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11:57 AM on 11/15/2012
What is discouraging about this piece is that it dramatizes the fundamental flaw in the American electoral system. Once the President is elected, he is no longer held responsible to the coalition that elected him. Reminding him to keep his promises is nothing compared to a parliamentary vote of no confidence that can bring down a government at any moment. It does us no good to realize this because the chances of changing things is remote or non existent. Still, broken promises do not stick in the memory of the electorate and are a flimsy basis for a democracy to hold onto responsible government. Big money knows this and plays it in their interests with lobbying. Until we change this, money will rule. And everyone else goes in the forgotten promises pile which is growing larger and larger. They probably have digitized it for convenience sake.
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Robert Karp
01:45 PM on 11/15/2012
Well Said.
04:52 PM on 11/15/2012
FYI... did you see what money did for Romney . That's why he's on all the media complaining about Obama giving away free stuff..why not ask the people of Staten Island how they feel about that . The President 's job is to protect ad defend the country and do what is in the best intrest for the country. If you see Romney,ask him how much of Karl Rove butt did he have to kiss. apparently he wasn't that good at it because Rove has to contend with those donors who gave him millions and recieved NOTHING in return...yet
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TRUTHHURTS500
11:53 AM on 11/15/2012
First, Black people need to take responsibility for our communities, childrens education and stop the toxic relationships between black men and woman. That's something the president nor any other government official has no control over.

We are brainwashed group of people, we don't stand up for ourselves, we take every piece of propaganda nonsense to heart. We don't read, don't know what the issues are, we are so busy trying to assimulate and be accepted. The Republican Party truth be told, don't want Black people in their party unless you're doing a song and dance for them or going along with their BS. The Democrats are no better, they want to keep the status quo too. Black people talk about Bill Clinton being the 1st Black president. I bet half of them don't know it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA and the Banking Deregulation Bill into law.

What do you want the president to do for Black America? Healthcare, Pell Grants, Education are all things that the president has been focused on, though it's not only a benefit to Black people, but all people. The one thing I would ask him to do is to past a federal law that says after a convicted felon completes his sentence and probation, he or she be allowed to vote.
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Katrin55
A man's reach should exceed his grasp
03:46 PM on 11/15/2012
Hear hear! Especially your last paragraph. I can't presume to speak for the African-American experience, but I agree that it's ultimately unhelpful for any group to see itself in the mirror of victimhood.
11:50 AM on 11/15/2012
white people are called racist for voting for mitt. yet 93% of the black vote went towards Obama and not one mention of that racism. now i know not all of the 93% voted for him cause he is black but some did and more atleast % wise then white people did vote for mitt.

now before i get a bunch of hate reply i voted Obama and am very glad he won. but black shouldnt holler racism for voting for mitt when it is very clear alot of black people voted for Obama cause he is black. some even went as far as disowning black people that didnt want to vote for him or endorsed mitt.
11:49 AM on 11/15/2012
White money paid for the re-election,they will be first in line.
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Kathy480
11:44 AM on 11/15/2012
What is Tavis Smiley always whining about? President Obama is a man for the ALL the people of the United States. And what does Tavis Smiley do for Black people?
11:42 AM on 11/15/2012
Tavis, the great Bob Marley once sang, "Get up, stand up, for your rights". I feel that so many AA folks feel that they have done their jobs by voting to reelect Mr. Obama. Folks should pay attention to young children who when they need something they constantly remind their parents of their needs. AA folks needs more access to education and economic opportunities IF WE HOPE TO COUNTED GOING FORWARD AS MR. OBAMA STATED DURING HIS CAMPAIGN. WHAT WILL BE THE DEMANDS OF BLACK FOLKS IN THE FUTURE OF AMERICA. I am reminded of Godfather of soul James Brown singing, "I don't want nobody to give me nothing, open up the door and I will get it myself". Black folks the DOOR IS WIDE OPEN. WHERE YOU AT?
05:08 PM on 11/15/2012
AMEN ,get up ,get moving. we have it better than past generations ,it is up to us !
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Mavis Walter
11:40 AM on 11/15/2012
The thing that bothers me most is that often Blacks are thought of as being of one mind, and there needs to be a spokesperson to convey our "singular" thought. The so-called, self proclaimed spokesperson(s) of today is not the same as Malcom X or Dr. King, and even they understood we are not all of one thinking. Plus I'd like to know is, to which group Tavis Smiley is referring? There's a whole lot of talk coming from his direction but I've never heard of any "in the trenches" action on his part. What has he done to make someone's burden any easier? Being loud without action is the same as in-action.
11:40 AM on 11/15/2012
Tavis, are you familiar with Amos Brown? Probably not. He's a local journalist here in Indianapolis. He compared himself to you recently - and we had a formidable conversation about why I felt he wasn't...

