"Make me do it" vs. "Cut me some slack"
Belafonte was asked by host Amy Goodman whether he'd used his occasional access to directly share his many critical and valuable public policy insights with the White House. Belafonte replied that his only access to the president has been for a few seconds at a time, not long enough for any substantive discussion. But, he said, at one such event President Obama approached him to inquire when Belafonte and Cornel West were going “to cut me some slack.”
What makes you think we haven't?” Belafonte replied to the president? At this point the brief encounter was over.
Let's pause to think about that. When President Obama cusses out Cornel West and personally demands that historic stalwarts of the movement for peace and justice “cut him some slack” on black unemployment, on foreclosures and the prison state, on torture and the military budget, on unjust wars and corporate welfare, on fulfilling the just demands of those who elected him, our first black president is revealing his real self. Far from saying “make me do it,” President Obama is saying how dare you pressure me to do what you elected me to do.
Harry Belafonte has done a great public service in helping us distinguish the imaginary Barack Obama of “make me do it” from the real Barack Obama, who demands our support, but expects us to “cut him some slack.” Rather than agitating and organizing in our communities to “make him do it” all the real President Obama wants of movement activists is for us to sit down and shut up, until it's time to help chase everybody out to vote for him in 2012.
By then, there will be fewer chasers, and somewhat less chasing than in 2008. But this will be something that President Obama made us do, not the other way around.
But He speaks in complete sentences!