barbarahowardweb.gifA month ago, the world watched what House Majority Whip Congressman James E. Clyburn called, “the greatest shift of power in the world” – the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama.

While black preachers around the country are admonishing Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives to give Obama a chance and encouraging liberals to help make him the  greatest president on earth, he and the Democratic-controlled Congress are making good on his promise to change the way Washington works.

So one of the first things he changed was to strike down former President George W. Bush’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions (sometimes forced in Third World countries) or provide abortion information.  The good preachers who have been trying to drive Planned Parenthood abortion clinics out of the black community here never uttered a word of protest.

Then he reversed the counterterrorism policies of the Bush administration, ordering the closing of Guantánamo Bay and eliminating torture of those terrorists who have beheaded people on camera and vowed to kill us where we stand.

But it was what he changed in our health system that really worries me. 

First, Obama’s “Stimulus Plan,” the one he pushed through the Congress in record time, (you know the one that had 1,071 pages that no one read before they passed it) had some provisions that had nothing to do with economic stimulus.  One created a $20 billion federally coordinated electronic system that requires every doctor to begin computerizing every American’s personal medical records or face reductions in their Medicare payments.

As we speak, the media is exposing the fact that “Trojan” hackers are breaking into our online banking accounts.  What then prevents them from breaking into our medical records? 

But the same privacy advocates who complained vociferously that Bush’s warrantless domestic wiretapping meant to protect the United States against potential terrorist attacks as an invasion of privacy have been utterly silent.

To make matters worse, Obama also put in $1.1 billion to create a “Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research,” the first step to nationalizing our healthcare system and which will decide what medical treatments your doctor should use. 

Those procedures and drugs, which are found to be less effective and more expensive by this committee, will be prohibited and those elderly, like me, may not get the treatment doctors would normally have prescribed because it would not be “cost-effective” to treat someone who does not have as many years before them as they have behind them.

Those of us who do not agree with Obama’s initiatives are being singled out for punishment. 

Many Republican governors have publicly contemplated turning down the stimulus package for their states, but there is a provision in the bill that Clyburn (D-SC) included, dubbed by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin as the “Punish Mark Sanford Amendment,” referring to Gov. Mark Sanford, (R-SC), which allows state legislators to overrule their governors.

Finally, when the New York Post ran a tasteless cartoon that many blacks and the NAACP saw not only as racist, but also as a suggestion that
Obama should be shot, a New York city councilman is quoted on as saying, “Since when can you call for the killing of the president of the United States?”

Selective memory serves one well when the shoe is on the other foot. 

Seems to me that for the past eight years, there have been all sorts of references to eliminating Bush as president of the United States.

In fact, in 2006, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Toronto Film Festival debuted Death of a President, the fictional assassination of President G. W. Bush during a Chicago anti-war protest in October 2007.  While the national media detailed the outrage by conservatives, I remember not one word of outrage from the NAACP or any black media.

By the way, where were they when black Republican Michael Steele was depicted in a cartoon as “Black Sambo” or former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice depicted as an ignorant “Mammy?”

But, as Obama declared, “I won.”  So those of us who endured just name-calling and ridicule over the past eight years, will now suffer legal maneuvers by the president and Congress with no recourse.

And this is just a little over 30 days after the inauguration.  We have three years and almost eleven months to go.  But who’s counting?  More change is coming.

Barbara Howard is president of Barbara Howard & Associates and the Florida state chair for C.O.R.E. (the Congress of Racial Equality).