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Did Barack Obama Just Diss Tavis Smiley?!?

Xenophon's picture

Dear Senator Obama,

Will you meet the “folk” in New Orleans?

"See my website" is not an acceptable answer. Tavis asked you a question. Don’t. Please don’t ever disrespect that brother like that again.

Allow me to explain. To those of you not familiar with the Tom Joyner Morning Show (be warned these are the most commercial, "captive audience" sites, I've ever seen. If you want to see what black digital media is like, how paternalistic, monopolistic and exploitative media can be go here. It's a nightmare.) or Tavis Smiley they are, to those of us in the black community, not all but enough, the soapbox orators and agitators of the community. They beat the drum and rally the troops around the issues that are relevant to the African American community. Before Senator Obama knew there was a Harold’s chicken shack, or a p-stone, or a Blackstone or a Kenwood, they were there. So when asked whether or not he would call Tavis Smiley regarding a slight misunderstanding, he sarcastically replied that he had nothing better to do. Incredibly bad form. You don’t disrespect those who are beloved in the community, who have earned their affection through YEARS of SERVICE and CONTRIBUTION. Why won’t you address the issues in the covenant PUBLICLY?

You see, the covenant with black America is an important political document. It was established four years ago and its purpose was to set an agenda, a platform, an instrument, a measure against which African Americans and Americans who are conscious and sensitive about issues of social justice and the welfare of this nation we call America, could hold accountable the electorate and the candidates to an agenda that addresses the changes that we as a nation feel are necessary to prosper.

There was a display of a bit of bad manners from the distinguished gentleman from Illinois. While he was out running he forgot to confirm his attendance at the State of the Black Union in New Orleans Louisiana. Here we will discuss and invite ALL presidential candidates to discuss their position on the critical issues in the black community that often go unnoticed in the other caucuses and primaries.

Mr. Obama! Have you confirmed your attendance in New Orleans? Black America set this agenda four years ago. Have we been lost in a political beauty contest, in Cosby show fantasies of the middle class? Why are the issues of social, justice, poverty, corporate occupation and exploitation, police brutality, and the situation of destabilization in Africa not important?
February 22 and 23 in New Orleans there will be a conference addressing the state of the Black Union. The difference between personality and process has all but been lost. Obama has exploited the love affair with America to cloud the difference between symbolism and substance, short circuiting the process of accountability. A flashy smile and rhythmic speeches are not the same as conscious policy decisions addressing the reality of Black America. The hype surrounding the possibility of history has blinded many to the reality of the political process. The wounded egos of the masses have projected onto Obama a white washed chimera of America. They perpetuate, through him, the myth of race transcendence. Obama may represent the promise of an eventual transcendence of race but we are not there yet. We have not yet accomplished what we set out to accomplish with the first of the State of Black America conferences. This is an important event. It is critical first, to the state of Black Americans, and second, to the welfare of the nation. SENATOR OBAMA will you be there in New Orleans?

Go ahead Tavis Keep the Faith!!

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Glad somebody else said that, but yes indeedy. Now that Barak has got his sights set on a clean hands, fancy dress job up in the big white house, did you really think he would still want to sit down down with the field hands and dig around in the dirt?

The man's movin' on up, step out the way.

[nice post, X]

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Thank you.

I had no illusions. I think I was in the leading charge of the Obama realist camp. But, my point is I don;t care who you are. Tavis is important to us. i don't always agree with him. But you can't just dismiss him. And most certainly you don't disrepsect him. If I hear another see my website statement ... Ahhh!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

is the Western expression of the honor code for loyalty, but I'm thinking that Barak's loyalties are actually elsewhere and not with thee and me or anybody else who has struggled.

