Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Obama still fighting for those who are hurting

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 7:03 PM EST, Tue November 6, 2012
President Barack Obama convenes a conference call to discuss the response to Hurricane Sandy in his office aboard Air Force One during the flight to New Hamsphire on Oct. 27, 2012. President Barack Obama convenes a conference call to discuss the response to Hurricane Sandy in his office aboard Air Force One during the flight to New Hamsphire on Oct. 27, 2012.
HIDE CAPTION
Inside the Obama bubble
Saturday, Oct. 27: Nashua
Saturday, Oct. 27: Nashua
Sunday, Oct. 28: The White House
Sunday, Oct. 28: Washington
Sunday, Oct. 28: Orlando
Monday, Oct. 29: The White House
Monday, Oct. 29: The White House
Tuesday, Oct. 30: The White House
Tuesday, Oct. 30: The White House
Tuesday, Oct. 30: The White House
Tuesday, Oct. 30: Washington
Wednesday, Oct. 31: Marine One
Wednesday, Oct. 31: Brigantine
Wednesday, Oct. 31: Brigantine
Thursday, Nov. 1: Green Bay
Thursday, Nov. 1: Las Vegas
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • LZ Granderson: In Chicago, Obama directed faith-based group to help displaced workers
  • He says Obama not perfect, but his early choices showed will to help those in need
  • He says there are good reasons for another term: Jobs numbers, housing prices
  • LZ: Romney shows up in home states in election; Obama has record of helping others

Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

(CNN) -- The Developing Communities Project is a faith-based, nonprofit organization formed when area churches wanted to help people hurt by the 1970s steel plant closings on the South Side of Chicago.

It offers job training and literacy programs.

LZ Granderson
LZ Granderson

It's working with Loyola University and area municipalities on an infrastructure project designed to address the region's growing population and create jobs.

And its first executive director was Barack Obama.

Obama: My vision for America

That's right, the man often accused of being a Muslim spent years working for a Christian organization. The man who supposedly only wants to give handouts to people spent years empowering them through education. The man Republicans accuse of only caring about himself spent his entire adult life helping those less fortunate.

True, his first term as president has not come without its disappointments.

Follow the election on CNN
CNN is covering Election Day right now on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's mobile apps. Check up-to-the-minute results at cnn.com/results and join our live blog at cnn.com/conversation. Need other reasons to spend Election Day with CNN? Here's our list.

He said he would cut the deficit -- he hasn't.

He said his administration would not be politics as usual and then he played politics with immigration reform and gay rights.

And Gitmo is still open.

But before he was president or senator or even an Illinois state representative, Obama was a young man with a degree from Columbia University who could have done just about anything he wanted, and he chose to go back to his adopted home of Chicago and help poor people.

Politics: If Obama wins...

A politician's record is not confined to what he or she does in office. That's important, but it's an abbreviated version co-authored by consultants and edited by poll numbers.

To really understand a candidate, voters have to look at the original, unabridged manuscript, the record he or she began writing before realizing someone else might read it.

I didn't vote for Obama in 2008 because he wasn't George W. Bush.

Obama gets emotional during final rally
Obama not campaigning on Election Day
Axelrod on Obama's closing message
Obama adviser: He 'exposed Gov. Romney'

I didn't vote for him out of racial solidarity or because he gives pretty speeches.

I voted for Obama in 2008 for the same reason why I voted for him in 2012 -- his record. And his time as a community organizer is part of that of record.

Sure, I could rely on numbers to present a strong argument for a second term. About this time four years ago, the country lost 159,000 jobs, the country's ninth consecutive month of job loss. Last week we learned we created 171,000 jobs, the 25th consecutive month of job growth. Regardless of party, I would think that would be seen as a good thing.

Our housing prices have rebounded to where they were nine years ago, and the Dow Jones Index recently closed at its highest mark in five years.

I could also point to the death of Osama bin Laden or the currency collapse in Iran because of the sanctions that he's led.

But to fully understand why I voted for Obama, one only needs to look at this quote from author H. Jackson Brown Jr.: "Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking."

