Andy Martin asks: is Barack Obama a failed leader?
Andy Martin: Where are Chicago’s African-American leaders? Martin says Barack Obama is promising to cure America’s urban problems but has proven ineffective in providing solutions for his own hometown.
“Factually Correct, Not
AMERICA’S #1 POLITICAL
BLOG ON THE 2008 CAMPAIGN
WHERE ARE CHICAGO’S AFRICAN-AMERICAN LEADERS?
WHERE IS BARACK OBAMA’S “HOPE” IN CHICAGO?
IS OBAMA A “FAILED LEADER?”
(NEW YORK)(April 27) Over forty years ago when I broke into Illinois politics, Chicago was in the late throes of “Plantation Politics.” African-American neighborhoods were either under the control of Black leaders who were subservient to the corrupt Daley (I) Machine, or were controlled by absentee white leaders who used African-Americans as puppets. As a result, there was no connection between the “street” and “the Hall.” (City Hall).
Today, Chicago is a fully-integrated city. African-Americans play highly successful leadership roles in every area of civil and political life. Plantation politics is long gone. Or is it?
How are Chicago’s African-American leaders responding to out-of-control gun violence? The principal neighborhoods where handguns are killing minorities have been under Black control for decades. And yet there is no visible local leadership to stop the killing in these areas. Chicago’s missing leaders are giving the city a bad name for inadequate public safety.
African-American leaders are apparently having no success in stemming the tide of murder and mayhem in their own communities; they seem to expect the citywide white leadership to take responsibility for imposing order. If minority communities are led by minorities, why are minority leaders not expected to take the leading role in restoring public safety? The very concept of leadership implies that those closest to the problem should best know how to solve it.
After every senseless shooting we see the all-too-predictable dramas, in which one set of African-American relatives cry about the senseless loss of their child, and a second set of relatives cry out that “my baby” could not have committed the crime.
Barack Obama says he will heal racial divisions nationally and provide “hope.” Why hasn’t his rise to prominence provided any hope or triggered any response in Chicago, where he lives and where he has been a prominent South Side official for over a decade? Why is the violence in Obama’s home town increasing instead of decreasing as he rises to national prominence? Is this crime wave a portent of Obama-as-president?
Chicago police are now going to be armed with automatic rifles to confront gangbangers. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/917216,CST-NWS-killing26.article; http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-chicago-police-assault-rifles,0,2104512.story.
The first time a white officer kills an African-American gangbanger using a rifle there will be a racial protest and “demonstrations.”
On the street level, Chicago’s Police are likely to be sorely disappointed by arming officers with automatic weapons. The recent tragedy of Sean Bell in New York proves my point. Bell was killed by three officers in an incident involving the discharge of fifty bullets against an unarmed car. The evidence showed the police were poorly trained and incapable of using automatic handguns properly. Now Chicago wants to send beat officers out with automatic rifles. The result is surely going to be a Sean Bell-style tragedy in Chicago. I will have more to say on the Sean Bell case as soon as we get a breather.
Automatic weapons are not toys. As a firearms expert I can tell you there is nothing more difficult to use properly than a powerful automatic handgun. Likewise, a high-powered automatic rife can be dangerous to the user when placed in untrained hands. Local police officers never receive enough training and enough experience to become proficient in the use of automatic weapons. That is why Sean Bell is dead, and that is why if proposed automatic weapons reach the streets of Chicago, innocent people will die and the Police Superintendent will be blamed.
[Please note: I have absolutely no objection to providing automatic weapons to SWAT teams that train constantly and become proficient in the use of these weapons. The police need to be able to deploy massive firepower when they need it, but putting powerful weapons in the hands of beat officers is not the solution.]
Forty years ago, Mayor John Lindsay walked the streets of Harlem in the wake of the uprisings after the death of Martin Luther King. Where are Chicago’s leaders to march on the South Side and West Side where the mayhem and murder are taking place? Uncontrolled gun violence is not a major problem in white neighborhoods. The crisis is concentrated in the minority community, where Black leaders are AWOL and invisible. The crisis surely does not exist on Michigan Avenue or in the Loop. Why hasn’t Obama made a dramatic gesture? Instead, he sent Mayor Daley’s office a message and said “call me,” which is surely just an excuse to say “I offered.” In other words, a face-saver.
Barack Obama has never managed anything. Obama is a product of a political system and a social system that has proven incapable of bringing peace to the streets of Chicago. Yet Obama is making extravagant promises as to how he alone can solve the urban problems of the entire United States. He wants us to make him president. He promises to be a pied piper who will motivate young African-Americans to shape up. Instead of seizing the day and making a dramatic personal statement of leadership and reconciliation in response to Chicago’s violence, Obama’s answer to the latest massacre was to “phone in” his condolences to the mayor. Some leader.
Maybe it’s time for the Democratic Party to phone Obama and tell him, “Thanks but no thanks. We saw what you have accomplished as an African-American leader in Chicago to stem the spread of violence and to motivate young men in your own neighborhood. We don’t want you to do the same for the entire United States.” Click.
Chicago’s Number One Internet columnist, broadcaster and media critic, Andy Martin, is the Executive Editor and publisher of http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers regional, national and world events with more than forty years of experience. He is a chronicler of all things Midwestern and the authentic Voice of Middle America. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has been a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois. http://www.AndyforUSSenator.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. [Editing note: we make typos, and we can’t recall every posting or e-mail; but updated versions are usually found on our blogs and web site.]