*To all of you who responded to my open letter to Mr. Tavis Smiley (Electronic Urban Report, 8.11.2013) in kind, or not so much, I whole-heartily appreciate your remarks, and the time taken to express them. You elected to address an issue that none of us take lightly, being true to one’s self and others, with respect.
Although the post you read was sent to Mr. Smiley, there has been no response from him or any of his representatives as of this writing. However, I would hope that somewhere along their detoured way, Mr. Smiley and his like-minded colleague, Cornel West, will reconsider the consequences of their divisive decisions and use their collective energies to “do the right thing” and no longer cast aspersions on the aspiring and the well-intentioned. The sooner they conjoin themselves with those from whence they came, with integrity as a precondition, the better it will be for our communities and our country.
With the world, seemingly in more turmoil than modern history books have ever recorded, a devoted coalition of democratic values engaging and adhering to all of the people is needed more than ever before. The enormity of assignments to our President is in no way intended to rebuke the rights of those who feel matters should be dealt with differently than what they are being offered. But it does suggest an ability to compromise in deals … to negotiate … to learn from others … to exchange information … to be tolerant … to be compassionate with other people. It’s up to us, all of us, to forfeit something we want, but can do without, to achieve what we need.
Some have suggested that we, the people, should give our President a pass because he is Black, others suggest that we give him no pass at all for the same reason; he is Black. I say we give him a chance because he is, after all, the President of these United States, but not the states of our respective minds.
There is a reservoir of unparalleled accomplishments made on the first African American President’s watch. It would behoove us to remember that neither the completion of Rome, in all its glory, nor the magnitude of the British Empire nor the solidification of the principles of America could be achieved with the rapidity and assuredness we would certainly prefer. Hard fought victories take time and patience to win. No one person can please all the people, all the time. Just ask the matriarch or patriarch of any family or the boss or foreman of any business or CEO or Chairman of any company.
Realizing that, we, as morally responsible as our consciousnesses will allow, should not be able to fully comprehend nor condone the unjustified antics of the not-so-dynamic duo’s flaunted and eventually futile bid for a prize they hastily sought but did not deserve. I direct this suggestion not only to Messers Smiley and West, but to any one who would use their position of power to denigrate the very people and ideals they supported in the first place.
In closing, to a great extent, I think as citizens we have a right to criticize with care, but never condemn for the sake of convenience. It would be wise to listen to and heed the advice of one of our own modern day queens…the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She was spot on when she belted out something we all ought to do more of …“THINK!”
P.S. Several respondents were rightfully and respectfully correct in reprimanding my omission of the usage of “President” while addressing our Commander-in-Chief in my initial letter. I readily admit to my unintentional neglect and ask for your indulgence. However, I must admit that I have such a profound empathy for President Obama that I tend to lose myself in the comfort of feeling that I know him personally … like a member of my family whom I heard about and finally got to meet.
Chris Jones, a native New Yorker residing in Los Angeles, has written consistently about his observations of ethics, culture and day-to-day life in the urban community. A political science enthusiast and staunch supporter of voter registration, his professional background includes business manager for Stevie Wonder, senior level appointments for promotion and marketing responsibilities at Island, Motown and Warner Bros record companies, respectively. Response to his commentaries can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org