W-ed - VIRGO CHARTER: WE NEED STRAIGHT ANSWERS
Earlier this week, plans for the proposed new Virgo preparatory charter school, which is slated to replace the old Virgo Middle School downtown, were unveiled during a NHC School Board work session.
The plans would create a middle school grades 6-8, and an upper school grades 9-12 that specialize in engineering, forensic science and business development, just to name a few of the proposed course work.
A concoction of the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence and the Roger Bacon Academy - an educational management firm with two charter schools in Brunswick and Columbus counties - attending students would have laptops, personal and college counselors, and a strict dress code.
The renamed school would be called The Virgo Center for Advanced Research and Technology.
The community will have a chance to weigh-in on this proposal next Tuesday, Oct. 4th during the next NHC School Board meeting’s public comment section, and we urge all citizens to come out, and come ready to ask some very tough questions about it.
The board meeting will be held in the Spencer Board Room, starting at 6:30 p.m.
For starters, is this the right school for children who live in that Youth Enrichment Zone where the school will be located?
Here are some more suggested questions community members might consider asking the board:
1. How many members of the Blue Ribbon Commission are educators and have successfully taught in downtown or inner city schools or outreach programs?
2. What accomplishments has the Commission made that has helped to close the achievement and suspension rate gaps, improve attendance and graduation rate and eliminate crime in The Youth Enrichment Zone? Please be specific.
3. Our District Attorney says he can look at the numbers now and tell who’s going to prison and who’s going to drop out if the school board does not provide a good education for these children. Were these children and their parents involved in the decision to offer forensic research law and order and policy, biomedical engineering and interactive game design?
4. Were these children and their parents involved in the decision to limit sports to cross country, golf or tennis? Will there not be an effort to preserve a culture rather than force something on a people that is not a part of their culture?
5. Have surveys been done and community meetings been held with significant turnout and input?
6. If the community has not had any input in the planning, how can parents of those who the School Board and the Blue Ribbon Commission are trying to serve be expected to sign a pledge to abide by the rules of the school, and be forced to be involved in a charter school where they had no input? Further, how can parents be expected to trust those who have planned this possible catastrophe for inner city children and possible “elitist” school for other students?
7. How much research has been done to find out why the students in The Youth Enrichment Zone are turned off by school?
8. Who will teach these courses? Will an attempt be made to insure that the administration, student support staff and teaching staff be very diverse and match the student body?
9. Will the three Board of Education members who will sit on the charter school board be able to truly identify with the needs of the charter school students?
10. What is the percentage of African American students who attend the Roger Bacon Academies in Brunswick and Pender counties? What is the percentage of African American teachers at the Academies? What is the percentage of African American administrators at the Academies? What is the percentage of African American counselors at the Academies?
11. If Virgo becomes a K-8 model and not a 6-12 school, what happens to Dorothy B. Johnson Elementary School, which is within walking distance of Virgo?
12. Are there any parents from "the zone" on the Blue Ribbon Commission, or a part of the charter school planning collaborative?
13. What are some of the biggest challenges in day-to-day operations (other than cost), that you are expecting to face, and how will those challenges be dealt with?
14. Since based on a lottery system, what methods will be employed to determine who the ticket holders will be? Will a rubric system be used, and has this information been shared with the parents and students?
We need straight answers and more before our community buys into this Virgo substitute. We know what they want for our children, but is it what we want for our children?
Come to Tuesday’s NHC School Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. to demand answers.
GOP SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES
IGNORE BLACK COMMUNITY
By Cash Michaels
Until District 4 candidate Venita Peyton walked in 45 minutes late, there were no Republican school board candidates who participated in last week’s 2011 Candidates Forum at Martin Street Baptist Church.
And even though the sponsors - the Wake County Voter Education Coalition, the NC Black Women’s Empowerment Network, and the Alpha Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. - had invited all of the candidates weeks in advance, most of the GOP’ers - Heather Losurdo, Eric Squires and Jennifer Mansfield (an independent who vied for the Republican endorsement) in District 3; and Donna Williams in District 6 - never even bothered to respond.
