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William Owens Jr.: Black Americans should not settle for Obama

 


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Published Friday, Sep. 12, 3:01 pm
Filed under Politics

Column by William Owens Jr.

Historic opportunities deserve much praise and much pause. Americans should laud the possibility of the first Black American president, but they should also contemplate the qualities and vision of that prospective president; and more importantly what these would mean for the potential of another Black American president.

I ask the 92 percent of Black Americans, and the many White Americans who want to prove they are not racist, what will you say or do when Obama doesn’t deliver?

Not too many of us are ready to face the hard facts of what an Obama administration would bring: historically high tax increases, more nanny state programs that nurture dependency on government, a health-care program that would bankrupt the federal government, an energy policy that would make us more dependent on foreign oil, a slashed national defense, and a less secure country. In other words, Obama’s “Change” is a code word for Jimmy Carter.

Obama has capitalized on his skin color, counting on Black Americans to vote for him simply because he is “Black.” When the issues are at the forefront, Obama’s poll numbers go down and his race rhetoric heats up. In Pennsylvania on Saturday, reeling from a charged RNC, Obama told his audience, “I know that the temptation is to say, You know, ‘He’s got a funny name,’ You know, ‘We’re not sure about him.’ … And that’s what the Republicans, when they say, ‘This isn’t about issues, it’s about personalities,’ what they’re really saying is, ‘We’re going to try to scare people about Barack. So we’re going to say that you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections or we’re going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals or he’s not patriotic.’”

Obama’s dependence on identity politics could prove disastrous for the future of Black political leaders. A failed Obama administration has the potential to create a racial backlash. Those who voted for Obama, based simply on his “Blackness,” could easily become disheartened and blame his failings simply on his skin color.

Black Americans deserve better representation. We deserve a person who has proven their loyalty to their heritage, to their country and to their neighbor. Unfortunately, Obama has not provided these, and Black America is blindly settling for less. Now is not the time for us to cash in on this type of representation of the first Black president. Let’s hold. Let’s be patient. Let’s wait.


Comments

  • Likes it Quiet

    Bravo!…I say bravo William Owens Jr.!

    Within this very issue of Augusta Free Press are the tax plans of John McCain and Barack Obama so that we can compare them side-by-side.

    As I assume you can see for yourself, Obama’s tax increases are only for those making between $603,403 and $2.87 million. Since you imply that those tax increases are undesirable, I infer that you are either within that income bracket, or have a deep concern for the welfare of the very wealthy.

    Though I am within a very low working class income bracket that would actually pay less taxes under Obama than under McCain, I applaud the fact that you care so much for the well-to-do. If you are within that affluent income category, then congratulations! …if you are below that income level but are just very concerned for the well-being of the wealthy, I believe that is a very generous and magnanimous attitude.

    Too few people are concerned or even aware of the travails of the highly prosperous. A surplus of money opens up options in life. Options mean choice. Choosing takes time and possibly much bother about where to spend or invest one’s surplus money to the best effect. Worry, concern and stress can’t be far behind. Being wealthy must be an ordeal. No one needs that sort of stress in their lives.

    If you are a lower income earner (making between $18,982 and $37,595) John McCain will cut your taxes by $113.

    But, Barack Obama will cut your taxes by $892.

    Clearly, McCain’s plan is to relieve the lower-income earners of more of their income. This will in turn relieve the lower-income earners of the stress that would come with a higher income. As a multi-millionaire, John McCain knows first-hand the burdens of too much wealth, and evidently, his mission is to shelter the poor from such a burden. Bravo Mr. Owen, in being behind that mission.

    Before reading your carefully thought-out reasons for not voting a Black man into the presidency, I had originally thought of African-Americans as being just as capable as anyone to either fail or succeed by their own merit, and I thought that any failure would reflect only personally on them and not on their entire ethnic group.

    As a middle aged white man, I lived through the period of civil rights, desegregation and the fight for equal opportunities for all Americans. With that in mind, it’s a bit peculiar, I’ll admit, to hear from you as an African-American that it might be the best thing for Black Americans that they should not be put into high political office or indeed in any positions of responsibility for fear that any failure will reflect badly on Black America as a whole.

    It sounds counter-intuitive to me, but I’ll take your word for it that more opportunity and equal access to jobs has been bad for African Americans because if they fail, it will create as you say “a racial backlash.” I would not want that.

