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It’s Called Negotiating

Brian Morton is a gifted political writer and he has never disappointed me with his Political Animal columns (“The Two Obamas,” April 20).

As an Afrocentric feminist and liberal Democrat, I voted for President Obama, for his message of hope, and for my desire to see him become the first black president of the United States.

In his article, Morton wrote, “the hardest thing for Obama’s supporters to accept is his negotiating style, which seems to give away as much as it gains.”

In my opinion, President Obama is a very educated man. He is a great listener, and he is not afraid of the knowledge of other people. President Obama is willing to use the knowledge of other people to solve problems, which is negotiation.

In the essay “Is There Any Knowledge That a Man Must Have?” Wayne C. Booth wrote that “the art of asking oneself critical questions that lead either to new answers or to genuine revising of old answers, the art of making thought live anew in each new generation, may not be entirely amenable to instruction.”

As I see it, Americans do not want to think. President Obama is a thinker. A thinker might have an idea as to solve a problem in the beginning of problem solving, but the more a thinker gets involved in the process of working out a problem, he or she will have the freedom to change his mind along the way of solving the problem, even negotiating with himself or his/her own ideas.

President Obama is a complex and very smart man. He understands “governing time.” His problem is simple: How do you tell a person that he is not as much smart as he or she is bullshitting his way to solve a problem or answer a question?

In my opinion, Paul Ryan and a lot of Tea Party Republicans are not as smart as President Obama. But the white folks in Congress and white conservatives in America know what Chief Justice Roger Taney (Maryland) stated in the Dred Scott decision two days after President James Buchanan was inaugurated: Scott had no rights that a white man needed to respect.

I believe white conservatives see President Obama as morally wrong because he is a black man with African features of his Kenyan father rather than his Kansan mother. Is being black morally wrong?

President Obama is not a lazy and dumb stereotyping of the Stepin Fetchit character, and he never will be.

Larnell Custis Butler

Correction: Leonard Frankford, not Leonard Franklin, submitted the photograph for last week’s Whose Responible? (May 11) City Paper regrets the error.

Editor’s note: Due to this week’s special Sizzlin’ Summer issue, the current installments of Murder Ink and Councilmania are online only at

The films are in for our third annual Shoot. Score. Baltimore short-film contest, and now the judging begins. Show up at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson on Wednesday, June 1, for our screening bash and vote for the winner of the Audience Favorite Award.

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