Elections have consequences
John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM | 1/24/2017, 7:10 p.m.
His next undertaking was to propose, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare”, a program that would provide access to affordable health care for millions of Americans, through health care exchanges, and they could no longer be excluded because of pre-existing conditions. Again, leveraging his majority in both houses of Congress, the President etched another victory that will live forever in the annuals of American History. This federal statute was enacted by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Subsequently, the Republicans regained control of the House in the 2010 Mid-Term elections, and lessened the Democratic majority in the Senate. Now with additional votes, the Republicans felt they had the political muscle to bring Senator McConnell’s prophesy to fruition, a one term presidency for President Obama. Shortly after his 2009 inauguration, President Obama infamously espoused a view that was not well received, although true, during a meeting with congressional Republicans about his economic proposals. President Obama was later quoted as telling GOP leaders that “elections have consequences,” and, in case there was any doubt, “I won.”
This lead to a filibuster by Senator Ted Cruz while reciting a children’s book, and over 50 legislative efforts by Republicans to overturn Obamacare, all of which were vetoed by our First African American President.
Notwithstanding, four years of obstruction, false claims of President Obama’s birthplace, and lack of experience he went on to make history the 2nd time, and was sworn in for another four years on January 20, 2012.
This historic event leads me to pose a question to the African American community and that is, what have we learned these past 8 years about what is possible?
On January 20, 2017, President Obama will conclude 8 years in office, with a record of accomplishment, and a legacy for future generations to embrace.
However, for me, the Republicans may not have been successful in their efforts to limit President Obama to one term, but they did achieve, one unannounced goal. What was that? They put such a strong negative narrative about President Obama in the atmosphere that they scared off the next wave of African Americans who some could envisioned as becoming a future president.
During President Obama’s run, I recall former two term Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick, a Harvard Graduate, as someone who could possibly contend for the office of the presidency. Then, I also thought that former Attorney General Eric Holder could also have a potential run in the future.
As a child, many of us were told that “sticks and stones” may cause physical harm, but we could be victorious over a few choice words. Yes, that was the case for America’s first two term African American president. But the words of an organized and strategic political faction have been successful in silencing the mobilization of a black voting block that 8 years ago believed “Yes We Can.”
Can the African American residents of New Jersey, organize themselves, establish a platform, and execute a strategy to elect, appoint or hire the requisite leadership to forge a paradigm shift in the standing of blacks in our state?