Republican incumbent Ron Margiotta in District 8 declined, according to event organizers, and Cynthia Matson in District 5 called to cancel her appearance the day of after attending a Wake Voter Education Coalition meeting days earlier.
Peyton - a black Republican who was apparently compelled to attend after boycotting the previous Wake Up Wake County District 4 forum held in Southeast Raleigh, partially for political reasons (she accused the sponsors of being “Democratic [Party] controlled”), was politely received by the audience.
On her blog, Peyton supports the board’s GOP majority, and accuses NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber, a staunch advocate for Wake’s previous student diversity policy, of not caring about the education of black children.
Why would Republican school board candidates ignore Wake’s African-American voters and the golden opportunity to address their issues, even though the GOP candidates claim they’re running to ensure that “all” children in Wake County Public School System get the best education?
Indeed, are they, and their supporters, only interested in attracting more conservative-leaning anti-student diversity voters, so that the GOP can gain a super unbeatable majority on the Wake School Board as the crucial Oct. 11 Wake School Board elections draw near?
Already there are strong indications that what was officially supposed to be a nonpartisan election, just like in 2009 when the GOP first won their five-member majority, is anything but.
The State Board of Elections is still investigating who authored a political flier titled “Indoctrination,” which shows the five Democratic school board candidates under pictures of national NAACP Pres. Benjamin Jealous and NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber (including one of Barber being led in handcuffs by Raleigh Police during a demonstration at the former Wake Schools headquarters in Raleigh), above the words, “These angry men have an agenda for Wake County Public Schools to continue with forced busing, social engineering and failed quota systems using your children and grandchildren as pawns in their scheme.”
Referring to the Democratic candidates, the filer continued, “They have 5 liberal allies running for election this Oct. 11th who have supported them in their fight against Wake County families. VOTE NO on these candidates and their agenda.”
Later on that same flier, it says, “It’s your children and your schools - NOT theirs.”
When none of the board’s Republican majority, or the Wake GOP itself, denounced the flier, District 4 incumbent school board member Keith Sutton, a Democrat, blasted them and their “Tea Party supporters” for name calling, attacks and division.
“I would hope that both members of the board majority and our opponents would denounce such tactics being used,” Sutton said, adding that the focus should be on, “…what’s best for our children, our schools and Wake County’s schools.”
The only response from any Republican on the school board was from Vice Chairman John Tedesco - an admitted Tea Party sympathizer who has spoken at numerous rallies across the state - who instead accused Sutton, the board’s only African-American, of name calling.
All of the Republican school board candidates (including Mansfield) back the GOP-led Wake School Board’s neighborhood school policy, which critics fear will create more expensive high poverty schools like Walnut Creek Elementary in Southeast Raleigh, which costs $1 million more to operate annually, has approximately 77% of its student population free-and-reduced lunch, is over 50% low-achieving, and is almost 100 students beyond capacity as of Sept. 22.
The top GOP candidates - Margiotta, Losurdo and Williams - have strong right-wing Tea Party ties, have been backed by major Republican figures like NC House Majority Leader Paul Stam, businessman Art Pope and Wake Commissioner Chairman Paul Coble, and are raising large sums of money from those sources.
Yet, all three, despite their promises to serve in a nonpartisan, apolitical fashion, have done anything but, thus antagonizing African-Americans.
As reported previously by The Carolinian, Republican Donna Williams in District 6 has vowed, “not to see read, not to see blue” if she’s elected to the school board. But as the founder and former president of the Northern Wake Women’s Republican Club, Williams is holding partisan fundraisers with GOP leaders, expressing her full support for the board’s GOP majority, and has the endorsements of Chairman Margiotta and the rest of the board’s Republicans.
In short, if there are any Democratic leaders supporting Donna Williams - a true sign of nonpartisanship - her campaign hasn’t identified any.
District 3 GOP candidate Heather Losurdo says she has “strong views” about helping “every child” if elected to the school board. But last week, other strong views that Losurdo harbored were exposed by a website called, “The Queen of Extreme” which labeled her a “Tea Party Extremist.”
