President Obama is making headlines this morning regarding his comments during a trip to South Africa, which include his belief that if her were able to run for a third term he believes he would win it. But the first African American president of the United States is not running for a third time, because by law he cannot, as he reminds his South African audience. And he hopes to dissuade other leaders in that part of the world to not try to stay in office longer than their national terms allow, according to NBC News on July 28.
The president told African leaders that if they continued to try to remain in office after their time is up, then they would risk the creation of “instability and strife”. That would definitely be the case in America, if the president–who told the audience he could win if he ran again–attempted to do the same thing, as Americans are not open to having a president remain in power indefinitely either.
Speaking to the 106th Annual NAACP Convention earlier this month, President Barack Obama told the audience of black men there that America’s criminal justice system remains unequal in the proportion of males sentenced to do time for nonviolent crimes compared to their white counterparts. And to right this inequality he is pushing Congress to reform mandatory sentencing guidelines. But he also wants a renewed focus on the entire criminal justice system, as well as the juvenile justice system, too, according to a July 14 Politico news piece.
The president is just as concerned with Africa’s criminal justice system and the need for the leaders in that country to push for more democracy and equality, telling those in the audience in Kenya that “democracy is not just formal elections”. So what exactly is the president proposing in his criminal justice system overhaul for America–and his concern to level the playing field in life for all races? A litany of items, actually, and he appears to have members on both sides of the aisle in Congress sharing his viewpoints.
For example, President Obama wants to make federal government funding available for inmates who desire to get a college education prior to their release from state prisons. He feels, and many agree with him, that educating the poor while they are incarcerated is a great way to ensure that the recidivism rates (prisoners who return to prison after release) are drastically reduced, since the individual will have new and legitimate ways of supporting themselves and their families upon re-entry into society. This is an excellent idea, as long as it applies to prisoners of all races, not just one minority, of course. But the problem is in the implementation of the idea, as the president is seeking to go around Congress in order to achieve the goal, according to this July 27 report from Politico.
The president has made a habit of doing end-runs around politicians and Congress when they are not giving him what he wants, and this is akin to creating “instability and strife” in his own country; something he has just lectured South Africans about. If there are members of both sides of Congress who believe in the importance of these latest agendas of the president, surely they can be instrumental in helping these objectives be met through the proper American channels for deciding such issues. If there is not enough support in Congress–who merely speak for the people they represent, then the president should allow the democratic process to take its course, even if he does not like the end result. Right?