The Role of The President and First Lady

I was trying to think of a positive, empowering, uplifting topic to write about for a new blog post. But then I started noticing a phenomenon on the internet - people seem to think that President Obama and possibly First Lady Michelle Obama have brought magical powers with them to the White House. Now, the black community will be so much better and that much more enlightened by their tenure as leaders of this country.

Before I leave my footprints on the soapbox of this issue, lets look at the roles of the President and his First Lady:

The President of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America and is the highest political official in the United States by influence and recognition. The President leads the executive branch of the federal government; his role is to execute the law as created by the Congress, in accordance with the Constitution of the United States. Article II of the Constitution establishes the President as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enumerates powers specifically granted to the President, including the power to sign into law or veto bills passed by both houses of the Congress. The President also has the power to create a cabinet of advisers and to grant pardons or reprieves. Finally, with the "advice and consent" of the Senate, the President is empowered to make treaties and appoint federal officers, ambassadors, and federal judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court. As with officials in the other branches of the United States government, the Constitution restrains the President with a set of checks and balances designed to prevent any individual or group from taking absolute power.

First Lady of the United States is the unofficial title of the hostess of the White House...."First Lady" is not an elected position, carries no official duties, and receives no salary. Nonetheless, she attends many official ceremonies and functions of state either along with, or in place of, the President. There is a strong tradition against the First Lady holding outside employment while occupying the office.[3] The first lady frequently participates in humanitarian and charitable work; over the course of the 20th century it became increasingly common for first ladies to select specific causes to promote, usually ones that are not politically divisive. It is common for the first lady to hire a staff to support these activities. Additionally, many have taken an active role in campaigning for the President with whom they are associated.

In summation, the role of the President of the United States is to: execute US law in accordance with what Congress has already set into place; make decisions on the military, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces; form a cabinet of advisors to assist him in the governance of the country; lead the country in its interactions with other nations, by creating treaties and appointing ambassadors; and finally, the president appoints federal court judges and grants pardons at his discretion. His wife, in her role as First Lady, is the hostess of the White House - she welcomes dignitaries, interacts with other heads of state, supports charities that she chooses in her official capacity, and attends functions on her husband's behalf when he is unavailable to do so.

Black people, please realize: President and First Lady Obama have their hands full running the country. They cannot make your baby daddy marry you. They cannot make your supervisor be less passive aggressive. They cannot improve your dating life. They cannot make you step up or improve your 'game'. They cannot make right on all the racial injustices you've faced. They cannot make racist people be less racist. They might improve the way white people look at black people as a whole, simply by the fact that they are exceptional (and yes, they are not average black people) but their job is to run the country, not be Black Superheroes. They do not have Ss on their chests that magically make life better for you.

I cannot begin to tell you how annoyed I am at all the 'life is getting better because of Barack Obama' rhetoric that is running rampant on the internet. People are setting this man up to fail. If black men don't marry black women at higher rates, if the crime rate in black communities don't go down, if black people don't graduate college at higher rates, and if black people don't get more jobs, please tell me how this relates to President Obama. Yes, he has done what do black man has done before, but again - he does not leap tall buildings in a single bound. He runs the country. That's it. GTFOOHWTBS about your life getting better because he and First Lady Obama are in the White House. If your life is improving, its because you are sweating and hustling to make it happen. Its not because your president is black. As a matter of fact, black people's lives didn't magically improve under Clinton... hell, white people's lives didn't either... so the origin of this rash of irrational thinking is beyond me.

This reallllly makes me want to quit doing what I'm trying to do. What's the point of wanting the best for black women, for wanting us to see the beauty and value inherent in each of us, when we flat out refuse to see it for ourselves? If you think that just because this man was elected president, that that absolves you of responsibility for your own life and well-being, then I might as well close down Black Girl Tees (yes yes, I know the site is down, I'm working to relaunch it...) and this blog. This is not a plea for attention, for anyone to comment that I shouldn't close... this is a plea for black women to get real, get moving, get to improving for ourselves. No one else is going to do that, up to and including the 44th President of the United States and his First Lady.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! I myself have been making similar comments to people over the past few days. The Obama's are not here to save "the race." And just because he ran on a platform of hope does not mean people of ALL RACES are going to stop acting the fool! Thankfully there are other people who see this truth!