An examination of Losurdo’s past Facebook postings and those of her husband, Craig, by Progress NC, a progressive advocacy group, reveal a strong admiration for the right-wing Tea Party, objection to illegal aliens coming into the US, and a profound dislike for President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
As has been widely reported, when Craig Losurdo posted a picture of a skunk on his Facebook page, and then wrote, “The skunk has replaced the Eagle as the new symbol of the American Presidency. It is half black, half white, and everything it does stinks,” referring to the president’s bi-racial heritage, his wife Heather wrote under it “LMAO,” meaning “Laughing my a-- off!”
When interviewed about the controversy by WTVD-11, Losurdo admitted that “Yes, I support the Tea Party,” said she wasn’t extreme, and called the skunk reference about Obama “light-hearted humor.”
When asked how African-American parents of Wake students should receive this, Losurdo said, “I’m sorry if they take it any other way than it was meant to be. It had nothing to do with race. I have my opinions of the president, and last time I looked, it was ok to have my own opinion.”
That opinion apparently also includes another Tea Party-style bash at the president by her husband that Losurdo approved of, this one showing a little white girl with a mean look on her face, displaying an offensive middle “bird” finger, with the caption, “Thanks, Obama. You’ve spent my lunch money, my allowance, my inheritance, 35 years of future paychecks and my retirement. You a--hole.”
The offensive posting about illegal aliens is ironic given that Craig Losurdo is awaiting sentencing in federal court for his 2007 role in hiring illegals and forging documents during the eight months he worked for Texas company. Losurdo pled guilty, and cooperated with federal authorities to testify against the company.
And then there’s Wake School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta, vying for his third term as District 8 representative.
Margiotta has opposed Wake’s student diversity policy since he was elected eight years ago, but not until 2009 when four other anti-diversity foes joined him on the board to form a majority, did the New Jersey native gain the power to dismantle it, and push for a neighborhood school plan instead.
Since he became chair two years ago, Margiotta has used the school board platform to publicly call opponents, “Animals coming out of their cages”; tell the public that the board had no intention of creating high poverty schools, all the while planning to make then still under construction Walnut Creek Elementary School exactly that; and try to get 6,000 black students reassigned back to Southeast Raleigh without a reassignment plan in place.
Margiotta’s close ties with Tea Party businessmen Robert Luddy and Art Pope; his hiring of conservative attorneys to represent the school board, and right-wing think tank the Civitas Institute to orientate new school board members, and his refusal to ask the Republican-led General Assembly and Wake County Commission Board for more money for the school system in order to protect his political allies, critics say, leave no doubt his partisan intentions to push an even more aggressive agenda on the board if re-elected.
But the Republican chairman’s tactics have rubbed even fellow Republicans close to him the wrong way at times.
While researching Margiotta’s campaign reports on file with the Wake Board of Elections, a blistering November 4, 2009 resignation letter to the “Citizens for Ron Margiotta” campaign, from longtime campaign treasurer Phyllis Bryson was found.
Letter of resignation from a political campaign committee are considered public record.
“Ron,” Ms. Bryson began, “Due to political, philosophical and ethical differences, I am resigning as your treasurer, effective immediately.”
Ms. Bryson continued, “Many people have reported your attempts to influence them to the detriment of my family. I am stunned. It is difficult to believe that you are totally innocent, as you claim.”
The Carolinian tried to call Ms. Bryson with the phone number listed, but it was disconnected. This paper also emailed Ms. Bryson at the email address listed, but she hadn’t responded as to what the issues surrounding her resignation, or allegations against Ron Margiotta, were.
For his part, Mr. Margiotta has made it known in writing to The Carolinian that he has no intention of making any comment to this newspaper.
TROY DAVIS CASE: THE REASON WHY HE AS EXECUTED
By Cash Michaels
At 11:08 on Sept. 21, 2011, Troy Anthony Davis, despite the recantations of seven of the nine witnesses who twenty years earlier helped put him on death row for a murder he maintained to the end he didn’t commit, was executed by lethal injection in a Georgia State prison.
His memorial service will be this Saturday.
