If a black president cannot be held accountable for his policies and must receive the votes of African-Americans solely because of his race, then all of the marching for equal rights has been for nothing. The question ought to be this: are African-Americans, indeed, are all Americans, better off than they were when Barack Obama took office? By any objective standard, the answer must be "no." How do black people expect their circumstances to improve if Obama is elected for another four years? If they conclude they will not, why not vote for someone who can create the conditions under which more of them might get a job, for example? Black unemployment is 16.7 percent, the highest it's been in 27 years.
Sharpton and Joyner don't have to worry too much about their financial futures. But too many African-Americans remain mired in conditions that have characterized many in their community for decades. Why would they want to continue their lifestyles out of "pride" and "loyalty" when the Democratic Party has been disloyal to them and a better way is available?
Recent Washington Post-ABC News polls reveal a decline in the number of blacks with "strongly favorable" views of the president and his efforts to improve the economy. What people like Joyner and Sharpton fear is a loss of a place at the political table, a table that has been set far more elegantly for them than for too many of the African-Americans for whom they claim to speak.
What the slide in Obama's support in the African-American community demonstrates is that increasing numbers of black people are beginning to understand they have been played for suckers by the Democratic Party. They are right to feel this way. Their loyalty should not be to a party, but to themselves, their families and their best interests, which lie outside a welfare system that has locked too many of them into dependence and an addiction to a government check. What they need instead is a reality check.
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