The right-wing mocks him as “The Messiah” while Democrats far-and-wide treat him like one. Conservatives question the legitimacy of Barack Obama, claiming a large segment of this nation is ignorant to what this Junior Senator from Illinois really represents. Meanwhile, liberals stand in unison, basking in the glow of his ascension, waiting to benefit from this unfathomable run that’s expected to end with a black man finally becoming the President of the United States of America.
And foolishly, too many African-Americans are joining the parade, treating this likelihood as if it’s a job finished. Instead of a job that’s just getting started.
If African-Americans truly want to assist Obama, helping him get elected is just the beginning. If we fail to educate ourselves about what his job really entails, if we refuse to make the sacrifices necessary to help America prosper – if far too many of us continue to perpetuate ignorance, a flagrant naiveté to what’s really going on, and choose instead to lean on excuses that continue to hinder our growth as individuals and as a community – an Obama Presidency will be in vain. Particularly for the majority of African-Americans who vigorously support him.
It’s time for us to wake up!
Obama is not being helped by African-Americans who rushed to blame President Bush for his lethargic actions following Hurricane Katrina – but refused to blame a Black, Democratic Mayor and a Democratic city council for reportedly squandering millions of Federal dollars leading up to that catastrophe. No one else is helping Obama, either, when they’re running out into the streets hissing that neither McCain nor Republicans care about African-Americans in this country.
Obama isn’t helped when entertainers are screaming his name one minute, then playing their songs with the “N” word, Bitches and Hoes on the airwaves the next. Or when Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavs refuses to respect the National Anthem, but screams “Obama” immediately after. And he certainly isn’t helped when none of these individuals can provide a speck of evidence to support their emotional, unsubstantiated claims – knowing Obama does not need to alienate the millions of voters from White America he’ll need to win this election.
It’s time for Black folks to really understand what’s going on. And why we’re continuously victimized.
Let’s face facts: Obama is going up against a Senator in John McCain who’s been on Capitol Hill for the last 26 years. Senator McCain is 72 years of age. The near consensus assumption is if he captured the Presidency he could be in office until he’s 80 years old.
Against anyone else, it’s fair to assume people in the black community thought this election would’ve been a landslide. In the books long ago. Handed to the younger lion with unrivaled eloquence and poise. But not this election.
The inclination is to assume Racism is the reason. But here’s the question:
Is it against Obama? Or the rest of
us he’ll presumably support along the way?
How many people know Obama is Pro-Choice and McCain is not? That Obama wants to shore up Social Security and leave it out of private hands, while McCain feels different? That Obama wants more of a centralized healthcare program while McCain feels healthcare should be kept in the free market?
How many Black Americans have the slightest clue what it will mean for them?
If we’re going to be honest, we’ve got folks in our community who have no idea that more than 40-million Americans don’t have healthcare. Or that Social Security, in its present state, could run out in 30 years. Or that our Federal deficit is nearing $11-Trillion – and counting!!!
And that this recent $700-billion bailout over the subprime mortgage crisis wasn’t caused solely by greedy, scandalous crooks on Wall Street – but some Americans who were a bit greedy, themselves. Yes! Some of whom were African-Americans.
All of these individuals will probably cost taxpayers more money. Likely tarnishing any success Obama had hoped to achieve by avoiding tax increases for 95 percent of American Families.
A typical argument oozing out of the Black community, once these facts are pointed out, is predictable: The same questions could be asked of White America. So why are Blacks being scrutinized for not knowing answers?
The answer is simple: White America is the majority in this country. Black America, having given way to the Hispanic community, is not even the majority minority anymore.
So if White America was struggling to listen to you before, what makes you think you’ll be empowered for them to listen to Black America now.
Especially if Obama captures the Presidency.
Understand something, I see two things resulting almost immediately from an Obama Presidency:
One involves White America saying,
“See, we are not a Racist country, after all! At least not anymore.”
The other being, “See, Obama is cool, calm and collected. He never displays anger. Why can’t African-Americans be just like that?”
It’s time for Black America to ask ourselves not only what our response will be, but whether it’s legitimate anymore.
