We have all been in a romantic relationship that didn’t quite turn out like it started. In the beginning of a relationship, we are full of hope, promise and quite frankly, ecstatic about it. Velma Hart’s words to President Obama at Monday’s 9/20 CNBC Town Hall meeting could have been said to a mate after eighteen months of marriage. Hart’s words heard on TV, in the blogosphere, in print, radio and everywhere else, reflect the frustrations, emotions and concerns of women, particularly my African-American sisters. Hart feels the middle class American dream is slipping away from her family. She wonders if this economic down time is “our new reality”. She is exhausted of defending President Obama and his administration. “Exhausted” voter puts President Obama on hot seat – NYPOST.com
Velma Hart spoke the concerns of many women who have become disenchanted with President Obama after eighteen months. We passed through infatuation, falling in love, becoming engaged and now marriage. It is the marriage that finds us struggling and full of unanticipated problems. Where is the excitement and change? During our initial infatuation, we felt the intense excitement. I still vividly recall standing for blocks on a cold, sunny, winter day in January, 2008 to hear the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D.MA) endorse then Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. I was in total infatuation. I usually never stand in lines and am quite frankly, turned off at the mere sight of one. Nothing could deter me that day from seeing then Senator Barack Obama.
Most of us fell in love with Obama during the campaign. We became engaged when the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) nominated Barack Obama and then the nation elected him as our 44thPresident of the United States. I felt all the joys of a wedding as I watched President Obama take the oath of office. Yes, I felt as a country we could do anything with President Obama. I still feel the same way. When I heard Aretha Franklin sing My Country tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty, I never heard those words sung clearer than on inauguration day. I stood in pride as President Obama made the first toast, his inauguration speech. The marriage began. That was more than eighteen months ago. Much has happened since that moment.
Now that we’re married, the infatuation period is definitely gone. The thrill is gone as B.B. King sang. As in many relationships, we put so much emphasis on the wedding. Yet, the real work begins with the marriage. That’s the hard part. I have many frustrations over the economy, foreclosure and lack of jobs. These problems existed before President Obama took the oath of office. Unfortunately, they manifested in a huge way months before Obama’s inauguration and continue now. Yet, now is not the time to file for a separation from President Obama. We have the right mate at the right time for this marriage. A marriage takes time, effort and people to grow and strengthen it. Velma Hart says she is still 100% committed to President Obama. President Obama cannot make this work by himself. If we are to move this economic mountain, it will take the work of many people. This groom needs the help of the bride and many others. We are the brides. Let our voices be heard.
My words to Velma Hart and my Democratic sisters are do not defend President Obama. Here’s what I mean. Being defensive means we are not on the offensive team. Please take an offensive position. Write to President Obama. Write to your member of congress to express your views. Urge more town hall meetings to get the point across, if you feel necessary. We need to become more actively involved in the process. Most importantly, vote in November. If we don’t vote in November, our “new reality”, as Ms. Hart calls it, will become worse. It will not be temporary, as we hope, but may become permanent. Vote on November 2. Our future economic reality depends on it.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines, Esq. blogs on race, law, women and politics. She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of PA. She is a native of Baltimore, MD.