I have to confess that when I saw then Illinois Senator Barack Obama snub the 2008 State of the Black Union program hosted by Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner, I saw it as a bad omen for the black community. However, the fact that Michael Steele, the black Republican and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, took the time to make an appearance was an even worse sign of things to come.
Mr. Obama couldn’t appear to be too connected to the black community because as a national collective we have an overwhelmingly strong need to see any positive affiliation from a black politician with the black community as being too black to be good for everyone. Mr. Obama has to keep his distance. And people justify this behavior by saying Mr. Obama wasn’t going to be the president of black America, but the president of all of America. However, Mr. Obama’s various appearances in front of more generic and therefore more predominantly white organizations were never dismissed as him trying to be the president of white America. The contrast is pretty stark.
But the Republican Mr. Steele wasn’t under any such constraint. Mr. Steele could do whatever he thought appropriate to sell the idea of the Republican Party to the predominantly black audience. I have to admit that from what I can remember of the program, Mr. Steele’s appearance on the show was smooth. He was somewhat conciliatory over the fact that the Bush administration never bothered to make much of an effort to mend its relationship with the black community. But regardless, Mr. Steele made a point to say that the black community needs to stay vigilant with any and all levels of government from the local to the national. It was a pretty good performance for Mr. Steele who downplayed his affiliation with conservatives.
At the time, one black politician was working to distance himself from the black community. The black vote was in the bag so his focus was to appeal to others. The other black politician was working to minimize his affiliation with the others. Black people don’t vote his party’s affiliation so he had to spend his focus appealing to black people.
From there, Mr. Obama went on to become the nominee for president from the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Steele went on to stand in front of the Republican National Committee, working the virtually all white crowd with frenzied refrains of drill baby drill. Gone was the rather agreeable Mr. Steele at the State of the Black Union. Hello Mr. Steele the passionate representative of politically conservative ideologies. No black people in the house? That’s okay because at the end of this Republican politician’s day all that matters is drill baby drill. The conditions of the black community didn’t even register for they’re not really all that important. All the Republican Party wanted was to siphon off a greater percentage of black votes in order to win more political offices.
From there, Mr. Obama went even further and became the first black president of the United States. His popularity rivals the best of any brand new president. People are putting a lot of faith into his administration after dealing with the disappointments of his predecessor for so many years. People may not believe in their federal government, but at least they are willing to give Mr. Obama the benefit of a doubt at the moment. Mr. Obama enjoys so much of the public’s goodwill that a lot of people have become rather sensitive to some of the tactics people play on people of color. Which leads to somewhat of a dilemma, what would be the best way to take down a popular black president?
Mr. Steele went further as well. He is now the leading figurehead of the Republican Party, an organization that is for the most part void of black participants. Another contender for this title fell by the wayside after his rather juvenile attempts at humor at the expense of racial sensitivity went over so well. People should note that distributing CDs with such hits as Barack the Magic Negro does little to create a sense of racial inclusion. And another contender for the title decided enough was enough and the time had finally come to cancel his membership at his exclusively white country club after enjoying years of rubbing elbows in an environment that mimicked a Republican Party convention. The odds for Mr. Steele’s selection got better with each passing day.
But nevertheless, it is no mere coincidence that an organization so empty of black people selects a black man as their front man when the main opponent in their struggle for political aspirations is a wildly popular black president. When there’s a raging fire you fight fire with fire. When there’s a popular black president you fight black with black. Don’t want to take a chance of appearing too racist talking about Mr. Obama’s weaknesses? Get a black man to do your dirty work for you.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Steele cannot, or will not, see how he is being played. All too often people are much too willing to let themselves be used if they can achieve some personal benefit in the process. Mr. Steele could’ve used his new position to talk about how the Republicans will reach out to the black community like he did when he gave his two cents at the State of the Black Union.
Instead, he will use his position to attack a fellow black politician. He applauds the bloc mentality of his Republican compatriots in the House of Representatives to deny the stimulus package Mr. Obama seeks to put America back on the economic tracks. Mr. Steele speaks with the same selfish tone of Rush Limbaugh who said he hoped Mr. Obama fails in his attempts to turn the country around. Better to wish people continue to suffer so someone can gloat rather than run the risk of having a political opponent offer lasting economic solutions.
