In February and again in April, President Barack Obama met with significant elements of the African American community to discuss what Blacks saw as their most critical need, and how they could work together with the White House to improve the condition of African Americans in the country. He met with the NAACP's Ben Jealous, the Urban League's Marc Morial, and Rev. Al Sharpton. Two months later he met with 20 African American ministers on the same topic, and they presented to him a letter of full support for his continuing efforts signed by 30 faith-based leaders of some of the largest congregations in the United States. Although Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, Ph.D., Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D., journalist Glen Ford and others in the Black community, including almost half of the Congressional Black Congress, have consistently criticized the president--and not always constructively--on not doing enough specifically for the Black community, by no means is that relatively negative view the dominant sentiment among the Black population.
Whether African Americans are currently well-informed of the President's accomplishments or not, Mr. Obama is still 'Da Man' in their book, and handling himself and things in ways in which we can all be proud.
For those who deign to look at that record of administrative work done within the president's first two years, they see a remarkable achievement that all of us can only hope he can sustain. Clearly, he did not accomplish all things alone-he had much help from his hard-working staff and equally hard-working members of both houses of Congress. But virtually all of the noteworthy achievements by the American government during these last two years (the beginnings of the post-Bush era) have been with his urging, insight, cajoling, arm-twisting and/or wise negotiations.
Wringing out a $20 billion written guarantee from BP to cover all costs of rebuilding and "making whole" the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of the largest oil spill in recorded U.S. history, for example, were simply unprecedented. No other U.S. president had done anything of the sort.
There are historians and political economists who currently assert that Mr. Obama at this moment in December 2010 has the best record of accomplishment of any former U.S. President since Lyndon Johnson, and has gotten more done in 23 months than most other presidents got done in eight years. That's praise of the highest order, shorn of political partisanship. It's hard to argue with that assessment. There are a documented 250 triumphs one could list for this president, with approximately 100 that most impact the status of Black Americans.
We can grouse about the small things if we want, or we can get to work collaboratively to help this president achieve even more. His success is the success of the Black community, and we should not for a minute forget that. To be sure, it is about all of America, as he constantly says, but lifting somebody else's yacht higher than it already is means nothing to a man with no job, bread or warm place to lay his head.