Paul R. Lehman, Obama critics could use common sense

September 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Posted in blacks, Ethnicity in America, Prejudice, Race in America, whites | 3 Comments
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The past several months have found President Obama being the
focus of criticism by some African Americans. They maintain that he is not
doing anything to help the poor and unemployed citizens, especially the African
Americans who lead the country in unemployment figures. Although their concerns
for the poor and unemployed are noteworthy, their understanding of the
President’s situation seems lacking. No matter how much the President might
want to reach out and help specific segments of society, he is not at liberty
to do so. Any number of reasons can be put forth defending President Obama’s
present position.

For example, if Obama would try to institute some program
for a specific segment or group of citizens, not only would the congress not
approve it, they would create a publicity campaign to try and show him to be
biased towards the group in question. Little doubt that others would join in
the campaign wanting to receive the same treatment as the favored group. Since
President Obama is well aware of this situation, he uses common sense to stir
away from it. No one questions the needs of many groups of citizens that should
be addressed, but to offer aid and assistance to a few would not be welcomed at

In addition, most people fail to realize that President
Obama does not have the same options of actions as did all the former
presidents in that they were all European Americans. If they wanted to target a
certain group of European American citizens, their actions would not be
considered conspicuous unless the action called attention to itself. Otherwise,
no one would think anything out of the ordinary. With President Obama, however,
his actions are scrutinized more closely because he is African American, and
many citizens are keeping a watchful eye to see if he tries to play favorites
with some African Americans. If that were to happen, a well-spring of criticism
would be thrown at him for being biased.

Critics of the President do not realize that he has to weigh
every decision and action from a perspective different from his predecessors
because he is African American. Ones need only examine the lack of support from
the conservatives in Congress to realize he is not at a loss for more enemies.
Many have stated publically that they want to see him fail. Knowing that is the
case, Obama would be foolish to try and address the needs and concerns of a
particular ethnic group. The only reasonable way Obama can help any group is by
helping all the groups, showing favoritism to none.

What many of Obama’s critics are actually doing is providing
fuel to his enemies by pointing out that many American citizens are
experiencing difficult times and need help as quickly as possible. His enemies
can take that information and complain that he is not being an effective leader
because he is not addressing the needs of these people. They can also use that
information to claim the Obama is not qualified to lead. In any event, the
Obama supporters who also criticize his efforts must know that if he had the
flexibility to institute and manage programs to address the problems of the
groups in immediate need, he would. Unfortunately, he does not have that
option. His enemies are waiting for him to make a mistake so they can pounce on

When the President speaks of creating jobs, and programs to
help the poor and unemployed as well as the employed that are still in need of
help, he is including all the people who need help. If he can get the
cooperation he needs, he can then see to it that the neediest get help as
quickly as possible. Without support from the Congress, however, the options
available to him are greatly limited.

Criticism of the
President lack of action or concern regarding certain problems in society can
do little if the President cannot promote action. They certainly do not call
his attention to the problems, he is already full aware of the problems.
Continued focus on the problems by his critics only reflects on the lack of
understanding of the challenges facing the President constantly.

From the day he was elected President, Obama has been under
a microscope from people who like him and from those who do not like him. The
ones who like him keep watch of his actions to protect him and keep him going
in the right direction. The ones who do not like him keep watch to find fault
so they can criticize him and add to their store of reasons for him not being
president. The fact that he is the first African American president brings a
totally new way of thinking about the office of the President. America has a
history of relying on the negative stereotype of ethnic Americans, especially
African Americans, in accessing them. When the ethnic American does not fit the
stereotype then the comfort zone of many Americans becomes disrupted. That is,
when the ethnic American’s actions cannot be predicted, then he comes
“different” from all the others. In other words, he does not conform to the
usual image of the ethnic person. The fact that he does not conform becomes a
problem for his critics.

Many people anticipated and expected many changes from
President Obama based on his campaign promises. Those promises were legitimate,
but could only be realized with the cooperation of Congress. The powers of the
President are limited by the Constitution, and because most actions of the
President can be manipulated by Congress, he has to depend on their good will
to help him with his work. If Congress refuses to work with the President, then
he must come up with alternative approaches to try and achieve his objectives,
but those approaches still must include congressional support.

We all know that criticism comes in two forms—constructive,
and destructive, and that criticism is a form of judgment. The next time
President Obama’s critics want to complain about something he has not done,
they need to take a closer look at why he has not done it. If they do take a
closer look at the reasons why certain things were not done, chances are they
will learn a lesson in how government works or not. In essence, destructive
critics should follow the old saying of not judging someone until they have
walked in his shoes. They must also mindful of the fact that Obama’s shoes are
unique. Word to the wise.



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  1. So many barbs are hurled at a president that we sometimes wonder why a person seeks the office. Pesident Obama, often the object of unjust criticism, finds positives, as do all presidents: a place in history, a sense of power, enjoyment of the spotlight and numerous perks such as a grand residence, a plane standing ready, adoration of many in the public. The list goes on. President Clinton, who also was under constant attack and even impeached, said he enjoyed the job even on the bad days.
    Obama likes it enough to want another term in office. There is never any shortage of candidates.
    We would lke to tell the critics to hush heir mouths, but that won’t happen. It goes with the job.

  2. It is very apparant that many of the individuals who are complaining about our President’s lack of concern for Black Americans seems to lack knowledge regarding Civics, American Government, The Constitution, the Congressional impact or Political Science. The lack of knowledge regarding our Governmental system continues to cause a number of individuals to have unecessary causes and reasons for the actions of a President who has been able to achieve remarkable changes in very significant problems in our country and foreign countries.

    • You know, I once (not so long ago) had a debate with an American over whether the USA was a democracy. I was told in no uncertain terms that the USA was a republic, NOT a democracy – that it was not a socialist country. I was left stunned by this, as you can imagine. How could a country where the people cry when singing the national anthem, with the hands on their hearts, have such a lack of understanding of their own political system?

      Clearly the lack of knowledge is alive and well and what is more, is demonstrated by some for people as far away as Australia to see.

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