Homecoming

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  • Few things are more comforting than being welcomed back to a loving home. Whether you’ve been away at school, in the military, on the road working or just spent too many hours past your curfew, it feels good to know that you were missed, and nobody’s mad at you. You may have not made the best grades, you might have not written home enough, you may have missed paying a couple of bills, and you may have gone too long without calling – but sometimes, when you get home, people who love you can look past all that, at least for a while, and just appreciate your complete “body of work.”

    This morning, you’ll hear a conversation we recorded with Barack Obama, the president of the United States, yesterday. Like other family members we know (and have been ourselves), the president was loved, supported and pushed to reach higher heights, to go as far as he could go. He’s in a tight spot though now, and to be honest, I think he’s gone too long without checking in on the family – his base, the black folks who got him elected. But still, I welcomed him with open arms.

    That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t hold him accountable for keeping the promises he made to black America. He says he has – with the health care reform bill, a plan to build a new foundation for economic growth in the African-American community, financial regulatory reform to help keep big banks from taking advantage of people and with education reform. He says proposals he made this week will put people to work physically rebuilding America’s roads and bridges.

    I believe him, and I trust him. What would be the point of working as hard as we all did to put the president in office, only to second-guess him and not give him room to work his plan?

    On the night of the election, I was a witness, just a few yards away in Grant Park in Chicago, where he made his speech and said something I’d never heard a president say before. He said he wouldn’t be able to turn things around in one term. He didn’t kid himself or us. He told us it would take lots of work, lots of blood, lots of sweat and lots of tears. And we all yelled, and clapped and cheered. But now it’s time for the hardest part.

    The honeymoon is over. The parties have stopped. The sexy is gone. At the rate things are going, if things continue as they stand today, there may not be a second term for this president. And if we don’t like this scenario, we can’t wait any longer to support him. It starts with the all-important mid-term elections. President Obama’s name won’t be on any of those ballots, but we have to go out and support Democrats the way we supported him when we were all hyped up about the prospect of electing the first African-American president.

    It’s hard to do. I know. It’s my job to keep everyone motivated to go out and vote in every election, and I fall short. Like you, I have a lot of things to do that have nothing to do with local or statewide politics. I’m not up on all the issues, and a lot of them I’m not even interested in. But, also like you, I’ve got to dig deep and sacrifice and keep reminding myself of the bigger picture – and the greater good.

    I want this president to succeed because of the pride and historic significance of who he is, for one, secondly, as you will hear in the interview, he’s still the coolest, but also because I believe he will do what’s best for this country and black America. He wants for his two daughters the same as I want for my granddaughter and grandchildren to come: Peace, prosperity and uncontaminated food! Listen carefully to his message today as he speaks directly to black America.

    Let’s dig deep and make a commitment to – at the very least – do what we can to give the man we elected a chance to finish what he’s started. I have the audacity to hope and believe we can make it happen. Again.

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