However, this aritcle temps me to reconsider... How can you say that the President OWES black people, and not that we OWE him? As a black woman, I've realized how easy it has become for black men to complain about what they are owed without doing the due diligence necessary for a pay-off. I'm starting to see this on every level... home, workplace and now politics.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing with your point - I get that, but there's more to it than just placing blame... We as a race of people have the responsibility to be producitve AND proactive within the changes that Obama makes in order to establish our voice, not just wait for him to do things for us because we're "owed". If anything, we owe him more effort...

My President owes me nothing but an opportunity on a level playing field, what I do with it is MY CHOICE... better yet... OUR CHOICE.

Talk to some younger black women and consider a paradigm shift Mr. Smiley...
11:35 AM on 11/15/2012
it seems that tavis smiley's analysis leans too much on non-constructive criticism of a personal nature against the obamas. there is very little real substance in his analysis. i believe that it is also misdirected. where is the 'Black Agenda"/ why is the Black Congressional caucus and national Black leaders, especially in the legislative area, not taking the lead in drafting, proposing and enacting meaningful legislative programs to address immediate concerns? To lay it all on the presidents' shoulders is short-sighted, self-serving and an utter lack of taking responsibility for guiding our own destinies. These actions of tavis and others only help to aid our enemies, not help to bring self-determination to our communities.
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TRUTHHURTS500
12:23 PM on 11/15/2012
Sure you're right! The Black Caucus.
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Robert Karp
01:53 PM on 11/15/2012
"Why did the man getting into trouble have to be a Black Man, why couldn't he just be a man?"
- QM2 John Phillips, USN, USS Enhance (MSO-937)

All laws applies to everyone regardless of race, creed, religion, sexual orientation...ETC...

That is the mind set WE THE PEOPLE need to adopt and stop looking at color. If there are laws that discriminate a certain group, that language needs to be removed, but we do not need legislation that specifically grants special attention to a specific group.
11:29 AM on 11/15/2012
I have a major problem with anybody I didn't elect making 'demands' on my behalf. I don't need Tavis to speak for me to the govenment. That responsibility belongs to OUR ELECTED officials.
11:21 AM on 11/15/2012
Mr. Smiley,

If African Americans are "losing ground" politically & economically whose fault is that? Why is it President Obama's responsibility and not the African American community's responsibility to get it back? What exactly are you expecting Obama to do that black folks shouldn't already be doing and apparently are not since we're still losing ground as you say??

Last time I checked his title was President of the United States not the President of Black America. Stop putting a community's responsiblity on the shoulders of one person, even one who is leader of the so called free world.
11:18 AM on 11/15/2012
Travis the President is the President of all of the people. What specifically do you want him to do.?Please come up with concrete proposals and not just complaints.
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jayshiggs
12:20 PM on 11/15/2012
Yeah, bring some specific legislation to the table. It seems the complaint is Obama doesn't complain enough about racism or something. Be about it, don't shoot the breeze about it.
11:03 AM on 11/15/2012
Tavis posted this tweet at 8:57 PM election night. Literally seconds after news-stations had declared the President re-elected:

"Congrats to President Obama! Would have HATED the Jimmy Carter comparisons. Is it okay to make some demands NOW? "

The only person complaining is Tavis and those unelected "leaders" like him.
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bosse
11:00 AM on 11/15/2012
Tavis, whom I thought of as an intelligent one, has been a thorn on the butt of the President. Is it to get more attention> But he is finding less and less listeners.
This President is not the President of any kind of species of Americans. He has behaved Presidential and has dome more to the average American and the di advanataged.
Soto bringing racist arguments, in his way.
Let us give give some room and freedom to help us us.
DO NOT expect special favors. Remember he is half white also, when you get upset.
Of course blacks voted for him because he is a DEMOCRAT.
10:57 AM on 11/15/2012
Tavis..your days of relevance (if they ever existed) have passed. You have never been a supporter of the President since he didnt come to your forum in New Orleans in 2007. Please go away