It’s hard being Black and the President of the United States
By Roger Caldwell
Many in the media are claiming that the past week for the president was one of his longest and hardest. President Obama has always been considered a Teflon president, who was able to slide out of problems. But the Syria challenge and airstrikes have kept the president and his administration in a paralyzing entanglement that has slowed his domestic agenda and policies.
President Obama may argue that his partnership with Russia was always on the table, and by moving slowly with his decision-making on airstrikes, the agreement between the two countries was finalized. “If that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right,” says President Obama.
But, in the beginning of the week it appeared that the president was stuck, when he was riding down a lonely road, and the entire country was criticizing his Syrian position. President Obama found himself under pressure to act on a statement he made last year about a “red line” that was pushing him into a corner.
American citizens were tired of war and President Obama was elected to stop wars and bring the soldiers home. Instead of the president talking about a diplomatic solution to an international crisis, he was proposing military intervention in Syria. It seemed as if he had turned into a different character who was making appeals to Congress to accept this new and different creature.
As a result, President Obama has experienced a swift decline in support among white Americans from 61 percent in 2009 to 33 percent now. There are many reasons we can speculate on why this has happened, but the indecision concerning the Syrian crisis is helping to lower his approval rating. Even African Americans are beginning to question the president’s thinking and leadership skills, and his numbers are starting to drop. African Americans are upset with the high employment numbers in our communities, and they are upset with the president proposing war.
The president on numerous occasions times has made it clear that he is not the “president of Black America,” holding African American youth to a higher standard, and he accepts no excuses. This is very precarious for the president because he is Black and he knows that the gridlock in Congress at times is a result of the color of his skin.
“Still electoral racism cannot be reduced solely to its most egregious, explicit form. It has proved more enduring and baffling than these results can capture. The 2012 election may be a test of another form of electoral racism: the tendency of white liberals to hold African American leaders to a higher standard than their white counterparts,” says Melissa Harris-Perry.
In the last week, I have never heard so many media colleagues talk about impeaching the president. It didn’t bother me when the Republicans were talking about impeaching the president, but now Democrats and Dr. Cornel West are saying the same thing.
This Syrian problem may go away if Russia is able to transfer Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile to international control by the middle of next year for destruction. This will help the president regain his composure and get his cool back.
The second term will definitely be no picnic for the president, and everyone is calling this uncharacteristic period, “a second term slump.” Even though it appears that the president is always hitting home runs, sometimes he strikes out. It looks like Russia may save the president with the Syrian crisis.
Hopefully the president will began to focus on his domestic policy, because everyone is hoping that he hits a home run with healthcare and the exchanges that start in October. In the Zimmerman trial President Obama acknowledged that he was Black, and many White folks want the president to fail. As the president moves forward in the second term, it will be interesting to see if he is really the Teflon president.