For some reason, I've had the most difficult time writing this piece. I've started--deleted and started again a number of times. The topic is so complicated with a myriad of perspectives that are contradictory at times, fact-laden, purely emotional and at best supports the notion that we are not monolithic. I know the stats indicate that there is an unusually high percentage of blacks who remain supportive of the President, yet, our responses to this administration have been the most divisive that I've witnessed in many years. The irony of it all is that this President identifies himself as African-American with a black wife, children and mother-in-law; all of whom reside in the White House. He is one of the most powerful men in the world, treated in the most disrespectful manner and catches hell from many political factions, ultra right fringe groups, black conservatives and leftist black organizations. The right claims that he's too progressive and the left views him as a moderate who allowed himself to be pulled to the right under the guise of cooperation and reaching out to opponents. A Trojan Horse--maybe-- a betrayer--maybe. A man who was idealistic like many of the Presidents before him and once he was in office realized that there were forces and information after the fact that took the wind out of his sails..so to speak. Possibly. He had to be pragmatic but that argument is difficult for me to swallow after I sat in my living room in shock as he announced his cabinet choices. There was further trauma after he spent two years along with Democrats refusing to use their collective 'bargaining power' to get some things done. The temper tantrums of the Republicans and their declaration to make him a one term President went unchecked and in 2010 their recalcitrant behavior was rewarded.
This leads to my opinion of the debate between two intellectual thinkers, Glen Ford of BAR Report and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, professor at Georgetown University hosted by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. The above video features the debate in its entirety. Substantive points were made by both men although at times the verbosity of Dr. Dyson evoked a sigh of exasperation and an intense desire for him to make his point. Mr. Ford's succinctness at times left me desiring more elaboration from him and marveling at his entrenched perspective that the President had no redeeming qualities especially when asked by Dr. Dyson if he would vote for him. His response deferred to family members and those supporters who choose to vote for the more "effective evil" (President Obama) is to demand some "truth telling" which in my humble opinion lends to once one learns and accepts the truth; they will vote accordingly. No vote for Barack Obama from Mr. Ford!
I thought of a debate during the late 60's and early 70's that addressed the choosing of the lesser of two political evils. The premise was if the more cataclysmic evil doer won that would incite the masses to rise and change the social order. Hmmm....I don't think that would work in this case for it wasn't all that effective back then. Theory is wonderful and I must say that I support much of the leftist ideology, however, the operational factor remains a challenge. It's not solution based and frankly a leftist candidate wouldn't stand a chance of becoming the President of the United States. They would argue who would want to be-- given just how ineffective that position is when it comes to any productive social and global changes. The bread and butter issues and the groups that can be far more adversely affected by a Mitt Romney and their ultra conservative and elitist social and economic policies have trumped for me any reservations I had about a second term for this President. My resolve is if President Obama is re-elected, we must hold him accountable and if that involves an escalation of grass roots activism; then so be it.
I've listed three of many articles written by various black writers that demand critical thinking on this complex issue by all of us. They are detailed and well argued. Ms. Afropolitan, a well respected sister and intellectual advised that I read an article "Fear of a Black President" written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Dr. Jelani Cobb, an Associate Professor of History wrote an excellent article in the New Yorker, "Barack X " that provides insight on the predicament of this country's first African-American President and his relationship to the black community and other Americans. Both are stimulating and provide a balance to the many factual articles written at BAR about this Presidency, however, I must say the most detailed and substantive discussion on the complexity of this issue is an article in The Black Commentator. Bill Fletcher and Carl Davidson did a superb job with a common sense narrative presented in a scholarly fashion as to why we must not allow Mitt Romney and his cohorts win the White House.
BTW: I voted for Barack H. Obama, for the most likely alternative would be unthinkable, at least, for me.
Peace and understanding for these are trying times.