As President Obama enters what’s already predicted to be a tough re-election campaign, he’s got a lot of explaining to do, and not just to the independents and conservative Democrats whose votes could help decide his fate. More and more often, African-Americans are letting him know they’re unhappy with him, too. What’s going on?
According to USA Today journalist DeWayne Wickham, it’s all about the Benjamins and jobs, jobs, jobs. In his April 26 column, he questioned the president’s priorities and how the U.S. can spend billions of dollars to help the citizens of foreign lands while so many Blacks are struggling here on American soil.
“Finding work for the jobless is the best anti-poverty program this nation can mount. But while the Obama administration spends $608 million during the first 17 days of its involvement in Libya’s civil war—it can muster neither the money nor the will to combat Black unemployment,” Wickham wrote.
He also pointed to a speech that candidate Obama gave in 2007 in which he said it was wrong to allow the poor in urban America to suffer so that the rich and powerful can prosper, he practically called the president a hypocrite for continuing that legacy.
“[Obama] asked rhetorically, ‘How can a country like this allow it?’ " To which he answered, "We can’t,” Wickham wrote. “But so far, under his leadership, he has allowed it.”
Wickham also suggested that African-American leaders need to stop being so passive and challenge Obama on this issue just as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. challenged President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 over the Vietnam war.
“They should demand an end to the wasteful spending on wars that can’t be won and insist that the resulting peace dividend be used to finance that revitalized urban policy—the one Obama not so long ago promised would be the focus of his economic agenda,” Wickham wrote.
But is it their responsibility alone to make such demands, or should African Americans start making some of their own, too?
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)