As the world watched President Obama being sworn in for his second term during his inauguration that happened on Monday January 21, 2013 on the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday, there was a severely underreported story out of the president’s hometown of Chicago, Illinois that has the potential to place President Obama in a precarious position.
In a video issued by Minister Louis Farrakhan, the minister talks candidly about the violent living conditions that exist within the city of Chicago, and he then asked Obama to come back to Chicago to talk to the people who have perennially lost and continue to lose loved ones to the destruction of the Chicago streets.
In the video Farrakhan says:
“You know my dear and beloved brother, as I walk the streets of your and my Chicago and saw the pain, the hurt in the inner city. When I talk to young black men and they said: 'Farrakhan, we're doing what we have to go to survive. We have no money. We have no jobs. We have nothing!'"
"And in another place, I was met by a person who said: 'I wish that our president would come and see after us, but we thank you Farrakhan for coming to see after us.'"
"Do you know what it would mean my dear brother president if you came into Chicago in the hood, and met with those parents that have lost their children and then got in your bully pulpit and preached to us in a way, not talking down to us, but talking to us as one who truly is compassionate for what America has done to us and what we are now doing to ourselves?"
Now Farrakhan is a highly controversial figure, and getting too close to him can be costly—just ask Arsenio Hall about that, because most of the White male-dominated establishment will view the President of the United States engaging anything from someone like Farrakhan as giving legitimacy to the illegitimate and lowering the bar of the presidency—never mind the fact that another highly controversial figure named Donald Trump hounded Obama to release his 2nd version of his birth certificate until he finally went ahead and released it.
If that’s not lowering the bar, then what is? But if Obama goes to Chicago to meet with Farrakhan or just visits the area based on the request of Farrakhan, even if it is to address the killing fields of the city in a move that would be a replica of his Newtown, Connecticut trip and his Aurora, Colorado trip, he might as well be looking for Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the devil too within the eyes of many Whites, and the right wing, conservative Fox News machine will make sure that it is portrayed that way, and the Obama administration knows that.
So whether it’s America's independent voice Rob Redding, Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, or Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, there are numerous Black leaders, including Farrakhan, who have openly criticized President Obama for not addressing the Black community directly.
And even though Obama’s presence in Chicago with the families of the victims would do little to curb the violence, there are many in the Black community that want the same political window-dressing that White people in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado received after their tragedies—mainly because so many in the Black community believe that White America would be offended by what it would typify as a Black agenda if Obama gets too detailed with the Black community.
This has caused an underbelly of heated resentment within the Black community that has given credence to the crux of criticisms that have been made by Black leaders that Obama is too reluctant to genuinely address the Black community based on his political fear of angering the White establishment, even though the Black community voted overwhelmingly to the tune of about 95% for him in his election in 2008 and in his re-election just recently in 2012.
Based on that reality, it is logical to assume that the Black community should expect the president to do something specifically in it's favor, and a trip to the Chicago hoods would be a great start in the ethnic eyes of many. This is arguably the real reason why the request is being made.
And furthermore, the president cannot just send First Lady Michelle Obama to go to Chicago for a sightseeing tour of the hood. If he does, it will be viewed as a status quo, politically safe, capitulating snub. Only he, as the President of the United States, can do this job, if it is to be done at all.
But in the end, don’t look for President Obama to get involved in anything that has been initiated by Minister Louis Farrakhan anytime soon.