Pres. Obama’s 3,600 Words to the CBC: 15 Million Unemployed? No. Black Unemployment? No. 46 Million Poor? No. STFU? Yes. Yesterday, at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, I was at a session called, Faith Leaders Roundtable: Black Activism in the Time of Obama. Translation: How to address big problems without tossing President Obama under the bus… On the panel were CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver, Rep. Elijah Cummings Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson. Rep. Maxine Waters was seated in the front row of a packed room. It was a lively, deep, introspective and pointed session. Perhaps too lively and pointed: At about 45 minutes in, someone decided removing reporters from the room was a fabulous idea. I fought the plan off and remained until the end. Glad I did. Al Sharpton: “We should all be focused on improving the lives of people. If we’re not doing that everything else is theater.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr: Jackson used a sinking ship analogy that brought Cleaver to tears… “Some people will sink an entire ship in desperation to kill the Captain… We have a lot of deck analysts who are in very well paid positions who are comfortable… but there is a hole in the hull… the hull is getting crowded and water is coming in… how do we stop the water from coming in? … There is a poison here… and we’re arguing about the deck hands and the Captain… but we’re losing people in the hull. Somehow, someway I suspect the people on the deck will not lift those in the hull… those in the hull have to climb…”
Contrast that with the President speaking to the CBC last night: “Even when folks are hitting you over the head, you can’t stop marching. Even when they’re turning the hoses on you, you can’t stop. (Applause.) Even when somebody fires you for speaking out, you can’t stop. (Applause.) Even when it looks like there’s no way, you find a way — you can’t stop…” There were 3,600 words in all. Yet no mention of black unemployment at 16.7%. Of course he knows the numbers and the White House shows they know the numbers in the President’s jobs plan.