Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guest Post: President? But I asked for a Savior.

Today's Guest Post comes to us from a regular on, Stephanie Felix, who runs her own blog Single Black Female Addicted to Retail So show our guest some love as we debate America's expectations of the President: 

What I’m about to say may be a little bit risqué. They say there are 3 things that one must never talk about: Sex, Politics and Religion. Sex, been there, done that, we broke that rule a long time ago. But some aspects of politics and religion have yet to be explored. Furthermore, explored in relationship to each other. So, I will preface this by saying that I’m taking this opportunity in this outlet to explore the two seemingly different subject matters as they relate to one another. 

Idol worship is as old as religion itself. Take for example the Biblical story of Moses’ retreat to Mount Sinai and the Israelites down below feeling so neglected and forlorn that they created an idol out of molten gold. Today, we regard it as hero worship in hopes of popularizing a term with less religious connotations, therefore making it less controversial. But it is conceptually the same thing. We spend hours upon hours following the lives of celebrities, including what they do, who they’re with, and where they are on blogs, news sites, magazines, newspapers, entertainment shows and the radio. It is so ingrained in our everyday lives that we don’t realize we do it. Seriously consider how much of your week you spend on Media Takeout, Perez Hilton or Necole Bitchie? Now, consider the amount of time you devote to religious practices or spiritual enlightenment. Focusing our attentions on celebrities or public figures gives us an opportunity to focus less on our own lives and take a glimpse at a life that seems more exciting than our own.

I have a theory that you may not agree with: we got a President, but really and truly, we were asking for a savior. And I don’t mean a savior necessarily in a religious or Biblical context, because that would be sacrilegious. But more of a conceptual savior, an entity appear as if by miracle to save us from every wrong, completely eradicating decades of institutionalized injustices in a four year term. What spurred my interest in this subject were some comments made by Sean John (Diddy) on various blogger sites on the web. While he made it clear he was still a “fan” of the President, he also boldly stated, “I just want the President to do better.” He went on to say, “He's the person that we believed in so I pray night and day that he understands how God ordained his presidency. I feel there was a promise made to God to look after people that were less fortunate, and many of those people are African-American..." And finally, "It's something he might not get reelected for, but we elected him…he owes us. I'd rather have a black president that was man enough to say that he was doing something for black people have one term than a president who played the politics game have two terms."  Notice the wording he uses. President Barack Obama is a politician and leader of the free world, not your homeboy or a member of Bad Boy Entertainment. As such, it is his responsibility to consider various and diverse interests, issues and agendas, not just those of the African American community but of international diplomacy and the entire United States. 

Below is a listing of just a few of the many accomplishments thus far for his term (see link for more extensive list):

  • Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan (2009) * Note: 1/3 in tax cuts for working-class families; 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects; 1/3 to states to prevent the layoff of police officers, teachers, etc. at risk of losing their jobs because of state budget shortfalls
  • Historic healthcare reform bill signed – $940 billion over 10 years (2010) * Note: 32 million additional Americans will receive healthcare coverage and costs will be lowered for most Americans, but many of the goals are phased in over four years
  • Began the phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq (2009); continuing the withdrawal (2011)
  • In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again (2009)
  • Credit card companies are prohibited from raising rates without advance notification or arbitrarily if customers are paying bills on time (2010)
  • Called on Congress to deliver a Jobs Bill (2010)
  • Signed the HIRE ACT to stimulate economic recovery (2010) * Note: The bill includes: tax cuts for small businesses who hire someone unemployed for at least two months; small businesses can write off their investments in equipment this year; etc.

I know from studying psychology that expectation is a powerful thing.  Whether or not it is realistic, when our expectations don’t meet the reality, conflict ensues. How many individuals are actually familiar with the role and responsibilities of the President as outlined in the Constitution or the system of checks and balances? And how many know the accomplishments of the President’s term thus far or the limitations of his power? I’d be confident to say very few, but yet they feel comfortable in saying they are dissatisfied with the presidency. We were expecting instant results and change from our rockstar President. That is not the real world. The fact of the matter is that we have been incredibly critical of the Presidency because of our highly unrealistic expectations. Likewise, there hasn’t been any increase of proactive involvement, activism or social awareness on our part. President Obama is a mere mortal, like the rest of us using his resources to bring about progressive and effective change. Most importantly, God helps those who help themselves.

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