The U.S. Presidency and Race Relations

On November 6th the United States went to the polls and elected President Barack Obama for a second term in office. Just four years earlier history was made with President Obama becoming the first person of color to attain the nation’s highest office. The moment Obama signaled his intent to run for office, the issue of race became the focal point of many political discussions.

It would be remiss to not admit that in 2008 the issue of race played a dominant role in the country’s political process. Many African-Americans decided to participate in the electoral process due to the heightened awareness that they could become a part of history. America’s sordid history of race relations drove a spirit of optimism among the African-American minority. For the first time in decades a person of color was within reach of an office that for many years seemed unattainable for people of color. It is no surprise that the 2008 elections saw record voter turn out for the aforementioned group as well as the young.

African-Americans voted to overcome a history which told them they could not. They voted to do what their ancestors could only dream of. They voted to give their children hope. The election of a black president gave triumph over the hurtful past rooted in slavery. The blood sweat and tears of the black ancestry suddenly seemed worth it. Years of prejudice and ostracism made way for the country to begin a new journey on its path to healing racial discord.

Obama was not elected solely on the vote of the minority, in actuality he had a high portion of the Caucasian-American vote. This signaled a new beginning for America. For a brief moment it seemed as if racial bigotry had subsided and a new dimension in the American political landscape was created. There were some who voted to convince themselves that they did not hold radical bias. The rationale was held “if I can vote to elect a black president, I’m not racist.” Some Caucasians voted to rid themselves of the guilt created by the actions of their ancestors. The 2008 elections caused a lot of introspection, and it created and opened new doors of possibilities for many who were previously disenfranchised.

Outside of the aforementioned situation, there were those who voted for Obama based on additional qualities including his platform policies. President Obama gave hope to the disadvantaged, he gave hope not only to America but to the world. He made people dream again, and believed in themselves when everything else seemed to be lost. Despite everything, hope won in 2008.

Within just 4 short years it was time for reelection. The economy spiraled out of control, Bin Laden was captured and subsequently disposed. Don’t ask don’t tell was repealed, and immigration activists gained victory with the administration providing temporary reprieve from deportation. The America of 2012 was vastly different from 2008. Something that seemed unique however was the pressing by many to reclaim America after 2008. It appeared that somehow when Obama won the presidency in 2008 America was stolen. The fact that he was democratically elected did not seem to matter to those who were seeking to “reclaim America.” Michelle Obama got her fair share of criticism as First Lady, chief among them was that she was always angry, “the angry black woman.”

Soon after Obama’s election to office, demands began to grow for him to provide his birth certificate. There were people in the populace that believed he did not have the birthright to the office of the president. Chief among them was Donald Trump who continues to make a case for disqualifying Obama as president. People became vicious in their attacks; friends began to attack each other on social networking sites over ideological differences. Caucasian-Americans became reluctant to oppose the presidency for fear of being labelled a racist. Idiocy prevailed in an atmosphere of political uncertainty.

The stage was set for political showdown in 2012. As November 6th approached the intensity became unbearable. Facebook became the battleground to voice political opinions, and dismay at the nation’s political process. As the presidential debates ensued people were glued to their televisions to watch the horse race coverage of the elections. Policies were reduced to sound bites, and the fight to the White House was not going to be easy. After several months of intense campaigning polls opened and closed not without a few hiccups. Many stayed glued to their televisions to see the final results.

When election night drew to a close Obama was declared the winner of the elections and gained the right to govern for 4 more years. The realization that president Obama was re-elected created a shockwave across the nation. There were tears of joy and tears of sorry. Those who felt helpless took to the social networking sites to voice their disapproval. In just a few short minutes words of hatred were being hurled at the man who supposedly represented the will of the people. Some became so vicious in their attacks that they sought to use derogatory terms to make reference to the president. Others cursed out of anger, perhaps anger at themselves for presumably failing to do enough to “take America back!” Soon there were petitions going around for states to secede from the union because of dissatisfaction with the union. His detractors called him a socialist, and his party labeled an organization bent on funding the erratic lifestyle of the improvised. Welfare was seen as reward for laziness. The top 1% became defensive, and the other 99% were classed as not having the will to find jobs and succeed. America’s poor became the problem. And suddenly the poor had a face, and it was a face that was predominately black or Hispanic. Illegal immigration also gained a faced, it became the face of a Hispanic, a person of Mexican heritage to be more exact. The fact that of the eleven million illegal immigrants in the U.S. many from different countries and varying ethnicities, did not seem to matter. The face of the rich and the successful became the face of a Caucasian.