Maybe we're wrong, maybe he's just doing what he has to do to pass for white and play the game and he'll be what all his followers are projecting; if it turns out so I'll apologize and join the club. If not, there are going to be some seriously angry folks out there, and I really wouldn't want to be him.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Tavis Smiley just isn't likable enough.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

what we do here. two eduhmacated black folk. some intellectual commenters both pro and anti. some guest posters for and against. lots and lots of substantive links supporting why we say what we do. acceptance and openness for those who disagree. opportunity for all to hash out the specifics.

but no. we're "too extreme." we're racists, hateful, shrill, and covered in foil. we're not with "the program," we're missing "the beat" of the heart of the voters (and is that so wrong? 2004, cough).

i think what i want to say to obama supporters is two fold:

1- ignoring my questions is never a good way to get me to believe in your guy. edwards is flawed, i can and have said that many times. i've also blogged many times on why he should've been the progressive choice. in the "good, but not best, yet the best we'll do this time around" kind of sense. why is it so hard for you all to do the same, with links and policy instead of context free clips from speeches and WORM?

2- is anyone else reminded of the spin-up to our various wars? after 911, before the invasion/bombing of afghanistan, before the invasion/occupation of iraq..."reasonable" liberals kept telling me, "don't think! Feel!" feel my love for America Attacked, feel the need to "defend her," feel the need to "stand up for women" in afghanistan, feel the need to bring "PITME with this once in a lifetime opportunity," feel bad about a gaseous dictator who had WMDs, feel confident that "kerry can't lose," feel good about H&N, because "100 hours will change everything!"

please stop telling me to not think and not ask questions. that's really all i'm asking from the OFB. Because i know where such behavior leads me, and all of us. i say to you in response: projection is evil. personally, as well as politically. if you haven't learned this yet, you will. when it's biting you on the ass as your hero fails you.

the bibble has some choice quotes on "not placing your faith in mortal men" or somesuch, iirc. how often i'm tempted to look them up and use them, these days.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Where was Tavis when the Clinton's pissed on Dr. King? I'm a big fan of Tavis but I'm starting to lose a lot of respect for him!

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Tavis is a mess and a joke. If someone doesn't want to attend his junk, why whine like a baby and say he'll bad mouth them. That is unprofessional. But he isn't a professional he's a failed wanna be politician. Is he mad because he had political aspirations and the peak of his career was BET?

It's sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who'll promise a hand out.

Whatever became of the republicans who refused to come to his debate in Baltimore? Oh they were the frontrunners

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Common ya'll. This is ridiculous. Barack Obama has met with Tavis on several occassions and they have a relationship---stop trying to add fuel and infighting to something that simply isn't and shouldn't be our focus. We should focus on getting Barack into the White House..something that clearly is starting to take shape and become a real possibility. So, what would you do if you were Barack? Go to the state of the union to discuss Black America 2 DAYS before one of the most important primary for his candidacy, OR put forth everything you can to WIN the primary???

Get off of it. Let's get our priorities straight.

Stop! Stop! Stop!

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

today i heard tavis speak on what it means to be a free black man or black woman in america. he gave an excellent description and characterization of this model of a person. but when i discovered that this was nothing more than an attempt to discredit a man and his presidential platform it sickened me. for years i too have loved smiley for his free verse. should i not love barack for his? unfortunately, or is it fortunately, barack is not running for the black presidency. he is running for president of the united states and he has done more uniting of the races than any candidate in or lifetime. all problems will not be solved. all promises will not be kept. fact of life. live with it. grow from it. move on. this is potentially a huge step. don't be a coward.

Submitted by lambert on

Nicole writes:

It’s sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who’ll promise a hand out.

The words are there, but as I read, I understand them less and less.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

The AKA discussion?

Seriously, we can go days without reading any negro patois up in here, and suddenly brothers and sistas are reading this blog and posting?

Three words:
Rapid. Response. Team.

If I saw any of these handles on Corrente before, I wouldn't have this suspicion. But then again, people can change their ways...

One other question. Why the hits on Tavis? He's one of the two main black broadcasters with enough of an audience to matter. Why not answer Chicago Dyke's reasonable questions, instead of yet again indulging in character assassination? A point to ponder....

[cgeye]

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

"It’s sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who’ll promise a hand out."

So people not like Tavis should try to keep black people needing a leader who won't give them a damn thing but promises and empty rhetoric.

Took me a moment, but I think it translated well from faux-Negro Republican troll...

[cgeye]

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and yeah, what with the current lack of modern technology it would have been way too much to get a video conference hookup from wherever Barak is campaigning and give an hour of time to a conference that's been scheduled for a year.

