The limited clapping and cheering sessions that went on during this speech was good. In the past, they Repubs and Dems acting like it was a sporting event with the constant and annoying cheering and clapping after each sentence.

    6) The lofty (and many may say airy) goals and hopes without any specifics.

    7) In Ryan’s Repub response, why in the world were his eyes blood shot red? Did he was enjoying Chocolate City’s drinking and other vice establishments before the speech? Did he have his own crying game episode? or did someone wake him up from his naptime.

    8) Why does everyone keep talking about the science and math when the real focus should be on reading, writing, comprehension and oral communication. What is the point of mastering math and sciences when an individual cannot read the problem, comprehend what they read, and verbalize/write out the solution in a clear and concise manner. Yes, math and the sciences are important, but they do not mean a thing if the basic foundations of reading, writing, comprehension and communication are not stressed. An individual may have a degree from MIT and UC Berkeley, but it does mean anything if he/she can address an appropriate audience in clear and concise language nontechnical individuals can understand. There needs to be a renewed efforts with concrete results to address the reading, comprehension and (oral and written) communication deficiency that exists in this country. Unfortunately, these key points (and basic foundation to learning) appear to fallen on deaf ears in our education system and political system.

  2. Good point DD and Lee,

    But I remember Obama saying something really interesting when he was simply running for office. He said that it starts with the people. It was the people who rebelled against the status quo and voted him into office.

    You see great leaders incite the people to put pressure on the government or the powers to be.

    Obama cannot do it alone, understand that Obama is a slave to his lenders(donors) and etc. No politician can be a true renegade, trust me on this one.

    My question to DD, if you’re up to the challenge is this, what would you do if you were the pres?

    Please keep in mind all of the restrictions that he has to deal with.

    I would use the media like FDR did to get the people worked up, as so to put pressure on congress.

  3. Fam.. as I outlined in the article.. he was given all the tools.. people in his party who could back his vote on any number of issues.. Thats wht I did for 10 years work my ass off to set the pick for his shot… What more needs to be done? 08 was the culmination not the start of Obama..

    Lastly Obama is not alone.. He has the tens of millions who voted for him… he squandered it starting with who he surrounded himself with.. Where’s the everyday working man or woman in his cabinet or amongst his advisors? What sort of leeway were they allowed.? I know at least a dozen people who are good organizers who put in mad work who were absorbed by his administration.. They were tucked away somewhere and their talents underused. The restriction on them are what Obama has..

    Also if u recall when he was hiring , he wanted squeaky clean people.. Folks who would not have past remarks and deeds be spun as a detriment to the administration. This meant many would not be sitting along side the president..

    Since that was the case, he then stepped away from communicating directly with many.. He stooped making his presence felt in our arenas and made us come seek him out in other places.. A lot was lost..

  4. That’s a good point there!

    So now its time for the common folks like you and me to create a united front that won’t sell us out(not calling Obama one). People flock to entertain and etc, but they don’t flock to get in their reps face!

  5. @ Davey, thanks for ANOTHER great article to gives the Hip Hop community an opportunity to BUILD on something that REALLY effects our lives!…I agree with the opening statement, NEVER forget WHO President Obama works for, it is NOT the people, it’s Wall Street and big corporations…PERIOD!!…I’m really wondering WHAT will have to happen before the Hip Hop community, particularly folks in the urban communities, wakes up/grows up, because the challenges that you spoke of affect US more than any other group in this country! Do WE have the DISCIPLINE, COURAGE and FAITH to truly ORGANIZE ourselves POLITICALLY so that WE can take control of our DESTINY?!… “ALL politics are local”…NOW is the time to DO something, don’t wait for the HYPE of 2012, WE may fall for HYPE all over again..HOLLA if ya hear me, Word!

  6. I think people do gravitate.. we did for 10 years and that shouldnt be underestimated.. we got played..plain and simple.. the haze is lifted and its time to get back to work..

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