I drank the Kool-Aid, too, back in '08. I fell in love with the symbolism of a black family in the White House. I believed in his campaign slogan of "Hope and Change" and his story of being a biracial, Harvard-educated community organizer in the ghettos of Chicago. I was the first on my D.C. block to display four Obama signs, two in the yard and two in our second floor bedroom windows. My house was transformed into an Obama battle station for community outreach. Hell, I even lost a couple of black pro-Hillary friends because I questioned their lack of solidarity.
It all sounded so perfect until he won. Then I started making note of his decisions to:
1. Not hold W accountable for WMDs and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. Not hold the bankers accountable for the financial crash of '08.
3. Bail out Wall Street with nearly $1 trillion dollars without demanding any concessions for the American people.
4. Call American homeowners "irresponsible" for being under water in their mortgages. Message sent to homeowners was No Bail Out for You.
5. During the campaign he said that he would, "renegotiate NAFTA and CAFTA," after the campaign he changed his mind. Message sent to American workers was those jobs are gone forever.
All of this happened within the first 100 days and then we all watched as he:
6. negotiated a weak health care bill without a public option,
7. ordered hundreds of drone strikes while killing innocent people,
8. refused repeatedly to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus although he met with gay activists, and lobbyists from the Latino and Jewish communities and
9. jumped eagerly at every public opportunity to lecture black men on personal responsibility while not offering any policies to directly impact the black condition.
The last straw for me was Obama's speech at last weekend's Morehouse College graduation where he again gave black men that same “personal responsibility” speech. ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
Because Obama has made it clear by the look of his cabinet, his actions of disrespect towards black members of Congress and his words of publicly castigating black men, the black community sincerely needs to re-examine their love affair with a politician who has at every opportunity given us his azz to kiss.
Maybe Rev. Jesse Jackson was trying to tell us something when his was quoted off air on an open mic prior to Obama's election in '08.
Now I'm calling on the CBC to immediately make two demands of our first biracial POTUS: Add blacks to the protected list along with Native Americans and Alaskan natives on all government contracting opportunities and end the war on drugs and pardon all nonviolent drug offenders.
The latter demand is self-explanatory, but the former will allow small black businesses to receive a certain percentage of government work without having to compete against every other group of Americans. If Obama fails to deliver on these demands by the end of '13, the CBC should immediately launch an educational campaign across the country in congressional districts where a black member isn't running and tell black voters to NOT VOTE in the mid-term elections of '14.
This is the only strategy that will send Obama and the Democratic National Committee a clear sign that the black community has finally awaken from their empty symbolism stupor, is no longer drinking his punch and demanding substantive policies that will directly impact the black condition.
CBC, it's now or never, because after the mid-term elections of '14 you will have lost all of your leverage with this administration. The black community cannot eat symbols. We need substance to feed our families. This is chess not checkers.
Leo Alexander is a business consultant in Washington, D.C. , who writes frequently on public policy issues.