Opinion: What's really at stake in election 2012

When no one was looking, Obama was a humble community organizer fighting for poor Americans who had lost their jobs. Four years ago, his critics mocked him for that. Today, we see a lot has changed about him ... but not that. He is still fighting for those Americans who are hurting, and it gives me a measure of peace knowing that the person in charge of making tough budget cuts has a record of working with people who are hurting.

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



I'm sure Mitt Romney is a decent man, and he's given millions to his church. But I can't shake the fact the self-proclaimed "son of Detroit" did not come around the city when it began to struggle in the 1980s. The great "job creator" did nothing for the city when it was hemorrhaging jobs in the 1990s and to this day he only seems to come around Detroit during election time.

If this is how the "son" treats family, I can only imagine the disregard he holds for strangers. Actually I don't have to imagine. I watched the 47% video. The one that was taped when he thought no one outside of the room would be listening.

This is why he's trailing in Michigan and Massachusetts, the two states to which he's most closely tied. It's not because he's Republican. The three Massachusetts governors before Romney were Republican, while four of the past six governors in Michigan were Republicans, including his father.

He trails because the people there know him.

They know his record. His real record.

Not the manicured version he presents on the campaign trail, but the unabridged version he began writing before his life in politics began. The version all future politicians script with the decisions that they make.

I'm not wearing blinders. I know Obama is just as flawed as Romney. He's a politician. How can he not be?

But at the end of the day I'd rather have President Barack Obama in the White House, someone with a record of being about the work of helping others before he was in office, than Mitt Romney, someone who has a record of talking about it once he got there.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Errol Louis says forced to choose between narrow political advantage and the public good, the governors showed they are willing to take the easy way out over Ebola.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Eric Liu says with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States. It's our responsibility to set tone and standards, with our laws and norms
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Sally Kohn says the UNC report highlights how some colleges exploit student athletes while offering little in return
updated 3:04 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Terrorists don't represent Islam, but Muslims must step up efforts to counter some of the bigotry within the world of Islam, says Fareed Zakaria
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Scott Yates says extending Daylight Saving Time could save energy, reduce heart attacks and get you more sleep
updated 8:32 PM EDT, Sun October 26, 2014
Reza Aslan says the interplay between beliefs and actions is a lot more complicated than critics of Islam portray
updated 7:19 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Julian Zelizer says control of the Senate will be decided by a few close contests
updated 8:12 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The response of some U.S. institutions that should know better to Ebola has been anything but inspiring, writes Idris Ayodeji Bello.
updated 5:01 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Paul Callan says the grand jury is the right process to use to decide if charges should be brought against the police officer
updated 12:19 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Theresa Brown says the Ebola crisis brought nurses into the national conversation on health care. They need to stay there.
updated 6:35 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Patrick Hornbeck says don't buy the hype: The arguments the Vatican used in its interim report would have virtually guaranteed that same-sex couples remained second class citizens
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The Swedes will find sitting on the fence to be increasingly uncomfortable with Putin as next door neighbor, writes Gary Schmitt
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
The Ottawa shooting pre-empted Malala's appearances in Canada, but her message to young people needs to be spread, writes Frida Ghitis
updated 9:48 PM EDT, Sat October 25, 2014
Paul Begala says Iowa's U.S. Senate candidate, Joni Ernst, told NRA she has right to use gun to defend herself--even from the government. But shooting at officials is not what the Founders had in mind
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
John Sutter: Why are we so surprised the head of a major international corporation learned another language?
updated 5:54 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Jason Johnson says Ferguson isn't a downtrodden community rising up against the white oppressor, but it is looking for justice
updated 12:21 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Sally Kohn says a video of little girls dressed as princesses using the F-word very loudly to condemn sexism is provocative. But is it exploitative?
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Timothy Stanley says Lewinsky is shamelessly playing the victim in her affair with Bill Clinton, humiliating Hillary Clinton again and aiding her critics
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime, writes John Sutter
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Tidal flooding used to be a relatively rare occurrence along the East Coast. Not anymore, write Melanie Fitzpatrick and Erika Spanger-Siegfried.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Carol Costello says activists, writers, politicians have begun discussing their abortions. But will that new approach make a difference on an old battleground?
updated 9:12 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT