Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Barack As Our Symbolic Father:
A Dilemma For Progressive & Black America

I've been thinking about how hard it is to love somebody, and for someone else to criticize that person even when it's well-deserved. It feels like someone talking trash about your mama or your daddy, and it hurts like hell when what's said is true.

After a brotha all but flipped out the other day over my criticism of one of Barack's decisions, I think this is where he, and probably much of Black America, is now with Barack.


Stuck on love when the actions and decisions of the object of your love is doing the wrong things or trying too hard to please others at your expense.

What complicates our collective ability to legitimately criticize bad decisions our President makes is that there's a hoard of haters who want to do him in, only because of the color of his skin. We want to complain, and we don't, and some of us get angry when others do.

This just could leave him and the media with the false impression that everything is peachy with us, when it isn't. It's no different than what is seen in dysfunctional family dynamics.

It's also complex for progressive whites who expected him to live up to his campaign promises, and when he breaks them, some don't want to appear racist by criticizing him. They bite their tongue or defend his actions like a child would of their parent's misbehavior.

My view, which some of you will disagree with, is that we must use our voices to help guide him, so he won't over-compromise with the real bigots, or worse, the people and planet unfriendly mega-corporations.

The latter tries every day to use him - and I mean use - to further transform this country into one big plantation where every-friggin'-body is a serf or a slave. Through public relations ads to funding faux news type outlets, and buying lobbists and politicians, they pit the races and religions against one another to keep us all upset and blind to how they're robbing us blind.

We lost many freedoms during the deplorable Bush-Cheney years, and thanks to Wall Street and the banksters, many of us are debt slaves. For the first time in American history, children have far less chance of getting the opportunities, education, and living as well as we have.

In my mind's eye, I see Barack as a David who was appointed by destiny.

His job is to fight in a round by round match with Goliath - symbolic for the corporatocracy, and the clueless mobs who hate for free.

When Barack compromises or gives in to this monster, he loses a round, and by default, so do we. Too many rounds lost in this death match for real democracy will be defeat for We The People.

If Barack Obama is the symbolic father to us, then we are his children, and the children shall lead the way...

That is our job, as I see it, and why I write what I write.


  1. "...or trying too hard to please others at your expense."

    That's what I think he's been doing since he got to the White House. I really don't expect him to change. I think he's made the political calculation that he can get away with it.

  2. I love the way in which you framed this. I like Obama, I really do, hell I actually liked him enough that I donated what shekels I had to his campaign.

    Yet we are starting to hit the half way point in his administration and honestly I am like "Bruh, what is goings on?" Yet you do feel like a traitor for actually being critical of Obama, but I do feel there is something called constructive criticism and that is something I think he desperately needs to hear.

    Perhaps we do need tp use our voices as you say to guide him and in some ways hold him accountable. Just like a parent there is a time when as much as you love your child you offer criticism that often can get them moving in the right direcion and Obama desperately needs that.

  3. Democracy is what happens between elections...

    As I've said to you before: Some of "our folk" are currently suffering from battered wife syndrome. Not that Barack is a bad husband or anything. It's just that he leaves the toilet seat up e'ry now and then.

  4. I voted for him, I have a lot of respect for him; but he's certainly not perfect, no man or woman is. There are no perfect men, only perfect intentions.

    I've yet to meet the person (other than my grandmother) who is above criticism. The reality is that politicians should all have thick skins; because what they do and say will always be scrutinized.

    What I hated so much about the George W. Bush years were that no matter how stupid the Bush Administration's policy was, conservatives and talk radio remained silent. There were always excuses for dismantling the Constitution or reasons for a man that claimed to be of God to advocate war, murder and death.

    I've criticized our president in the past and I probably will again in the future; but thank god we elected him.......instead of that old codger from Arizona and that airhead from Wasilla.

    I'm scared of people that are unable to see the faults and foibles of their heroes. I'm scared of people like that......maybe that dude was having some kind of fantasy bro-mance with Barack?!?

    Vanessa Williams and Beyonce are beautiful, but I'm sure that the bathroom stall doesn't smell any different than when they or Whoopi Goldberg leaves it after flushing.

  5. Penny Wize, Thanks.

    Reggie, Yeah, Bush and many others do wrong, then run and hide behind the Cross afterwards.

    It's a smokescreen to confuse or deceive others, so they'll ignore or minimize how they've carried on. It's a common strategy a lot of us recognize a mile away.

    So far I'm glad we got Barack in the WH, too, but if he ends up nuking Tehran on behalf of another country, well, hell, I'd have preferred that McCain go down in history for that.

    Rippa, "he leaves the toilet seat up". Funny. Hope he doesn't allow off shore oil drilling to flush the Gulf & Alaska down the toilet.

    BGIM, Thanks, and yes, I hope enough of us blog or continue to blog about our concerns - which is criticism so he'll notice it. We have been sooo undemanding of him 'cause we got mad love for him.

    One thing I noticed though, every now and then a hater will jump in the conversation for all the wrong reasons. I was seeing red yesterday when one ugly bitch responded to a post at another blog calling him Hobama; she was doing that shit long ago. That's the type of hater, black or white, who I hope will be told to go fuck themselves on our blogs when we have these discussions.

    Val, If so, for what purpose? Fear? Or wanting to remain President after 2012 so he'll have more freedom to get more done when he can tell the Right to go to hell? I wonder.

    I'm patient enough to wait for the answer... so far, although this Gulf thing and the drill baby drill deals are like deals with the devil. I'd like to see him suggest a comeback with electric cars and put more energy in going green. Hopefully that's near the top of his to-do list after all our other crisis.

  6. I think he gave hints early on that if people on the left would push him enough, he would listen. But then, maybe he knew they wouldn't, since an organized and righteously riled left, whatever that is anymore, is nearly moribund now.

    Anyway, I'm hoping I'll feel a little better when it's mine turn for Obama to look me straight in the eyes.

  7. I guess it is that time. I wonder though, did we want him in the White House because no black man had ever been, and it "proves" that we have "arrived", or did we really think he'd turn America upside down to right the wrongs against us and other marginalized people in this place?
    Because if he rights wrongs, then he destroys America, since it sits on our backs and the backs of so many others.
    I guess I wanted him in there because he was black and no other had been. I didn't think it all the way through at the election time.
    So now we're here and we see him upholding America, which is what a president is supposed to do.
    He told us to expect change but he never said anything about revolution.

    I love that picture you chose, Kit.
    Thanks for starting this needed discussion.

  8. I come in peace, my hand is extended.

    I liked your setup. I also liked your analogy of the dysfunctional family dynamics and the berating of a loved one.

    However (you know I have to throw a "but" in here) I still maintain that there is a time and place for criticism. I've never said Obama shouldn't be criticized, that would be a preposterous suggestion.

    My problem has always been with those that do not believe or understand how their words could influence those that do not have critical thinking skills. Or those that just need a little push to the other side.

    So, I've been suggesting that if the direction of the criticism does not have a firm and concise purpose and direction, then the desired results cannot be favorable.

    If the above dysfunctional family directed their complaints to the wrong source or had no idea who was listening to their words, I doubt their problems would be solved. And lord knows there's a time and place to talk about momma. I mean, if we are really looking for positive results and not just speaking to hear ourselves talk, one has to agree that a concise plan is always better than NO plan.

    Consequently, the same thing applies to those who voice their concern about Obama without having a full understanding of why they are doing so.

    The common opinion of "we need to voice our concerns" is a good start but without a defined plausible way to do that(where,when & why), we might as well be pissing in the wind.

  9. @Carey: You obviously do not realize the power of the internet. Thankfully Barack Obama did when he utilized it as a tool in advancing his campaign.

    Quite frankly, you need to stop worrying about what "them other folks" are seeing or are saying. You sound like a the step 'n fetchit routine with this.

    As the late great Howard Zinn once said, "You cannot stay neutral on a moving train." I suggest you either get on board, or shut and and get off.

  10. Rippa, *cracking up laughing*

    Carey, Um, sorry bro. No offense, but I agree with Rippa.

  11. Macon, I'm sitting here, still laughing from that satire piece at the Onion. OMG, that was funny. Thanks for sharing.

    Renee, good, thought provoking questions. I voted for him for his platform of change, brilliance, charisma, and his racial heritage was icing on the cake.

    Also, you said, "If he rights wrongs, then he destroys America..."

    That. That part of your sentence right there. My knee-jerk reaction is to think it would be the profiteers who do the destruction by undermining him, but that's too simplistic to be true, because how business is done has tentacles that reach into the core of this country's economic brain and nervous system. Some tentacles are life-sustaining, others have become malignant. Surgery would be risky. Ignoring it will be too.

  12. Kit,
    Thought-provoking piece. My criticism of Obama is because I see no change in actual direction and policy from the Bush administration. There was and still is a perception of change, but the actual policy remains in place.

    The administration's HCR forces the US public to purchase a flawed product in exchange for very little; rather than the public sector it is based on the private sector and is effectively Republican legislation. No systemic financial reform, little regulative reform. Continuation and expansion of the wars.

    I acknowledge Obama is the only president to face overwhelming race hatred alongside partisanship-but the issues he needed to address were too grave for half-measures. Had he fought the good fight for reform and lost I would not question his motives.

  13. It takes heart, surpreme confidence, outrageous amounts of motivation, sheer BRAVERY, and massive gonads to even WANT to be the President of any country, let alone America. And for a Black man to house that burning desire within his spirit, to deal with all that is necessary to be and become electable, to keep his background above reproach, and then to finally MAKE it, in a country where prejudice and racial differences are not only historic but very real and still existing facts of American life, is somewhat of a modern day miracle, IMO.

    I never expected to love, approve or co-sign everything he said, did, or didn't say or didn't do.

    Maybe we hold him up to a different standard than all previous Presidents. If so, that's deeply unfair to him.... and unrealistic of us

    And like all previous Presidents, he will be subject to criticism, whether valid or not, because no sitting prez will ever or can ever escape that as it comes with the dinner at the banquet.

    My only beef comes from those who seem to expect instant gratification from a man who entered office when America was at its lowest ebb in so many ways, economically, socially, and spiritually. My gripe comes from people who expect a Miracle Worker, and imagined Barack Obama would be a Messiah in a suit. And often those same people want/expect all this miraculous activity to be manifested within less than two years time.

    If we are being real, then we must realize that Barack Obama is a just a man, a highly intelligent, motivated, God-fearing, fair-thinking cat, yet still a MAN thrown into circumstances he didn't create, but inherited. He will trip up, stumble, screw up, triumph, become frustrated, make others frustrated, and these things should be expected, as no other President has ever proven himself to be perfect or beyond criticism.

    So, I plan to stay a believer that he will do his level best, weather his storms and the storms of this country (and the world), and hopefully bring us to a better place than we were, as a country, than his his predecessor.

    That's it. That's all.


  14. Moanerplicity, I hear you, and mostly agree with you. Were he a conservative president, I would know he was working wholly on behalf of the interests of Big Business because that's their specialty.

    Since he's not, AND has to deal with the bigots, I too give him a lot of leeway, while at the same time, try to nudge him away (as one progressive voice among many) from over-compromising with the corporatocracy. Our collective voices on the Gulf disaster must be working, because the other night he was talking about kicking ass. Amen.

    Oso, Yes, and I like what you said on our team blog elsewhere, when you told me how this is like Obama's Kabuki. For those here, it refers to a story theme in an Asian play:

    Generally the subject matter would be based around a conflict in which the characters of a play become entangled. This would always move to a logical conclusion that lay within the recognised code of ethics, which governed the Edo period society. If a hero transgressed, he would pay with his life. Honour always had to be served."