What it is, this gains BHO nothing in his view - already got 80%+ of the black vote so not much upside - and takes some effort so not happening. But really, he cares, really he does. Faith Hope Trust America Unity Yes We Can.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I am appalled to hear of Tavis' 'ultimatum' to Obama. There are roles to be filled within the black community. Jesse, Al and Tavis are all important activists who are certainly needed to help address injustices against our people. BUT, we also need folks inside 'the suite' to work on our behalf. A President of the United States cannot be just pro-black. He has to be pro-American. As long as he is not promoting policies that are discriminatory (like Bush) and he is open to concerns of our people (and others) I say give him a chance. The man is brilliant. Tavis, no disrespect, but you need to back off on this one and let Barack do his thing. It is obvious that you are looking for a reason to discount Obama and it's really becoming counterproductive at this point. Don't sleep--the Clintons only 'loved' black folk because they needed our votes to win.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Two good observations:

...is anyone else reminded of the spin-up to our various wars? after 911, before the invasion/bombing of afghanistan, before the invasion/occupation of iraq…”reasonable” liberals kept telling me, “don’t think! Feel!” feel my love for America Attacked, feel the need to “defend her,” feel the need to “stand up for women” in afghanistan, feel the need to bring “PITME with this once in a lifetime opportunity,” feel bad about a gaseous dictator who had WMDs, feel confident that “kerry can’t lose,” feel good about H&N, because “100 hours will change everything!”

and

Three words:
Rapid. Response. Team.

Some if not most of the irate newcomer posters are real. Chances are some are not. Be aware.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Go to the state of the union to discuss Black America 2 DAYS before one of the most important primary for his candidacy, OR put forth everything you can to WIN the primary???

First off, I don't know what calendar you're looking at, but there are primaries on February 19, then Texas, Ohio, RI, and Vermont go on March 4. Smiley's get together is on Feb 22 and 23... so unless someone has acheduled a big primary that I don't know about, you really need to get a grip.

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/2008elect...

More importantly, it has been the near unanimous support of black voters that has not only made Obama the front runner, but has kept him from being an also-ran. If Obama can't take a day out of his campaign to honor those people, and discuss their issues (you know -- the issues that he'd promised John Edwards that he would make a priority) then why is there any reason to believe that he'll follow through on any of his campaign promises if elected?

Submitted by lambert on

Just as in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The role of Cassandra is never pleasant to play.

And there is no money in it at all.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

... is dispostive.

No travel time. The technology exists. What would be the problem?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Did Barack just diss Tavis Smiley, or has Tavis been dissing Barack. We as a people need to stop rallying behind a person and moreso look at the issues. Clearly the person who wrote this blog is infatuated with Tavis and not obama. We shouldn't be infatuated with either, we should look to the issues. We should listen to the tom joyner interview, stop trying to mkae obama the "black president" you can't win america when you are only catering towards one group. Tavis Smiley is great and I am glad that you speak of the covenant but are you aware that most of black america is not even aware of this covenant. We should ask for this state of black america to really speak to black america and not just the educated folks who attend these events.

Lets move ahead as a people, lets stop being infatuated with black leadership and become involved in the political process to create change within our communities,

Submitted by cg.eye on

... speak for themselves. Oh, whom am I kiddin'?

"But he isn’t a professional he’s a failed wanna be politician. Is he mad because he had political aspirations and the peak of his career was BET?"

Oh, that sounds familiar. First they came for Tom Joyner, then they came for Tavis Smiley. When will they come for Oprah -- when she does the cost/benefit analysis on her investment, as the tax hammer comes down on foreign investments? Gifts made through talk shows?

"BUT, we also need folks inside ’the suite’ to work on our behalf. A President of the United States cannot be just pro-black. He has to be pro-American."

Gee, and I thought blacks were Americans, all this time. Even half-Kenyans raised in Hawaii and Indonesia for their formative years.

"We should listen to the tom joyner interview, stop trying to mkae obama the “black president” you can’t win america when you are only catering towards one group."

Man, and I was hoping to put up my big feets up on the Oval Office furniture, once the "black president" was elected. Stupid, privileged, thoughtlessly wealthy white people get to put their feets up, can't a body get a break?