True, Mr. Steele is probably just very passionate about his conservative principles. He’s so coo-coo for conservatism that he’s willing to take up the mantle to attack the first black president. Just imagine what Mr. Steele might be capable of if he was just half as passionate about the black community. Chances are he wouldn’t have to convince anybody at the State of the Black Union of his black community affiliation. It would be on his sleeve, kind of like his conservative principles.
Abdul Kargbo said:
Tula Tsalis said:
Mr. Steele, Please, get real. Get educated. Stop paying attention to the wrong crowd. You are not on the right side. There are people everywhere in the country who need you to stop pandering to Republican ideologues and to recognize the real problems that must be faced. Read Commondreams.org to learn more about what others think of you.
King Politics said:
Republican ideology offers little for the average black American. No matter how Steele sugarcoats it, blacks recognize that paying taxes (something most Republicans abhor) leads to more and better public goods, like schools and hospitals that benefit the entire community, not just the privileged.
Taxes are fine if EVERYONE pays their fair share. Blacks,Whites, Indians, Asians, everyone in this melting pot should pay taxes.
What we who pay taxes are upset about is paying for all of those who don’t pay a single dime and expect eveything given to them.
Who is it this country that should get a FREE RIDE?????????
A long time ago one of my bosses told me a simple fact;
“There is not such thing as a free lunch!!!” Someone pays every time.
Excellent analysis and right on point as usual.
I saw MS on a number of political talk shows afrter his win. Without a doubt he was very articulate, had a clear vision and well prepared message of where he wanted the GOP to evolve and seemed very determined to bring about some substantial change to the party. However, I just wasn’t feeling him! For me, before I can get with someone or something, my heart and my mind has to be in agreement.
When I listen to these guys/gals, I do try to be as objective as possible and not get too clouded by their affiliations or dogmas… and try to actively “listen”, with my mind and soul. So although on an intellectual level MS was saying some things which I agreed with, my spirit was like… this guy is obviously just another talking head for the establishment. The same feeling I had and have about President Obama. They are different sides of the same coin. As Lubangakene commented in a previous post:
“The problem is that these men are not leading: they are black marionettes, black frontmen whose color quells certain conversations as too impolitic. The puppeteers are the ones who have always ruled, only now, they have shown true genius by putting forth two “teflon men” who can’t be criticized or analyzed critically. The counter charge of racism for any critique will be made and will cover and insulate them from deep scrutiny and accountability to the mass of sheep.”
I basically agree with you Steele and the President.
What I am struggling with is finding the WISE way of putting forth truthful dialog of our (blackmen of slave ancestry) opinions and observations of these two envents with out starting a fire storm of caios and unproductive and devisive debates that will be an opposition to our efforts of cooperation and unity for the good of all?
By the way I do realize that we do not have to agree with everything each other sais to be united for the good
What advice do You or anyone that you know have for me.
I can’t remember who, but for the first time in years, someone mentioned the “lower class.” It wasn’t anyone in the Obama administration. They don’t use that word. To use that word would be to admit that the US government is okay with people being structurally tethered to the bottom of the barrel. The constant mention of the middle class is only due to their being the largest bloc of voters; repeating how much you are going to do for them while royally screwing them is par for the course. Its also part of the mass hypnosis that is going on.
Folks are being hypnotized by faith, faith in Obama, faith that someone outside of themselves will solve their problems. Only the people united can do that; but we aren’t those people. We are sheeple. We hope Obama will do right by us. We expect that he will, in our massive passivity. He’s already hire two foxes to tend the economic/financial chicken coop, most prominently, Hank Paulson.
My prediction: police state, internment camps, prisons bursting, wars, wars and more wars raging and wealth shifting more and more into the stratosphere, while we wait for Black Jesus to save us. Ain’t gonna happen.
These sideshows about Steele vs Obama, while interesting, don’t get at the underneath. Neither of them is for you, for us, no matter what they say, no matter the social significance of their coming to power. If they aren’t dismantling global white power or the military/industrial complex, they are in cahoots with and in service to it.
You are very correct.
How do you believe, after having excepted the reality of that truth, we should form a strategy as unified men working, according our perspectives, the good of us all?
I am personally involved on a daily basis and I tell you sometimes it look as thought I an not making a dent as a part of the solution.
I have to agree with much of your post. Great post! The Republicans represent the business owners and military establishment. Everyone Knows the Right looks out for the benefits of the rich first but in the US this is also true of the Left. The Democrats represent the rich union workers and mainly the government unions. A union government job is quite desirable in the U.S… I wish the Democrats were more Socialistic.