  15. I don't know if I can get with the whole "father" thing, but I feel you on this post. I think that he is pandering to people that could give two fucks about him. But in my opinion, he is doing alright. No matter what this brother does, the average white American will not accept him. This man could find the cure for cancer, AIDS and find Jimmy Hoffa and there would still be people that hate him just because of his kinky hair and his Black-ass Daddy. Never mind that his mama looks like she could be a co-host on Oprah.

  16. I'm with moanerplicity on this--and Ishmael Reed, who's pointing out that left and right are joining forces to bash Obama. In "Is There Any Cure For Negro Mania," the afterward to his BARACK OBAMA AND THE JIM CROW MEDIA book, Reed makes a prediction: " the mid 2010s you might see a left-wing version of the tea party movement."

    I defend Obama because I think he's doing a remarkable job in unbelievably trying circumstances. Name one person who would do a better job, and you'll have a person who could never be elected.

    My worry is that we'll be so wrapped up in dissing Obama, that the American middle (with its short attention span and little time for critical thinking) will be swayed toward someone else they think will wave a magic wand and fix things--things which just can't be fixed overnight, no matter how talented and good-hearted you are. And I'm worried that that new, exciting fairy godmother of a president will be a dyed-in-the-wool corporate ass-kisser, not just a cautious appeaser.

    Talk about the problems and the solutions all you want in offering the president constructive criticism. Just don't forget to mention that NOBODY else could be doing a better job.

  17. Okay, let me give my two cents on it. As you all know I believe in keeping it real and I'm not one to mince words or sugar coat the truth. So, here is what I think and see about the whole situation.

    Our President Barack Obama needs to stop kissing those white folks'ass up in the White House and political news media. He needs to recognize that he is the PRESIDENT of the USA, get up off his knees, stand up, and put his foot down! He is so busy trying to be a man pleaser to certain folks to keep the peace, but you cannot keep the peace with the devil. Sometimes you have to put on your war gear, stand your ground, and go to battle with the devil. If you give the devil a ride, he'll want to drive, and that is what is happening right now.

    Someone up in that White House is smiling in his face and stabbing him in his back. He is listening to the wrong people. Whoever it is, they're playing him like a piano right about now. That person is very political savvy and cunning. The majority of them didn't want him in the White House in the first place, not even those who are in the same party as him. He is a biracial man and those who hate black people have more hatred for those who are half n half than they do those who come from parents that are both black because they feel his father contaminated their whiteness.

    He started off on a good foot, but the haters didn't like that because he was showing them up to look incompetent, he was getting too much done and they didn't like that at all, especially, him being a black man. So, they had to come up with ways to slow his roll, and they did. The name of the game has been and more than likely will continue to be as long as he is in the White House is to make him look as bad as possible in order to ensure that no other person of a darker hue makes it into the "Lily White House" again. There are some sick minded people that visualize the White House as sacred ground. In fact, they worship it and capitalism more than they do God our Creator.

    As for the oil spill, he is doing the best that he can humanly possibly do. They expect more out of him than they would a white President who wouldn't be able to do any better. No human being would be able to do any better than he is doing right now. It's not like he can stuff his body in the leak and plug it up. We're suffering the after effects of deregulations.

    They boxed him into a corner in the beginning about helping black people with their accusations and lies about him being racist, white slavery, etc. That sorta threw up a roadblock because he knows that they were laying out a snare. He didn't speak up when he should have and not because he was weak but because he thought that they were being childish and silly, which in a sense they were being. Nevertheless, he didn't think at first that the American people would take their BS serious and would see through it as he did and kept telling people don't listen to MSM, but it didn't work out that way. I hope what I'm saying is clear enough because I am explaining it the best I know how.

  18. I meant to he needs to let them know that he is the President of the USA--the boss,not their puppet on a string, and stop letting them pull on him like he has strings.