And these memes --
-- stop trying to mkae obama the “black president” you can’t win america when you are only catering towards one group."
--“It’s sickening that people like Tavis try to keep black people needing a leader who’ll promise a hand out.”
--A President of the United States cannot be just pro-black. He has to be pro-American.

-- just keep on coming, like acid rain on baking soda clay. When Italian Americans ask for Columbus Day to be unsullied with any colonial criticism, the state obliges with the po-po and injunctions and arrested, pissed-off Native Americans. When any white ethnic group wants things to be left be (remember the contretemps over the Armenian genocide resolutions, anyone?), they get left be. But when black Americans ask for anything that's economically meaningful, it's as if they have rifles in one hand, white wimmen in the other, and a bottle of VO in their teeth.

Now, when we could get what's needed in this country, this is the time to shut up -- during the primary phase, the only time politicians have to pretend to give a damn. Fuck. No.

Folks, forget this foolish oppo. SPEAK LOUDER. Make every candidate work for your vote. Even Tavi and Tom. Sing out, Louise!

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

we must be doing something right.

of course, i don't listen to radio anymore, so i am worthless in terms on having an opinion about tavis v obama. i will say this: elevating such "controversies" is a signature feature of the SCLM and republican party.

bdub's picture
Submitted by bdub on

Tavis Smiley should be thanked for what he has done and is doing for the African American community. However he and anyone else is wrong to criticize Barack Obama for not attending the upcoming summit. At this point in the campaign Obama needs to spend his time speaking to every voter not just our vote.

Some say he is forgetting who has giving him the most support, I don't believe he has forgotten, he just knows that in order to make it to the next phase, he has to also court other voters.

Do you really think Hillary would be coming to the summit if she wasn't so far behind with the black vote?

The time to hold someone accountable is not before they get elected but after the are in office. How many of us would tell a potential employer what ever we thought they wanted to hear to get the job?

So instead of judging someone on the events they attend, we should be deciding on who is most likely to do the most for our community AFTER they are elected.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

I have two words FUCK TAVIS goofy, self serving, arrogant ass. This man is involved with the fight of his life for the presidency of the UNITED STATES. not Black States. I don't know if Tavis got the memo but Hillary is currently leading in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania where the Governor said that his white folks won't vote for a black. Hillary has nothing to lose, she is not getting any black votes currently and as I said, she is leading in the polls for those states. This can only help her. Taking Barack off the trail would be dumb as hell. Also Barack is black. He runs the risk of being compared to Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson.This will only lose him votes. Hillary knows this that's why Bill tried it after SC. This type of behavior benefits nobody. Tavis says it's all about us, but puts him on blast because he doesn't kiss his ring. Fuck Tavis and Fuck whoever created this title. It was only created to add gas to flames.

Submitted by lambert on

That's not taking Obama "off the trail."

I bet the Obama campaign has him recording videos for countless small town markets right now. All they have to do is clear an hour on his schedule from that.

Crabs in a barrel, let me ask, since you brought up the matter of race: Is "America" (A-merry-ca) ready for a black president? Or is that the wrong way to frame the question? As my sig implies, I am, but is "America"?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

Some say he is forgetting who has giving him the most support, I don’t believe he has forgotten, he just knows

you're so sure of this, are you? he told you? i'm curious what makes you so sure. you're essentially saying, "don't trust what you see now, just believe he'll be different in the future."

a campaign can be anywhere for an hour. that's what they spend all that money on: travel. he could cheap-trip it to NOLA for 1/4 of his day, and save time and money by not taking his full entourage. it would be a fairly simple matter. let me promise you: if a campaign donor group wanted to meet with him for 1/4 of a day to negotiate giving him 00000s of dollars, he'd fly to Timbuktu to meet with them.

jjmom's picture
Submitted by jjmom on

When I look at Barak originally he was not my first choice for president because I feared that he would be unable to secure the white vote. I thought he was a block vote as so many before him. I believed that Hillary Clinton would be the only candidate who could beat the Republicans because of the success that Bill has had. But as I listen to all of the political analyst I realize that Barak is the better choice. If you notice they refer to him as Obama yet they call her Hillary. As I have listened to countless numbers of his speeches ultimately it revolves around the same agenda and that is to reunite this country as a whole. If you look at all the polls he is now winning women and white men which is somewhere he lagged in the opening polls. Which means he has to practice what he preaches and unfortunately that means that he cannot openly chose one race over another. I repeat openly choose. Many of us have white friends but at the end of the day you are African American and black always take care of black. I believe Obama is hope for America and how dare anyone try to discredit his character. I like Tavis but I believe he is really taking this too personal. I believe Barak Obama will do what no other American President has done and that is be fare to Black America.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

