I saw and heard with my own eyes and ears what I believe may be a turning point Thursday night when no less a partisan than Tavis Smiley made a confession that surprised the heck out of me. Hannity asked him about the dismal state of economics which blacks in America find themselves in after five years of Barack Obama, and I quote Mr. Smiley: “The data is going to indicate sadly that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category..”
I honestly could not believe what I had heard. It made me sit up straight because certainly Tavis was going to blame Bush, or spin some contrived statistic about how things are improving – but no – he was clearly over the fight to convince people that 2+2=7. This Tavis Smiley is no back-bencher either. He is an aggressive, well-spoken, strong, true-believer and this admission really threw me for a loop because it’s a game-changer. You have to believe most African-American pundits and politicians are privately sick and tired of seeing and reading, day after day, the truth about the horrible effect the Obama Administration has had on black America.
They know what happened in the ’80’s when the presidency of Ronald Reagan economically lifted blacks up so tremendously. The truth is a tough thing sometimes and unless you are African-American, don’t try too hard to imagine the pride you must have felt seeing the first black president. Don’t think it’s easy what Tavis Smiley did, but at least he’s made it easier for others – that’s the mark of courage and I give him that. Here’s the transcript:
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: My last question to you. You often do these seminars with the state of black America. I’ve watched them on C-Span and different channels, right?
TAVIS SMILEY: Right.
HANNITY: Are black Americans better off five years into the Obama presidency?
SMILEY: Let me answer your question very forthrightly. No, they are not. The data is going to indicate sadly that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category. On that regard, the president ought to be held responsible.
But here’s the other side. I respect the president. I will protect the president. And I will correct the president. He’s right on this government shutdown. Republicans are thwarting the rule of law with the Constitution. If they let this debt go into default, they’re trampling again on the Constitution.
Okay, he goes back into Hope & Denial, but still – the truth is there for everyone to see and read. People will hang on forever and you can’t blame them. There are millions of Americans who didn’t vote for Barack Obama, but when he won – they shared in that pride that America could indeed elect anyone of any color to be the most powerful man in the world. I was one of them.
But this is the end.
At some point, everybody has to concede that this is one of two things: An abject failure of a presidency or an incredibly successful attempt to change this society from one of free-market Capitalism and individual liberty to one of centralized, top-down government authority. I happen to strongly believe it is the latter, but either way, black people have been let down in a far more personal way than whites can imagine. And that is why the inability of Tavis Smiley to continue propping up Hope & Change is something every black in America should take notice of.
It’s okay to say you love Barack Obama, but this isn’t working out as planned.
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Rodney Lee Conover lives in California with his whippet “Jack.” He’s a candidate for the House of Representatives in California’s 8th District for 2014.
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