BY THE FLORIDA COURIER EDITORIAL STAFF
Since the 2000 campaign year, our various media properties, the Daytona Times, the Florida Courier and WPUL-AM 1590, have maintained a consistent editorial policy of not recommending candidates – whether national, state or local and regardless of race or political party – who chose not to promote their candidacies through our media when they have media budgets available.
We find it ironic that candidates, their consultants and ad agencies can easily find us when it comes to covering campaign events as news stories or appearing on WPUL’s talk shows. But when it comes to paid advertising, we hear, “We can’t get in contact with you,” or “We are utilizing our campaign resources on something more cost-effective.”
It’s also strange to occasionally hear from some candidates’ representatives that “We didn’t know you existed.” What does that say about someone’s ability to learn about and represent a sizable Black constituency if they or their support staff don’t even know that East Central Florida is one of the few communities in America that has had its own Black-owned newspaper for almost 35 years and its own Black-owned radio station for almost 25 years, or that the Florida Courier has been the state’s largest Black-owned media outlet since 2006?
As a consequence, we make NO RECOMMENDATIONS with regard to races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, the Florida Legislature or local elections in the four zones the Florida Courier reaches around the state.
To maintain consistency with our political advertising policy espoused above, we will, however, provide recommendations on the presidential/vice presidential race, statewide judicial retention, and the twelve constitutional amendments. We believe these races are of particular importance to Black Floridians statewide.
YES to Obama-Biden
Here’s an excerpt of what we wrote in 2008 when we originally recommended voting for Obama-Biden:
It’s time for a thinker, not a gunslinger, to be the face of America on the worldwide stage. It’s time for someone to engage in deliberation before going before the nation to engage in pontification. It’s time for someone who pauses before he speaks to collect his thoughts – but not because he’s unsure of the pronunciation of his next word.
Most importantly, it’s time for someone who has lived the average American experience, who didn’t come from an economically privileged background, who’s had to discuss at the family dinner how school loans and living expenses would be paid, and how money would be saved to send two smart daughters to college. Barack Obama has had those average American family experiences – and more.
That analysis still holds. It referred to John McCain in 2008; it refers to Mitt Romney in 2012.
Apprehensive about Obama
However, in 2008, we also manifested our uneasiness about Obama, which moderated our expectations of how he would perform as president:
He sacrificed his surrogate father and one of the best preachers on the planet, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, on the altar of his ambitions. He stood with Wall Street, bailing them out, rather than with those of us who live near Main Street and MLK Boulevard. Financially, he minimally invested in Black-owned media and the established Black community-based political culture, taking Black voters for granted while raising more campaign money than any candidate in American history. To a large extent, he sold out to his White handlers, following their advice with regards to distancing himself from his Black voting base.
Not much has changed in that regard. And over four years, we’ve stood opposite the president on many issues, including (but not limited to) the military surge in Afghanistan, the continuation of the George W. Bush-era PATRIOT Act, and Obama’s open targeted assassination of native-born American citizens – who can be designated ‘terrorists’ upon signature of the president – in violation of their federal constitutional right to due process of law.
We’ve criticized him for half-hearted efforts when he’s “led from behind” by leaving critical details to others on big-ticket items like the bank bailout, the stimulus, Obamacare, and financial reform. And unlike some Black organizations, we’ve criticized him about his refusal to specifically address systemic disparate racial treatment in economics, public safety, criminal justice, health care, and other quality of life indicators in America.
Despite its limitations, Obamacare will have a positive impact on the health of millions of Black Americans who would otherwise be uninsurable due to preexisting medical conditions. There is the billion-dollar Black farmers’ settlement, the narrowing of criminal penalties against crack cocaine versus powder cocaine, more money in Pell grants for college students, and relatively small investments in summer jobs in urban communities.
But generally, Obama forms White House level commissions (Black educational excellence), initiatives (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and forums (minority business) to generate ideas on how to solve a few ‘Black’ problems. There’s limited follow-through and limited budgetary support.
Had not the Republican Party been hijacked by right-wing nuts, there would be room for a socially moderate, fiscally responsible Republican or a third-party candidate who would be a viable alternative to Obama’s centrist-right policies that coddle the military, Big Pharma, and Wall Street “banksters” at the expense of the middle class and the federal deficit. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney is not that alternative.
Or is he? Who is Romney? Where does he stand? Nobody knows. What we know is that he will say anything, do anything, become anything, to be elected president.
A vote for Romney is a vote for cynicism of the worst kind. If he wins, facts in political campaigns would become meaningless “inconvenient things” to be bent and molded at will, and ambitious, amoral politicians from top to bottom will replicate his winning strategy.
We’re over it
And so a critical mass of Black voters are left with the disappointing feeling of a “lesser of the evils” 2012 campaign, rather than the euphoric feel of the 2008 push and pull to the polls to vote for “The First.”
We should all get over it; we at the Florida Courier already have. From 2008:
We’ve written here in the Florida Courier about our mission as Black media owners, and we’ve been “hated on’’ by Obama-manics…“Haterade’’ doesn’t bother us. Analysis from the Black perspective and advocacy for the Black community is what we do. And we’ll pick up the rhetorical knives, spears, guns or bombs in our media and wield them as necessary to analyze, educate and advocate, as Black-owned media has proudly done for more than 180 years, and as we have done for three decades…
But for now, we declare a political cease-fire. The differences are too stark, the future too uncertain, the stakes too high for us not to urge every reader to vote EARLY so that your vote will count, and to assist others to vote.
Clearly, that vote…should be cast for Barack Obama.
We’ll remind Obama
“Forward, ever; backward, never” is a quotation attributed to Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the free and independent nation of Ghana, West Africa, which recently celebrated its 50th national birthday.
Nkrumah was educated at an HBCU, Lincoln University; was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity; and is acknowledged as the father of the modern nation of Ghana, much like George Washington is here in America.
We know Obama visited Ghana; we don’t know if Obama’s “Forward” campaign slogan is related to Nkrumah’s quote. But we will remind President Obama of Nkrumah’s full quotation in the ‘dog days’ of his second term – if he wins one – when things get tough against Republicans who are determined to destroy him.
And Nkrumah’s legacy in Ghana of major accomplishments against opposition – and apathy – would be worthy of Obama’s study.