This is why black people don't have shit now. The mentality that they think somebody owe us. You have to kiss the ring and bow down to the black guard or you will not be accepted. Peep this. FUCK the SOTBU event. That's right I said fuck that event. It is nothing but a place to pontificate (look it up) and where blacks go to whine and cry on how they are being treated unfairly. It's time to turn the page dammit. Please someone tell me 1 thing this event has done for the black community. We talk about social ills, don't do anything about it, and then have another meeting the following year. This is laughable if you think about. This man doesn't need to waste 1 second of his time with that event. The only reason Coon Tavis was pushing it is so that he could gain some credibility. If you think Barack has to prove he is a brother to you, then fuck you too. He don't have to talk about the struggle. He been in the struggle his whole life. now he has grown up. Some of you people need to do the same. To think you would have him risk his presidency to kiss our ass and prove he black enough. I'm ashamed to be in the same race as some of you idiots.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

just curious, it's so hard to tell these days on the intertubes. lovely rant. you had a good point in there, and then you buried it under unnecessary insult and pointless vulgarity and distraction, and made your candidate look bad in the process. i'm sure you changed a lot of minds. good job, bro.

perhaps it occurs to some, that on "lesser" issues like FISA and NOLA, the "superstar" figures of our celebrity culture are the ones to give events "meaning?" obama has media stardom right now, it hardly matters where he is, he'll be covered, locals will hear of him. think of what a difference he could make as such a worthless, for-show event- perhaps even turn it into something that actually helps NOLA's poor. that would be "real leadership" that appeals to more than just black folk.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

I believe he is acting like a Coon, Uncle Tom, whatever vernacular you would choose meaning he is doing a dis-service to his race. We are all adults I thought. Apologies to any kids in this grown-up convo. Tavis getting there standing on a Soap Box? How is that gonna help NOLA's poor??? are you kidding?? He and other so called activists had years to try and make some changes down there, but as soon as the press went away so did they? I followed Mr. Smiley (up until this point anyway) I can't name 1 thing he has said or done to help the people down there. I'm not saying this guy is no pro-black I guess, but I do think he was dead wrong. Obama is no place to lend any help to anything, but his campaign. 110% of his focus should be there. I will reiterate, I don't understand some of you people.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

way to give yourself away, friend.

anyway, you completely missed the point. so thanks for commenting. feel free to comment again, and never worry about harsh language. it makes it easier for us to know who is who.

Submitted by lambert on

[One of these days my snarkiness is going to get me in even deeper trouble, so I'll resist the obvious saluation....]

C.I.A.B.:

I see the argument on "110% of his focus," but this also reminds me powerfully of the FISA discussion. I really believe that Obama had the potential to be a game-changer not only on the FISA issue, but on his own campaign, by using the Senate floor as a bully pulpit. The man could have schooled the entire nation. He chose not to. It would have been the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. I believe it would have helped his campaign.

The disconnect I'm struggling with here is that one the one hand, we're told Transformative! Change! Hope! Yet on the FISA issue -- which for many of us in the progressive community is just huge -- there's no transformation, no change, and, unfortunately, no hope. Now, again, maybe he just doesn't want my vote. But it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland: Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today.

And so with the Tavis Smiley thing. If Obama truly is the transformative, changeful, hopeful candidate that believe or hope that he is, why not take the opportunity and change the game with it?

