Rev. Al Sharpton's Weekly Blog

Now That Bin Laden Is Dead, Let’s Pump Life Into Forgotten Americans

May 06, 2011

If you asked people last week what was weighing heavily on the president's mind, many would have guessed jobs, the economy, our budget deficit, Libya or perhaps even unnecessary distractions like Donald Trump and the birthers. But virtually no one would have imagined that our Commander-in-Chief was dealing with the very real potential of finally bringing the most wanted man to justice. Calling the shots on an extremely dangerous and complex mission, President Obama effectively delivered on a campaign promise this past weekend. But now that Bin Laden is in fact dead, it's time we begin pumping life into forgotten Americans.

Let me first say that it is impossible to underscore the president's achievements here. After nearly 10 years on the run since the horrific 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden was finally forced out of hiding and the families of thousands of victims of terrorist attacks here in the U.S. and around the world received a bit of closure on painful wounds. We should unanimously commend the President on this tremendous feat, and for keeping his word to the American people. Even in the face of unwarranted personal attacks and unnecessary diversions, he was able to make the appropriate calls and lead us through what was perhaps the most perilous mission ever.

Following Sunday's developments, people have been questioning our future in Afghanistan and the region at large. As the administration and national security officials have stressed, the danger of Al Qaeda and terrorist threats is still unfortunately very real and the death of Bin Laden will not instantaneously eliminate that threat. But what this successful mission also proves is that the network of terror is slowly losing its tight grip, and we therefore should ultimately begin changing our presence in Afghanistan and recommit those resources here at home. After a reasonable period of caution, we should start troop withdrawal and initiate the process of bringing home the men and women that so bravely fight -- often times on multiple tours -- in this volatile area. And we should trust that the President plans on doing just that.

We're undeniably living in an extremely precarious time. Not only is national security on a global level an ongoing issue, but our national security as a commanding country is just as much at stake. When Americans are still suffering from a stagnant economy, a lack of affordable housing, unequal access to adequate education, scarcity in jobs and an overall sense of hopelessness, we must begin to place the focus back here at home. Money that is now being allocated for Afghanistan can hopefully begin to be utilized here for spurring job growth, rectifying our dwindling health care system and improving education so that every child is prepared to lead the nation forward.

In the midst of international turmoil and instability, sadly, many Americans have become displaced within their own country and forgotten in the influx of seemingly endless challenges and complexities. The struggling mother working multiple jobs, the retiree wondering how he will afford prescription medication, the young high school grad figuring out how to pay for college, the inner city child frustrated with a failing school and all of the forgotten ones deserve much better than this. Proving once again that we are arguably still the most powerful nation around, it's time we begin treating all of our citizens with dignity and respect. The quickest way to do that is to level the playing field, provide the most disenfranchised with opportunities and re-commit ourselves to improving in the areas where we lack the most. I'm confident that Obama will deliver on this much as he delivered on a vital promise made to us prior to winning the coveted position of the Presidency.

Following the strategic execution of events this weekend, we should all place trust in the notion that our President has not disregarded the challenges in our own backyard, and it is only a matter of time before we join him in breathing new life here at home and around the world.