  19. Dirty Red, You said, "I think that he is pandering to people that could give two fucks about him. But in my opinion, he is doing alright. This man could find the cure for cancer, AIDS... and there would still be people that hate him..."

    Yeah, that's why I see him as David, fighting Goliath.

    TLS, You said, "...he's doing a remarkable job in unbelievably trying circumstances. Name one person who would do a better job, and you'll have a person who could never be elected.

    That's for damn sure.

    And you said, "My worry is that we'll be so wrapped up in dissing Obama..."

    I REALLY HOPE nobody walks away thinking I advocate dissing him. Hell no! We got the haters for that. I'm speaking about complaining when he does shit like select a conservative for the Supreme Court which he did recently. He broke campaign promises too, with his vote on FISA, expanding the war instead of being out of Iraq by this month, and agreeing to offshore drilling here.

    Barack is not a mind reader. When we don't complain, why wouldn't he think we think everything is just fine and dandy, with his haters pointing this out. In short, a legit complaint is not a diss - although when you love someone like we do, it can feel that way.

    Granny Standing For Truth, Whew! Preach it. You said, " cannot keep the peace with the devil. Sometimes you have to put on your war gear, stand your ground and go to battle with the devil. Someone up in that White House is smiling in his face and stabbing him in his back. He is listening to the wrong people."

    No surprise from me that I agree with that on the issues I mentioned to TLS in my comment.

    However, I think he could have stepped it up with the Gulf spill earlier, ie military intervention (like he sent in 22,000 troops to help the Haitians in their earthquake) to lay down booms to catch the oil... and this is real slippery drama - to do a temporary receivership on BP to ensure we get paid fully to clean up this mess. Their stocks actually shot up today, and I think it's b/c that option has been removed from the table in a backroom deal.

  20. I should also mention that I see this as a delicate topic and a long overdue conversation in the pro-Obama black community.

    With it, are varying perspectives. I appreciate the feedback from all of you, even when I disagree. I think the interest is here so far because the stakes are sooo high, for so many reasons.

  21. re:stocks up due to the takeover option being scuttled as a backroom deal-good one, I hadn't thought of that but it sure makes sense.

  22. Bingo! Kit, you are right. No one expects Obama to be Superman and physically fix the oil spill, that's madness. Yet for weeks oil was gushing and it seemed no one was really paying attention including the president. I think had he come out immediately and been a bit more emphatic and sent some troops or someone to help down there it would have presented a better image than what was portrayed in the media.

    It may be unfair that folks are comparing Obama to Bush and Katrina but I think its because there is that same sense of not doing enough to help.

    The thing is this is huge, our environment is going to be jacked for years to come.


  23. Shay, You're at work, right? I'm saying that 'cause you rarely go by Anonymous.

    Anyway, here's my take on this, and it's important for black folks and progressives.

    The lies are flying that Barack ignored the crisis in the beginning. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    A Washington Post columnist wrote this ten days after the oil spill: The Government's Response (thru April 30, 2010). It's good historical evidence to dispute claims that he ignored it, and by mid-May, there were Senate hearings.

    I think some of the panic settling in, over the saner elements of non-racist America, has to do with the question, who is really in charge of this situation?

    This is because although he's clearly working day and night on the issue, there are glaring options he has not exercised, beginning with

    1) The 30 SWAT teams sent in, instead of engineers, when it first happened. WTH was that all about?
    2) Why has he allowed BP to use Blackwater-style goons to control the Coast Guard,
    3) Why has he tolerated their use of toxic oil dispersants - after telling them stop - which are killing the Gulf and will contaminate the ocean food chain, and
    4) Why weren't and haven't 22,000 troops been sent in early (to place booms to keep the oil from the shores) like we helped quickly with the Haiti Earthquake,
    5) What about a temporary receivership of BP?
    6) Why did he break his campaign promise for no offshore oil drilling, and even approve more after this catastrophe? His six month moratorium on it since then is a great start, but will it be enough?

