He's not our friend or our lover. He's our president. It's time for a more professional relationship.
Not many believe that Smiley's criticism comes from a place of love, though, and I don't blame them, since he also complainsabout not being invited to the White House. West looks equally shady when he damns the president because he couldn't get a hookup on extra tickets for the inauguration.
But do Smiley and West's personal and political problems with Obama make them Uncle Toms? Comedian and radio hostSteve Harvey seems to think so. And joining him is Tom Joyner, who accused the duo of helping foster the negative environment that allowed pundit Mark Halperin to call Obama a d--- on MSNBC. Since when did a white man need to take cues from black men on how and when to disrespect other black men?
Ideally, I'd turn off all their mics and give people like Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) a larger forum to vent their frustrations with the Obama administration for its failure to support programs specifically addressing the black community. "We want him to know that from this day forward ... we've had it," Conyers has said of the president. "We want him to come out on our side and advocate, not to watch and wait."
The hypersensitivity exhibited by some Obama fans -- that means you, Harvey -- is counterproductive. Blind allegiance shows a lack of perspective and does little to help Obama be a better president.
Despite all of Obama's accomplishments -- yes, there are quite a few to tout -- he has dropped the ball on what matters most to many in his base: jobs, the lingering war in Afghanistan and standing up to the Republicans in Congress. You can still be supportive of President Obama and say as much.
If we all want to keep our friend around, we'd better let our guard down a little and hear people out.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer currently based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his work on his site. Follow him on Twitter.