Prosecutors say even with most of their testifying witnesses now saying they were wrong about fingering Davis for the 1989 shooting death of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Ga., they’re convinced the right man was put to death.
Even though there was no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime.
Because the conviction occurred under Georgia state law, the federal government had no jurisdiction, or any standing in the matter.
Long before the Troy Davis execution, states like Maryland and New Jersey (which abolished the death penalty) raised their standards for capital murder cases, demanding that prosecutors have more than just undependable eyewitness testimony to convict.
Now there are cries for that standard to be nationalized.
The Troy Davis case has that people the world over - from the Pope in Vatican City, Italy to hundreds of protesters across the nation - asking, “How could this happen? How could even the US Supreme Court, which refused a last minute request by Davis’ defense attorneys to stay the execution, ignore the possibility that an innocent man was about to be executed?
“It was a travesty,” attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, told The Carolinian the day after. He blamed the criminal justice system’s “institutional deficiencies,” dating back long before the advent of DNA evidence, for costing what many believe was an innocent man, his life.
“I’m sure that this will happen again,” Prof. Joyner says, “and I’m certainly sure that it has happened before.”
According to Joyner, who has practiced criminal law for over 40 years, and wrote the well-regarded tome, “Criminal Procedure in North Carolina,” without physical evidence proving the contrary, Troy Davis fell victim to the legal philosophy of finality.
“There is this notion in our criminal justice system that every person is entitled to one trial, and once a decision has been made in that one trial, it carries then the presumption that that decision was correct,” Prof. Joyner says. “So if there’s a guilty verdict, the system adopts the view that as to the facts existing in that case, that that determination was final.”
That means unless the defense can successfully appeal a verdict based on a technical error with trial procedure, or are able to produce tangible evidence contrary to a guilty verdict, the system is set up to shutdown once all options have been exhausted.
“Troy Davis went through that process,” Joyner said.
It was after that that seven of nine witnesses who originally testified at trial that they saw Davis murder a police officer in 1989, recanted that testimony, and joined efforts to gain him a new trial.
“It is only in exceptional cases that the court is going to accept as true, the recantation, because there is this presumption that the person who is recanting, has been pushed to [do so] by outside forces not associated with the trial,” Prof. Joyner says.
In most instances that’s not true, he adds, yet that is the presumption of the justice system creates to support the original verdict, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong.
“That is the problem Troy Davis got caught up in,” Prof. Joyner says. “He was a victim of the flaws in that process.”
“He was caught in a situation he could not win.”
Darryl Hunt knows exactly what that feels like.
In 1984, Hunt, at age 19, was convicted of the rape and murder of a newspaper copy editor in Winston-Salem, based solely on eyewitness testimony. He was tried twice, convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to death, spending over 19 years on North Carolina’s death row.
But in 1994, DNA evidence proved that Hunt did not commit the crime. However, it took another ten years of legal appeals, and the confession of the true perpetrator, for a Superior Court judge to officially vacate Hunt’s conviction, and immune him from further prosecution.
Without DNA evidence and the subsequent confession of the real murderer, Hunt knows that he was headed towards the same fate as Troy Davis.
“Yes, it was really heartbreaking,” Hunt, who was among the protesters outside of the Georgia prison the night of Davis’ execution, told The Carolinian upon his return.
“I did not want to believe that our country would put an innocent man to death, even after all the things I’ve been through myself with the system.”
Hunt says if it wasn’t for the DNA being run through the state database and matching another man, the courts would not have released him from prison in 2005.
It should be no surprise that Darryl Hunt is opposed to the death penalty, and thinks it should be abolished.
“We can’t have a system that makes so many mistakes,” Hunt said, adding that race plays a role in who sees the death penalty and who doesn’t, even in his case.
Indeed, one of the prosecutors in Hunt’s second trial works for the NC Attorney’s Office now.
Hunt agrees that Troy Davis isn’t the first to have been executed based on admittedly faulty eyewitness testimony, and he won’t be the last.
“There are more Troy Davises in our system,” Hunt, who now heads up his own innocence group, says. “And until the mentality of the people who run our system changes, and people understand that we are human beings, and we make mistakes, and mistakes can be corrected, until we understand that, then this will continue to happen.”
