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November 14th, 2012

President Obama: thriving on the audacity of hope

Lillie Howard

Well, he’s done it again! Wow! President Obama was able - with the help of many people of all colors - to remain in the White House for four more years. Why? Because our President had the audacity to hope. He had the confidence and fortitude to forge ahead in spite of all the obstacles that were raging against him. He kept his eyes on the prize that he wanted to attain, that being able to turn this country in the direction that would be beneficial to and for all of its citizens. Yes! Yes! Yes!

In his book "The Audacity of Hope," published in 2006, then Senator Obama said, "the audacity of hope was the best of the American spirit. He thought having the audacity to believe - despite all the evidence to the contrary - could restore a sense of community to a nation torn by conflict; the gall to believe that despite personal setbacks, the loss of job or an illness in the family or a childhood mired in poverty, we had some control-and therefore responsibility over our own fate."

Here we are now in 2012, and despite all of the negatives that were and still are raging against our president he still has the audacity of hope.

In his acceptance speech, President Obama stated: "I ask you to sustain that hope." He stated: "Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people. Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."

The best can come to the City of Newburgh if we seriously look into some of the things that our President mentioned in an interview that he did in Ebony Magazine’s Special Edition, which is in the November issue. Some of the things that President Obama discussed were strong cities, strong communities that look organically at all the resources that the federal government is putting into a neighborhood or low-income community or a city that’s having problems, and making sure that we’re coordinating these various services in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We need to contact our president to make him aware of how a lot of the monies being sent into Newburgh have not and are still not being used in the way they were intended to be used.

In that same interview, the President mentioned the Recovery Act and how subsidizing employers to hire low-wage workers has proven very effective. He says his administration has been pushing congress to renew that because they know it works. Newburgh has many low-wage workers, but did they benefit from the Recovery Act? If not, why not? Where are the employers?

According to President Obama, estimates show that the JOBS Act could create as many as one million additional new jobs in this country, many of which would go to under-served communities. Congress hasn’t acted yet on this issue. Why not? If it does pass, we must make sure that our under-served community in Newburgh benefits from it.

On the topic of education in that interview President Obama said, "at the high school level, one of the things I’m interested in doing is really taking a second look at vocational education. If a kid has terrific mechanical aptitude, if a kid in an inner city really knows he or she wants to be a graphic designer, why aren’t we starting him or her as a freshman or a sophomore in high school to really focus in on this trade so that there is some connection between what he or she is doing in school and, potentially, a student’s occupation?"

On the topic of Crime and Violence, President Obama thinks it’s time for us to convene a national conversation that includes law enforcement, state and local officials, federal government, non-profits and faith communities to figure out how to reduce violence in our communities. To that I must say that the President is leaving out a very vital component - the participants of the crime and violence, because none of those mentioned are capable of getting to the real guts of this problem. Monies were sent into this community to address the gang problem but the ones that received that money were afraid to get out there and speak directly to the gangs. Wow!

Let me leave you with these very serious words: the City of Newburgh is heading towards self-destruction and if we don’t seriously wake up and begin to address these serious problems we’ll only have ourselves to blame. Stop the hating, get involved and become seriously concerned about all of the citizens living in our city. If not, we’ll only have ourselves to blame for they aren’t heavy, they’re our sisters, our brothers, our children and they’re hurting. Depression internalized comes out in rage! Remember, as our President said, "we will rise or we will fall together."

Once again, congratulations to President Obama! This is Lillie’s Point of View!

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