Dear T.S.P. Reader,
When it comes to how we rate and interact with politicians, black people, in general, have a very real problem with making political choices based off of EMOTIONS. And, the majority of politicians, whether local, state, or federal and no matter their party allegiance know this and like to take advantage of it.
Rather than educating ourselves on what particular functionalities each politician serves and on how their political power has the potential to affect our individual quality-of-living and as a collective and rather than knowing how to hold politicians accountable for not upholding the duties that were assigned to them based off their policy implementation, we rate them on their level of likability–EMOTIONS.
Because Obama was cool with Jay-z and Beyonce, we found him as “down with it,” “hip,” “in touch with The People,” “relatable,”–“likable.” He made us feel like he had our best in mind–what black people desperately need to be made whole in this country.
Because he “had swag” and walked tall, we found him charming and classy. He made us feel like he was the kind of guy to get things done in our favor and like he was “one of us”–playing on our EMOTIONS.
He gave a heartfelt speech proclaiming, “If I had a son, it would look like Trayvon.” We took that as some type of commitment on his part towards working towards criminal justice reform.
Obama did a comedy skit with Micheal Key at the WHCA Dinner in 2015, and it cracked us all up. We thought to ourselves, “Here’s a guy who’s in-tune with average blue-collar black American, because he watches Key & Peele just like I do after a hard day’s work–EMOTIONS.
Obama is still making headlines, even though he’s no longer president and has no political power to influence policy anymore, and black folks are eating it right up. He’s making statements about his disapproval of dump’s policies, paintings of him and his wife are trending in the media, and articles talking about topics like how he and Michelle kept the relationships spicy are circulating around the net.
I see black folks “hearting” and sharing this stuff constantly on my Facebook, but nothing about how this administration’s tax reform is going to gut the programs that black people heavily rely on. Black people are treating Obama like he was the second coming of Christ, and, with who we have in office right now, a friggin turtle would look significantly better as a president.
What black people, in particular, have to understand is that politicians are not meant to be liked. Their likeability or whatever characteristics they display that make them seem relatable are irrelvant. Politicians, on all levels, are there to do a job.
They’re not there to be celebrated or idolized. We pay them to serve a function, nothing more, nothing less.
For instance, I don’t celebrate or idolize my mechanic for fixing my car. I just want my car fixed so I can make it to work the next day. I’m not interested in making friends with him or her.
When I go to the doctor, I’m not interested in hearing about his or hers love life. All I’m worried about is can they help cure my kid’s ear infection. That’s what I’m paying them to do, nothing more, nothing less.
If something breaks down in my apartment, I expect maintenance to come and fix because that is why I pay rent. That’s all they’re there to do. I don’t give a rat’s patootie if the maintenance person has the same musical taste as I do. That’s completely irrelevant. Just come fix darn sink.
I feel the same about politicians. If I go to city hall meeting, I come with an agenda I’m trying to push. I come with concerns. I come with data so that I can make a case for why these demands need to be met. I come with demands for city council.
It’s not a social event; it’s an opportunity for me to check on how well you’re performing the job you assigned. I want them to do a specific job, and I let them know that, if they don’t do the job I demand, I and the individuals I’m with will hold them accountable for it.
If they don’t do the job we want, we don’t vote for them, and we convince a lot of other people not to support them. Whether I like them or not is irrelevant.
That is how I judge Barack Obama and every other politician. Black people, if we want to accomplish any kind of policy change that it’s our favor, must begin seeing politicians through this type of context.
With the amount of tremendous influence Obama has, he could easily inform and organize black folks towards dismantling systematic white supremacy. He doesn’t have to worry about whether or not he’ll get votes or not, and he has secret service protecting him. Really, what does he have to lose at this point?