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Dr. Wilmer Leon: The Second Term; Now What?

The Second Term; Now What?

 

By

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

The results are in.  They will not be official until the Electors convene on December 17th and prepare their Certificates of Votes, but for all intents and purposes President Barack Obama has won his second term by defeating Mitt Romney 303 electoral votes to 206 and the popular vote 50% to 48%.

Now what?  When you look at the electoral map, red states / blue states it becomes fairly obvious the country has politically re-segregated itself with a solid Republican South (except Virginia and Florida) and this re-segregation falls along racial lines. Many White voters are voting their sentiments instead of their interests. As Tim Wise writes in Between Barack and a Hard Place, Obama’s success is meaningful but “the larger systemic and institutional realities of life in America suggest the ongoing salience of a deep-seated cultural malady-racism-which has been neither eradicated nor even substantially diminished by Obama’s victory.”

In the wake of this recent victory and with the new political capital that has been generated, the African American community must move away from the politics of personality (just being grateful that there’s an African American family in the White House) and mature into a politics of policy outcome.  The time for deference and timidity has passed.  The collective efforts should be on targeted policies focusing on housing, education, unemployment, health disparities, and incarceration.

Dr. Boyce Watkins wrote a very insightful piece entitled 3 Things Obama Must Address for Black People. In which he correctly highlighted that the collective African American community and Obama administration has been too politically polite; too deferential regarding White sensitivity towards race. With the second term in hand the African American community must present legislation through its representatives in the CBC that target its concerns and demand that President Obama use his bully pulpit to speak to these issues as he has with same-sex marriage and The Dream Act.  The African American community must stay engaged in the process as a political interest group and hold its elected officials accountable for delivering the policy outputs that it sent them there to deliver.

This will not be easy. As Dr. Ronald Walters highlights in his piece, Barack Obama and the Politics of Blackness, the Obama campaign emerged from the center of American politics, “…and the structural requirements of fund raising and the interests projected by White voters.”  Walters contrasts President Obama with other Black presidential candidates who have not faced that problem or seeming contradiction because they, “…emerged from the Black community at the margins of the American electorate.”  The community cannot allow the de-racialized politics of the Obama administration and the Mayor Corey Booker’s of the world to become its politics.  The community must control the politics of its representatives not allow the representatives to control the politics of the community.

The questions should not be what should President Obama do for Black America but what will Black America do for itself politically and when?  How does Black America develop the political power, will, and leverage to implement substantive change?  Thereby, dictating an agenda instead of as Watkins writes, sitting “… quietly on the sidelines, hoping that if we are silent enough, people won’t realize that Obama is black like the rest of us.”

The community has a second term, now what?

 Dr. WilmerLeon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with  Wilmer Leon,” and a Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science atHowardUniversityinWashington,D.C.  Go to Dr-Leons-Prescription@facebook.com,  www.wilmerleon.com , email: wjl3us@yahoo.com.  orwww.twitter.com/drwleon

© 2012 InfoWave Communications, LLC.

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4 Responses to Dr. Wilmer Leon: The Second Term; Now What?

  1. Olin Ross Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I concur Dr Wilmer Leon……..

  2. DAD Reply

    November 10, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Memorandum to POTUS Re-Elect Barack H. Obama.

    TO: POTUS Barack H. Obama
    The White House – 1600 PA Avenue, N.W. – WDC

    FROM: Black Americans
    America Nationwide

    SUBJ: Black American Unemployment & Youth Violence

    Mr. Obama African American unemployment at 14.3% for black adults and over 40% for black youth is shameful, unacceptable, dangerous, and also undeniably the first major problem with the second being youth violence that Black America needs and expects you to urgently and effectively address.

    There is something else that must be mentioned to you in possible correlation to disproportionately high African American unemployment as a pertinent reminder and a fact that also can not and should not be ignored. The overwhelming vast majority of large employers and business owners in America are still White Americans.

    President Obama as you must or should well know already, extremely high and long term unemployment in the black community nationwide is not only devastating, but also fast breeds a host of other extremely serious and grave problems for many African American families, young adults, youth, and older citizens in every former income class across the board ranging from the formerly upper-income and middle-class to moderate and low-income. Herein we remind you of those problems.

    The serious and grave problems from extremely high and long term African American unemployment includes wiped out life savings and college tuition funds representative of rapid complete and irrevocable loss of years earned financial gains, home foreclosures, forced sale of other valuables to pay utility bills and purchase bare basic necessities, tremendous anger, depression, domestic violence, poverty, increased government spending for Food Stamp, Medicaid, and Homelessness social service programs, increases in divorce and broken families, alcohol and drug use, suicides, homicides, other crimes, re-occuring and first time jail and prison sentences, and absolutely quite full and unmitigated despair and hopelessness.

    President Obama with all due respect, Black America hereby trusts that you get the picture. We also know that a sincere congratulations to us and to you for your re-election is in order. Congratulations to you President Obama. Black America now for a second time again much hopes, looks forward to, and indeed very fully expects to see rapid emergency results of your new out-of-the-box-thinking to seriously address a powder keg of already 14.3% and steadily rising disproportionately high African American unemployment on both our and this nation’s behalf.

    Undeniably, African Americans nationwide faithfully, graciously, and overwhelmingly helped you to not only gain, but to also keep your job. Please do something bold to ensure that we are not repeatedly denied the same opportunity. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Black America

  3. Cottin Reply

    November 11, 2012 at 4:18 am

    1st year no jobs, 2nd year no jobs, 3rd year no jobs, 4th year no jobs, reelected 5th year jobs for Southeast Asia. I’m just saying!

  4. Jahi Reply

    November 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    http://soundcloud.com/jahi-music/living-life-in-a-dream a song that speaks directly to this issue.

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