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The McIntyre Report

Carib Press, Commentary, Andrew McIntyre Posted: Feb 15, 2009

Barack Obama has now been sworn in as the United States of Americas 44th president. It was witnessed by arguably the largest crowd ever to attend any event in Washington, D.C. Estimates claim about two million people braved the cold to witness history even if it was on a giant television screen!

After all the neighborhood balls and celebratory events, its now time to get to work. But what is our responsibility now? The vastly diverse populace that supported President Obama has a lot of work to do. We have to ensure that the energy that got Obama elected is carried over to reviving the American economy. The Obama campaign energized young people from all walks of like to get involved and vote. Young people have realized that they can make a difference when it comes to politics. Young people, especially young black people have a lot of responsibility. Black Americans had record turnouts nationally with 13% of the electorate (Source: www.mlive.com). Young black people who have witnessed this watershed event have a responsibility to emulate the things that made Obama successful and make it part of their lives.

I have a very good and long time friend of over 40 years in New York. A.R. and I love debating socio-political topics. We dont agree all the timefor example, we differ on O.J. Simpson. By the way, I think O.J. got what he deserved. finally. Sorry A.R.. But one thing that has been A.R.s passionands something on which I agree with him totallyis the need for black youth in this country to go to college in greater numbers. Youve all heard the statistics about how, on average, college- educated people make about a million dollars more in their life-time than non-college-educated people. During the run up to the presidency, A.R. made an excellent point to me: Barack Obama would not have had all these accomplishments had he not gone to college. Id say it would not have been impossible, but I concede that it would hardly have been likely. A.R. tells me that when he sees black teenagers hanging around wasting away their lives, he speaks to them. He tries to encourage them to go back to school. This is what I mean about capturing the legacy of this Obama win and using it to empower others.

Black people, we have a responsibility to take seriously the need to clean up our communities. Theres no telling what would have become of Obama if he had been in a gang, been a drug dealer, not gone to school, had a child at fifteen, not studied hard, etc., etc.

So lets do the things that will let us produce another Obama in 2030. We need to turn our backs on the drugs and the gangs that are decimating our communities. We need to reduce the incidences of teenage pregnancies. We need to read to and with our children more, instead of worrying how to buy the next Wii game or Nike sneakers. By reading more, our children will definitely address one of my pet peeves: speaking better English. I cant tell you how many times Ive listened to some of these black professional athletes being interviewed and I just cant understand what they are saying! Youd think with all the money they make that theyd buy a Hooked on Phonics course! The sad thing is that many of them dont even realize that they arent speaking properly!

No-one said it was going to be easy. In Jamaica, we say: If yu wah good, yu nose haffi run. In other words, to be good there has to be sacrifice. Just looking at President Barack Obamas rise is a testament to that. Black youth need to incorporate Obamas mantra of Yes we can in their daily lives in order to reverse many of the negative trends they have come to know. Only by following what has proven to be successful can we find success ourselves.

So I hereby throw down the gauntlet for our community to use the inauguration of President Barack Obama as a catalyst to improve the lives of our people. Lets not waste the example that this Obama victory has set. Use itfeed off itembrace itand maybejust maybe, well see a transformation in our community, worthy of the mantra: Yes We Did!

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