Or -- as I keep repeating, to deafening silence -- why not do a video appearance? Is the argument that Obama can't even spare one half hour to throw a crumb?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

Before we travel any further down this road of “substantive commentary”, please remember something: Barack Obama has to be perfect! Good is not good enough and great will earn a distant 3rd place in this three horse race. Barack Obama has to be perfect just to have a chance. He has had to have the perfect pedigree: half-white aka not completely black, Princeton, Harvard Law, attractive wife, not too many kids (all of which had to be his). He has had to say the perfect thing at the perfect time in response to all of the haters that have sought to poke holes in his resume and integrity. He cannot falter, flinch, or faint. He has one chance to distinguish himself from Sharpton, Jackson, Keyes, Moseley-Braun, Douglass, and all the others that paved the way for a time such as this. A careful review of Obama's platform and proposals would reveal his positions on every one of the tenants contained within the Covenant. Do we really need another customization of his message to satisfy a Black audience? If you really want to help "Black" America, help this man get elected. His portrait on the wall of Presidents will do as much if not more for the Black community and the country than any colloquy of activists, educators, and solders mixed with so-called leaders, self-serving political figures, and pseudo-intellectuals parading across our TV screens for three hours. - Nuff Said

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

you're going to gag. Take it easy. We all understand Barack is not perfect.

BTW

It's Occidental, Columbia, Harvard, University of Chicago .. I mean, if you're going to give a guy a reach around ...

Next:
I wouldn't put Barack in the same category with - Sharpton, Jackson, Keyes, or Moseley-Braun. He is actualy a real politician.

I'm not sure which Douglass you're refering to the one from Baltimore or the one from Chicago?

As for the website and the whole "I addressed that at my website" thing...talking points are not policy positions. I really wish people would stop punting to the damn website like it says something substantive.

His portrait on the wall of Presidents will do as much if not more for the Black community

So which potrait do we take down? Kennedy, King, or Jesus?

Since when did a picture ever help anything. What you should be saying is the man's presidency will implement policies that will heal the nation. Now what those policies are we don't know because he won't put himself in the position of taking a hard position.

Can't do that might ruin someone's expectations - kill the illusion ... oops ... I meant vision.

jdredman's picture
Submitted by jdredman on

Thanks for the feedback Xenophon. You asked some great questions and made a few points that deserve a thoughtful response.

BTW
Good catch - In my urgency to express my position on the matter, I mistakenly noted Michelle Obama's educational background instead of Barack's. Wow, I do need to slow down! The reach around thing was cute though.

Next
The Douglass that I was referring to was actually the 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. He ran for the White House (Vice President) way back in 1872.

As for the website and the whole “I addressed that at my website” thing ... - I never mentioned any website. I advised reviewing his proposals and platform. That's more than just the talking points on any website.

I agree wholeheartedly that it can be difficult to discern one's positions on issues from websites. I would also submit to you that there is a tremendous amount of information regarding all of the candidates and their positions through various other outlets. The campaigns package the information and present it to their audience. It's the voter's responsibility to do their homework an to make an informed decision in the booth. Unfortunately, most of us are too lazy, apathetic, or disenchanted with the process to do our part. (I call it the American Idol Syndrome)

Finally, and most importantly, my reference to Obama's portrait on the wall of Presidents is speaking to an image that hundreds of millions of people have conjured in their minds about what this country is all about. African Americans (using the general term - not meant to include everyone in the group) in this country continue to have a unique relationship with their citizenship. The reality is that lots of us felt that an African American (male or female) with a truly legit chance to be President was a fantasy. Obama’s "natural constituency” had to "warm up" to the idea of a Barack Obama. So many of our so-called leaders (John Lewis, Andy Young, Calvin Butts, Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangle) pledged to back Hillary Clinton while adding the disclaimer that their support is not a vote against Obama.

If they were honest (that's asking a lot, I know) they would admit that part of their "support" stems from the idea that "America would never elect a Black President". If we were honest (and finally got some therapy) we would admit that our collective community affinity for the Clintons is based on an extension of this misconception as well. In fact, Toni Morrison famously wrote of Bill Clinton that he was "Blacker than any actual person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime." This misconception and negative image has had a deleterious impact on the psyche of a people and in fact a nation. It goes to the fundamental question of what America is all about. Are we all really equal, truly free? Or are we still the racist hypocritical bastards that could spend our days fighting for freedom from tyranny, oppression, and injustice while we spend our nights raping our slaves. (ok maybe that's a stretch but I trust you get my point)

