Proposed resolution for Obama: Be blacker
By Lekan Oguntoyinbo Contributing Columnist | 1/4/2013, noon
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I gave up on them ages ago because I just couldn’t commit to eating more and working out less.
I don’t know if President Obama believes in them. If he does, however, here are the top four resolutions he needs to make in 2013:
4: “I will take on the gun lobby”
Each time we’ve had a mass shooting in the last four years, the president has played his role as mourner-in-chief quite well. He’s shown empathy and pulled the country together while talking tough about ending the cycle of violence. But for the most part, that’s generally been it.
The recent murder of 20 elementary children (babies, really) in Newtown, Conn. is a stark reminder that our lax gun laws are insane.
The second amendment may give you the right to bear arms, but it’s hard to make the case that the founding fathers intended for that right to include carrying military style assault weapons that can wipe out scores of people in minutes or getting access to guns without a proper determination about stable mental health.
Our politicians need to man up and stand up to the gun lobby. Obama should use the Newtown massacre as his Selma moment. This is his chance to lead other politicians down the path to making this country safer by severely tightening gun laws.
That would go far toward arresting our biggest national security issue: homegrown terrorism.
- “I will stand firm”
One of Obama’s most attractive leadership qualities is his apparently innate desire to build consensus. But it may also be his biggest weakness.
Yes, it’s important to get buy-in from the opposition. But seeking to build consensus at any cost – particularly with an opposition that has vowed to destroy you even if it means crippling the country – is potentially perilous.
To paraphrase the old fable, you can’t befriend a cobra.
- “I will fight for immigration reform”
Our immigration system has been broken for decades. Expectations that Obama, the son of a Kenyan immigrant, would take big steps to fix the problem by passing comprehensive immigration reform fizzled by the middle of his first term.
To be sure, Obama has advocated for undocumented immigrants who came here as children. But that doesn’t go far enough, which is why many Latino votes were disgruntled prior to the last election.
- “I will not fear being black”
Unlike a lot of younger, accomplished black people who grew up after the civil rights movement, Obama gets it. He is a keen student of the movement. He is profoundly appreciative of the sacrifices made by foot soldiers such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth, John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery and, yes, even Rev. Jesse Jackson.
But throughout his first term, Obama has avoided being a race man on issues affecting blacks here and abroad.