Tonight is the last State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama, noted as the first African American President after 43 Caucasian Presidents. President Obama will forever be embedded in American History for that historic accomplishment. So I not only look forward to tonight’s address because I want to hear what he has to say but I can’t ignore the fact that this may be the last time for many of the significant things that concern me and the black community to be addressed under the Obama administration.
News is swirling around about the “special guests” invited by the President. We have seen from previous addresses how he acknowledges each one by finely lacing their stories into his overall message. After reviewing the list of veterans, a gay rights activist, a few college students, a Syrian refugee, small business owners and others, I could not help but to feel slightly disappointed that the President would not use this last pivotal opportunity to have a representative for the victims of police gross abuse of deadly force.
He could have chosen the mother of Tamir Rice to make the call for special prosecutors or a special investigation board that handles unarmed or non-threatening citizens in police shootings without bias. He could have asked John Crawford Sr., father of John Crawford III who has been a tireless advocate in fighting for justice for his son by reckless cops who killed him while shopping at a Beavercreek Walmart. President Obama could have proposed a plan to call an Executive Order to make the language in the law less ambiguous and more specific when it comes to what is considered “reasonable use of force.” He could have proclaimed that unless the threat is absolute the use of deadly force on a citizen is prohibited by any person including police. He could have brought in the mother of Sam Dubose and acknowledge the effectiveness of body cameras against fabricated police reports. He could have invited any young activists out of the Black Lives Matter Movement who marched forward on hot days, rainy days, and bone chilling nights, despite being targeted by military weaponry by their local and neighboring police departments. President Obama should be addressing the importance of accountability and why it cannot be simply a matter of the legal system working it’s self out when YOU KNOW IT IS BROKEN.
Unfortunately, as I watch tonight’s State of the Union Address I find myself oddly anticipating if the first African American President will even utter the nationwide movement Black Lives Matter. Sadly I’m afraid, it will be like I’m watching a republican or democratic debate eagerly awaiting a small mention regarding black lives matter as it relates to police brutality and holding cops accountable.
I don’t think it’s asking too much from the Obama administration to address the elephant in the room. He kind of did it before when he gave his speech on race. After throwing shade on his Caucasian grandmother, revealing that even she had racist’s tendencies despite having a bi-racial grandson, only to neatly tie it up with the bow of hope. He reminded us all that we are not “red states and blue state but the United States…” Some of us left feeling optimistic while others plotted to make him a “one-term –President.”
Unfortunately, that hope was drowned out by hateful rhetoric from the right and its media outlets that only created a more amped and distrustful society. President Obama has had more threats on his life than any other President and under his administration “White Americans” have bought more guns and bullets than ever before.
President Obama what do you have to lose? Its your last year! I’m feeling like Destiny’s Child when it comes to acknowledging the black lives matter movement; just, “say my name, say my name” tonight without the “all lives matter” neutralizer. Please. Let’s stay focused!
Nicole is the author of “I Want My Daddy…Psychology of Abandonment” available on Amazon