On a crisp January day, President Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America. While there was pomp and circumstance and attendance at the ceremony far larger than the usual official beginning to a presidential administration, the numbers were smaller than the throngs that turned out in 2009, the first Obama inauguration.
The president begins with fewer crises than were faced after the 2008 election but problems remain and they are serious. The economy is still an unresolved riddle, government remains divided, violence persists in the streets of cities and in picture perfect suburbs, and there is much less optimism for the future.
And while the president argued the founding fathers were not building a state where the few would benefit, the truth is their definition and view of democracy did not include equal rights for non-property holders, White women, Native Americans and certainly not Blacks languishing in slavery. Their revolution cited high ideals but in reality, those leading and most likely to benefit from the desired change were White men who owned land and slaves.
While the president argued that America was built on the principles of majority rule and not mob rule, for centuries it was mob rule that determined the lives and deaths of Blacks with lynchings, race riots and even medical experimentation.
With Blacks locked out of competition by segregation, inferior education, thievery and intimidation, American capitalism certainly was not governed by fair competition and one set of rules.
The myth of fair play and one standard may be an enchanting narrative but unfortunately is not the true reality of American history and in particular the experience of Black, non-white and even poor Whites in this nation.
Each president has had the opportunity to try to evolve the United States toward a more perfect union given its flawed and imperfect beginning. Mr. Obama has the same opportunity.
Crucial to this opportunity is not only how the commander in chief handles the world and the raging conflicts in the Middle East or the increase in U.S. activity in Africa, or the drone attacks killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan but also how the longstanding problem of Blacks in America is dealt with.
In his inaugural address, the president spoke clearly to the need to confront climate change, demand equal pay for women, equal rights under law for the gay community and proper treatment of immigrants, the only apparent nod to Blacks was his saying no citizen should be forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
Voting rights are important but for a community that has overwhelmingly given support to the president and patiently waited through a first term for a chance to have him speak directly to their issues, it was not a shining or visionary moment. Urban violence, joblessness in inner cities and the growing gaps that exist in health, economics, educational achievement and other areas were worthy of mention and need to be shown some attention.
When the president speaks directly to issues related to specific constituencies–White women, gays and immigrants–he is expending political capital and beginning to push for progress for the groups that he lifts up and their causes.
His words not only have an impact on policy but also open the way for others to support his view and push for change in society. President Obama’s support for gay marriage was a major statement and was followed by social-cultural and political figures that followed his lead. Some businesses and corporations also followed his lead in terms of his benefits and other workplace policies.
Bigger, however, than the president’s political decisions and political positions is how he will deal with the race problem in terms of divine time and divine guidance. Like previous presidents, Mr. Obama must decide what to do with the children of America’s once slaves and a divine decree that Blacks must be let go in accord with prophecy.
For over 80 years, the Nation of Islam has offered guidance to America’s leaders and her people in a warning that slavery, the cruel mistreatment of Blacks in this country has put the world’s greatest superpower under the judgment of God Himself.
In rebuilding the work of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has provided divine guidance and insight about the choices to be made and the consequences for rejecting or accepting the guidance and the path of God.
While the ongoing change is universal, the judgment that brings in that change starts with America. This country, nor the world, will see peace until the problem of the injustice, murder, oppression and evil planning against Blacks is dealt with. We have suffered the most of those who have been abused and misused and God Himself has declared we are no longer forsaken or forgotten.
We respectfully suggest the president, and the American people, lend an ear to the powerful and insightful messages of warning from Min. Farrakhan based on the words and work of his teacher–Elijah Muhammad–a little Black man from Georgia who has had an undeniable impact on Black America and the world, inspiring direct and indirect students and movements, and introducing new ideas and concepts from health, to politics and religion.
We wish Mr. Obama well and pray for his safety and his success, but the way to success begins with hearing a gentle word and assessing the conditions of this nation and what is needed for its survival. And what is needed for the country to possibly get another chance is to follow divine guidance and divine warning. This inauguration is a second chance for the president and the nation, we pray that all concerned will make the right decision.