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

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.

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