It would be ignorant to not acknowledge that race played an important role in the two most recent elections. Yes many voted for Obama because he was black, and yes there were those who voted against him for the very same reason. There appears to be some amount of passive aggression towards the president, and one cannot help but to think that his racial and ethnic background has a role to play with regards to such sentiments. It will be a great day when we can judge a person by their actions and policies and not based on the color of their skin. African-Americans choosing to vote for Obama solely because of his skin color goes against the framework of the dream of Martin Luther King Junior. Let us judge not by the color of ones skin, but instead the content of their character.

To those that thought America was stolen, wake up and realize that your democratic system has spoken. Not because you disagree with a person’s policy, it does not make them any less American than you are. This country was founded on diversity and the willingness to help those who are less fortunate. Don’t victimize the victim. Learn to work together for a better America. I also encourage those with very high religious beliefs to cherish the role of choice that God gave to His people. Don’t demonize people because they do not hold your religious beliefs. America is based on freedom, freedom to act within the confines of the law which prevents you for infringing on the rights of others. Christianity has a set of directives based on choices and a wide range of consequences. Allow people the freedom to choose.

We tend to speak a lot about morals in the United States, but morals based on what? A society so degraded by some of the inappropriate things aired on television. There is an erosion of the American family, kids are growing up with disrespect for their elders and a lack of responsibility for their own mistake, and somehow, many of this blame is attributed to gays perusing the “gay agenda.” Seriously? Maybe when we are less concerned about the actions of two consenting adults, maybe we would realize that some of the very erosion of moral principles started within the nuclear households that we hold so dearly.

Before we attack this nation of immigrants, some of which are illegal, let us remember the plight that they go through on a daily basis. I am not entertaining that we break laws, but there are many immigrants that endure hardships in this country just so that they can feed their families. Some walk at least two miles a day to seek employment in some of the most deplorable conditions that exist in our modern world. So before we start pointing fingers and casting blame, let us look at our own actions and how they degrade the very freedom we supposedly support. It is sad that we cannot agree to disagree but instead we seek to tear each other down. Instead of uniting we call for secession. We call for the break away from the union because it is hard to behold that a “black man” could once again hold such great power. And if you disagree with his policies and not his ethnicity, I respect you entirely.

Let us not ignore that within each of us are certain beliefs and value systems that do indeed degrade others. We hold stereotypes that take away from the uniqueness of those around us. We see ourselves as better than those who are different from us, and so we seek to use the minor things that divides us as a legitimate reason to oppress. I encourage each of you to stop allowing our pride as individuals to make us become ignorant of those around us. We are a part of this great world and country and it takes all of us working together to make it a better place.

© Dimitri Lyon and, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dimitri Lyon and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

5 thoughts on “The U.S. Presidency and Race Relations

  1. Well written Dimitri. I think if people spent less time writing negative things about the President and/or trying to convert others and instead put that time into doing something positive, the world would be in a better place. This nation still has a long way to go.

  2. Very good discussion Dimitri. I love how you have the website. Straight to the point, I love that ;-)… But as many of us know, race has always played a huge role in the United States and throughout the world for centuries. Before President Obama was elected to his first term and second term, race was always a major issue. Not just for African-American’s but for all races. The United States of America was founded on the grounds of diversity and that awesome document called the Declaration of Independence. People in our society are ignorant to self-improvement and the understanding that regardless of race, all men are created equal. And they have the pursuit of happiness, liberty and the certain unalienable rights that all Americans are in titled. President Obama was elected like every other president has throughout our nations history and truthfully there shouldn’t be any hatered for that. We are all diverse in our own right and have that mixed heritage in our blood, even if you believe it or not. This country has a huge issue regarding immigration laws and immigrants coming from all over the world looking for a better life for themselves or their families. But all I remember is that this country was basically built by the hard work and efforts of these immigrants throughout the world. If it wasn’t for them, this country wouldn’t be what it is today. New York City wouldn’t have these amazing buildings or be considered the most diverse place in the world and definitely not the Statue of Liberty, that we base this country’s freedom around. And the cool thing about the Statue of Liberty is that it was a gift from France as a token of friendship, showing the true symbol of freedom and the democracy of our great nation. Sometimes people just need to sit back and think before they speak. But if we didn’t have these ignorant individuals in our country, it wouldn’t be what it is today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s