Insight News

Feb 11th

A letter to my people

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josie-johnson-by-suluki-fardanI am an 82-year-old Black woman who has been involved in the struggle for justice and equality most of my life.

I did not believe I would live long enough to see the election of a Black President. But sadly, I have not lived long enough to see the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream ... "a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ..."

The most surprising and disappointing observation, for this old lady, is the depth of racism that exists in our America. Racism and white supremacy have influenced the four years of this President's administration.

dr-johnson judson-robinson-srWe were warned after the swearing in of this President that the leadership, among the opposition, pledged to make him fail; that he would be a one term President, etc, etc.

His successful election, in America, was a shock to many!

During his campaign he offered hope, courage, intelligence, respect for differences and a sense of peace.

The World saw him as an example of the possibilities of America. The World Community gathered wherever he appeared to hear him and see the American who preached possibility, respect and joy.

Governments that had questioned our attitude and policies began to re-examine their views and began to have trust in America, again.

The President received the 2009 Nobel Prize soon after his election. The Nobel Prize Committee said it honored the President for his " extraordinary effort to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

josiejohnson-fiskuniversity1951The President said he viewed the Prize decision less as recognition of his own accomplishment and more as "a call to action".

The President's opposition criticized the Prize being given to the President. Instead of being proud for America, their racism devalued one of the most respected prizes in the World.

I am of the opinion that the President believes more in America than his opposition believes in America. His opposition would rather see the President fail than participate in the continued success of America. President Obama believes in the power of building consensus among people of good will. He believes "we" can solve complex and difficult issues if we consider the greater good.

An example of the President's belief in the consensus process was his urging Congress to use the summer recess, following the passage of historic health care legislation, to discuss the bill with their constituents and make the bill work for all. He thought the summer discussion would improve the legislation and meet the needs of most Americans. Health care legislation had not passed in over 60 years. He thought Congress would take the bill to their constituents, improve the bill and help it meet their constituent's needs.

dr-josie-johnson father motherInstead, the opposition demagogued the bill and convinced individuals, who were without or had limited health benefits they did not need or want the legislation. The opposition labeled the bill "Obama Care" to further demean and defeat President Obama.

To have citizens go to rallies with guns strapped to their bodies, to have graphic symbols- Hitler-animals-devil-etc., displayed at health rallies was another effort to deny the success of our President. The use of code words triggered stereotypes of African Americans rather than the needs of their constituents.

I don't think the President anticipated hate rallies. He believed Congress truly cared about their constituents.

I have observed racism and white supremacy are stronger influences, among the opposition, than solving issues our country faces. Racism and white supremacy are so deeply etched in the fabric of American teaching it trumps truth or facts. It endangers the position and status of our country.

In spite of the opposition and lack of media attention, I offer a few accomplishments of President Barack Obama:

• The President launched the U.S. Auto Industry rescue plan.

• The President signed the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act. (That act provided health care to 11 million children, 4 million who were previously denied)

• Provided funds to families of "fallen soldiers" to cover their expenses.

• Renewed dialogue with NATO and other allies and partners on strategic issues.

• Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with billions of dollars to improve services to our Veterans.

• The President ended the policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date.

• The President ended media blackout on war casualties and the return of fallen soldiers.

• The President signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protection against pay discrimination for women and other workers.

• The President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

• The President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Office of Urban Affairs.

• The President limited access of lobbyist to the White House.

• The President invested heavily in Education for jobs and long-term prosperity.

• The President protected 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors through the Recovery Act.

• President Obama extended unemployment benefits for 2,000,000 unemployed Americans by 20 weeks.

• President Obama appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history. More women than any other incoming president.

• Our President provided tax credits to first-time homebuyers.

• Our President numerous benefits to the troops and the Veterans.

These are just a few acts of a President who loves America. My sadness is to see how deeply etched the teaching of racism, white supremacy is in our America.

My hope is to have America become its better self.

We must go to the polls and vote on November 6 for the America we can be. Vote as if our life depends on it because it does.

Vote for the reelection of President Obama and VOTE NO on the PHOTO ID Amendment.

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