(Special to The Root) — No matter what you thought about his policies and proposals, it was hard not to be proud of what Barack Obama accomplished in 2008. It took centuries of struggle, but seeing a black man become president of the United States was as powerfully symbolic as it was unthinkable only a few decades ago.
And yet we knew then that for all the symbolism, the black community had a long way to go to achieve the same level of economic success that so many other Americans enjoy. In 2008 there was reason to hope for a brighter future. Four years later, that hope is dashed.
The statistics are staggering. The unemployment rate among black Americans rose in October to 14.3 percent. For the 18- to 29-year-old demographic, the unemployment rate is even higher: 21.4 percent. That's astonishing, and it doesn't even tell the whole story.
Hundreds of thousands of young black men and women have given up looking for work altogether and, thus, are not included in the statistics.
Sometimes we forget that behind each of these numbers and each of these statistics are real people with real struggles. The effect of chronic unemployment can be seen in every black American neighborhood.
We must take a long, hard look at this problem, and we must take a long hard look at President Obama. The promise of four years ago has faded, and so have our hopes. We must ask ourselves a question: If we give President Obama our votes again, why should we think anything will change?
President Obama has his heart in the right place, but his policies simply have not worked for the country, and those failures have fallen particularly hard on the black community. If we want a change, if we want a better future, then we must seriously consider voting for Mitt Romney.
I know that is not a popular suggestion, but Mitt Romney's plan is one that can really make a difference. He has proposed education reforms that will benefit children in poor areas by giving them an opportunity to attend good-quality schools. He will reform regulations and cut red tape that is burdening the small businesses that so many black Americans depend upon for employment. And he'll bring down the cost of energy by taking advantage of natural resources in this country.
President Obama's election was, in itself, an accomplishment. But it's hard to say that he has accomplished much else in the four years that have followed. We need the change that President Obama promised us back then. Mitt Romney is offering it. But first we have to make the hard choices.
Tara Wall is veteran journalist and senior communications and coalitions adviser for the Romney-Ryan campaign. She blogs at tarawall.com.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.