Where is the hope and the change?

Like millions of other Americans, during the last presidential campaign, I got swept up in the tide of believing that yes we could make change in this country. I believe I have shared before I was not initially gung-ho about Barack Obama, in fact I was way more into John Edwards who I felt really had a better sense of caring about the working men and women in this country. Of course we know ole Johnnie had to drop out and turns out he would have had way too much on his plate to effectively govern this country, seeing as how his life vaguely resembles a character you would find on the Maury Povich Show…

So I started to take a look at candidate Obama and figured hey this could be the guy. I truly liked the fact he had been a community organizer, having started my switch to the non-profit world eons ago as a community organizer, I know its good work that really creates change if you work hard at it. I was also reminded by my son who fell in love with Obama early on of how quick he had risen. Back in 2004, we were in Chicago when Obama was running for the Senate and both recalled how we had read about him when we were in town.

I grew to like Obama so much last year that I financially supported his campaign, granted my few dollars were a drop in the bucket but after the years of the Bush regime, I wanted to believe in him. Which brings me to my point today…now I know many folks especially Black folks will say don’t judge him, he had a mess to clean up, give him time. I agree lets give him time, my problem is in the work world generally by the time you have been on a job over 6 months, your employer expects to have a sense of who you are as an employee.

Well President Obama has been on the job long enough for me to wonder what the hell is going on? Right now as I type this I understand the President and First Lady are off trying to bring the Olympics to our hometown, Chicago. Um…is that really a good idea?

This past week back in my hometown a young man was savagely killed just down the street from his school, he was a decent kid from what I have read, reports are that he was an honor roll student who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe it’s because my son is 17 but this story really touched a nerve in me, even good kids will do dumb shit and being in the midst of a gang fight trying to see what is going on is the type of thing kids do especially in urban areas.

The thing is this is not the first time this year that a kid has gotten killed in Chicago near their school, hell this shit is an epidemic and now thanks to technology we can watch a life being snuffed out and get so desensitized to it that we do nothing.

Now it’s my understanding that President Obama is throwing around the idea that making the school year longer will actually help our kids, maybe it will for a few but considering that kids already spend most of their time in school or working on school work. I see this as a bad idea. I most certainly am not sold on the idea that increasing school days will help our inner city youth. Instead they will leave school at 5pm even more frustrated and I see violence increasing. I admit there is a lot more to the talk of increasing the time spent in school but I see it as a bad idea.

Pretty much the same way I have not cared for Obama’s pep speeches he seems to like to give when talking to predominantly Black audiences, after all, we all feed our kids fried chicken in the morning…talks like these sound good and yes people need to take more responsiblity for themselves but maybe we need to address the societal barriers that create dysfunctional families. If he thinks folks should eat better, maybe we need less junk food places in the hood. Maybe there needs to be more Whole Foods and less bodegas where you can’t even find fresh produce. He spent time on the south-side of Chicago and he knows as I do that in many parts of the south side of Chicago and urban areas across this land that fried chicken is a lot more accessible than a baked chicken. Shit, the ole corner store in my Granny’s area didn’t even sell whole chickens.

My pont of this rant is that we need more than speeches that sound good, we need actual change and sorry but knowing what is happening back home. I think Chicago needs to spend the money that would be spent hosting the Olympics to go towards funding programs that could help actual people. If he cares so much about the hometown then create some change that will better everyone rather than making Mayor Daley feel good.

While we are at, what about real healthcare reform? I just spoke with a professional colleague whose partner had bypass surgery recently and the bill they got, mind you these folks are retired military with damn good insurance was for thirty two thousand dollars after insurance! After insurance! Yet more and more people are facing bills like that, yet what will probably come to pass for health insurance reform in this country is likely to be nothing more than a band aid solution.

Look, I haven’t given up entirely on the President yet but I will say if he was one of my employees, we would be sitting down discussing whether or not he needs help to do his job because so far things are a tad off track.

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