We Have a New President Now

Paul Proctor, News With Views, January 21, 2009

One of my wife’s friends told her on Tuesday that someone she knew had been renting a house to a single African-American woman for several years. The lady had apparently never missed a payment or even been late with one.

But, for some strange reason, immediately after Barack Obama was elected to office last November, the woman reportedly stopped paying rent. When politely questioned about it, she told her landlord: “We have a new president now and some things are going to change.” He replied: “Well, that’s fine, but you still have to pay your rent,” to which she reiterated: “No, we have a new president now–and some things are going to change.”

From what I understand, the rent has yet to be paid.

Later that same day, while watching ABC News coverage of the inauguration with my wife over lunch, hosts Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer were joined by Donna Brazile, a Democratic African-American author, educator and political activist, who gave a humorous account of her snatching the complementary fleece blanket she found abandoned in Barack Obama’s chair after the swearing-in ceremony. Apparently she wanted a souvenir of the momentous occasion and when the opportunity arose, she took it.

As they all laughed about it, Gibson responded playfully to her candid admission by saying: “We’re going to check with the legal staff and find out if that’s a felony or a misdemeanor.”

Brazile then gave a stern look into the camera and said: “We have a black president–it’s neither.”

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I’m curious though; is there an underlying belief among some African-Americans that since we now have a black president, Obama will be providing them special privileges that somehow supersede the laws of the land rendering them no longer accountable for illegal, immoral or unruly behavior because of their skin color or ethnicity?

Did Obama not call for “a new era of responsibility” in his address to the nation or did he mean a new era of entitlements for people of color?

Is Barack Obama America’s new president or just the new African-American president?

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