American politics has evolved into theater for a public captivated with reality TV, entertainment contests, and sports. Lights. Cameras. Photo ops. And empty slogans.
Recently, Bob Beckel, Democratic campaign strategist, asserted that on-average, American dedicate a whopping 3 hours to their presidential candidate selection. That is just 60 minutes more than the time spent viewing programming for the final round of American Idol.
Consequently, one should not wonder that slogans dominate the messaging. They are empty and easily applied to the aspirations and imagery of any candidate in the race, and thus more resemble a competition to who can first secure an English word that carries little real substance from a policy perspective.
Serious voters require more. However, this type of serious voter is more an exception in American than rule. No where is this more of an exception than the African American community. A consistent base voter bloc that gave President Obama almost 97 percent of their votes in 2008, requires very little in-return.
While the homosexual community, American Jews, Hispanic-Latinos, unions, Wall Street, women, and other groups can point to specific issues/policies of concern, the black community has become more abstract in its politics. Literally forfeiting the essence of First Amendment rights to “petition government for redress of grievances, 40 million African American has essentially relaxed its unique interests to redress a unique set of social, economic, political problems.
Hope and Change were enough in 2008. Some argue that blacks found creative ways to rationalize the lack of redress to problems confronting black America. This list of explanations and excuses are long, including:
1. Obama can’t act too black.
2. Obama is not the President of the black community.
3. The Republicans won’t support his agenda.
4. General policies help blacks so what’s the problem because blacks are diverse.
5. Blacks have no agenda.
6. Blacks don’t give enough money.
7. Obama has delivered for the black community.
8. Stop asking government.
9. Blacks have not asked anything.
10. What have we required of Republicans?
11. We expect too much from Obama.
12. He’s only one person.
13. Wait until his 2nd term when he will unveil his agenda.
14. Addressing black issues is unconstitutional
15. Hey, its just great to have a black in The White House.
16. We can’t be too hard on him — his job is hard enough
17. He cares for us but his hands are tied.
18. Those who are critical are just haters.
19. Being critical is playing into the Republicans’ hands.
20. Obama has been attacked more than any President.
21. Obama is facing the worst set of conditions and can’t do much.
22. If we’re too hard on him, it will only appear that we don’t support.
23. Other problems are more critical.
A rigorous vetting of the above refutes the explanations posed by Obama supporters. This however, is not the purpose of this article, but rather I challenge these voters to get beyond the emptiness of political slogans that commit this candidate to nothing and avoid a serious critique of his performance to-date. Without a sense of expectation, Hope is irrational, Change is impossible, and Forward is unpredictable.
Consequently, this asks, “Black America, what are you expecting from Obama in 2012 to specifically address your priorities for the next four years?”
What issues are of great concern to you? Aside from general matters (e.g., federal deficit and debt), what is it that you want to address disproportionate problems facing African Americans?
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