Speaking specifically to certain factions within the Black community that President Obama did nothing for the Black community, please watch the Senate judiciary committee hearings of Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General.
The attack on the Obama administration’s Justice Department by certain Republicans Raphael Cruz, John Cornyn, and others, and on former Attorney General Eric Holder is a testament to Obama’s commitment to the Black community.
For the feeble-minded who continue to expect that a Black President’s greatness is how many checks he mailed out to them, please be educated on the facts.
I have always believed that President Obama’s greatest accomplishments related to the Black community have been what he could do in the Holder Justice Department.
As part of shaking up the entrenched racial disparities, then-Attorney General Eric Holder, was held in contempt of Congress by an antagonistic Republican-controlled Senate that hated what the AG was doing.
Then-Attorney General Holder also had his name on the supreme court decision Holder vs. Shelby County Alabama, legislation in which the Supreme court eviscerated sections of the voting rights Act.
When we juxtapose what President Obama did, with Judge Garland’s questioning by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, a crystal clear image emerges of where Republicans stand on the rights of African-Americans.
I had a rather contentious conversation with a young Jamaican preacher, who claims to be a Republican over the weekend. He wanted to know what political party I supported; I answered certainly not the lying Republican cult that represents hated and division, that lies as a matter of course, and wants to destroy Democracy.
He claimed to oppose the Democrats because of the 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, otherwise, known as the Clinton Crime bill). In typical Jamaican fashion, the young preacher acted under the belief that those who speak the loudest were the ones who are right.
His style of communicating was asking a question without allowing for an answer. Asking what he thought was a knock-out question was more than a question; it was the point for him.
When confronted with documentary evidence that the 90’s crime bill was sought by black law-makers, black clergy, supported by both political parties, and was a response to the rampant killings in the Black community, he did not want to see the evidence.
As I said before, asking the question was his point, because I had preemptively disarmed him of the ability to use Religion and hatred of Gays as a reason to lash out against the Obama administration.
In my professional capacity, I have the high honor of interacting with people of varying political stripes. I understand, even though I’m afraid I have to disagree, with a white person who votes Republican, because he/she sees that party as a protector of his/her white privilege.
I am baffled by the question, “what did Obama do for the Black community” coming from Black Americans?
Considering that (a) Presidents can send legislation up to the Hill, but that Presidents do not pass legislation, (b) Presidents have to be president for all the people, not just some people, © that Obama faced blanketed Republican opposition to every policy position he proposed, even policies they previously supported, that Obama only had a Democratic House for two of the eight years he was in office, what was he supposed to do differently?
The Gentleman asked me, what exactly Obama had done in the eight years he was in office. I directed him to the following information and ended the conversation.
OBAMA’s FIRST TERM RECORD
1. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending
2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices
3. Instituted enforcement for equal pay for women
4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB
6 Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information
7. Ended media blackout on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier’s family
8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act
9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible
10. Limits on lobbyist’s access to the White House
11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
12. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date
13. Phasing out the expensive F‑22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan
14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
16. New federal funding for science and research labs
17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards
18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect
19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K‑12 schools
20. New funds for school construction
21 The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out
22. US Auto industry rescue plan
23. Housing rescue plan
24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan
25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying
26. US financial and banking rescue plan
27. The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed
28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and complies with the Geneva Convention standards
29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops
30. The missile defense program was being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010
31. Restarted the nuclear nonproliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols
32. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic
33. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions
34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
35. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job
36. US Navy increasing patrols off the Somali coast
37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles
38. Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulated auto sales
39. Announced plans to purchase a fuel-efficient American-made fleet for the federal government
40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
41. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program
42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones
43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
44. Expanding vaccination programs
45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters
46. Closed offshore tax safe havens
47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back
49.. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from the credit card industry’s predatory practices
50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources
51. Lower drug costs for seniors
52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government now realizes hundreds of millions in savings
53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel
54. Improved housing for military personnel
55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses
56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals
57 Increasing student loans
58. Increasing opportunities in the AmeriCorps program
59. Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy
60. Established a new cybersecurity office
61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force; this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of the military, new technology, and cyber units and operations, etc.
62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts
63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness
64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient
65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced
66. Improving benefits for veterans
67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administrations
68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud
69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco
70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules
71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports
72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons
73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen. Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive
74. Making more loans available to small businesses
75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare
76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court
77. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans
78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000
79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan
81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan
82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans
83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production
84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters
85. Paid for redecoration of White House living quarters out of his own pocket
86. Held first Seder in White House
87. Attempting to reform the nation’s healthcare system, which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more underinsured
88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform
89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform
90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform
Did I mention he passed health care reform?
I have no idea what the characteristics of a great American President are; what I do know is that, all things considered, Barack Obama comes pretty damn close, in my opinion.
It is pretty easy to criticize our own, who have done things we could never dream of doing, while supporting those who would rather see us back on the plantation.
We all have a right to support who and whatever we want to under the law. But when we chose to disparage a person or a political party to justify our shameful actions, we should at least get our facts straight.
Truth does still matter.
Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, black achiever honoree, and creator of the blog mikebeckles.com.