View From Here: On the State of the Union

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How African-Americans are being used so far in this election season should be a cause for instruction on the depth of the situation we’re in. The Republicans are using racist themes and buzzwords as a full-throated rallying cry to bring their troops out, while the Democrats share a love that dare not speak its name. There has been no call to attack the 45% unemployment for black men in Milwaukee, or even the 16% national average of black unemployment.
We get to be included in the promise of infrastructure work and with programs that help the 99% and we look forward to that. But with the Republicans lobbing racial grenades, it’s disheartening that the Democrats don’t do any firing back. We don’t even get a shout out in President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address.
The closest he came was when he was comparing the lack of cooperation in the public arena to the regimentation of the military: “When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight.” What’s wrong with this example of course is that the rich won’t be caught dead in the uniform and those in the other categories are probably also poor.
In fact, if it were not for pressure from the Occupy Movement changing the national dialogue, then issues of fairness in taxation and accountability in the foreclosure fiasco, issues that can be helpful to African-Americans and provide resources for the poor, would not be front and center, and that should be instructive.
Everyone knows the African-American community is going to vote for Obama come November, he’s the superior candidate in every way. But that does not mean we should not be making demands, just as every other group is. The Pierce County Herald reports on a study showing that five major American cities have less than 50% of black male residents 16- to 64-years-old working: Detroit – 43.0%, Buffalo – 43.9%, Milwaukee – 44.7% Cleveland – 47.7%, and Chicago – 48.3%. With numbers like that it is not out of line to look for a little special concern. And the fact that it is being sought so quietly, should be a cause for concern itself.