For Black America, 2009 came into being with such an uproar.
I remember sitting with Don King and Don Lemon in the freezing cold of the Washington night air before the Inauguration. We talked about what the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States could do for a subgroup of Americans in obvious crisis.
Don King talked about this baby – Hope Freedom – that was being born in America because of the election of Mr. Obama.
Now, one year into President Obama’s term, I regret to say that Hope Freedom has devolved into Nope Humdrum.
President Obama has been guilty of allowing “politics as usual” to reign in Washington, a clear breach from campaign protocol from a year ago. However, he is not the biggest culprit hitting us in the gut as we look back on 2009.
Collectively, we are.
Aside from movements including the “40-Day Fast for Our Future” last winter, as a national community, we failed to live up to the hype that circulated around America last January. The presidency of Barack Obama has yet to yield the civic pride that it promised and, thus, we have failed to take that electoral momentum to bring about the types of changes that we need within Black America.
And that’s on us.
No blaming the Republicans on this one. Truth be told, Michael Steele has done more to rally Republicans around a common cause and diversify the image of the GOP than President Obama has to spark a significant (and long-lasting) uptick in African-American pride (and, notably, youth achievement) in 2009.
Yet, that political reality doesn’t matter as much as the social realities we continue to live.
The Derrion Albert tragedy and others like it nationally during 2009 just cannot happen in2010, not in an age where there are Black people that can celebrate having a Black councilman, a Black sheriff, a Black governor, and a Black president to lead their communities and country.
At some point, there has to come a time when big government stops being the answer to our problems (in overcoming “the man”) as a community. As I have said repeatedly in my book, it must take both small government and bigger people to overcome the huge challenges before us. Government always provided a slow resolve to our individual efforts as a consolidated community that leveraged different approaches to bring about the achievement of common goals. Relying on it passively does us no good – just as it was during the era of Jim Crow. Action must come with our feet, our minds, and our talents, not our ability to prognosticate to the point of apathy; (that is, the old “paralysis by analysis” argument.) Pointing the finger at the “bad guys” responsible for the situation (or “holding up progress”) will not change the dynamic, no more than wearing our Obama T-shirts and hats without marching the streets or volunteering in the community will do.
Regardless of the supposedly failures of the Democratic supermajority in Washington through their litany of