Mr President: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

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    As you prepare to address the University of Michigan on May 1, Detroiters will not allow Tea Partiers to drown out their cries for jobs.

    President Obama comes to Michigan this weekend to address University of Michigan undergraduates, who will step out into an uncertain and unstable job market.

    There has been a lot of excitement around the president’s visit to an institution that has some bearing to one of Obama’s political founding fathers.

    It was at the University of Michigan that President John F. Kennedy, from the steps of the Michigan Union, boldly proposed the creation of the Peace Corps, asking students to commit to serve their country and promote peace by working in developing countries.

    Exactly 50 years after the Kennedy challenge, President Obama, an African American whose father hails from the continent of Africa, a place the Peace Corps has had a strong presence, returns to that same institution to challenge the next generation of leaders.

    What will President Obama’s challenge be?

    I am not a soothsayer to predict his challenge to the graduating students at U-M. But yes, rightfully there is excitement and the students are demonstrating that because of the historical significance of what we are witnessing.

    But more importantly, President Obama’s visit to a major educational institution housed in an economically ailing state where its largest city, Detroit, is at the crossroads should be viewed as an opportunity to let the president know we are waiting on him to pick up the 3 a.m. phone call from Detroit for jobs.

    Despite what the naysayers and critics — including “Dateline NBC” — have to say about Detroit, it is the living room of Southeast Michigan. The future of the rest of Michigan is inextricably tied to the future of Detroit. In a very real sense, as Detroit goes, so goes Michigan.

    Any attempt to perpetuate the misconceived notions about Detroit only hurts the rest of the state and does no good to investors looking to grab Southeast Michigan’s business opportunities.

    Thousands of people in Detroit, where the unemployment rate is said to be about 30 percent, are anxiously waiting on jobs so they can put food on the table for their families.

    True, there is the economic stimulus package that President Obama dispatched to struggling states but in Detroit, very few are seeing the results of that much-publicized package.

    President Obama ought to visit Detroit to see firsthand the economic situation that is a true reflection of Michigan’s place on the national survival map.

    The president should use a visit to Detroit to launch a major jobs initiative, one including groups and organizations committed to neighborhood development that will, in turn, help turn Michigan around.

    Unlike the Tea Party movement that is furthering a very divisive campaign along angry ideological lines under the pretext of democracy, Detroit does not believe that being anti-Obama is the solution to creating jobs.

    And Detroiters should not allow their cries for jobs to arrest the painful unemployment lines we see in the city every day to be drowned by the Tea Party’s voice of discord, division and race baiting.

    We in Detroit understand that instead of working to divide the country, as some are proudly doing claiming their God-given right to do so, the challenge is for the private sector and small businesses to collaborate with the Obama administration and community organizers to create jobs in a much needed environment like Detroit.

    “Being anti-Obama” would not help the mother with five children who just received a pink slip from the automakers.

    “Being anti-Obama” would not help the small business that got drowned into the belly of the beast by companies that don’t want small businesses to exist despite knowing that these businesses are the engine of the economy.

    “Being anti-Obama” would not solve the decaying state of the Detroit Public Schools despite the inescapable role of the federal government in aiding with dollars. The greatest educational security for our children’s future will have to come from men and women of goodwill in this community, not those who have enriched themselves by exploiting innocent DPS children.

    “Being anti-Obama” would not create an instant economic boost for Michigan as the Tea Party and their sympathizers would want you to believe, conveniently forgetting the dismal effects of the President Bush economic blueprint on the Wolverine state.

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