'The American president for everyone'
NAACP President Ben Jealous, National Urban League President Marc Morial and the Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network didn't let a blizzard stop them from making an Oval Office meeting with President Obama. They went in to talk about jobs, how African Americans were getting especially clobbered by the worst recession since the Great Depression and what the government could do about it. They emerged playing down the notion that Obama must pursue a definable "black agenda" to achieve those goals.
"You could see that the president felt the gravity of the problem facing not only African Americans, but all Americans," Sharpton said afterwards. He told Politico, “We’re not looking for a race-based program. We’re looking to make sure everyone is involved. We don’t expect him to be the black president. We expect him to be the American president of everyone including blacks.”
This is a maturity that I wish others in the African American community would emulate. That doesn't mean Obama should be let off the hook for not pursuing policies that help the most vulnerable and those continually left behind even in good times. But it does mean recognizing that the pride of the black community is now responsible for and accountable to the entire country. A surefire way to relieve him of that duty is to insist that he play favorites.
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