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
RAPPER PETEY PABLO SENTENCED TO 35 MONTHS ON GUN CHARGE
[WAKE FOREST] Rapper Petey Pablo, known for hits like “Freek-a-Leek” and “Raise Up,” was sentenced Monday to 35 months in prison for concealing a stolen 9mmm handgun in his carry-on luggage at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in September 2010. Pablo, whose legal name is Moses Barrett III, pled guilty last March to the charge.
STATE FAIR OFFERING TEMPORARY PART-TIME WORK
[RALEIGH] With the NC State Fair opening Oct. 13 through Oct. 23rd, that means a lot of temporary part-time employment. Workers to step and take down rides, food service and some retail are needed, and will be filled by next week. Those interested in applying should go to their local NC Employment Commission Office 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or online through NC Job Connector.
NC GETS OVER $600,000 IN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
[RALEIGH] Good news for NC small businesses. The federal government is awarding over $600,000 to the state to assist small companies export goods and services to foreign markets. Federal officials joined Gov. Beverly Perdue Tuesday at Raleigh Denim on West Martin Street to make the announcement. Perdue said the state will match another $150,000 to the program to ensure its success.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
NCNAACP GOTV MASS MEETING ON ELECTION TONIGHT AT 6:30 P.M.
Less than two weeks before the crucial Oct. 11th Wake School Board and municipal elections, the NC NAACP is calling on the community to attend a “Get Out the Vote” mass meeting tonight, 6:30 p.m., at Martin Street Baptist Church. NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber will present, along other political action experts. Early voting, voter education and mobilization will be addressed. Call 919-682-4700 for more information.
RALEIGH FESTIVAL IN MOTION THIS SATURDAY AT 10 A.M.
Festival in Motion, a celebration of the Walnut Creek Greenway, will be held Saturday, Oct. 1st, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come out for a free day of fun, fitness and activities for all ages. A free party will be held at the Lake Johnston Boathouse from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event includes the 5,000 Step Challenge and the Privet Power Pull, along with art, music, food, games and exploration of its treasures, history, natural gifts and neighbors. Children can explore the past in an archeological dig, enjoy the Wind, Rain, Earth & Fire Puppets; and sharpen their athletic skills by participating in soccer and volleyball clinics. Call 829-5851.
ACTION NC MEETING AGAINST BUDGET CUTS SATURDAY AT 1 P.M.
Citizens are invited to protest against budget cuts to essential programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security during a public meeting in Durham at First Presbyterian Church, 305 East Main Street, starting at 1 p.m. For more information call Gloria De Los Santos at 919-794-8210, or Gloria@actionnc.org.
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
THANK YOU - Last week I had the privilege of moderating to great events.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, I moderated the 2011 Candidates Forum at Martin Street Baptist Church Family Life Center, sponsored by the Wake County Voter Education Coalition; the NC Black Women’s Empowerment Network; and Alpha Theta Omega Chapter of AKA, Inc.
It was both a lot of fun, and an honor to serve. Thanks.
On Saturday, Sept. 24th, I also had the special honor of moderating “The Great Debate - Why Should I Vote?,” at Poplar Springs Christian Church in Raleigh, which featured some extraordinarily sharp students from St. Augustine’s College, Wake Technical Community College, Enloe High, Leesville High, in addition to graduates from UNC-Chapel Hill, NC Central University and Peace College.
The students debated the pros and cons to voting in a very spirited, yet very informative session. It was good to see and hear.
All in all, it was wonderful spending time last week at these two great events, and this Friday, I’ll be back at Martin Street Baptist for the Raleigh-Apex NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet Friday night.
I’m looking forward to it.
TV RATINGS - Now that the new TV season has begun, I’m sure you’ll want to know how your favorite shows are doing.
TV RATINGS - Now that the new TV season has begun, I’m sure you’ll want to know how your favorite shows are doing.
