“I expect all of you to march with me and press on. (Applause.) Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. (Applause.) Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC.”
— President Obama, Sept. 24, 2011
Yes, black members of Congress shut up and “stop grumbling.” The unemployment rate for black Americans is 16.7%, 18% for males, 46% for young adults — so no money is coming into those households… These numbers are historic but shut the hell up. The foreclosure crisis has caused the biggest decrease in wealth in 50 years amongst your constituents – but the President says, “shake it off.” Black member of Congress: The President needs you to shut up. Don’t you get it? While your Tea Party colleagues loudly dismantle Medicare and Social Security: Stop crying. I wonder: Did Richard Nixon tell you that when he refused to even meet with the CBC in 1972? (Actually it was just the opposite — see short video) Stop grumbling and quit mentioning these problems CBC. To be sure: Anytime in politics someone tells you to keep quiet, something’s wrong. When has keeping quiet and not complaining worked for any political movement?
In the districts of Reps. John Conyers and Maxine Waters the unemployment rate is over 40%. When people say the CBC “doesn’t do anything…” the President apparently needs to make sure they’re right and not say a word about the problems their constituents are facing. There are 1.2 million kids dropping out of high school, 52% of black males drop out — but don’t talk about it CBC. The average wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households – stop grumbling. There are 2.3 million in prison in the U.S. at a cost of $63 million a year, 840,000 of them black males (40% of the prison population), stop complaining. When Prof. Michelle Alexander wrote that, ”more black males are in prison than were enslaved in 1850,” earlier this year, no one flinched. The only time the President has mentioned incarceration was in a conversation with Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie regarding Michael Vick — and that was December 2010. Two weeks ago the CENSUS informed us 1 in 7 Americans — 46 million people — live in poverty. Highest in 17 years. And how dare any member of Congress with constituents facing these problems notice the President doesn’t mention these issues — let alone push policy. In a 3,600 word speech to a black audience none of it came up. He used his last 200 words to yell “stop, grumbling, stop complaining.” Clearly, if you can’t mention the above problems at the Black Caucus dinner with a 98% black audience, then when? As Dr. Phil says: You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
Anyone claiming to be a member of the United States House of Representatives who remains quiet as their constituents deal with the above should be voted out of office — or better, resign. Remaining quiet in life is not an option. Remaining quiet in politics is never an option. For black Americans facing a historic economic situation there is no room for silence. Those who make noise — and combine the noise with money and votes — get what they want. Period. Why are blacks members and black people expected to stop complaining and shut-up? To what other audience would the President deliver such a message? Would the President say this to AIPAC — they’re grumbling too. Marching shoes? Pressing on? Great. The President can use his own advice and march over to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and tell them that without revenue increases there will be no more “debt deals” and $850 billion dollar tax cut extensions we can’t afford. To this point he has not done that.