    I was raised to believe in equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, religion or ethnic background so it’s difficult for me to believe your reasoning at first. I suppose that I should be convinced by your judgment as an African-American that Black people in positions of responsibility and leadership risk failure and risk that “racial backlash” you mentioned.

    So I suppose that despite any initial misgivings, we should take to heart your feelings that, as you say, “Let’s hold. Let’s be patient. Let’s wait” for now when considering a Black man for president …and we should also extend that judgment of yours when thinking about all Black Americans in any position of responsibility or leadership. As your school of thought goes, if we keep those opportunities from African Americans, then they cannot fail and create that “racial backlash.”

    I’ll consider your principles… that we don’t want to encumber the lower classes with the burden of more income, nor do we want to impede Black Americans’ progress by appointing them into positions of leadership or responsibility.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    William Owens said, “I ask the 92 percent of Black Americans, and the many White Americans who want to prove they are not racist, what will you say or do when Obama doesn’t deliver?”

    First of all, I’m offended that you suggest that many white Americans plan on voting for Obama to prove we are not racists. In fact, that’s a rather racist attitude on your part, Mr. Owens. Your attitude is that “many white people” who want Obama are unable to make a decision based on the merits of the candidate. Well, I’m white and I’m voting for Obama. It has nothing to do with race. I’m not such a shallow white person as to make such an important decision based on a minor aspect of a candidate’s being. I am voting for Obama for the change I believe he will bring to our country, a fresh, enthusiastic, optimistic outlook grounded in critical, sensible goals regarding education, foreign relations, the economy, the environment, health care, and more.

  • Bill Dolack

    Apparently the foreward to William Owens’ book was written by Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

    Senator Obama’s answer to the ills of society, of higher government spending, weaker national defense, continued tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, and support of gay marriage, are diametrically opposed to everything African Americans truly believe and an anathema to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    As a Black American, I have developed serious doubts about Senator Barack Obama. Based on what I have seen, read and heard, I have come to view him as potentially dangerous–for our country and in particular for Black Americans.

    I urge you, don’t put your race before your principles, before the truth, before your family, and before your own country.

  • http://augustafreepress.com chrisgraham

    Thanks for tracking that down, Bill.

    To comment: Sen. McCain’s fiscal policy leaves us in a deeper lurch than we’re already in by cutting taxes on the superwealthy in the hundreds of billions of dollars and balancing that by advancing earmarks reforms that at best save us $40 billion to $50 billion, with the more conservative estimates putting that tab closer to $20 billion.

    The weaker national defense line is also arguable. Is our national defense stronger fighting a war in Iraq that does not have a defined endpoint and also leaves us vulnerable in Afghanistan and utterly incapable of responding if other hot spots develop? I’m not sure I would agree that it would.

    I will not share in Alveda King’s over-the-top characterizations of candidates as being “dangerous.” It is unfortunate that someone would go that route in the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    I agree with your comments, Chris. Thank you. Misinformation needs to be pointed out and corrected.

    And a little clarifying question, Bill. How would same sex marriage or civil unions (Obama is against same sex marriage but supports civil unions, so please be careful with the information you pass along) be “diametrically opposed to everything African Americans truly believe and an anathema to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”? Did MLK Jr. speak out against equal right for gays and lesbians? And are you truly saying all African Americans – even gay African Americans and their partners – are opposed to the idea that they might be able to live with or marry each other and receive equal protection under the law to those enjoyed by opposite sex couples?

  • Bill Dolack

    I posted Ms. King’s excerpt from the foreward of Mr. Owens book simply as an interesting point.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    If it was an excerpt then, and not your own words, you should have used quotation marks and indicated it was an excerpt. I see you used a semi-colon, but that could have meant you were paraphrasing to show your own agreement with the forward.

  • John Honest

    Speaking of “dishonesty” in McCain’s TV ads, on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume pointed out Barack “Obama goes around claiming he’s going to cut the taxes of 95 percent of the public, which is literally impossible” since “40 percent of American taxpayers don’t pay any income tax,” but that hasn’t stopped ABC (directly) and CBS (implicitly) in recent days from advancing that Obama claim as fact.

    Charles Gibson, in his third interview session with Sarah Palin excerpted on Friday’s 20/20 and Nightline (see earlier NB item), stated that Obama will extend the “Bush tax cuts on everything but people who own or earn more than $250,000 a year — cuts taxes on over 91 percent of the country.”

