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My Reply to Cornel West’s Critiques of Obama


Cornel West’s 8 Most Eye-Opening Critiques of Barack Obama’s Presidency

In his new book, West blasts the president for failing African-Americans and the poor. Link to article HERE
I think that West’s critique has some merit but it does a great disservice to his followers by leaving out the underlying conditions that make this the reality. It serves as a continuing trend in America of looking at the surface and basing opinion on that alone. American is far deeper than the ugly veneer that is apparent on the surface. I have and continue to respect Brother West for his knowledge and insight in most cases, but based on these quoted remarks I do have to express a departure with him.

On his first point, African-Americans as well as all minorities and poor typically do worse under national economic crises. As witnessed throughout American history; look at 1920, 1880, 1800 and so on. With the Second Republican Great Depression in 2008 came a disproportionate oppression of minorities, middle class, working class, and working poor. This complete decimation of the American economy  lead to a widening of the divide between those that have and those struggling to obtain (in spite of a system that pushed all economic gains to the top 5% Obama has made strides, although not as much as American needs).

On his second point, leadership in the African-American community has weakened due to lack of participation in the voting process other than presidential election. Bring up the percentage of actual minority voters and leadership void will be filled by those supported by the increased voting numbers.

On his third point, he need look no further than the adoption of Reaganomics in 1982 until now and the lack of populist legislation to reverse the devolution of Trickle-On-economics. A single president does not have the power to do this alone; he needs Congress. The decrease in the upward mobility numbers have been evidenced over the years till now after the Reagan Revolution (against the middle class).  I utterly agree with West that the upward mobility problem in America is vast and almost insurmountable, but it is not the result of the Obama presidency. I would add that if President Obama had acted more quickly and aggressively he could have done more to quell this depression. The truth is that this trend has continued due to an opposition party that have governed (loosely used when referring to Republicons) in a manner that is treasonous and at the very least “seditious”!


 On his fourth and fifth point, again there are underlying causes for both. The demarcating cause of these two problems is cased fundamentally by the corporatization of our government and the moneyed interests in our political system, which has been the case for the past 30 plus years. The ridiculous and wrong-headed rulings by our Supreme Court (SCOTUS), AKA Citizens United and other corporate person-hood/money is speech rulings, has transformed out democracy into a moneyed interest system that uses political propaganda to get the people to vote against their own interests. We need a constitutional amendment to undo this political/electoral blight on our system; see https://movetoamend.org/ for efforts in that direction.

The last three are just personal expression not rooted in much other than a limited view of America. I mean really “ Obama Doesn’t Really Care About Protecting Working People”  is a ridiculous assertion. He is not an economic dictator in chief. He is president and can only pass laws brought to his desk. The “First Lady Michelle Obama Legitimizes Obama’s “Symbolic Status””  statement has the non-slave descendant rhetoric that implies that one must have this lineage in order to see the plight of Africans in the ugly history of America; NOT TRUE!

Finally, he stated that “To Be Successful and Black, One Must Turn His Back on the Poor” implies that it is President intention to purposefully ignore the plight of the poor. Again I state, this is not an EMPIRICAL PRESIDENT. President Obama only has the power of the pen, bully pulpit, and Executive Privilege which nether of which all him to write and sign legislation. Obama cannot circumvent out political system; he is President not King!

I assert that Brother West suffers from tinted glasses and with that he is looking at these issues as black and white, them and us. American is far bigger than that and with this, I would like to see more activism in terms of addressing these issues and the issue of voter turn-out. The Obama Presidency is marked with great moments and dim moments, but overall I think that he has done far better than expected with such waning support, defiant and unrelenting opposition, media vacancy of truth, voter repression, right-winged SCOTUS ruling, and many other mitigating factors that made it all but impossible to fulfill his vision of government. American is better for his presidency given the options we had to choose from, but one thing is true, I would have been a far more aggressive President if I were in office.

There are problems that exist within the system that will require years of unrelenting correction to reverse. Seeing that Obama is not an empirical President he does not have the power alone to reverse these horrible trends without support from WE THE PEOPLE and support from a democratically elected representative Congress. History will be the real judge of the Obama Presidency and I doubt that it will be seen in such dim light as Brother West projects.
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