    Bush & Cheney and the GOP clearly set the stage for this kind of negligence to occur, but, here's the caveat - if this catastrophic event worsens due to Obama's not going the full mile with all options, the public will view it as his Katrina, which will look like a summer shower in comparison.

  24. Great post. Like you said, we are Barack's children, and we have fallen down on our job of leading the way. This has made it easier for him to go along with the GOPigs and the haters.

    We are also his partners. Our opinions count, but not when our fears silence us and we make ourselves invisible.

  25. Mr. Political Entomologist, GOPigs. That's a good one. And I like what you said about us being partners with Barack.

    TLS, Been meaning to ask you. If you return here, tell me more about what you said about a left wing version of the Tea Party. Hadn't read about that.

  26. I believe constructive criticism is a good thing. My issue with some criticism of Obama is it's not based on fact but either projecting one's own dreams onto him or listening to spin from opponents with clear agendas.

    However, I was not one of the people who put him on a pedestal, and have said many times "he's only human." And I see some people holding him to a Super Negro standard.

    Furthermore, I think people, especially some progressive white supporters, didn't actually pay attention to his nature before they fell in love with him or voted for him.

    Obama's a man of compromise. He believes in building consensus. That means he may not ever do anything extreme or surprising or stand firm when enough people start screaming at him. That was clear before he won. Actually, it's what made him acceptable as the "first black president." He's not threatening.

  27. Nordette, Re: you link. That was a BRILLIANT post you wrote in December. It's the perfect analysis on race and how this ties in with our first black President, and explains much in why so many are upset now about our dream for him, including me. I highly recommend that readers here read it.

    "It's up to us to one day elect a black person and let that person simply be a human leader, not transformational figure, not a "magic Negro," just a human we think can get the job done. Perhaps Obama could prove this in a second term, but not in a first. In a first, he can't afford to show too much swagger, which would rock the boat too much.

    All this, as you said, this is what got him elected and he's still a man of great compromise "for the sake of preserving white sanity."

    Well they're going crazy now seeing Flipper and Sponge Bob die in the Gulf, and these are the liberals; ironically the conservatives are still singing drill baby drill and downplaying the destruction and photos on fake news.

    So Nordette, do you think that if he wants a 2nd term, he'll have to rock that boat with BP? Is this too big a catastrophe for him do a Pontius Pilate decision, as you suggested in your current post that he might do? I tend to think so, but if you return, I'd like to read your opinion, here, or better yet, in an upcoming post on your blog. Thanks.

  28. Nordette wrote:

    "I was not one of the people who put him on a pedestal...And I see some people holding him to a Super Negro standard. I think people, especially some progressive white supporters, didn't actually pay attention to his nature before they fell in love with him or voted for him."

    My experience EXACTLY. I'm going to be blunt: during the campaign, I thought we needed someone with balls in the White House and I thought that person was Clinton, not Obama.

    I knew he was a moderate. And while I actually trusted other aspects of his nature, such as the true compassion/understanding that came across in his first book (a quality, I think, that someone like Bush couldn't fabricate to save his life), I worried that he lacked the cahones to get the job done in the White House.

    When I learned how he'd played the Chicago political scene to ascend to office there, I started thinking about him differently. I don't want to come across as an apologist for him, but I think he's doing more than appeasing moneyed interests. I think he plays a long game. I think he's tough. And I think he'll move this country forward in a way no one else could have--precisely BECAUSE he is moderate, biracial, brilliant and patient.


  29. Kit wrote: "TLS, Been meaning to ask you. If you return here, tell me more about what you said about a left wing version of the Tea Party. Hadn't read about that."

    I sent you an email at; hope you get it.

  30. TLS, Yes! I did. Thank you. I got too side tracked to check out this like I want to, but will, and will reply soon.

    And about Hillary, as you mentioned. She probably would have been tougher on the health care reform package, but I think less so than Barack on other issues, particularly Iran. I also never forgave her for these reasons.


Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

My old blogger friends (you know who you are) are welcome to email me.

I can be reached at: