Frustrated by Republican members of Congress engaging in protracted obstructionism, President Obama indicated his willingness to use the full power of the Presidency by stating, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Prepared to make good on his statement after Congress failed to proceed with immigration legislation, President Obama indicated that he had “…instructed Homeland Security Department Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to present him with executive actions he can take without congressional approval by the end of the summer. ‘If Congress cannot do their job, we can do ours,’ he said.” http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2014/06/30/same-song-same-verse-president-obama-threatens-to-act-alone-on-immigration/
Alleging that President Obama is guilty of misconduct regarding his use of executive orders, House Speaker Boehner indicated that he is preparing a law suit against President Obama. Given the low probability that such a law suit will prevail and given the relatively infrequent use President Obama has made of executive orders as compared to other Presidents, one is left to wonder why the Speaker is behaving like the proverbial “drowning man grasping for a straw.” Could it be a case of the statement, “desperate times require drastic measures” and the law suit is simply a grand “Trojan Horse?”
Before one gets too exorcised regarding President Obama’s possible excessive use of executive orders, the following comparative information should be noted regarding several Presidents and the number of executive orders they issued:
Ø Woodrow Wilson 1803
Ø Calvin Coolidge 1203
Ø Theodore Roosevelt 1081
Ø Herbert Hoover 968
Ø Harry Truman 907
Ø Ronald Reagan 381
Ø William Clinton 364
Ø Richard Nixon 346
Ø George W. Bush 291
Ø Barak Obama 182
A brief consideration of the nature of executive orders and how they have been used provide further clues regarding what might be causing a panic among some Republican leaders. “…Presidents have used executive orders to direct a range of activities, including establishing migratory bird refuges; putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II; discharging civilian government employees who had been disloyal, following World War II; enlarging national forests; …pardoning Vietnam War draft evaders; giving federal workers the right to bargain collectively; keeping the federal workplace drug free; and sending U.S. troops to Bosnia. …President John F. Kennedy used an executive order to eliminate racial discrimination in federally funded housing; President Lyndon B. Johnson acted through an executive order to prohibit discrimination in government contractors' hiring practices; and President Richard M. Nixon used an executive order to set a ninety-day freeze on all prices, rents, wages, and salaries in reaction to rising inflation and unemployment…” http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Executive+Order
When it comes to issuing executive orders with major implications, it should also be noted, for example, that President George W. Bush used an executive order to create the highly controversial Department of Homeland Security and no lawsuit was brought against him! President Clinton issued an executive order that extended a $20-billion credit to Mexico. It was a Woodrow Wilson executive order that created the Navaho Reservation.
When we consider executive orders that advanced civil rights, one begins to see more clearly what might really be worrying those who wish to obstruct President Obama’s legitimate use of authority. Recall that President Truman issued an executive order to end segregation in the military. President Eisenhower used an executive order to use the Arkansas National Guard to implement court-ordered desegregation in Little Rock. All of this was preceded, of course, by President Lincoln’s executive order commonly known as the Emancipation Proclamation. Could it be, then, that the real “elephant in the room” feared by Republicans is the possibility that President Obama will use executive orders to further advance civil rights in ways that directly impact African Americans?
Let us not forget that, immediately following President Obama’s election, there came the not so veiled call to “take back America.” Why did the election of one man cause some to believe the country had been lost? Could it be that some racists harbored deep-seated fear that the election of President Obama signaled the coming of retribution for the centuries of wrongs heaped on African Americans? Were such people motivated by the same fears that caused them to lock their car doors when they stopped at a red light and noticed African Americans nearby? Is it possible that they were motivated by the same irrational fears associated with those who warned against “race mixing” and hysterically uttered, “Once you go Black, you can’t go back?”
Just how deep do the fears run that cause some to worry endlessly about African Americans exacting “retribution” if the chance ever availed itself? Was President Obama’s declaration of the intent to “use his pen” perceived as a sign that “Armageddon” might only await the issuing of a few race-related executive orders?
Imagine what all would ensue if President Obama followed the fine tradition of the “Great Emancipator,” President Lincoln, and issued executive orders related to the following matters.
Ø A Department of Homeland Security for Children. Its mission would be, among other things, to provide  high quality, affordable, universal pre-K programs and  universal access to affordable and essential high quality health care, nutrition and shelter.
Ø A Drug Defense Agency. The mission would be to provide supplemental security forces and take other programmatic steps “at the borders” of urban communities to implement a fail-safe “Iron Dome” that will end drug trafficking in those communities.
Ø A Disparities Office. Recognizing that our human resources are our most precious resources, this fully-funded agency will remain in place until racial disparities in public education, health and unemployment are eliminated. Some of the initial research to be funded will be to address Sickle Cell Anemia, High Blood Pressure and Diabetes.
Ø The Office of Africana Studies. In an effort to counterbalance the Eurocentric biased views of history, this agency will provide research grants to support scholarly work related to the African Diaspora.
Ø The Separate but Equal Higher Education Enforcement Agency. States with dual systems of higher education will be mandated to cease and desist within 8 years. Failure to do so will result in the inability to qualify for national funding of all kinds. Maryland and Pennsylvania will be selected to serve as demonstration models.
Ø The Gun Control Agency. This Agency will implement all of the executive actions recommended by Vice President Biden’s gun taskforce.
Ø The African American Leaders’ Agenda. Given that President Obama met with an array of African American leaders in February 2014, he could announce the executive orders that emanated from the substance of that meeting.
With the many precedents of former Presidents issuing executive orders that directly impacted African Americans, “Obama Apologists” should cease and desist with their pathetic diatribe related to what President Obama cannot do for a specific group of people since he has to “be the President for all of the people.” President Obama’s most recent action contradicts these views! On July 21, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order specifically barring federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
More than 200 years since President Lincoln issued his “Emancipation Proclamation” executive order, President Obama could shine brilliantly like the comets that reappear after more than 200 years. All that he has to do is note Congress’ annual refusal to take up John Conyers bill related to reparations; indicate that Congress has been stalling as in the case of immigration; and then issue the “Reparations Executive” order. If he ordered today’s equivalent of “forty acres and a mule,” surely the sum would be trillions of dollars given the need to  compensate for centuries of unpaid labor, human abuse, and lives lost; and  provide for centuries of compounded interest based on the value of 40 acres. If one desires a benchmark regarding what a jury of peers believes a single life was worth, consider the fact that, in Florida, a jury recently awarded $23.6 billion to a widow based on the findings of her lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company!
As in the movie “Dark Knight Rising,” President Obama is rapidly approaching 8 years of congressional “Jokers” hobbling our nation. Hopefully our “Dark Knight” will rise to the occasion and restore the “Gotham” we call “African America” and, in so doing, all other boats will be restored.
Jack L. Daniel-PUM Contributor
Freed Panther Society, Co-Founder
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