Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Chapter of International Cooperation

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Barack Obama stated that our future rests on four pillars, non-proliferation and disarmament of nuclear weapons, promotion of peace and security, preservation of the planet and a global economy advancing opportunity for all people.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obama's Dilemma

After giving his famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama emerged on the national political scene. During the speech, he said:

We are all connected. There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a Latino America and an Asian America. There is the United States of America.

Many people embraced Obama as a symbol of the new post-racial era. That image made Obama appealing to a large segment of the white community. He was not another threatening, angry black man like Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton or Min. Louis Farrakhan. People have described him as the Tiger Woods of politics.

During the Presidential Election, the Obama campaign avoided discussing issues of race. They constantly reminded the American people that Obama was not running to be the President of Black America. He was running to be President of the United States of America. When then Senator Joseph Biden referred to Obama as the first clean, bright and articulate African American Presidential candidate, Obama avoided directly addressing the issue. Later, Obama stated that he did not take the comments personally and that Biden’s statements were inaccurate. Eventually, Obama was forced to address the issue of race because of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy.
Obama’s strategy of avoidance helped him win the Presidency. Therefore, it is not be surprising that Obama rejected former President Jimmy Carter’s statement about racism.

It is obvious that Barack Obama is under attack in part due to his race. This is apparent when one sees the teabaggers’ protest signs. Some of the signs depict Obama as an African witch doctor, a terrorist and Adolf Hitler. One protester's sign read, “We came unarmed (this time).” Some of these protesters actually came to town hall meetings armed. At one of the town hall meetings, one deranged protester carried a sign threatening the President and the First Family’s lives. One preacher actually prayed for the President’s death. With their racially divisive remarks, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are inflaming the situation. For example, Limbaugh said, “In Obama’s America, white kids get beat up with the black kids cheering right on, right on, right on.” Furthermore, the birthers claim that President Obama is not even an American citizen.

In the face of all this ugly racism and hatred, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs asserted that “the President does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin.” On Meet the Press, President Obama said, “This debate that is taking place is not about race. It is about people being worried about how our government should operate.”

I understand the Administration’s reasoning. The President is attempting to pass health care reform. He does not need any unnecessary distractions. It would be illogical for him to jeopardize long term goals for the sake of posturing. Politics is like a game of chess. One may have to sacrifice lesser pieces or even important pieces in order to win. Although I understand, I wish the Obama administration had the courage to speak the truth about race. Since Obama is silent, the progressive bloggers, activists and organizations must continue to speak out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

House Rebukes Rep. Wilson

I commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the resolution rebuking Rep. Joe Wilson for his outburst. During the proceedings, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer stated that the House will not stand silent in the face of conduct that was universally recognized as inappropriate. To watch the proceedings on C-Span, click this link. The resolution states:

Whereas on September 9, 2009, during the joint session of Congress convened pursuant to House Concurrent Resolution 179, the President of the United States, speaking at the invitation of the House and Senate, had his remarks interrupted by the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson; and

Whereas the conduct of the Representative from South Carolina was a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives disapproves of the behavior of the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson, during the joint session of Congress held on September 9, 2009.

Since Rep. Wilson apologized to the President, Wilson’s supporters assert that Wilson should not have to apologize to the House. That argument fails for the following reasons. Rep. Wilson’s apology was insincere. He apologized only after Republican leadership pressured him to do so. In addition, he has exploited the spectacle to raise funds for his election campaign. On his website, he boldly proclaims that he will not be muzzled. Appearing on the Sean Hannity radio program, he embraced his new role as a hero of the right wing anti-immigrant movement. Rep. Wilson’s conduct not only offended the President, he offended the House, the Senate and the American people. If Wilson was sincere, he would have apologized to his House colleagues as well. Instead, he was defiant.

The House did the right thing by condemning him for his breach of civility and decorum. Now, lets focus on getting health care passed with the same efficiency. I hope that Rep. Joe Wilson’s 15 minutes of fame are over.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time for Censure

During his address to Congress, President Barack Obama stated that illegal immigrants would not be covered under his health care plan. In response, U.S. Representative Joe Wilson yelled, “You lie!” His outburst was completely disrespectful and undignified. Didn’t he realize that he was not at one of those town hall meetings? Would he have done that if the President was white? It is no coincidence that Mr. Wilson represents South Carolina, one of the most racist states in America. South Carolina was the bastion of the Confederacy. In that state, they continue to boldly and proudly fly the Confederate flag, a symbol of slavery and segregation.

Later, Rep. Wilson issued this apology:
“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.”

Although White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel accepted Rep. Wilson’s apology on behalf of the President, Rep. Wilson needs to hear from the American people. He can be reached by phone (202) 225-2452, (803) 939-0041, fax (202) 225-2455, (803) 939-0078 and email An apology is insufficient. He should be formally censured by Congress.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In Fear of a Black President

Before reading or hearing the President’s speech, the extreme right wing accused the President of attempting to use the public school system to advance a socialist agenda. After all of the hysteria and phony outrage, the Nation has read and heard President Obama’s inspirational speech to students. The speech was non-political. The President emphasized the common theme of personal responsibility. He encouraged students to maximize their potential by studying hard and behaving well. Obama urged students to overcome challenges.

Clearly, the Right’s concerns were completely unjustifiable. It is obvious that Republican Party minions are desperately trying to do everything in their power to undermine the authority of President Obama. They have descended to a new low by resorting to fear mongering, race baiting, McCarthyism and ridiculous conspiracy theories. They are obstructionists. Their goal is to distract and confuse the American people by spreading misinformation. Post-partisanship and post-racialism appear to be unattainable. The extreme Right can no longer be ignored. They must be confronted.

Friday, September 4, 2009

No More Compromise Part 2

I salute the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus for standing up. Yesterday, both Caucuses sent letters to President Barack Obama stressing the importance of a robust public option. The Progressive Caucus actually stated that they would not vote for a health care bill that does not include a public option. The Congressional Black Caucus's letter emphasized the need to maintain provisions addressing racial disparities in health care. Click the highlighted links to read the Congressional Black Caucus’s letter and the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s letter.