I agree completely that this country needs someone that will "implement policies that will heal the nation". My brother just finished a 3 week leave and went back to the Sandbox after spending the last 18 months in Iraq. The war, the economy, our public education system, taxes and health care are all very important. The next leader will have their hands full dealing with the issues while negotiating a cease fire between the Crips and Bloods in Congress. (Maybe he should get Jim Brown to run as VP)

I also feel that when this country and the entire world sees a Black Man take the oath of office to be President of the United States of America, it will go a long way to healing the issues stemming from some of our deepest wounds - race, apathy, poverty. Barack Obama is in the unique position to lead and heal our nation from Day 1. (and if I see that line on a campaign flyer, I'm suing!)

Nuff Said,

P.S.
Props to John Lewis if the report is true that you are switching your Super Delegate vote from Hillary to Obama!

P.P.S.
With all due respect to my Morehouse College brother Julian Bond, if you are being used by the Clinton campaign and using the “power" of the NAACP to influence the DNC to include Michigan and Florida delegates, you should be removed from power ASAP.

lashuns's picture
Submitted by lashuns on

In one of Tavis’s commentaries on the TJMS he suggested that we “bear down” on both Hillary and Barack to hold them accountable. I agree that we should hold all political candidates accountable, and The Covenant is a great tool to do so. However, Tavis’s idea of bearing down on Barack Obama comes across as pullin the brutha down, rather than offering him a hand of support or praise. I have yet to hear elation or praise in his voice over Barack’s historic primary wins or how Barack’s campaign is bringing all demographics of people together to elect a black man for president. Where is the LOVE, which he so often speaks of? Tavis’s commentaries over the past few weeks have shown me that his helping hands have become claws, used to pull down another brutha that’s trying to come-up out of the barrel. A message for Tavis: Don’t be so “crabby!”

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

that's a good and fair point. i give him love for moving America forward as it were, but at this point, i'm too cynical to say it "will mean a lot" in the future.

it will be so interesting when all our interests are owned by people who have no investment in making the middle class american's life comfortable. the outfreyne are not racists like americans are racists. people (american white people) should keep in mind that "saudi" and "chinese" have meaning in that way too.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

"hand of support or praise"

For what?

"Oh I think they like me"?

Why would you want him to hold Hillary accountable and not Barack. You think Barry won't fuck you?

In the words of Toby Zigler - we'll like him when he wins.

Till then ... I'm from Missouri.

Let him address my issues like every other politician.

LOVE ....?

GOD Damn IT this is America!

What's love got to do with it?

Submitted by cg.eye on

Since when did this item get infested with crabs?

And since when was it cool to call not Robert Johnson, not Niger Ennis, not Alan Keyes, but Tavis Smiley a Coon?

And since when do we have influence on a president after he's elected, when we're begging for him to ignore us and those who broadcast for us, during the primary season when he actually makes all those campaign promises? Do you really think all the lobbyists who are standing by him (even if they don't give him cold hard cash) really won't want a thing from him, once he's elected? You think PHARMA wouldn't punish him should he actually give a damn about universal healthcare? Politics is all about deals, and who makes them first and best. Why in heaven's name would Obama give a damn about people who choose not to make their needs known, as early as possible?

I can't read his mind. I know for a damn fact that he'll never be perfect, because he's more than willing to make the compromises in character and ethics that make a presidential run possible in the first place. So at least he can make time for his natural constituency -- you know, the one that will save his ass should the backbone racism of Republicans reasserts itself in the voting booth -- and do some teleconferencing *on a freaking plane even*, dammit.

And, in conclusion -- WHAT SORT OF FUCKING IDIOTS DO YOU THINK WE ARE? Jeezum crow, would you talk like this to a white audience, like your co-workers in a conference room? Would you air freely that you think negroes are backstabbing, illogical, overemotional fools who drag the bloodstained and cobwebbed burial suit of Abraham Lincoln behind them every day, waiting for the One to step into it and bear that weight again? GODDAMN, I wish August Wilson was alive, cause at least he knew how to show people in love with lost dreams, who excused that love with genocidal pain -- and told them to keep on living, but with clarity, reason and love among trusted friends and community, not this puerile substitute for real hope and progress in the form of a viral campaign.