Last week, “Two and a Half Men” on CBS was the Number One show in the nation, followed by ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which tied with “NCIS” on CBS for Number Three. The top new show thus far is CBS’s “Two Broke Girls,” followed by “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
The Tuesday edition of “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC IS 7th, the pre-game show for NBC’s Sunday Night Football follows, CBS’s lousy new show “Unforgettable” is 9th, and CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” is 10th.
Shows in trouble include NBC’s “The Playboy Club” (kiss it goodbye), and “Law and Order: SVU” now that Chris Meloni (Lt. Stabler) has left. “CSI” on CBS is doing OK on its new Wednesday night at 10 p.m. perch.
SARAH’S SOUR - ABC News is reporting that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may sue the author of a new book that alleges, among other things, that as a young sports reporter, she messed around with black NBA star Glenn Rice, and also took drugs. Palin’s husband, Todd, has denied that and other juicy tidbits found in “The Rogue,” a totally unflattering look at the Tea Party darling, written by Joe McGinniss.
The Palin family attorney is the one who sent a “threatening” legal letter to Crown Publishing about the tell-all, alleging that McGinniss knows the book isn’t true. That’s the first step towards court.
This could be a sure bet that a certain Republican ex-governor will not be running for president anytime soon.
“BOUNCE” IS HERE! - This week, a new over-the-air television network for African-Americans made its debut called “Bounce.” It airs in three markets in North Carolina, including Wilmington on WECT 6.2 Digital. It’s free TV, not cable, and former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, and Martin Luther King III are some of the people behind it.
Unlike BET or TV One, Bounce will be the home of old-time stuff like Soul Train, classic movies like “The Wiz” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” CIAA Sports will be featured, as well as documentaries and inspirational programming.
Raleigh does not have Bounce yet, so contact one of your local TV stations (not cable) to ask if they can carry it on one of their digital channels. They’re already running a lot of stuff there that nobody’s watching. If they know there is a black audience hungry to watch great black movie classics and CIAA Sports, they may make the switch.
TEN LARGEST “CHOCOLATE” CITIES - Ever wonder what the top ten US cities for black people (defined not only as African-American, but Caribbean, Haitian, etc) are? According to The Atlanta Post, the latest US Census figures show Los Angeles, CA with 859,086 is 10; Dallas, TX with 941,695 is 9; Detroit, MI with 972,689 is 8; Houston, TX with 998,883 is 7; Miami, FL with 1,096,536 is 6; Philadelphia, PA with 1,204,303 is 5; Washington, D.C. with 1,409,473 is 4; Chicago, IL with 1,613,644 is 3; Atlanta, GA with 1,679,979 is 2; and the Number 1 American city for blacks is New York City, with a whopping 3,044,096.
Some of these cities, like Washington, D.C. and Detroit, are losing their black populations. Many blacks are moving to the South.
That means the next decade may hold some big changes for the black community population-wise. With the browning of America increasing, but the hijacking of America by the right-wing continuing seemingly unabated, Lord only knows what the future holds. It doesn’t make sense for the black population to increase, only to see its power and influence decrease.
Please support the Black Press! Now more than ever.
STARTING TO FIGHT - Well, well, well. Now that the 2012 presidential elections are in sight, President Barack Obama has decided to stop being a punching bag for the Tea Party Republicans, and start fighting back with some fiery rhetoric.
It’s about time!
Last week, the White House admitted that up until now, the president has been employing the “turn-the-other-cheek” strategy with Congressional Republicans, in hopes of placating them to come to a deal on deficit reduction, taxes, etc.
And because of that ill-advised “strategy,” our nation almost failed to raise its debt ceiling.
Earlier this year, Obama had to give in to a two-year extension on the Bush tax cuts, just to keep the government from closing down.
So now that much of the important stuff has past until after the next election (or so says the White House), Pres. Obama is breaking bad, traveling the nation, making speeches about folks putting pressure on the Republican-led Congress to pass his American Jobs Act.
He told folks in Medina, Washington last weekend that the GOP vision of government would “fundamentally cripple America.”
Finally, the man is singing a song that his choir can join in on.
And it’s about time, too.
There’s no question that the president is in full campaign mode now. He can’t pull what he normally does - talk tough on Wednesday, then wilt like wet toilet paper by Wednesday afternoon.
