Clarence V. McKee's Perspective:
Guess what? I agree with Al Sharpton on something!
He is defending President Obama’s statement that he is “not the president of black America” but is “the president of the United States of America.”
|Rev. Al Sharpton was right to say that Obama is “not the president of black America” but is “the president of the United States of America.”
Sharpton has slammed Obama’s critics for holding him to a higher standard than they did for Bill Clinton. He is not alone.
Writing for MSNBC’s “theGrio,” Zerlina Maxwell said:
“The idea that the nation’s first black president is not the representative of all black people should not surprise anyone. The president and his administration have consistently argued that “a rising tide lifts all boats . . .”
And then there is Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference who said:” I think he is the president of the United States and I believe he is addressing the people regardless of race, creed or color by saying he wants to be president of all of us . . .”
Wow! Where were these folks and their allies when Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan were criticized for using the “rising tide” analogy?
Obama’s black critics have not doubted that he is the president of all Americans. Their argument is that he has not paid enough attention to the unique problems facing black America. As usual, there is no tolerance of those who would criticize him or his policies. Why? You guessed it — because he is blaaaack!
As Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University writes:
“Nearly every representative from [Sharpton’s organization] and the NAACP marches to the beat of the same drummer when it comes to expressing unconditional, unquestionable loyalty to the Obama Administration. There is no room for constructive criticism . . . true advocacy . . . even the slightest disagreement . . . The truth is that there isn’t a single thing that President Obama could say that would not meet with complete agreement from two of our leading civil rights organizations. This implies, unfortunately, that these groups work for President Obama . . . the sad fact is that we have to wonder if they care more about the Obama White House than they care about black people themselves.”
As I have often said, Obama’s loyalists are very disingenuous. They are not defending him because he is black. They are defending him because he is black, liberal, and a Democrat.
If blackness were the issue, they would have been supportive of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice when they were the first black National Security Advisers and Secretaries of State (Republican appointees of course) or of black Republicans who have run for state-wide office. To them, Obama and Democrat presidents are presidents of all of the people and get a pass.
All they have to do is go to a few black churches and say “I love ya all” and “can I get an amen?”
Sharpton and other Obama defenders are correct that he is president of all Americans. However, they miss the boat when it comes to black issues. History tells us that being president of all Americans does not mean that you cannot address problems impacting black Americans.
President Johnson was president of all Americans — and historically a staunch segregationist who fought civil rights bills — yet he — with the help of Republicans — pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights and later Voting Rights acts to help blacks.
Richard Nixon was president of all Americans, yet he initiated the concept of “Black Capitalism” to assist black businesses.
George W. Bush was president of all Americans, yet he fought to eliminate the “soft bigotry of low expectations” in order to improve educational standards and narrow the achievement gap of black students.
So what does this mean? Just because Obama is president of all Americans does not mean that he cannot have a meaningful agenda to address crucial problems impacting black America which gave him 95 percent of their vote. His black critic’s stress that blacks are getting little, if any, return for their investment and are being taken for granted.
Not so for his response to his other constituencies. As president of all Americans, he had the will to: support same sex marriage; oppose legislation banning race and sex based abortion; give a half billion dollar “Green Energy” boondoggle to Solyndra; and, spare deportation to 800,000 illegal immigrants who came to the country as children.
If he could do that for these interest groups, they ask why hasn’t he addressed some of the crucial issues facing black America: gang violence, black on black crime and the slaughter of thousands, including children, in our major cities (including his own Chicago); disproportionate sentencing and incarceration rates of black males; and, atrocious unemployment rates, especially for black youth to name a few.
So, although I agree with Sharpton and others that Obama is president of all Americans, for them to give him a pass and say he has no special obligation to address key issues impacting blacks as he has others, is a huge cop out. If he were not a black liberal Democrat firmly in the pockets of the left-wing Democrat establishment, they would be all over him.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as the Reagan presidential campaigns, including Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation. He was also appointed chairman of the District of Columbia Reagan-Bush Campaign and he chaired the District of Columbia Delegation to the Republican National Convention in Dallas. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.
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