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Grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland. My time now is mostly spent getting better at being a person, refining my time management skills, trying to read normal people books and articles, and learning how to be a force for good.

T1D Life in full effect. 

I will never stop learning, nor will I stop working to make a difference for someone.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why Won't the President Help Me?

I think the title says it all. Building off of a good post from The Urban Politico, the idea that President Obama should be doing everything for everyone is absurd. We can talk about how he promised to do this and that, but his promises always came with a caveat: we all have to work together.

It has become commonplace for those in certain portions of our population to say that President Obama didn't keep his word. I find that hard to swallow. Back when Obama's Presidency was about 6 months old, Robert P. Watson, American Studies Coordinator at Lynn University put together this list of accomplishments. It's not a small list, and it certainly can be challenged at points as Betty Dubose Hamilton discusses on The Rag Blog here. That a president hasn't done everything for everyone, I have to admit doesn't bother me. That he might not be fighting to get his way or the highway all the time, should come as a comfort to many, although from what we can hear now, apparently our presidents are supposed to be not only infallible, but able to work magic.

Here's what I've always said: this man not only has a huge mess to clean up, but he's gotta fight against racism in a constant battle that almost all people of color have to fight every day. Now, we're expecting him to get everything done, fight or dismiss racism, bigotry and hatred, and coordinate the running of one of the most significant countries on the planet? That's insane. I'll repeat: that idea, if you agree with it, makes you literally insane. If you think Obama is just the same ol' same ol', you're dead wrong. He's made concessions in order to get things done. The right has fought his efforts even when he's tried to enact change based on THEIR IDEAS! If you think this isn't racism at work, (as well as a number of other things) I think you're missing the point. Not to mention, we've been arguing for the government to leave us alone a little bit, yet we're asking this guy to solve every issue we can come up with.

That he might take a more proactive approach to racial relations, cheers. I think that would be a positive thing. However, if he were to tell the truth about race in America all the time, he'd never get anything passed through the government. He doesn't even have to be doing anything that directly addresses racial disparities, and he's attacked for being a "white hater." (See Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, two people you cannot dismiss because of their far-reaching attempts to demonize him, as mainstream culture has always demonized not only leaders of color, but also people of color in general.) I've gotta say this though: he's working his ass off! It's not like he's lounging on golf courses for a majority of his presidency. He's actually in office, getting things done. This is in contrast to our previous president, who took more vacation days than a teacher. A look at first year presidential vacation records is available from fact-check.org.

I think my main point here is this: Obama fought racism in order to get elected. The miracle of an elected president of color in our country is staggering. It's only a step, and in terms of the steps we must take to dismantle our racist social and political institutions in the United States, I would argue it's a relatively mid-sized step. That said, he "miracled" himself into the White House: true. Should that allow us to assume that he can work every other miracle we want him to? I would argue no. It shouldn't mean that because of that miracle, we can expect many others. So, we've got this elected president of color, who is definitely brilliant, but we cannot expect him to do everything for every one of us. What is it that we like to say to people who are struggling? Oh, right: if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything. While I think this is bullshit, I agree that we should be telling these "outraged voters" this same thing, instead of shooting idealistic hatred at a guy who's trying to hold a country together. Where was this outrage over the last two presidential terms? Ah, right, it was buried in our social subconscious. Just waiting for someone we hoped would Superman our way out of trouble.

Get a grip people. We should expect a lot from our elected officials. But not at the expense of our collective sanity.

1 comment:

  1. You go get 'em Nick. I am tired of all the disrespect and President basing. It is refreshing to see someone of your generation voicing this opinion. Brilliant!

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