Members of the Congressional Black Caucus called President Obama on the carpet over the astronomical rates of unemployment in the African American community. The rates of unemployment in the black community is double that of the white community and if taken by city, it reaches nearly 30%, a number that escaped the record books. As a political move for the home folks--brilliant, but as a risky, back against the wall gutsy move--nada!
The Black Caucus is made up of black politicians and in the final analysis the racial qualifiers is unnecessary. Caucus members know that the president has little real authority to make a change benefitting anyone because very few things he does do not have to go through Congress, including the Black Caucus. If they wanted to take a risk, the idea might have received even better media milage if presented to the very group they work with--congress.
Paraphrasing, part of the criticism of the President suggested that if it were white women with the high employment rate, action would be in the works at this minute ignoring or overlooking that if that were the case, the President would have no need to do a thing; instead he would be laboring over whose bill to sign. Besides, unemployment for white women, while up, is not of the type that will put the President even in a "kinda hard place."
If the President cannot fix the problem he will not face mass defection from black Democrats, especially considering the border-line racist activities of the Tea Party candidates and the Republicans continuing love affair with Southern-Fried racial politics.
The President's black constituency won't become Republicans, at the most they will come up Missing In Action and help a Republican become president by not voting. Again, those trying to shape a "black president" miss an obvious point: post racialism is fantasy, not fact. It is an old truism that when white American sneezes, black America comes down with pneumonia; in this case the majority is down with the flu and the minority is in the emergency room.
In a post racial United States, the president could snap out the orders to fix the issue and it would happen as new Americans would see the benefit of getting the least healthy back on their feet with the flu. But in real America where racial tensions nears Civil Rights era measurements, as the kids say, "It ain't gonna happen." Black congressperson putting the issue at the feet of a black president seems more like passing the buck; only in this instance it seems more like jumping from A to Z, instead of working to do it themselves.
The plight of unemployed minorities in the United States is nothing new since records began being kept decades ago. What is new is record number of minority congresspersons in place that could assumably devise bipartisan legislation to help rectify this problem. There have been sporadic attempts to do so, but like sporadic calls from a doctor, while soothing nerves, don't do a damn thing for the disease.
Small help comes now and then, but it mostly cosmetic and does nothing to end the problem. Yes, something needs to be done immediately about the American unemployment problem, but it seems a reluctance to do the hard work and be seen as "bad guys." In case they did not notice, the white hats fell victim to "misplaced luggage," and did not make the ride to congress.
In this America, any talk a specialized treatment will be lynched by race mongering Republicans and myopic Tea Party members as Affirmative Action and leave the President looking for a job while Black Caucus members can tell their constituents how hard they fought, but still need their vote to
continue the fight.
The announcement from the Black Caucus certainly achieved at least part of it's goal in publicizing the trouncing African Americans take in the job market, but it also showed the incoherent policy divisions, lack of individual leadership and the willingness to let someone else take one for the team, in this case, the President. More than likely, this is a display of displeasure with the President, letting him know that his strongest supporters are unhappy with him and the steadily rising unemployment rates.
Calling out the president is not a bad thing, but vacuum based ideas tend to crush rather than create with the result that nothing is done and Americans continue with the strife of unemployment that is beginning to seem intractable. Having Jesse Jackson anywhere in proximity of a microphone or camera is also not great strategy. Although, Rev. Jackson hails from Chicago, he is not exectly the voice of honesty and integrity. His very prescence casts a shadow on what is a legitimate concern. With the anti-American bent of today's Republican Party that seems they hope the economic plans of Democrats, moderate Republicans and Independents will fail in order to attain power again. Meanwhile, the problems will only get worse.
Unwittingly, Jackson's appearance with the Black Caucus may have given the GOP/Tea Party another tool, which considering today's Republican ethics or lack thereof, to use for propaganda saying that the President's own people don't want him or that he has no compassion for those suffering most, which is certainly not true, but in politics--it doesn't need to be.
In a court of law, such words by an attorney would raise a sustainable objection and the judge would instruct the jury to disregard the previous statements, but we all know that words can't be unheard and that is the point. Whether there is an ounce of truth in the words does not matter. Delivery of the poisonous product is essential to create confusion, change minds and make new "facts" and leave the other party defending air.
There is a right way to do things and a wrong way. While not slipping into the mire of the wrong way, the Congressional Black Caucus dangles on the fast uprooting branch that stopped their descent. If there is any advice for the CBC it is to drop anything in their thoughts about leaping, such as "leap of faith" or "look before you leap." They might want to replace it with "buck" as in "the buck" starts here and with a little thought that will be the same place it stops.
Donald R Barbera