Tag Archives: President Obama

Uprising with the People

21 Sep

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I caught this clip on the local news. What do we have here? A Black woman expressing discontent with President Obama. Now having had a chance to make the rounds to some of my favorite bloggers this morning like Field Negro and a few others, there are some that want to down play what this woman had to say. To recap in case you aren’t up for link clicking, this gal expressed her unhappiness that her financial situation has actually worsened since Obama took office. Now anyone who thought that Obama becoming POTUS was going to magically make America a happy and prosperous place for all clearly had been smoking herbals. No one man can be all things to all people. Clearly Obama has faced some challenges that his predecessors never had to face namely the rise of nut jobs aka Palin, Beck, etc. There is also the fact that a certain segment of the American population will never see this man as a legitimate president. Hell, a video could be shown clearly showing Obama being born and well folks will still believe what they want to believe.

However I thought what this woman said was brave and for many millions of American a true statement. Is she literally eating hot dogs and beans? My guess is no but more like the comfortable standard of life she thought would be rightfully hers by a certain age is no longer a sure thing. Instead of financial stability my guess is there is financial instability. In fact just before my local news showed that clip, there was a piece about how food pantry use was up in some of Maine’s most well heeled towns. I am talking places with multi million dollar homes and views of the ocean and the inhabitants of such spaces needing to go to a food pantry for food. Don’t know about you but that shit doesn’t compute, of course thanks to my job I am regularly in touch with members of the formerly middle class who need some help.

For many when Obama was elected back in 2008 we felt the spirit of change, problem is we had no idea what change would look like. While we are now being told the recession officially ended last year, the fact remains that for millions there are no jobs and what jobs exist do not pay a living wage. If the economy is stagnant it’s because people who are financially fearful tend to hang on to their money. Marketers and retailers are starting to realize that frugality is not a passing thing, it’s the new reality yet for an economy driven by consumption it’s a bad thing.

As far as Obama while he has had many barriers the fact remains he and his economic team did not take the economy seriously enough and frankly I think that is going to bite the Democrats in the ass come November. No, our President and leaders are not meant to be our friends yet in America we have a silly habit of wanting the powers to be to relate to us, to make us feel good. If you think I am lying think about the last POTUS, dude wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box but he made folks (well some folks, the ones who vote apparently) feel good. So to reward those good feelings he in return got 8 years to fuck up our nation. Spent all the money on silly wars but damn it he made us feel good.

Obama on the other hand does not make us feel good, shit we look at him and some of us get mad. Some of us support him on the basis of his Blackness (I’m talking about my fellow Black folks) but lately even Blackness is not enough to keep us from grumbling. If you can’t make the people feel good and or deliver some change that results in a few shekels in folk’s pockets so Friday dinners can be had, well you have a problem.

As I see the Tea Party growing in this country despite the clear level of stupidity of most of its members that tells me we as a nation are getting ready for some change. Yet for some reason this change feels a lot less positive than the change we witnessed in November 2008.

It was a good speech but……

28 Jan

Like many Americans, last night I stayed up (despite being in agonizing pain from a massage gone awry but that’s another post) to catch President Obama’s first state of the Union of the Union address. Thanks to the marvels of technology no longer do we have to watch a speech in the privacy of our home and wonder what others are thinking, hell you don’t have to wait to get to the water cooler to chew it over. Nope, thanks to Facebook and Twitter you can have a running discussions with a bunch of other people. I have to say I might have enjoyed that aspect of things more than the entire speech as it gives insight into how my fellow Americans (and others) are thinking when it comes to the state of things in this nation.

For starters, Obama came bringing a bit more fire than he has in a while. But really is this a surprise? Shit, this man has a way with words, he has a gift for speaking, no one not even his opponents will deny that unless they are completely ape shit crazy. As someone who’s early career was in sales and marketing, I would say he has a great knack for selling us what we want to hear. I can only imagine how hard it is being the nation’s first Black president…the expecations. There are those who while they may never admit it, thought when Obama was elected he would be magical like a Will Smith character…I think Larry the Senior Black correspondent on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show recently gave a great summary about the expectation of Obama being the Magical Negro. Go Google it, it’s a good piece.

I want to talk though a bit about why I am personally a tad somber about my expectations for the country. See, I noticed on my Twitter feed it was almost an even split between folks who are also feeling a smidge disillusioned about things and those who said well he’s inherited a mess and how can anyone expect such a mess to be cleaned up in a year.

