This is very intentional, as I'm trying to expand the array of voices and opinions here at AB.com. Our latest addition is Mason Jamal. As usual, show our guest some love, you-know-where.]
President Obama is one of my favorite subjects. Every now and then, when the shoe fits, I’m critical. More often than not, I find myself simply humored by the blackness of it all. And as a blogger, I have to take full advantage of the moment. This is once-in-a-lifetime material. But not all readers feel the same way. Many totally get it, while others express uneasiness regarding some of my Obama postings. Look, I did my part. I voted for this cat early and often. And I was as proud as everyone else election night. But now it’s about the business of running this country. The honeymoon is over, the history books are shut (for now) and Obama is fair game like every other President was.
Don’t get me wrong. I know what the uneasiness is all about. At birth, unlike other Americans, black people are issued two documents. We are issued our birth certificate. And we are issued our Black Pass which is valid with all participating black people. Minus a few Conservatives, that’s pretty much all 37 million of us. So it’s only fitting that a black President comes carrying his Black Pass too. It just so happens that I think the Black Pass has its limits but perhaps Barack has a Platinum Presidential Edition. If so, no one sent me the memo.
No one told the black farmers either. Yes, black farmers as in black people farming. They have taken issue with the President’s pushback on legislation, which he successfully fought for as a Senator allowing them to file discrimination charges against the Agriculture Department. Now that he’s in the White House and the blood of the budget is on his hands he wants to cap payout to the farmers at 100 million which originally looked like it would be 2 or 3 billion. Look, maybe this is justified or maybe it’s politics as usual at the expense of black farmers who have been systematically discriminated against. Either way, the message is clear. Just don’t talk about it.
[Editor's Note: I'm personally beginning to see what Tavis was talking about. If folks could get beyond the obvious salt, they'd see that he simply feared Negroes would be so caught up in history and regalia that they'd miss the forest for the trees. Again, I still don't like how he said it (or when), but I don't disagree with what he was saying at all.]
There is no doubt in my mind that Obama is going to be one of our better Presidents when it’s all said and done but until the final chapter is written there will be things said and done that warrant questioning and occasional ridicule. It comes with the territory and he knows that. If he didn’t, he would have told his critics such as the black farmers “you can kiss my Black (P)ass” a long time ago. But Obama knows he doesn’t walk on water. I get the feeling he also knows critical dialogue and dissenting opinion is good for the political process regardless of party or color. In the end, it makes him a better President and our country a better place to live.
Question: Are black people supposed to turn our heads whenever Obama falls short or should we make our voices heard when we disagree with a decision or policy?
More from Mason Jamal [MasonJamal.com]