How much substance can our arguments contain when so much of our youth can’t speak the English language? When they think wearing their pants below their backside is acceptable? Or when one of our shining stars, Bill Cosby, is ostracized by our very own for imploring us to “Come On, People,” and telling us the truth about our commitment to parenting and education, or lack thereof – while the rest of the world witnesses our negative reaction towards him, in disgust, because we’ve put our flagrant crabs-in-the-basket mentality on full display yet again.
We love Barack and Michelle Obama, but maybe it’s time we realize why we adore them so much. Maybe it’s time we understand it is not just their blackness, but what their specific, particular blackness represents and emanates. Not just for their family, but what our families are suppose to be.
They love one another. Cherish one another. Take care of one another. Watch out for one another.
They’re educated, so their intelligence is never questioned.
They’re spiritual, so God is on their side.
They’re accomplished, so they’ll never starve.
They’ve been fruitful, and they’ve multiplied.
Most of all, they never forgot who they were along the way, which means they represent us.
So in the end, we must believe this much: They did so, if for no other reason than to remind us who we are. Who we are meant to be. And sadly, what we’re not living up to.
If we truly want an Obama Presidency
to mean something, let it mean that we’re about to embark upon something far
greater than ourselves. That we’re moving forward.
Remember, our ancestors wanted that for us more than anything else. Even as we remember them along the way.
Please….Please….Please forgive me for taking so much time away
from writing my blog. Obviously, I owe an explanation for this, so here it
Since re-signing with ESPN last April, not only have I been inundated with writing columns for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.Com as their new columnist, I’ve also been during my NBA stuff, handling personal matters – sorry, that portion of my life is none of ya’ll business – and pursuing new endeavors. All of which are really coming together for me right now.
As I told you all on several occasions in the past, I absolutely love
sports and have no desire to leave it. I just don’t want to be limited by
it. Issues stimulate me, particularly ones of the social variety. It
sparks something inside of me, simply, because it never fails to remind me of
the importance of having a higher purpose in life than just pursuing money and
success. And this presidential
campaign has definitely sparked something inside of me I never
knew existed until now.
From the time I interviewed Senator John McCain on my television show
“Quite Frankly” nearly two years ago, to when I met and talked privately with Senator Barack Obama last April in Philadelphia, I’ve become
more aware of several things: My higher purpose. My desire to serve my
community – and my ignorance to so many things I never even imagined I was ignorant
It’s hard to keep your mind focused on sports in an economy like this. Watching folks lose their jobs, witnessing their 401-K’s diminish by the hour. Even in sports, if you think for one second the NBA, NFL or even ESPN is economy-proof, don’t be fooled.
That’s why I plan on keeping my promise of using my website to write about more than sports. I’ll always talk about sports, but I won’t hesitate to touch on life, either.
So don’t be surprised if you see a political column from time-to-time. And for those who think, “what the hell is Stephen A doing talking about something other than sport?”, consider it appropriate since I frequently talk to people outside the world of sports, so there’s certainly nothing wrong with writing about folks outside the world of sports.
No worries! I won’t disappear for months at a time, anymore. Promise.
Having said all of that, let me get my NBA fix out of the way real quick. Here’s a few things you should expect for this upcoming season:
*Greg Oden will lead Portland into the playoffs
*That means that Denver (Iverson and
Carmelo) and Golden State
*Phoenix won’t make enough noise this season, even with Shaq, Amare and Nash.
*That would be because San Antonio, Utah, New Orleans and the Lakers are all better.
*Boston’s still the team to beat in the East.
*Detroit may be a close second, but Philly might be, too, since they have Elton Brand.
not going to do anything as long as Danny Ferry still sounds
panicky on the phones with teams while trying to make a trade.
*LeBron will continue to deny he’s leaving Cleveland, even though he definitely will.
Stay tuned. You won’t catch me on NBA Shootaround for ESPN this year, but you’ll probably see me everywhere else. I’ve expanded my horizons, hopefully beyond the world of sports. But never – ever – far away from the NBA. I love basketball too much.