The Yellow Brick Road

Purnell Headshot

By Purnell

There is a considerable amount of angst among a growing number of Black Americans that is associated with the present administration’s use of power as well as its dispersal of political largess. Much of the concern is caused by guilt generated from a sense of a fundamental disconnect from the policies and behaviors of an administration that Black folks desperately wanted to succeed and that garnered nearly 95% of the African American vote…in two successive presidential elections. Each campaign was of historically epic implications and closely observed by the entire industrialized world. Nonetheless, at the conclusion of each hard-fought campaign, the business of the affairs of state remained to be conducted. Hard political decisions had to be made in a broad swath of the American body politic; the environment, defense, the economy, employment, etc.  With the apparent interests of the American people at heart, our leader waded into the national chaos and took positions that reflected his politics and his sentiments and succeeded in stemming the tide of imminent fiscal collapse.

Most Americans watched adoringly from the couch in their living room opposite their flat screen televisions. The public wanted to be a witness to the nation’s rescue from the brink of financial disaster, comforted by knowing our country was winning wars in distant lands and reassured that prosperity was much closer than the pundits would lead us to believe. A laundry list of critical decisions was dispatched by the administration in a relatively short amount of time.  POTUS was seemingly gaining ground on America’s ills and winning the admiration of friends and the grudging respect of foes. It was a beautiful thing to see in action.

But after several years and well into a second term, for some African Americans an unsettling feeling was creeping into the political discourse…something was missing. What was being ignored were the issues and concerns of a wounded black community…and these persistent problems were fading further and further from the radar screen of the White House and then they literally vanished…a modern day case of benign neglect.

In recent times, only an impromptu exculpatory speech brought on by the highly controversial trial related to the Trayvon Martin affair, has been aimed at the hearts and minds of black Americans. At this late date, it should be obvious that a very public, very political “mea culpa” will never, and could never, be converted into meaningful legislation for the Black communities of our nation…too little, too late. 

The “Yellow Brick Road” led to discovery and disappointment for Dorothy and friends in the Wiz. Sadly, in the real world the, Black community seems similarly destined for disappointment and disillusionment with its handling by the present administration. 


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