Book Review: Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise
by Tavis Smiley
Publication Date: Feb 17, 2009
List Price: $19.99
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Imprint: Atria Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
Last year, Tavis Smiley took a lot of heat over his reluctance to rubber-stamp Barack Obama's candidacy simply on the basis of its symbolism as opposed to demanding to know exactly what the substance of a victory might potentially mean for black America. Tavis' hesitancy ostensibly came from a reasonable expectancy that Obama would have to deliver on his campaign promises, for his historic win to be of palpable value to the masses of black folks who had turned out in record numbers to support him at a rate of 93%.
Now, that Barack Obama is, indeed, President, Mr. Smiley has decided it's time to hold him accountable to his constituency for those pledges made to get their votes. Thus, in conjunction with Harvard Professor Stephanie Robinson, Esq., Tavis has published a new book, Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise. The cover features a collage of faces representing every hue in the ethnic rainbow which together resemble President Obama.
Created as a companion text to Mr. Smiley's 2006 best seller, The Covenant with Black America, each chapter delineates Obama's campaign promises in terms of such areas in dire need of attention as health care, education, justice, the economy, and so forth. It also lays out an assessment checklist (including boxes) which will enable the reader to keep track of just how well the administration is doing. For example, when it comers to health care, it asks whether the President ’made implementation of a health care plan a priority within the first 100 days.’
It is important to note that while Accountable does expect Obama to deliver, it very well concedes that to do so he will need the support of not only Congress, but also governors and other state officials, community leaders, faith-based organizations and ordinary citizens. And given the overwhelming anecdotal evidence of suffering shared in these pages, it is clear that the country is facing formidable challenges in the days ahead.
A compelling exercise in truth in advertising designed so that the nation can collectively keep Obama's feet to the fire.