Hang in there, Tavis. Nyah. Nyah. Nyah-Nyah. NYAH.

Submitted by cg.eye on

"The time to hold someone accountable is not before they get elected but after the are in office. How many of us would tell a potential employer what ever we thought they wanted to hear to get the job?"

-- is actionable, by most HR standards. Employers do BACKGROUND AND CREDIT CHECKS, for any job worth a damn. They check the resume, they call colleges to confirm graduation details, they call the references and make sure they aren't friends on a cellphone, doing a favor. They listen to what's said in job interviews, and check the body language for signs of evasion and out and out wackness. They can go down to the level of asking about gaps in employment. Isn't the presidency worth more effort and vetting then a entry-level bank cashier job? If you say no, as you imply above, then something's really, really wrong with your values. I'd almost call them: Un-Christian.

Wait a minute. For Pete's sake, you're not actually suggesting Obama's lying to get the job, even now? And they call me cynical.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

I want anyone of you people to give me an example when candidates held up even a quarter of their campaign promises. We all know that most of what they are saying is just rhetoric. Barack may keep to his stance, he may not. That is the risk you take with any candidate. What I am saying is if we don't get this man in office we will never know. Ask yourself, who you think would be the fairest to the black community, a person that has been through the same struggle with children of his own to worry about, or someone who has worked, and got paid by Big Business for most of their adult life, and has no vested interest. Tavis may not be a Coon, but in this instance he was acting a little coonish to me lol. He either should have let Michelle stand in, or not made a big deal out of it. We just don't need this type of negativity in the black community right now. If he never addressed these issues I can see the need to explain his platform, but THE INFORMATION IS ON HIS WEBSITE AND HE HAS MADE SEVERAL SPEECHES ON THE SAME TOPICS. The info isn't hard to find if people took the time to look. This is one time we should be behind each other for a common goal. I guess that was asking too much.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"This is one time we should be behind each other for a common goal. I guess that was asking too much."

Or for Americans overall?

If the former, should women and Baby Boomers be telling their ilk to stifle any objections they may have re: Hillary and just rally for "a common goal"?

If the latter, why is STFU a standard acceptable response only re: harshing the Obama mellow? Why is STFU never on-tap for Hillary bashers, even when the bashing is of the brainless "Clinton Fatigue" and "she got investigated a lot (though they found absolutely nothing)" and dyed-in-the-wool centrist "HRC is polarizing" variety?

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

Ok. We shouldn't give into conspiracy theories. This is not a political debate, at least my response wasn't. My comment was a direct response to Obama attending SOTBU event, some minorities need to be reassured that he will do the right thing by them. This has nothing to do with his overall commitment for a better America for everyone. I do believe your common goal should be to push a person forward that would be in the best interest of your community. If it's Hillary, then vote for Hillary we are all free here. People don't vote for Barack because he is black, at least i wouldn't. I would vote for him because I think he would lead the best. Look at Clarence Thomas. I don't think any black person in this group would vote for him. He is Black. I don't knock anyone for their vote. Whoever will represent you better vote for them.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I was just asking what your comment meant, that's all.

One who raises Obama concerns is often called "divisive," "hating enthusiasm," and "not wanting to win," while raising a fuss about Hillary is simply room tone. Just wondering if that's where you were coming from. Not sure where "conspiracy" enters the mix.

Thank you for the clarification.

Crabs in a Barrel's picture
Submitted by Crabs in a Barrel on

Some people have the impression that if you like 1 candidate you have to hate the other. That is not the way I feel. I just see a lot of blogs that insinuate there are outside forces pushing Obama, like it was some vast conspiracy. I thought thats where you were going Vas. I understand.

Submitted by lambert on

I'm going to return to this thread later, I hope, but for now, thanks for chiming in. It's a tough crowd here (I like to think).

Meanwhile, here's an example: Bush promised a huge tax cut in 2000, and delivered.

I don't think it's as simple as just "campaign promises" which are never delivered on. I think the more interesting question would be why some campaign promises are delivered on, and some aren't.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

BTW, a correlative misunderstanding I run into a lot is that misgivings about a candidate = hate.

Oh, and please do include the "t" in "Vast." Makes all the deferens.

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