    On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason looked at how the Obama and McCain tax plans would impact three Ohio families, including Charles and Joi Beacham who earn $32,000. Mason asked them: “In terms of taxes, what do you want from the next President?” Joi, a school teacher with an astounding level of chutzpah, replied: “Relief.” Chutzpah because, as Mason only noted later (and deserves credit for doing so unlike many of his colleagues over the years), the Beachams “paid no taxes in 2007.”

    Nonetheless, Mason proceeded to report how the Beachams would benefit more from Obama than McCain since they “would see no change in their taxes under McCain, but the Obama plan would help them” because they would get refundable credits and thus “receive a check from the government for more than $2,200.”

  • Bill Dolack

    Elizabeth, actually it was a colon, not a semicolon. But you’re right, I should have used quotation marks. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Wayne

    John Honest,
    Exelent point about people receiving money back when they paid no taxes. I believe that is call income redistribution.
    I also think that Likes it Quiet forgets that many of these people who earned a great deal of money already pay more than their fair share of the tax burden and many (maybe not all).
    Money is an incentive for hard work so we should not turn around and punish somebody for earning wealth through hard work.
    Finally Likes it Quiet needs to remember that it is the wealthy invest in businesses that give people like us a job.

    Just my two cents (from a guy who is NOT wealthy)

  • http://augustafreepress.com chrisgraham

    Whatever media organization that had it that the Beacham family “paid no taxes in 2007″ is guilty of misrepresentation of facts. I doubt seriously that the Beachams were able to avoid sales taxes at Wal-Mart when they bought groceries every week in 2007. I also doubt that they were able to avoid paying gas taxes when they filled ‘er up. I could give you a hundred other examples of how families that our unnamed media organization and John Honest would have you believe pay no taxes actually do.

    If one is interested in giving these families that don’t pay income taxes, but pay a similar percentage of their income in other taxes as families in higher income brackets do overall, how does one give them tax relief? The simplest way is earned income tax credits.

    On another note, I have to raise issue with the observation made in this thread that it is the correct thing to do because “the wealthy invest in business and give people like us a job.” The wealthy will invest in business whether the upper tax rate is 35 percent or 39.6 percent. The 1990s proved that. People with capital will find ways to make more money through their capital than the use of hard physical or mental labor. That only makes logical sense. The 1990s also proved that focusing tax cuts on the middle class will fuel the U.S. economy greater than tax cuts for the wealthy because it puts more money in the hands of the people who use their money to purchase the goods and services that the American economy is based on.

    It’s the same theory behind the economic stimulus package that both parties agreed to earlier this year, and Obama is saying he would do a second time to prime the economic pump. And the theory behind the New Deal back in the 1930s. Put money in the hands of consumers, and they will want to buy things, and when they want to buy things, business and industry will make sure that there are things for them to buy.

    As we saw in the 1980s, and are seeing again in the 2000s, focusing tax cuts on the wealthy does little to spur additional investment in the economy necessary to make up for the gap in the federal budget that results in a way that keeps the economy moving for a sustained period of time.

    Another two cents here from another guy who is not wealthy.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    Bill, you’re right. I see it was a colon. My monitor screen is not that clear. Sorry.

  • Bill Dolack

    Elizabeth, I actually had to go back and check, then re-check, because the characters are awfully close and it’s hard to see. Quotation marks would have solved the entire misunderstanding.

  • DeAndre

    I agree with mr.Owens.So many people are willfully blind and ignorant to the plain truth,senator Obama is a proven liar with a shabby record,abominable acquaintences and typical liberal political tendencies(not change).He is also pro-infanticide.If thats not disturbing to you,I think you need therapy.Have a great day.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    DeAndre, back up your accusations with proven facts. What “lies?” What “shabby record?” From where do you get information that you claim to be “plain truth?”

    If I’d said the same about McCain, you would have wanted something concrete to support my claims, yes?

  • http://augustafreepress.com chrisgraham

    I think this request from Ms. Massie to be a solid one.

  • Aaron

    shabby record:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/us/politics/20obama.html

    http://www.houstonpress.com/2008-02-28/news/barack-obama-screamed-at-me/1

    lies:

    http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-81198

    (if you don’t believe this source then I’m sure there’s plenty on factcheck.org)

    liberal tendencies:

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/sen/lib.htm

    I can find things on this questionable associations but you would probably dismiss them as partisan propaganda.

  • http://augustafreepress.com chrisgraham

    A while back, Aaron, you asked me to produce a list of legislative accomplishments of Barack Obama. I did, and asked you to produce such a list for John McCain.

