Open Letter to President Barack Obama on His 2nd Inaugural on MLK Jr Day:
Please Tell That Boy to Pull Up His Pants
Dear Mr. President:
Congratulations on your election victory! I just watched your first press conference since your re-election and I want to try squeeze in a few words while so many are distracted with the looming “fiscal cliff,” middle-class tax cuts, the Benghazi attack – particularly how it connects with the new reality-based soap opera featuring top brass in the US military.
I’ll hopefully catch your ear while your Republican rivals are pacing in green rooms in New York and Washington, DC television networks, quoting Shakespeare to each other: “To be, or not to be, that is the question…to die, to sleep?”
Many are inconsolable and should probably just sleep it off or, mercifully, be euthanized by their families. I personally am hoping for a miraculous healing for them or perhaps Ted Nugent can put together an Ambien-relief concert.
The upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebration happens to coincide with your second inaugural ceremony. Additional EMT crews should definitely be on standby at the Capitol to provide treatment to hopped-up Progressives who may spontaneously burst into blue flames – some possibly on live television. The gloating and the empathy, particularly among well-heeled Liberals, will be historic. In the years to come, I will miss the guilt.
The US cultural milieu of our times dictated that for you to have gotten to where you are in life – a black man twice elected to highest office in the land – you had to make it clear that you were the president of all America.
But, now that Afro-Americans, and other often under-courted groups (women, Asians, Latinos, Muslims), in a big way, have helped put you back into the public housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – respectfully – it’s time for a little, shall I say, ‘We’ll scratch your back and you scratch ours.’
The level of MLK Jr.-dream obsession that will surround your second inaugural will likely be thicker than my Grandma’s sunglasses and I respectfully ask that you use the occasion and your bully pulpit to invoke the true legacy of Dr. King.
Dr. King was arrested and jailed, at least 20 times, and physically assaulted at least four times – including a near-fatal stabbing by a deranged woman in 1958.
I know I am preaching to the choir here, but Dr. King’s struggle for equal justice for all was no dreamscape. He wasn’t sitting around singing Kumbaya. His direct actions led to him being wiretapped and bugged by the FBI. He lived with constant death threats. And, as you know, he was assassinated in Memphis, TN in 1968 on a return trip to help striking sanitation workers.
Dr. King didn’t give his life so that professional athletes and entertainers could be “free at last” to make it rain dollars in nightclubs or date and make babies with impunity.
“…there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds,” said King in his 1963 “dream” speech.
Mr. President, I know it’s in you to advance this argument because I heard your speech on race delivered during your first presidential campaign on March 18, 2008, at Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA.
“…For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care and better schools and better jobs — to the larger aspirations of all Americans: the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man who has been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for our own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny,” you said, Mr. President.
On the day you gave that speech, I called former Virginia Governor (and 1992 US Presidential candidate) Doug Wilder – who was then the mayor of Richmond, VA and asked him had he heard the speech. He had not. I emailed him a link to the speech and spoke to him again later that day after he had listened to it, and the subsequent media coverage of it.
Gov. Wilder told me that he and civil rights activist Julian Bond had spoken earlier that day and both feared that the intense focus by the Right-wing media on your former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, might have scuttled your campaign with all the anxiety-raising “race” talk.
But after listening to your speech, he believed that you had turned things around for your campaign.
You have no more campaigns to run and there was a lot of good talk in your press conference today about a middle-class mandate – and I get that.
I think it would be an even greater service to our nation for you to put a laser like focus on the least of us – the urban and rural poor and single women of all ethnic groups – and lend some straight talk and political capital to help turn things around for some of our Afro-American boys.
Mr. President, in whichever way you choose, please tell our young men to pull up their sagging pants and to stand up straight.
Years ago, one of my acquaintances would comment on my business attire by greeting me with a smile and “What’s up pimp?”
What value system would allow that to exist as a compliment? US/Black history is as complicated as any isn’t it?
The same person, when he now sees me similarly dressed, says “What’s up Mr. President?”
Mr. President, you can effect more than that superficial transformation of thinking and I believe you will step up.
A large slice of America needs some reinforcement rooted in early learning, curbing gun violence, substance abuse, character building, drug trafficking, HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy (especially boys); promoting family planning; enhancing parenting skills, literacy, economic literacy and championing community values that will not allow these pathologies to continue to thrive.
Incarceration cannot remain as badge of honor among some of our youth who are ill-equipped to take care of themselves and the babies they might make on the outside.
Mr. President, you have already set a fine example as a father and husband. Thank you for all you have done and all will you do as the stars continue to align in your life and the lives of your wonderful family.
Jim Allen, Editor
PS Nice standing up today for Ambassador Rice! Who still shoots messengers anymore?