Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama is NOT King or Lincoln by Akindele Akinyemi

Today is Monday, January 19, 2009 and it is Martin Luther King Jr's birthday. We are celebrating for several reasons today.

(1) We appreciate the efforts of Dr. King and his accomplishments to the world.

(2) Children should not be in the bed. This is not a day off but a day up to learn about one of the greatest men that ever walked the face of this Earth.

However, this year is different because we are preparing to elect Barack Obama as our 44th President of the United States tomorrow.

I am having some issues about some people trying to compare Obama to MLK and Abraham Lincoln. Obama yesterday spoke from the Lincoln Memorial.

Let me make it clear that while I applaud Obama's efforts on becoming the 44th President of the United States he is a long way from Lincoln and King.

There is no comparison.

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 to help free the slaves. Abraham Lincoln, as President, signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to stop slavery. King fought for Civil Rights.

Outside of working in Chicago's South Side Obama has a long way to go. So to compare him the two great Americans is totally pre-mature. I cannot believe how quiet the GOP is on this issue. Our party must stop being on the defensive and be on the offensive when people contradict history like this. It's ridiculous.

Regardless of how people felt about outgoing President George W. Bush his cabinet was the most diverse Cabinet I have ever seen on record.

Carlos M. Gutierrez, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Norman Y. Mineta, Elaine L. Chao, Rod Paige, Alberto Gonzalez, Karen Hughes just to name a few under Bush's leadership created a diverse cabinet.

On the other hand, some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are disappointed President-elect Obama did not appoint more African-Americans to his Cabinet.

Eric Holder will become the first African American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney General if he is nominated. Dr. Susan Rice is an Ambassador to the United Nations (which I strongly feel she should be the Secretary of State...not Hillary Clinton). African-American Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, is now Obama's trade representative after a Hispanic, Rep. Xavier Becerra, turned it down. Rep. Hilda Solis, will be Obama's head for the Department of Labor. Lastly, Lisa Jackson is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

If you are strategic like me I would have placed people of color in key positions in the Department of Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development. These three alone impacts urban communities all across the United States.

Some comparison to Lincoln or King. Obama does not even measure up. You cannot sit and tell me that he could not find people of color from an Ivy League school. That is an excuse. If you can tap Arne Duncan to be your Secretary of Education after running the Chicago Public Schools in the ground you can tap a more diverse Cabinet to run the show for you in Washington D.C.

I have no clue why so many people are outraged that Obama did not pick more people of color. I knew he was not going to do this from day one. So why vote for him to begin with? Yet, we are going to see him become inaugurated tomorrow afternoon by the thousands.

Let this be a reminder that Dr. King and Abraham Lincoln fought for freedom, justice and equality. Dr. King fought for Civil Rights. While we applaud the efforts of those who fought and died for our right to be here the time has come to switch from a Civil Rights Movement to a Silver Rights Movement.

Young adults in 2009 must embrace Silver Rights issues to help them understand that their predecessors historical status as effective leaders of the Civil Rights era does not necessarily qualify them for 21st Century leadership. When you look at their past experiences, they center on Civil Rights issues, not family, educational choice and business creation issues. Therefore, with few exceptions, they are simply not prepared to deal with this new economic challenge.

Therefore, we must awaken the new leaders of this generation to take on their historic responsibility and charge them with the task of launching this 21st Century Movement for Silver Rights. These leaders are members of the emerging business and educational class whose business and educational knowledge will give them the best chance for developing economic success for us all in this Silver Rights Movement.

With new leadership, with tested and effective wealth-acquisition strategies, is necessary to carry our community into the 21st Century. Only new leadership, fresh thinking, and a focus on wealth-generation can restore the faith of our community in its leadership and rejuvenate the hope for solving the problems of our communities. Leadership requires a vision, an ability to garner widespread support for that vision, and the wisdom to know when changes to the first two qualities are necessary.

Finally, I do not see Obama representing the Silver Rights Movement in terms of allowing people to build wealth on their own. What I do see Obama doing is representing a new era of Clintonian policies that will reduce the Black middle class. Is this the President we elected on the platform of Change and Hope?

Thank David Axelrod for creating an image for Obama that has now taken center stage beginning tomorrow. Now the real colors of Obama will show in the light.

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