    I’m still waiting on the list of McCain’s accomplishments.

  • Aaron

    Since 2001,

    He and Dem. Joe Lieberman wrote the legislation that created the 9/11 Commission

    He also co-sponsored with Dem Fritz Hollings the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that federalized airport security

    You giving me McCain-Feingold

    Detainee Treatment Act of 2005

    Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

    Line Item Veto Act of 1996 (even though short lived because of the Supreme Court)

    And I will throw this one in but I know you will disagree
    He was right about the surge

  • http://augustafreepress.com chrisgraham

    You’re right. I do disagree on that one. Just like I’d bet you’d disagree with me on Barack Obama being right in 2002 when he said the Iraq war was the wrong war.

    McCain-Feingold was simply a rearranging of the deck chairs. Nothing substantive. I’m not blaming McCain or Feingold for that. Both had higher aims than what came out of their work. Still, it’s nothing to brag about.

    It’s hard to get too worked up about the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, too. Its key provision, denying access of prisoners in Gitmo to hearings in federal courts, was recently ruled unconstitutional by the conservative Supreme Court. Not to mention that it is/was an affront to those of us who have actually read the Constitution and believed growing up in basic notions of justice and equality.

    The line-item veto, as you mentioned, didn’t survive a constitutional review. Personally, I’d like to see us enact a line-item veto. But we need to do it the right way, by amending the Constitution.

    I’ll give you the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. Neither are controversial in any respect, though I think we’d both be hard-pressed to say what either actually does.

    The 9/11 Commission is something nice to mention, but like McCain-Feingold, I’d say that there are some negatives out there that could be associated with it that maybe aren’t fair, but you have to take the bad with the good when you go bragging. (And having read the 9/11 Commission report cover to cover, there’s a lot that the commission didn’t do that rendered its report essentially toothless.)

    Thanks for submitting this for us. Now we’re square!

  • http://none kevin chaney

    Am i the only person awake enough to cut through the bs about Barack Obama. The media and others continue to claim “Barack Obama,the first black american to run for president of the United States of America”. It is my understanding that Barack Obama is at least half-black and half-white.We know his mother was white.His father is black(talk is Obama senior was of black-arab heritage.I do not know if this is true…so i will leave Obama Jr. as half black,half-white.) It appears that the continued reference to Obama as the first black american candidate exploites and insults the black americans of our country. When does half-black mean you are black and half-white mean you are white? I assume that this form of racism is o.k. for the media or for someone to gain political power over a certain group of people. It is a sad day in this country that we connot simply be Amercans .Please stop labeling Obama as “BLACK” for he is not.

  • http://www.billdolack.com Bill Dolack

    [DISCLAIMER: Right or wrong, the following post shares what I think answers your question. And please note that I am speaking in generalities.]

    Biologically-speaking, blacks tend to have more dominant genes than whites (and I guess the same could be said for Italians vs Scandinavians). When you have a black parent and a white parent, the offspring tend to be somewhere in the middle… lighter than the black parent and darker than the white parent. They tend to have some black characteristics, ie, curly hair and a broader nose, although probably not as prominent as the black parent.

    Given the fact that they have characeristics of the black parent (again, not as prominent as that black parent), whites have historically tended not to accept them as white. Racial prejudice classified those who certain percentages of “black blood” as black… I know some states regulated the rights of octoroons, those with 1/8 black blood.

    I also realize that many darker blacks discriminated against lighter skinned blacks, but all in all, blacks accepted those who had one black and one white parent much more than whites accepted them.

    Another reason bi-racial people are ususally considered black is that they themselves tend to choose the black culture over the white culture (or they were raised in the black culture). If you go back to the mid-sixties and before, if a white woman married (or cohabitated with) a black man, she was ostracized by the white community. Her children were raised in a black culture.

    Black children raised by white parents tend to grow up in a white culture although I’m sure many (and I guess Obama would fall into this category) want to explore the “other” side of their identity.

  • julz

    Didn’t Alan Keyes run for President in the last election (or maybe two elections ago)? That would make HIM the first black american to run for president, although obviously he didn’t make it very far.

  • rebekah

    Thank You Mr. Owen,
    I can wait until Michael Steele runs…I’ve been very impressed with what he has to say.
    Unfortunately, it looks like Sen. Obama is going to win with his policy of smoke and mirrors and the correct assumption that most Americans just don’t care enough to be informed and i’m afraid instead of the promised unity we are going to have the class and race wars unlike any we have ever seen.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    Trust me, I’m digging as deep as anyone and like what I’m learning about Obama. Perhaps we’re just digging in different places or are unearthing things that can be seen in different lights.

