President Barack Obama’s first week in office was certainly filled with only the highest of expectation, given the eight years of Republican elephant poo-poo that was left on the White House floor for him. That’s a lot of poo-poo: Over 180,000 more jobs lost in January (60,000 in a single day during his first week in office); an $850 billion dollar bailout being held hostage by Congress; the trillion dollar deficit that’s growing by the nanosecond; not to mention a growing anxiety over how (and when) the United States repositions themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan while trying to mediate an out of control conflict in Gaza City.
Whoever took this job as President of the United States had it coming. But there seems to be a tinge of nonsense associated with Barack Obama’s entry into the office. The hype is here and everybody’s waiting for Superman to do his thing — the unreasonable expectations we knew would come. We just didn’t expect them to come in the first week of office. President Obama must be held accountable by all of us -- black folk included. But can the brotha have more than a week to prove he’s up to the task — before he has to deal with the silly stuff? Geez-Luweeze.
Barack Obama is President of the United States. He’s still trying to find out all the secret rooms in the White House. Seven hundred people work at the White House. He’s still trying to find out everybody’s name, much less learn them. I imagine the brotha (and he’s our brotha — though he’s the BIG brotha now) standing around the White House watching people walk by and saying, “Who are you? Now, exactly what do you do?” Now his assistant secretaries have assistant secretaries.
The point here is that President Obama isn’t exactly sitting around watching the paint dry. He is going to get his share of criticism, but does it really have to be on every single thing?
The post-Inauguration criticism began his second day of office. There were the black preachers who criticized his choice of Rick Warren because he made reference to nonbelievers. Well, a fifth of the nation (21%) don’t believe in God or don’t associate with a religion. They have a President, too. Nobody is supposed to speak to them, right? Typical religious dogma.
Then there is his selection of Eric Holder as Attorney General. This is one black people, Latinos, and everybody need to really get behind. Yet, some people are suggesting that Obama hasn’t spoken out on civil rights. What way could he speak any louder than to put someone over law enforcement, including the Office of Civil Rights (which disappeared under the Bush II administration), who understands the inequalities of America’s race caste system. That’s why he’s being stoned-walled (he was Obama’s first nominee and last to be confirmed). Obama has spoken loud and clear on what he intends to do on the enforcement of civil rights. Just because he hasn’t put his fist in the air, doesn’t mean he doesn’t intend to address the raised expectation around dealing with criminal justice disparities.
Even First Lady, Michelle Obama, hasn’t escaped criticism in the first week. Black designers complained that the First Lady didn’t use any African American designers in any of her Inauguration outfits. Pa-lease!!! Do you know how many parties and social engagements will be thrown at the White House over the next four years? Now, come four years from now—even two years from now—if Ms. Obama hasn’t reached back for a black designer, the criticism might be legitimate, but right now it’s a bit premature. It goes back to unreasonable expectations.
By the way, how many black designers did Ms. Bush use in eight years? I don’t ever recall hearing a complaint. But just because the brotha’s “in the house,” he’s suppose to put the nation in “culture shock” right away. I think he deserves a little more time, given what he’s managed to pull off.
If we could just have a little patience with our own, this just might work out — for everybody.
President Obama had a full first week. The challenge is great, as are the expectations. It will take more than a week to fulfill them. Criticize him when he makes a valid error in judgment. Not because he didn’t pick your preacher, or his wife didn’t buy your dress. He could do without the nonsense in this critical time of our nation, don’t you think?
Published with permission of the Black Commentator