Look, I can’t imagine anyone other than someone who truly felt Obama was going to be the Magical Negro would expect to have shit cleaned up in a year. Hell, that’s not realistic at all. But I have a theory, hear me out. Everyone I know either online or in life who is getting impatient tends to be in the camp that is feeling the sting of the great recession. Right now jobs are scarce and to be honest they got a lot more scarce in the past year. None of the original estimates had unemployment reaching 10%…um, we are there. Shit last I heard wasn’t it 10.2%? Who knows what the real figure is but chances are if you are unemployed, you are competing with at least 5-6 other people for every available job. If you are Black well shit, your chances of finding a job are even harder. One of the figures I have seen bandied around is 15.6% for Blacks who are unemployed but like regular unemployment those figures are hard to get a handle on since unemployment rates don’t truly factor in things like when folks stop collecting unemployment benefits, they cease to be counted. Then there are those folks like myself who are underemployed…we got jobs but they are less than 40 hours a week so as you can imagine it makes life a tad tight.

Now I heard a plan last night that seems focused on creating some jobs and surely the stimulus plan did stop more folks from becoming unemployed but the reality is we need more, we need a lot more. Folks are embracing frugality and no one is going  spending (which is really what we as a nation seem to be about, what the fuck do we produce here anymore other than spenders?) until they know that are financially secure again. Yeah, we will loosen the belts now and then but by and large our eyes have been opened and we know we are broke. See, no money means no spending which keeps us as a nation in the financial doghouse since our economy is sadly based on the notion that we must consume.

See, those folks (myself included) who are working hard to survive are not feeling as generous about time. Now I will admit my own personal situation is looking up, things are going better for the Spousal Unit and his clients, which would be a good thing except that soon we will be without health insurance. This past year we were able to access state health coverage thanks to the drop in income, well that drop is over and in a few weeks so is my coverage. Now that might be a good thing except that the rise while good still won’t allow me to buy any decent coverage. Remember the Spousal Unit is a self-employed contractor so there is no company sponsored plan and I work at an agency that does not offer insurance because we barely keep the doors open and unless our funding grows the money is not there to offer me coverage.  Right now a policy with a $30,000 deductible will cost me over $400 a month! Translation I have to run up and pay for $30,000 in bills before the policy kicks in…sure I got 30G’s sitting around. To get a real policy with a $500 deductible is over $1000 a month, pretty much making that increase in income void.

Thing is my plight is the plight of millions, that would be why so many wanted some type of meaningful reform that might make coverage accessible. So when we hear that after a year we might need to slow down the health care reform wagon well, some of us start getting mighty pissed off. Now to be fair this is the fault of the GOP but bottom line we got a fucked up system.

I think it’s easier for folks who still have access to good or even adequate healthcare and decent jobs to say let’s be patient where folks who are struggling are getting mad. It’s not about unreal expectations but about the fact that we literally have millions who are barely existing and many of these folks used to be members of the middle class. In my work I literally see folks who used to give now having to receive and this is not just in my corner of the world, its happening all over this country.

We need some radical change, we need lawmakers to come together by hook or crook to help folks. I like President Obama but what I really want now is for him to channel Sam Jackson and start cracking heads or whatever it takes to create some change and help for the folks who are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.  I think last night’s speech was great but at the same time I look back over the past year and think dude at times it feels like you forgot the little folks who worked so hard to get you elected. (Of course some of my sister bloggers, ya’ll know who you are say really he never stated he was down for the little folks in the first place but I’m gonna leave that alone for now) Folks who believed so much in change that they gave money $5, $10 at a time, they knocked on doors because when you spoke we wanted to answer that call for change we could believe in.

I imagine there are some who will read this and think I am being hasty and yes he has 3 more years to create change but are you aware there are some who don’t have 3 more years or 8 years, those folks need help now. I must admit when he spoke of freezing budgets I wonder what that will mean for folks already struggling but of course we won’t know till it happens.

Anyway, what were your thoughts on the SOTU? Even if you don’t agree with me, I would love to hear what you have to say. By the way what about that Chris Matthews?

Where is the hope and the change?

30 Sep

Like millions of other Americans, during the last presidential campaign, I got swept up in the tide of believing that yes we could make change in this country. I believe I have shared before I was not initially gung-ho about Barack Obama, in fact I was way more into John Edwards who I felt really had a better sense of caring about the working men and women in this country. Of course we know ole Johnnie had to drop out and turns out he would have had way too much on his plate to effectively govern this country, seeing as how his life vaguely resembles a character you would find on the Maury Povich Show…

So I started to take a look at candidate Obama and figured hey this could be the guy. I truly liked the fact he had been a community organizer, having started my switch to the non-profit world eons ago as a community organizer, I know its good work that really creates change if you work hard at it. I was also reminded by my son who fell in love with Obama early on of how quick he had risen. Back in 2004, we were in Chicago when Obama was running for the Senate and both recalled how we had read about him when we were in town.