  • rebekah

    trust is something that doesn’t apply to people one doesn’t know and i like to do my own research. unlike you ms. massie the things i read about sen. obama scare me to death.
    i don’t see how having a person of color with different values than mine helps me at all and since gov. jindal or michael steele or even michael nutter aren’t running and one can no longer trust the media to tell the truth i’ll stick with what i know.
    my gran always told me when there is doubt you know it’s wrong and just don’t want to face it.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    I was using the term “trust me” as synonymous for “believe me.” Perhaps I should have said, “believe me.” That aside, many of Obama’s values are the same as mine.

    Yes, sometimes a sense of doubt suggests something is wrong, but sometimes a sense of doubt just means there isn’t enough information available.

  • http://augustafreepress.com chrisgraham

    I’m curious about what difference it makes that Obama is a “person of color.” DIfferent values, fine. You don’t like the guy’s politics, fine. I’m lost as to where the “person of color” comment fits in.

  • http://www.elizabethmassie.com Elizabeth Massie

    Good question, Chris.

  • Pingback: White House ‘08: The Obama Effect « The Augusta Free Press

  • Greg

    FIRST OF ALL I AM A 49 YEAR OLD WHITE MAN WHO THINKS THE THE TITLE SHOULD BE (AMERICANS SHOULD NOT SETTLE FOR OBAMA) WE ARE ALL AMERICANS AND WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER SO LETS GET TOGETHER AND STOP THESE FANTASIES OF HIS THAT JUST MIGHT BECOME REALISTIC. AND CHRIS A PERSON OF COLOR DOES NOT MATTER WHEN BECOMING THE PRESIDENT OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY. AS LONG AS HE OR SHE HAS THE QUALIFICATIONS AND I SURE WOULDN’T WANT TO HAVE A TERRORIST AS PRESIDENT. OBAMA DOES NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY OF A GREAT ECONOMICAL COMMANDER NOR DOES HE HAVE THE ABILITY TO LEAD A GREAT COUNTRY. HE DOES HAVE A RHETORICAL WAY WITH HIMSELF

  • chrisgraham

    Tens of millions of Americans disagree with your analysis of Mr. Obama, Greg. Many of them, like me, strenuously.

  • Elizabeth Massie

    Greg, you can’t know the capacity or ability of another human being to perform great things. This is all your speculation. Those of us who voted for Obama saw great potential, wisdom, understanding, insight, and foresight, and with that we gave him the office of president so he can go on to be a great economical commander and great leader of the country.

  • Greg Messick

    TENS OF MILLIONS OF TRUE AMERICANS DO AGREE WITH MY ANALYSIS INCLUDING MYSELF VERY STRONGLY! HIS RADICALISM IN HIS PAST WILL NEVER ESCAPE HIS LIFE AND THIS IS NOT SPECULATION. AT ONE TIME HE HAD MY VOTE BUT IF YOU LOOK IN TO A PERSONS LIFE YOU WILL FIND THINGS THAT CAN HELP YOU TO MAKE A PROPER VOTE OR ANALOGY. NOBODYS PERFECT AND THERE WILL BE LITTLE THINGS THAT HAPPEN. BUT WHEN THE MEDIA HELPS THERE FAVORITE CANDIDATE WIN AND TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT THEM TO KNOW ABOUT HIM. ELIZABETH MASSIE YOU SAW GREAT ECONOMICAL COMMANDER AND HOPE YOUR RIGHT. BUT IT IS SO HARD TO BELIEVE HE HAS THE ABILITY FOR A ECONOMICAL COMMANDER WHEN HE IS GOING TO GRADUALLY TAX THE MIDDLE CLASS AND IS ALREADY GOING TO TAX YOU ANYWAY. ALL THESE WORDS ARE FACT!!!!!

  • chrisgraham

    They’re opinions, one, and two, it would be swell of you in the future to drop the all-caps thing and share your thoughts in a more presentable fashion. The truth, as you and a select few rightwingnuts see it, need not be capitalized.

  • Louise Weinberg

    You make me sick. You are projecting thoughts and ideas before you even know what the guy will do. Give him a chance and stop being so blind to needed change. Bush and Republicans put us there, now we need someone to get us out. McCain had no plan except to dig us in deeper.