Quite often fellow Africa Americans have heard me criticize President Obama and asked me why I hate the President. I reject the premise of the question.
I don’t hate President Obama, but I do strongly dislike his policies and the divisive tone he has set for his presidency and our nation.
Unfortunately, in the Obama era, disagreement with the President’s policies for conservative, small government reasons automatically makes one a “hater” or racist. Noted black progressives such as Tavis Smiley and Professor Cornel West, however, can call Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface” or a “global George Zimmerman” with barely a peep about inherent hatred from President Obama’s loyal black supporters.
This is despite the fact that, under President Obama’s watch, blacks have lost more of their income, 10.9 percent, than any other demographic group. Overall black unemployment is at historic highs. Even the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus said that if President Obama was a white president, the CBC would likely be “marching on the White House” in protest!
Latinos can thank Obama for delivering a Hispanic Supreme Court justice and for changing federal immigration law enforcement policies so that certain illegal immigrants under 30 brought to the U.S. while under age 16 will have their deportations deferred. For his homosexual supporters, Obama changed his position on gay marriage and repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military. Extreme environmentalists received a delay on the decision to build the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that could create jobs for African-Americans and others in construction and related businesses and industries.
Instead, Obama told a Congressional Black Caucus audience in 2011 to “stop complainin’… stop grumblin’… stop cryin'” and to “put on your marching shoes” for him. Many CBC members were understandably upset and felt talked down to by the President of the United States.
Pointing out facts isn’t “hating” black people. Liberals have run Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, Kansas City and St. Louis for generations. So how can conservatives be responsible for Detroit’s bankruptcy or the underperforming schools in these cities?
Policies implemented under the so-called “War on Poverty” are no longer theories. We now have 50 years of empirical evidence to gauge the government’s effectiveness. With less than ten percent of black teenagers in Chicago holding a job, and murder being the leading cause of death everywhere for black males between the ages of 15 and 29, it’s obvious the status quo is not working. LBJ’s “war” has been an absolute failure.
Like my fellow black conservatives, I’m not emotionally invested in Barack Obama. For what it’s worth, I’m not invested in any politician. A politician’s skin color should make no difference when it comes to accountability. Can we really hate ourselves for choosing to hold President Obama accountable to his promises just as we do any politician who isn’t black?
I’ve had relationships with acquaintances, friends and even close family damaged or destroyed due to my political beliefs. And that’s OK. There is only one judge I ultimately adhere to— and people who disagree with me politically are not Him.
I don’t seek fame, fortune or recognition for espousing my beliefs. I do it simply out of a deep love for my people and my country, and out of a conviction to do what is right.
I cannot close my eyes and ears to the sorry truths about President Obama, his administration and policies. I just can’t. I simply tell my friends and acquaintances that if they don’t like what I write or say— if they find it offensive— then I am sincerely sorry for them. But I will not compromise what I believe to placate the feelings of those who are uninformed or emotionally invested in a politician.
I have always criticized President Obama’s policies and not him personally, and I expect to continue to adhere to that until the next president’s inauguration.
Christopher Arps is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.