African Americans now face a political paradox
John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM | 2/21/2017, 7:24 a.m.
After the election was concluded on November 8, 2016, there were some that were shocked and in a state of utter disbelief and others, including elected officials who have stated that the president-elect was illegitimate and would protest his proposed policy positions. This will not be the first time in which citizens voiced their contempt against a president- elect of the United States. If you recall, leading up to and after our 44th President of the United States, Barack H. Obama took office, there were a number of Americans who declared that they would leave the country because he was not qualified and did not represent their interest.
Once in office, President Obama was immediately confronted with a number of crisis; the financial markets and wars raging across the Middle East and a Congress unwilling to work with him. President Obama immediately took action by crafting a plan that would restore confidence in our financial markets and infused capital into the auto industry which saved thousands of jobs while positioning Ford, GM and Chrysler to a better future. Let me give you a little perspective of what the situation was then versus now. Specifically, the stock market was between 7,000 – 8,000 in 2009, and hit an all- time high of 20,000 in December 2016, just one month before President Obama left office. Also, the stock price at that time for Ford was, $1.97 per share vs $12.63 now and General Motors (GM) 0.75 cents to $37.34 now, according to CNNMoney.com. In an article dated January 29, 2014 on OnTheIssues.org, the website made claims that there were over 500,000 jobs created in the auto industry since the financial markets melted down in America.
While the United States economy was in recovery, our first African American president dispatched a team of our Special Forces that captured and killed Osama Bin Laden one of the world’s leading terrorist that had alluded capture for years. Additionally, President Obama implemented a health care program that was able to insure more than 20 million Americans, some of which had been unable to secure medical coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Also, if you live in New Jersey, individual health coverage was not available; you had to be a part of a group of two or more.
Suffice it to say for now, that those who were invested in the stock markets from 2008 to present have seen their portfolios grow significantly, approximately 13.4%, according to observationsandnotes.blogspot. The irony here is that although many of those whom participated in this public discourse against President Obama faired pretty well from the upturn in the economy, however, they did not give a complimentary retraction to our two- term African American President.
The negative voices opposing President Obama were largely Republican and non-people of color. Now, fast forward to January 2017, and once again we are seeing protests across the country and calls of illegitimacy and impeachment, this time for President Trump. This outcry is coming largely from registered or declared Democrats; diverse individuals/activists, people of color and members of Congress. This is truly a paradox, especially for African Americans. In New Jersey and in many states across the country, African Americans have double digit unemployment, increased poverty, low capacity for their businesses and wide median income disparities. Given these standings, is it in the interest of the estimated 45 million African Americans within the United States to join the clarion call that others have deemed appropriate for our 45th president or seek ways to negotiate a comprehensive agenda that would increase job opportunities, contracts for business owners, homeownership, workforce training that aligns with 21st century careers, education reform that will provide our children with the tools to compete and a healthcare system that is accessible and affordable. In my view, this is the choice confronting African Americans.