“President Obama goes back to his radical roots again and again and again.”
This recent statement by Fox News host Sean Hannity initially had me alarmed. Immediately, my mind began to wonder if President Obama had somehow reconnected with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers or Father Michael Pfleger.
To my utter amazement, I later discovered that Hannity’s exaggerated rants were targeted at Common — arguably, one of the most positive and intellectually astute lyricists in the hip-hop industry for over a decade, as evidenced by a plethora of empowering and uplifting songs such as “The Light,” “Come Close,” “Love Is,” “Retrospect for Life” and “I Have A Dream”. If one had watched Hannity and Karl Rove and did not know about Common and his constructive corpus of songs and amazing philanthropic activities, one could possibly surmise that first lady Michelle Obama had invited an extremely controversial figure to recite poetry at the White House.
Was it fair for Rove to describe Common as a “thug”, a misogynist and a reprehensible promoter of killing police officers and President Bush? Certainly, Common’s performance during last night’s poetry event and his recent work with Sesame Street does not exemplify such a person. And, why didn’t Rove mention the fact that the late Eazy-E, who frequently rapped about violence (“F**k Tha Police”) during his days with N.W.A., attended and contributed to a luncheon hosted by former President George H.W. Bush to benefit the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle in March 1991?
WATCH ‘THE LAST WORD’ COVERAGE OF THE COMMON CONTROVERSY:
Sadly enough, as then Senator Obama described in 2008 during his campaign, some conservatives will try almost anything to paint him as “different” and “other.” Or, to be more pointed, there were going to be right-wing propagandists who would attempt to remind America that he was a black candidate. Now, as the 2012 campaign season begins, there are already at least a handful of Republican strategists who are treading down the same path to create fear and xenophobia of blackness throughout the country in the hopes of preventing President Obama’s re-election.
Over the past two weeks, President Obama’s momentum has made it extremely tough for the Republican presidential candidates. The release of his long-form birth certificate that immediately squashed the birther debate, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the recent AP-GfK poll that denoted a 60 percent approval rating are unequivocally worrisome for his conservative opponents.
These recent accomplishments are additions to the already robust resume of President Obama that includes the health care reform bill, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the repeal of the military’s ban on gays and lesbians, the withdrawal of combat troops out of Iraq, the historic Wall Street reform bill, the White House initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the appointments of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and over 200 more legislative achievements.
Whether it’s swiftly responding to disasters around the country, re-igniting debate and discourse about comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act, or targeting oil subsidies, President Obama appears to be moving too fast and successfully for GOP strategists, and they seem to be clearly running out of issues to attack the president on.
Without equivocation, Obama still has various areas in which significant improvement is needed such as the deficit and debt ceiling, ongoing Israel and Palestine conflict, criminal justice reform, immigration reform and clean energy. These major items will require bipartisanship and concrete, effective plans and proposals from both chambers and sides of the aisle.
To criticize Obama on substantive and detailed components of proposed and existing public policies is fair game, in most cases. But, to resort to calling Common names, labeling an artist like Jill Scott a racist because she purportedly disapproved of an interracial relationship in an Essence article, demanding the release of bin Laden’s death photo, focusing on first lady Michelle Obama or doing the “dougie,” or asking for the president’s college transcripts is truly sophomoric and opprobrious. Hopefully, the 2012 presidential campaign season will be marked by civil discourse and debate on the real issues.