In America it seems that our Left mainly work for the benefit of the upper middle class. I love Obama but why not create more jobs for the unemployed. The lower class has been long forgotten by both the Republicans and the Democrats. Both parties sell out to big business, government contractors and rich farmers. Additionally All elected officials help their friends and family into great jobs and contracts.
Each party serves the interest of upper middle class, mainly white folks. I am sure that most of the elected officials invest their dollars in the companies with contracts that they give out. The politicians put themselves first and that is why they are both not concerned about unemployment. They already have good jobs. With this 2nd stimulus there is no talk of giving folks on the bottom jobs. Imagine how many entry level and lower class jobs could be created with 800 million dollars. No this stimulus like the last one will go to the upper middle class and the rich.
Why don’t the parties care about creating 100% employment? It is never even spoken about. The government employs in one form or another nearly at least 25% of all jobs. And with government contracted work that might be much higher. Why not reduce pay, to increase the amount of workers. That is a stimulus worth 2 trillion dollars. If city, state, county, and federal jobs pay were reduced by a certain percentage millions more workers could be hired. The U.S would rather give some folks great government jobs than hire everyone that wants a government job and is willing to work.
In California we have a budget crisis. Police, teachers and state office workers have strong unions; strong pensions and get pay increases which are making the state broke. Social work jobs have weaker unions and less pay so their services are the first to get cut. Our state workers are paid better than the private sector and they have job stability and benefits.
If pay were reduced 15% at least 10% more workers could be hired and unemployment would go down. A lot of other social problems could be solved. The average principal in a public school makes around 100, 000 dollars. The average full time teacher pay is 60,000 dollars.
Every year the schools ask for more money but so much is eaten up in administration. Those admin, jobs are not bad and Black folks are underrepresented. Even, The janitors at schools are union with better pay and benefits than the private sector. The good goverment jobs go disproportionally to White folks. When government jobs are cut the richest government workers remain. They would rather cut jobs than reduce pay and the lowest paid workers go first.
mike holt said:
thanks to the Maine senators and the idiot Specter it looks like Republicans will take a beating for decades to come.
This is a suggestion on how Republicans can get a bit of the loot. Demolish dilapidated areas of many cities in Red States and create large Golden Gate type parks.
This creates a higher standard of living as you get rid of empty, old and useless housing while providing jobs for uneducated and welfare people as you bring money into Red states.
take what you can get, beggars can’t be choosers, as long as the Republican party exists.
Come on now Mike Holt, you do realize that if you were to remove underclass from beneath the feet of the upperclasses that you would be removing some very important pillars that support capitalist society?
I received a letter from the republican national committe, gee can u guess what they are asking..yep $$$$$. you know what I want,, I want the same HEALTH package that I pay for the, which allows every member & their familes in WASHINGTON to have. IT”S MY $$$ and the immigrants, well they are here they as well pay taxes, lord knows how they take advantage of the system I PAY for. I don’t blame the democrats for how BUSH 8 years in office has left this country. How BUSH didn’t care how wall street would steele, form us the paying working taxed to death people. I want to know why I have to keep paying & paying and all the sentors congressmen and everyone else even OBAMA can get up in the morning and stand to at themselves in the mirror, and not feel somewhat guilty, BUSH well someone should just shoot him……
If an individual disagrees with Steele, is that individual a racist?
If an individual disagrees with Obama, is that individual a racist?
If an individual, attending a political meeting in the South, where the keynote speaker denies the existence of the KKK in his district: is the listener being racist and disrespectful to stand up and say the speaker’s statement is a lie, when it is well-known that there is overwhelming objective evidence to confirm the speaker is hiding the truth?
I thought we live in America? Why do we call Americans White or Black? Why do we keep bringing up slavery….that was 100 years ago? Do you hear the Irish complaining even though they were treated worse than most slaves ever were? They even had to ship their own children out west in order to feed them. Have you ever read about the Orphan Train?
Why can’t we work towards the common good instead of blaming Whites, or whoever, about their past. Heck, even the Blacks sold their own as slaves. Remember, money is the root of all evil.
We Americans never learned a thing! Now we have reverse discrimination. We have the Ebony magazine, BET, Miss Black America, LaRaza, and the list goes on. It’s time to Change folks!