By Alan Caruba
In 2008, Barack Obama would not have been elected to the presidency if white voters had not reached a point since the days of the 1960s Civil Rights movement to think a black man could and should have a shot at the job.
If race played a role in the election, it was usually Obama that made reference to it, lightly touching on the subject to acknowledge and diminish it.
The only Americans permitted to discuss black/white relations these days are its media-designated spokespersons like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. When the NAACP spoke up recently, it was to condemn Tea Party members as racists.
Rather than advance the condition of blacks in America, Obama has done almost nothing. Indeed, one of his administration’s first acts was to defund charter schools in Washington, D.C. where, like most major urban centers, the schools that young blacks attend are universally dismal.
It is, of course, impossible to look at the handsome, young black President without seeing a handsome, young black President. Understandably, he has the support of the vast majority of America’s black population; approximately 9.9 million according to the last census. They are a minority among minorities. There are now more Hispanics than blacks.
It is, however, Obama’s policies, not his skin color, that have created resistance. In a recent statement, Earl G. Graves Sr., chairman and publisher of Black Enterprise, said, “The distress is real and legitimate. First, people of all races and economic backgrounds are continuing to suffer as the result of an economy that continues to struggle.”
Graves, however, gave Obama a pass with the now familiar assertion that Obama “inherited this mess”, but the fact is that Obama sought the presidency and all presidents inherit whatever issues preceded their term in office or occur on their watch. It is the manner in which they address those issues by which we judge their competency.
Graves lamented that, despite Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president, “there are still people who just cannot get past the issue of race. They still can’t bring themselves to respect a black man, even if he is the President of the United States, regardless of his policies and actions.”
To which I say “hogwash.”
The forthcoming midterm elections are all about the Obama administration policies; the profligate borrowing and spending, the bailouts, the takeover of the nation’s healthcare sector, the shutdown of offshore oil drilling, the insults to foreign allies, and the timidity toward foreign enemies.
Having lived in the south at a time when segregation was the norm, I can attest to how far white America has come in rejecting those restrictions, but I would argue that their hopes for America’s black community have fallen well short of expectations.
White Americans are hugely disappointed. Much had to be ignored when some of them voted for Obama. At one point in the campaign he had to disavow Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the twenty years he attended a church devoted to black liberation theology; a church where Rev. Wright could stand in the pulpit and say, “God damn America.”
Much within America’s black community remains dysfunctional. A recent Wall Street Journal commentary about the NAACP, noted that “Blacks are 13% of the population but comprise 38% of prison or jail inmates in the U.S., and black-on-black violent crime is the norm. Blacks commit 52% of all murders and make up 49% of all murder victims—90% of them are killed by other blacks.”
In cities, many of which that have had black mayors, the schools are among the worst. More than 70% of black children are born to single women and, as The Wall Street Journal commentary noted “are more likely to live in poverty, perform poorly in school, to commit crimes and abuse drugs.” This is a failure of the progress many white Americans had wished for.
Obama is no flag-waving black American. He has noticeably been unwilling to salute during the playing of the national anthem. He is demonstrably a socialist in a capitalist nation.
When he selected Van Jones, a black member of the Communist Party, to be his “green jobs czar”, Jones resigned when his communist affiliation was revealed. When Obama lived with his grandparents in Hawaii, a teenage mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, a black newspaper journalist and poet who was widely known in the 1950s to be a communist. His memoirs speak of his affinity with Marxist students and faculty members.
He was elected despite this. It has taken less than two years in office for the backlash to occur.
It may be unfair, but whites hold black politicians to a higher standard of behavior simply because they have risen to positions of power, often as the result of heavily black constituencies.
Charles Rangel (D-NY) is facing ethics charges along with Maxine Waters (D-CA). It was revealed that Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) steered college scholarships to members of her own family. In 2006 Rep. William Jefferson was found to have $90,000 in bribe money in his home freezer and subsequently went to jail. In 1994, Rep. Mel Reynolds was found guilty of having had sex with an underage 16-year-old campaign worker.
When it comes to the Department of Justice, issues of voting rights are front and center. The double standards of DOJ under the leadership of a black Attorney General, Eric Holder, are a cause for concern in the white community.
While on a recent campaign stop in Rhode Island Obama repeated his mantra that the nation’s economic problems are all due to Republicans despite the obvious fact that Democrats have been in control of Congress since 2006. Prior to the 1994 midterm elections, Democrats had controlled Congress for forty years.
At one point Obama said, “We can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
The ill-conceived and unfortunate back-of-the-bus remark comes from the early days of the Civil Rights struggle for equality when, throughout the South, blacks were required to sit in the back of the bus. Applying it to Republicans was especially offensive. In a recent radio interview he told Hispanic listeners that they must “punish our enemies.”
Like an old time Southern Democrat politician Obama has played the race and ethnicity card reflecting his party’s dependency, not just on blacks, but a hoped-for Hispanic support as well. The rest of his base has shrunk to unions and the nation’s youth.
The midterm elections are expected to make a dramatic change in Congress and, when the dust settles, it will not be because America is led by a black president, but because America is led by an incompetent president, a socialist whose policies will have been soundly rejected.
© Alan Caruba, 2010