president obama Archives - The Jose Vilson

president obama

Kendrick Lamar

A few notes:


“I’m always amazed by how infidelity will end a career in the U.S. while war crimes will advance it.” – Rania Khalek

Jose, who’s a sinner, and is probably gonna sin again …

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Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Hugging After Re-Election

Dear President Obama,

You’ve won. Congratulations. Honestly. As an independent, I had no initial horse in this race, but as a Afro-Latino, I’m proud that you’ve once again managed to claim the White House as yours, in a country where the bones, blood, and sweat of African slaves and Native Americans sit under the House you now occupy. Your re-election came at a high cost, specifically your dreams of a bi-partisan transcendence. If anything, it solidified that the country civilly lives in three spheres: one that wants to push its party a little farther right, one that wishes its party would push a lot farther left, and one that sits square in the middle, lukewarm to the politics of the current day.

My family and I watched your sincerest video to date a few hours ago, awed at the humanity you showed in victory, inspiring those of us who do work in the public sector for those less fortunate and / or privileged. Our son will never know a world where a person of color can’t reach the highest post in our government, and the personal sacrifices you made to make that happen might have brought a weaker man to his knees.

But, your work is far from done.

We thought you would bring fair trials to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and close it in your first year. The gates remain open.

We thought you would bring about actual peace in the Middle East. You might have killed Osama bin Laden, but you are equally responsible for the drones dropping on innocent civilians there, and the perpetuation of the Green Zone in Baghdad while babies die right outside its gates.

We thought you would reverse the reprehensible education policies set by your predecessor George W. Bush, and, instead, you may have enhanced the testing machine in many ways, even as you speak against it.

We thought you would push for a single payer piece in a more comprehensive universal health care bill instead of what turned out to be the health care reform we ended up seeing. It’s saved thousands, and most of the bill’s effects will hit in 2014, but our medical bills hurt now. Sadly.

We thought you would pass the DREAM Act, giving a clearer path of citizenship for those children whose parents came to this country for an opportunity, just like so many other parents have over the last few centuries. A simple memo won’t satisfy Jan Brewer nor Joe Arpaio in Arizona, so it won’t satisfy us either.

We thought you would walk with us when our unions came under attack in Illinois, Wisconsin, California, and in so many other states. I even laid out one of my most comfortable pair since we wear around the same size. Alas, you never came to pick them up.

We get that politicians generally don’t fulfill their campaign promises in full, and compromise constitutes our imperfect union as much as the general public despises compromise. Yet, those of us who see these glaring issues will hold you accountable. We need to set a more progressive agenda, one that places more importance on the poor and working class in this country than the wealthy. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work because if it did, the income gap wouldn’t keep spreading the rich and poor apart ever so slightly every second of every working and non-working hour.

Without the risk of losing the presidency four years from now, you have another opportunity to do what’s right. Again. But this time, your base won’t wait or hope. We will continue pushing for a better America, one that pushed for candidates who promoted marriage equality, women’s rights, and a truer sense of democracy. While your administration contemplates nuclear weapons in Iran and war in Syria, I worry that some of your current policies will only push the term “Democrat” into right-center.

We can’t afford that.

So I’m hoping you receive this with the knowledge that, yes, I do have some obligation to call out the racist and bigots. You are Black despite people’s misgivings about what Black ancestry means here, and you don’t have to show your transcript to irrelevant losers. You do have a cool factor that affords you the right to mention Jay-Z and Abraham Lincoln without skipping a beat.

You don’t have to listen to people who say that you were only elected by people who prefer government handouts. As demonstrated by your bailouts in the early part of your tenure, the very rich like their handouts as well. As a person, I admire the love you and your family have for each other, and the image of a popular person of color embracing the idea of “family” symbolically for the country, and that I do think Michelle, Sasha, and Malia rock in their own ways.

However, as an educator and father, I want to see you leave this country better than it currently stands for years from now. Too many people all over the country are suffering, and some of that falls squarely on your shoulders.

By the time my son has the wisdom to ask me about you, I’d love to say, with context, “Mr. Obama did right by us …” I won’t be quiet about everything else, but, as demonstrated by your re-election, this is far from over. For either of us.

Thanks in advance,



Martin Luther Lego

Today marks the 495th anniversary of when Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany. It led to what we know as the Protestant Reformation and spurred bloody wars and even bloodier discussions, leaving ideas and humans lying in its aftermath. One of the things it highlighted for me when i first learned this in high school was that even amongst people who believe in one person or idea, there are so many divergent ways of believing in that end that the means is just as important.

This opens the door for the discussion about our belief systems when it comes to tons of stuff. For instance, a few posts ago, I wrote a letter to Barack Obama, stating how much I respected him as a man and father, but didn’t care much for many of his policies, primarily his views on education and the get-rich-or-go-broke-trying methods established by them under the umbrella of Race To The Top.

Many of you chimed in with comments I’ve been itching to repost, like …

I’m sticking with President Obama no matter how bad his education policies are. In fact, even in education he’s done more harm than good by saving jobs, forcing even “reformers” to accept pre-school and early ed, and saying the right things on community schools. My frustration with “reformers” as well as the President also relates to your previous posts. Because of the nonstop pressure to teach to the test, too many inner city kids can’t be exposed to a well-rounded education. I was the last teacher at my school who stood firm and still exposed the kids to Roger Wilkins and Charles Ogletree, or dare to play John Legend’s music, and I doubt they understand how their buddies, Klein, Rhee,, have leveraged their power to drive Black History, Multiculturalism, art, music, etc. out of poor schools. And the idea that a young teacher would dare to follow my example and expose the kids to Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, much less Amir Baraka, seems impossible …

- John Thompson


The Obama Adminstration’s Education Policy has been more of the same. The policies have been heavy handed, consistently supporting charter schools, and showing very little empathy for public school children and teachers. Having said that, the choices in November are between what we have and a full blown shift to the right.

We need to vote for moderates and continue to support the great innovations that are being made in public and charter schools, and work with parents, teachers and administrators to get it right

- Mark Halpert

Or, more succinctly,

I will not vote for Obama again, and sorely regret having voted for him at all. I’ve never voted against a Democrat in my life, but will begin next month when I pull the lever for Howie Hawkins of the Green Party. It’s not enough for me that the Republicans are more insane than the Democrats. For my vote, a candidate has to not only be not insane, but also someone who doesn’t take marching orders from Bill Gates, no matter how much money he has.

I refuse to vote for anyone anti-union, anti-teacher, pro-corporate nonsense ever again.

- NYC Educator

It made me think how education in the United States replicates the way Democrats and Republicans approach political alignment, and how it’s obvious that we need more than two parties. The two-party dichotomy in education doesn’t even work amongst the people whom I follow and respect in my circle, so what does that look like on a much larger scale?

Nevermind that there are way more religions than Christianity. We may need a Martin Luther to post a few tenets at the Tweed Courthouse in Brooklyn, NY. Then again, to do so may mean dire consequences for all of our belief systems as a whole. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Jose, who probably broke every rule of conversation in just one post …