BROWARD COUNTY, FL - As President Obama is gearing up for his 2012 campaign and election, Dr. Cornel West has created a name calling and mudslinging crusade attacking the president.
An editorial in The Westside Gazette, Broward County’s oldest and largest African American owned and operated newspaper says, there is nothing wrong with a valid discussion about how the president can improve his polices as it relates to poor people and Black people. But to turn the discussion into a circus and shouting match with other esteemed African American leaders, makes our community appear elementary and silly.
Dr. Cornel West is a respected scholar and author, who is a African American Studies professor in the Princeton’s Department of Religion, and has also taught at Harvard. His credentials are impeccable, and the educated intelligentsia in the African American community respects his volumes of work. He is considered a leader on race relations in America, and he is in great demand in main-stream media for his thoughts and theories.
During President Obama’s first campaign, Dr. West was involved in over 60 campaign events supporting the president. But once President Oba-ma was elected, there was an ideological divide between the president and Dr. West. This problem was exasperated when Dr. West did not receive tickets to the Presidential Inauguration, and the president did not appear at a Tavis Smiley event during the campaign.
Once the president was in office, it appeared that there was a disconnect between Dr. West and the president, and things between the two got worse. Dr. West has consistently announced to the media that he is profoundly disappointed with President Obama’s policies. He has also questioned the president’s backbone, moral consistency, and fairness to working and poor people.
Many scholars, mainstream and Black agree with Dr. West’s attacks on the president for not launching an aggressive plan on poverty and jobs. With over 90 percent of Blacks who voted for President Obama in the first election, a large percentage feels that the president could have done more for the African American community.
Nevertheless, it appears that Dr. West has a personal vendetta against the president and his administration. He is constantly calling the president a technocrat, and asking what does he stand for. Dr. West does acknowledge that President Obama is better than John McCain, but the rest of the discussion appears to be negative.
From my personal standpoint, Dr. West is not wrong when he criticizes the president, but it is necessary to present a balanced discussion, which does not degenerate into name calling and mudslinging. The media has accepted Dr. West as a legitimate leader and spokesman for Black political thought. Spending his time criticizing and tearing down the president’s policies could force the independents and the different minorities to not vote in 2012.
It is time for Dr. West, Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP, Urban League, Black politicians, Black media personalities, business and community leaders, Dr. Boyce Watkins, and other scholars to get behind closed doors, resolve their differences, and develop a Black political agenda for 2012. This agenda must be comprehensive and address the core and fundamental problems that impact our community.
Shouting, name calling, and mudslinging makes us look unprofessional, silly, and elementary. President Obama is not confined to working people or Black people, but must include all classes and segments of the population. He has a responsibility to the military, Wall Street, the middle class, international corporations, as well as the man on the street.
The 2012 election will be here very quickly, and now is the time to get organized and mobilized for the campaign. Dr. West was has the opportunity and the ability to help mobilize the poor and minority community to support the President for re-election. Moving beyond derogatory rhetoric will improve the image of President Obama, and help get him elected to a second term.