I grew to like Obama so much last year that I financially supported his campaign, granted my few dollars were a drop in the bucket but after the years of the Bush regime, I wanted to believe in him. Which brings me to my point today…now I know many folks especially Black folks will say don’t judge him, he had a mess to clean up, give him time. I agree lets give him time, my problem is in the work world generally by the time you have been on a job over 6 months, your employer expects to have a sense of who you are as an employee.

Well President Obama has been on the job long enough for me to wonder what the hell is going on? Right now as I type this I understand the President and First Lady are off trying to bring the Olympics to our hometown, Chicago. Um…is that really a good idea?

This past week back in my hometown a young man was savagely killed just down the street from his school, he was a decent kid from what I have read, reports are that he was an honor roll student who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe it’s because my son is 17 but this story really touched a nerve in me, even good kids will do dumb shit and being in the midst of a gang fight trying to see what is going on is the type of thing kids do especially in urban areas.

The thing is this is not the first time this year that a kid has gotten killed in Chicago near their school, hell this shit is an epidemic and now thanks to technology we can watch a life being snuffed out and get so desensitized to it that we do nothing.

Now it’s my understanding that President Obama is throwing around the idea that making the school year longer will actually help our kids, maybe it will for a few but considering that kids already spend most of their time in school or working on school work. I see this as a bad idea. I most certainly am not sold on the idea that increasing school days will help our inner city youth. Instead they will leave school at 5pm even more frustrated and I see violence increasing. I admit there is a lot more to the talk of increasing the time spent in school but I see it as a bad idea.

Pretty much the same way I have not cared for Obama’s pep speeches he seems to like to give when talking to predominantly Black audiences, after all, we all feed our kids fried chicken in the morning…talks like these sound good and yes people need to take more responsiblity for themselves but maybe we need to address the societal barriers that create dysfunctional families. If he thinks folks should eat better, maybe we need less junk food places in the hood. Maybe there needs to be more Whole Foods and less bodegas where you can’t even find fresh produce. He spent time on the south-side of Chicago and he knows as I do that in many parts of the south side of Chicago and urban areas across this land that fried chicken is a lot more accessible than a baked chicken. Shit, the ole corner store in my Granny’s area didn’t even sell whole chickens.

My pont of this rant is that we need more than speeches that sound good, we need actual change and sorry but knowing what is happening back home. I think Chicago needs to spend the money that would be spent hosting the Olympics to go towards funding programs that could help actual people. If he cares so much about the hometown then create some change that will better everyone rather than making Mayor Daley feel good.

While we are at, what about real healthcare reform? I just spoke with a professional colleague whose partner had bypass surgery recently and the bill they got, mind you these folks are retired military with damn good insurance was for thirty two thousand dollars after insurance! After insurance! Yet more and more people are facing bills like that, yet what will probably come to pass for health insurance reform in this country is likely to be nothing more than a band aid solution.

Look, I haven’t given up entirely on the President yet but I will say if he was one of my employees, we would be sitting down discussing whether or not he needs help to do his job because so far things are a tad off track.

Why I am not the president

10 Sep

If nothing else I admire President Obama for being able to stay focused and on task. I only caught bit and pieces of the President’s speech last night but thanks to the internet, I have the broad strokes. I also caught that clip of Rep Joe Wilson from South Carolina essentially heckling the president with his indignant outburst of you lie. Wow! Let me repeat that wow! Whatever happened to respecting the office of president even if you didn’t care for the person personally holding the position?

I like how Obama continued to roll with his speech because as a Chicago girl, let me tell you, had Wilson been heckling me as president in such a fashion, I would have not only brought out that brash style many Chicagoans are known for but I would have done one better.

Here goes, with BGIM as president…”You lie” Wilson shouts. BGIM “Who said that” Once I spotted the offender, I would have politely said to everyone wait a second. At that point I would have got up walked over to Wilson looked him in the face and said if you ever disrespect me like that again in such a venue I will personally kick your ass. Then I would have taken his Blackberry, stomped on it, walked back up to the podium and politely explained that while I have no problem with civil disagreement, I will not stand for blatant disrespect and the next time anyone decides to act an ass they will either receive a presidential ass kicking or I will unleash Rahm off that short lease he has been on. (if you are not familiar with Rahm Emmanuel’s personality, do a Google search).

Then again, this is why I am not president because my ability to put up with shit is not that great. So Obama while I am still not in love with what you are proposing, I have to say you do live up to that joke about having a Zen like quality.

If you want more deep analysis of what went down though last night, well…I am not that blogger but I would suggest perusing the blogosphere since there are some folks who had fantastic coverage, right now I am loving Jack and Jill politics.

ETA: I am not a violent person, I don’t hit my kids and pretty much avoid needing to get physical with anyone but Wilson’s actions were so offensive to me that really threatning to kick his ass and stomping on his Blackberry would hopefully send a message that the time for games and bullshit is over.