By Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., NNPA Columnist –
Be careful on what you pray for, because God will answer your prayers. Millions of African Americans and others prayed for a President of the United States who would lead America in a more just and fair direction both domestically and internationally. Many believed two years ago that the world would never witness a Black man and woman in the White House.
Unless we are too quick to forget, prior to November 2008, the U.S. economy, world image, and national social divisions were all in pretty bad shape after eight years of failed leadership from President George W. Bush. Today as we approach the mid-term 2010 elections across the United States, it is very important for us not to lose our memory or sense of perspective.
This is also certainly not the time to become complacent or to take the importance of voting for granted.
Yes, the vast majority of African Americans are proud of the leadership and progress that has already been accomplished by President Barack H. Obama. Once again, the vital role of the Black Press reemerges on the national scene.
Most of the established media in the U.S. thrives off of cynicism and negative media coverage. We believe in objective reporting and constructive criticism. Yet, the problem is there appears to be more subjective criticism of President Obama than is warranted after only two years in office.
We pause, therefore, to salute the excellent and thorough broadcast of the Tom Joyner Morning Show that featured President Obama live on Friday, September 10, 2010. Joyner’s skilled interview of the President exemplified the best of the Black Press tradition of providing timely and crucial information to the African American and other communities who demand more objective truth in the media. Most of all, what was clear from that broadcast was the outstanding leadership of President Obama on a number of key issues critical to improving the quality of life of African Americans.
The leadership of a president is not to be judged solely by media coverage or by sheer popularity. Presidential leadership should be judged by how well a president leads the nation forward, not backward.
In 2010, even with the persistent economic and unemployment challenges, the U.S. under Obama’s leadership has moved in a forward, progressive manner in terms of foreign and domestic policies.
It goes without saying that we understand that the President of the United States has the responsibility to act and lead in behalf of all the people of the U.S. One of the reasons why we attest to President Obama’s strength as a national and world leader is that while he has held the office with high dignity and integrity, and has well represented all of the people in the U.S., he has not forgotten about the Black American community in terms of public policies, budget allocations, and other governmental actions.
During the Tom Joyner Morning Show interview, President Obama in summary stated, “What we’ve been trying to do is build a new foundation for economic growth and prosperity in our communities… Now, what we hve done over the course of two years is laid the foundation. Put in place some key reforms… I mentioned health care reform. That’s going to mean millions of African Americans and Hispanics and people of every stripe across the country who did not have health care… now are going to have health care. Number two in terms of one of the keys that we’ve always talked about in terms of job growth - long term - is education. We have done more to reform education in our communities in the last two years than had been done in the previous 20 years, and that’s at every level K-12...
But it goes all the way up to higher education, where HBCUs are getting $850 million dollars over the next 10 years… So, no we’re not where we need to be. But at least we’re moving forward, and what we can’t start doing is moving backwards.”
Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is a national civil rights leader, Senior Advisor to the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and President of the Education Online Services Corporation.
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