Answers From Men is proud to publish an open letter submission to President Obama from a former member of the Black Panthers. The opinions of the author in no way reflect the thoughts of Answersfrommen.com. They are the beliefs of an individual writer who is in no way affiliated with the website. Answersfrommen.com is not responsible for the following statements.
It pains me to address you, our president, that way, but things don’t always turn out the way we desire. November 4, 2008 will always go down as one of the most important dates in African-American history. Not only did we secure the first ever African-American president, we also instilled someone who was different than the rest. Someone not considered a Washington insider who promised to provide transparency, honesty, togetherness, and especially change. Three and a half years later we’re all still waiting on that change.
I fully understand that it is impossible for you to overly pander to the African-American community if you want to be a successful president. I fully understand that despite being black (bi-racial really) you are president of the entire United States. Unfortunately I also fully understand that the black vote is for all intents and purposes unimportant to you. I don’t mean to say that you don’t care about the plight of African-Americans; it’s just that you’re smart enough to know that you will carry the black vote no matter what. In 2008 you won roughly 96% of the African-American vote against John McCain. Is there any possibility that that number will go down against Mitt Romney? As flighty as our community can be, we will never vote in large numbers for a self proclaimed “severely conservative” Republican who is a former Massachusetts governor, multimillionaire, and has less charisma than Al Gore. Speaking of those large numbers of voters … we never really have them anyway. That 96% black vote that you got in 2008 only consisted of a whopping 13% of the total electorate! You are very intelligent, clearly you’ve known this for over three years now. Even if prominent black Republicans like Florida Congressman Allen West get a few in the community to covertly vote for Romney, you’ll still amass a staggering percentage of the black vote, which will be barely more than 10% of the voting total … or not enough to be of much actual significance compared to 2008.
Secondary to your premature procurement of the black vote, paltry African-American voter turnout, and miniscule number of black financial donors, your attention has been consistently focused elsewhere. The not so hidden secret in the black community is the disappearance of the middle class. This problem is happening in America in general, but has been happening in our community for about a decade now. Black unemployment rates have been almost double the national average for countless months, and you’ve done nothing to address this. Actually let me take that back, you did address this issue. At the Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner in September you said,
Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes.
Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on …
Huh? This isn’t the 1960s anymore; marches and sit-ins aren’t going to get anyone a job interview. Furthermore, where do you think we would march? Wouldn’t the first place to march be the White House … your place of residence? Are you ready for that type of publicity that will invariably promote a policy change? Once again, I know that you’re very intelligent, and fully aware that African-Americans rarely, if ever, turn against one of their own. You know very well that if anyone in the black community turns against you they are considered an Uncle Tom. If anyone of dark pigmented skin even jokes that they will vote for Romney they are immediately ostracized. It’s sad that we expect more from one of our own, but when that more isn’t provided, we give them a free pass. As much as blacks have/had a love affair with Bill Clinton, I can guarantee that if the unemployment rate in our community was double the national average without him doing something to help there would be outrage.
To fully illustrate how much unbridled support you have amongst blacks, it has been truly amazing that there has been no backlash in the community for your support of gay marriage. No matter what the polls may say blacks are by and large not for gay marriage (some polls are showing that since your announcement up to 59% of blacks share your views, which is up from about 40% prior to your change of heart). Once again, you’re very smart, so you know that African-Americans like to display how “Christian” they are. We carry powerful stances on certain moral issues, but have no idea where in the bible it says such things or why. Most of us open up the bible only on Sunday mornings as we run into church (aka the meat market) 20 minutes late. In addition, we find it perfectly acceptable to have multiple sexual partners at the same time, father innumerable children out of wedlock, glorify the size of our genitals, yet somehow chide gays for being sexual deviants. Your stance change doesn’t bother me (as I assumed you changed opinions on this matter long ago); what annoys me is that you used the whole situation as a political ploy. You were feeling the heat from Romney’s surging campaign and gay marriage is a hot button topic, thus, you had to make this change just to get some more votes. Not African-American votes (because we’ll vote for you anyway), votes that actually matter. But more importantly, you were sniffing for campaign donations that matter. This has nothing to do with you trying to support Joe Biden. It’s been reported by multiple sources that you planned to make this gay marriage announcement preceding the Democratic National Convention. This issue was nothing but a cash grab for you the whole time.
To be completely fair, my disdain for what transpired during your first term is mainly my fault. For some reason I thought that you were different. But why? Because you’re half black? Because like so many of us your father abandoned you? Because you have a black wife? Because you’re good at basketball? If we peel the layers of the onion a little bit, you’re not much different than most other politicians. You attended a good college for undergrad, earned a law degree from a highly esteemed school of law, soon entered national politics, wrote a few books, and honed your craft in political misspeak. So my apologies President Obama for expecting more out of you just because of your race, it’s just something our people have a bad habit of doing.
Panther John Doe