When we look at President Barack Obama, it is easy to forget that he does not share the psycho-social heritage of the descendents of chattel slavery and that he was raised by white folks. And while there is nothing wrong with that, his mother was an extraordinary woman herself, it does mean that his psychological core and sensitivities, were not passed down from the Middle Passage or the centuries of enslavement, but rather from Kansas, his mother’s home state, dead center of the country and a Red state politically.
In a very deep way, the Republicans are more the president’s people than are the descendents of chattel slavery. This is why he was agreeable to give so much before the debt-ceiling negotiations even began, he starts from middle America and will get pushed right or left from there. And until now, it’s been the corporations and the Tea Party doing all the pushing.
Now with three wars being waged simultaneously and with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid being put at risk, the president needs a primary challenge with new ideas put forward by someone who wants to push back.
My recommendation would be to draft Congresswoman Donna Edwards from Maryland. Congresswoman Edwards is a member of both the Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus where she is vice chair, and is a forceful advocate for playing “hardball” with the Republicans.
Visit her Web site and view the video archives of her presentations in congress and determine for yourself if this person has the sensibilities you’d like to see in the Oval office. The Progressive Caucus should call on Congresswoman Edwards to present a Primary challenge for the president. And maybe after she wins the first debate and threatens him in the primaries, Obama will be thanking Joe Biden for his years of service and under the bus he goes.
Regarding the flash mobs, first the disclaimer: Looting, burning and destroying life and property are wrong. Perpetrators should be punished. Now, having said that, I cannot believe that anyone is surprised by this phenomenon. We warned about it back in June. These communities in England, Maryland, Philadelphia, Chicago are, like Brooklyn, communities where unemployment rates among the youth can be over 50% and relationships with the police fluctuate between tense and explosive. These young people are living in a consumer society with stuff all around them and billions of dollars being spent telling them to buy and to have, and here they stand with some loose change and lint in their pockets and no prospects for sudden upturns in that condition.
Because they’re mis-educated and yet self-motivated, too many young people, and those old enough to know better, see thug life glamorized as an option and going to prison as a normal way of being. All around them there is a different normal, an alternative reality where people are enjoyably comfortable and raising lovely families. They are, by and large, a very amiable group, as they crowd into restaurants and text, brunch and relax in the cafés. My suggestion to these folks is to become viscerally concerned about jobs programs and youth employment. Infrastructure building and repairs that involve long-term jobs and business opportunities, would go further to preventing the collision of the two “normals” than all the beefed up precinct patrols or gang task forces the city can muster.