If Obama is going to talk tough against the Republicans, he’s going to have to STAY tough from now through the 2012 election.
I hope and pray that he and his advisers - most of whom I wouldn’t trust with last week’s garbage - plan to stay with the script from this point forward.
And one more thing, since we’re on the president.
Last weekend, he addressed the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner.
During the course of his speech, Obama told black people, apparently like me, to “stop complaining, stop grumbling.”
I beg your pardon, Mr. President. When someone asks for MY vote, I get to run my mouth when I don’t see him or her performing as promised.
Then in an interview with BET on Monday, the president became “testy” when asked about helping an impoverished Black America - his base. He said targeting programs to help one community "is not how America works."
Here’s how Politico.com reported it:
[BET reporter Emmitt Miller] asked Obama to consider the plight of a hypothetical young, African-American in Chicago's South Side: Father gone, mother working 10 hours a day for "peanuts," there are no jobs and, "You won't even say, 'Look, I am going to help you,'" Miller said.
"Emmett, that is not -- first of all, that is not what people are saying," Obama said, bristling. "What people are saying all across the country is we are hurting and we've been hurting for a long time. And the question is how can we make sure the economy is working for every single person."
Obama added, "The other thing I want to make sure you don't just kind of slip in there is this notion that African-American leaders of late have been critical. There have been a handful of African-Americans who have been critical. They were critical when I was running for president. There's always going to be somebody who is critical of the president of the United States."
"What has always made this country great is the belief that everybody has got a chance," Obama said. "Regardless of race, regardless of creed."
Now I love my president. He’s a good, good man. And the First Lady is family, as far as I’m concerned.
But when I see the man I voted for venturing dangerously close to taking his base for granted, I’m GOING to say something.
I promised myself a long, long time ago that if I’m to serve my community as a proud member of the Black Press, then I will NEVER forsake my duty to speak truth to power. That means no matter how much I like or love a politician, I am always going to represent the people.
And if I don’t see that elected official doing what he or she promised, my job is to hold them accountable, no matter who doesn’t like it.
So “stop complaining” Mr. President? Fine. I understand that for political reasons, you can’t overtly do what many presidents before you have done, namely try to directly address problems in the African-American community, without taking a big hit from the Republicans for “playing favorites.”
Apparently you see no way to defend it, so you won’t do it.
But quite frankly, Mr. President, I don’t know how you energize your base if you continue to act as if the black community is poison. Not only are African-Americans suffering double-digit unemployment greater than their white counterparts, but they’re also losing their jobs faster than anybody else. Blacks have lots more wealth collectively by virtue of losing their homes during the recession to tricky mortgage games.
Most emergency rooms take the mortally wounded first, Mr. President. You’re telling our “mortally wounded” to wait their turn, that when help comes for all, help will come for them.
It’s almost like African-Americans need to all move to one state, so that an earthquake or hurricane could hit it. Then we would all legally qualify for federal assistance.
Or maybe African-Americans should move to another country, so that if a tidal wave hits us and wipes away all of our homes, you could get on TV and promise that the United States will be right there for us to help rebuild.
The point is there is really nothing standing in the way of the president proposing enterprise zones in poor communities to promote business growth (Ronald Reagan did that), or other stimulative programs designed to help small business in the hardest hit areas.
If the GOP or Fox News begins to balk, you simply ask, “Would you prefer that poor people NOT work so that government continues to pay their bills?”
But no, the president has been made to believe that by being black, he has to pay attention to everyone else but us.
We’re going to have to disagree on that one, Mr. President. You’re banking on a trickle down theory towards job recovery in the black community.
That isn’t going to work.
And that means the “complaining” and “grumbling” is going to continue, and rightfully so, because the pain is growing.
I shudder to think what it maybe like a year from now, during the presidential elections.
I truly shudder.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.Power750.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, by Cash Michaels, honored this year as well by NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.
NNPA Stories :
OBAMA GOT HIS GROOVE BACK
RECORD NUMBER OF US DEPT. OF ED CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINTS