Addressing Jobs

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The President’s address introducing his jobs bill was a masterstroke of simplicity and cunning I’ve come to expect from this White House.  If Hill Republicans are serious about job creation, they will pass the Obama jobs package which is heavy on payroll tax cuts and tax credits for small business—an approach to job creation that no Republican can object to philosophically. If they refuse they reveal themselves as charlatans hell bent on sabotaging our nation’s economy for political advantage in 2012, no matter what the cost. Either way, Obama wins.

Incremental Change I Can Believe In

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As the nation sits on the precipice of default and worldwide Depression, my frustration with progressives has turned from annoyance to blind rage.  The delusional fantasy that Barack Obama can wave a magic wand, part the Red Sea, and create progressive change with the stroke of a pen, just won’t die.  And it frustrates the hell out of me.  I understand the mindset intimately because I was there.  This presidency is a unique moment in American history and it has fueled the idealism of the American people. That’s a good thing.  However, it has also unleashed a tsunami of unrealistic expectations.  

Our system of government is designed to frustrate reform and change, especially progressive change. Whatever change we manage to get is ALWAYS incremental and a foundation that can be built upon. I thought that was widely understood.  I was wrong.

Anybody who hasn’t been under a rock for the last few weeks understands that there is no reasoning with the Republicans on Capitol Hill or anywhere else.  David Brooks said it best:

… the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative. The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.

The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.

…If the debt ceiling talks fail, independent voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.

Given the ruinous catastrophe that the country faces, I find it maddening that some progressives think that the president is going to be able to achieve anything worthwhile as long as Republicans control the House of Representatives.  Didn’t we learn this lesson 16 years ago when Bill Clinton was president? After Clinton’s re-election the GOP doubled down on the crazy.  Bill Clinton was immensely flattered to be considered the first black president and the Republicans resolved that any white male that would cop to that should be treated like a nigger. That’s what the humiliation of impeachment was ultimately about and they haven’t changed. The thin veneer of solidarity with African Americans and other people of color displayed by our party leaders renders the Right-Wing constitutionally incapable of accepting any Democratic President’s legitimacy.

Thirteen years later, the president who saved us from Depression, secured comprehensive health reform, and reversed DADT without embarrassing his wife, his family, and the nation with sordid details of oval office fellatio, can’t seem to do anything right for the people who vigorously defended the philanderer-in-chief who got all of that progressive policy wrong in addition to weakening the social safety net and deregulating the banks that speculated us into the current predicament.  In the African American community, there is an aphorism that we are taught as children: We have to be twice as good to get half as much.  True to form, Barack Obama is twice as good as Bill Clinton ever was and doesn’t even get half the credit.

I’m tired of the cacophony of criticism from the firebagger caucus that President Obama is somehow defective.  He’s the most effective president on domestic policy since LBJ. Unlike Charlie Sheen, Barack Obama IS winning, which I think is the realization fueling the Republican drive to blow up the economy and his presidency so they can play blame-a-nigga games during the 2012 Presidential election.

The fact that firebaggers refuse to acknowledge the latent racism behind Republican machinations blocking a raise in the debt ceiling reveals that Republicans are not the only ones with a race problem they need to own up to. The need for Barack Obama to be perfection personified before some progressives can trust and applaud his leadership is delusional at best.  At worst it is racist and it is time we had an adult conversation about that. His election has not exorcised the demon of racism in this country and relieves no one of their moral obligation to continue supporting fairness and equal opportunity.

If President Obama has a failing, it is that he refuses to acknowledge that truth and the racism behind the animus he faces from the Republicans.  Whatever.  I’ll support him regardless because nobody in my lifetime has demonstrated that they’re more worthy of being President.

Governor Davis: a fantasy in black and white

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Congressman Artur Davis, Mrs. Peggy Wallace Kennedy

Artur Davis is a facinating politician in many respects. The power of his intellect and sharp political skills set him apart from most pol’s.  The sky should be the limit for Artur.  In Alabama, congress is the limit for Artur.  If not for the Voting Rights Act, he would not be a member of congress from Alabama.

In America, it should be a no brainer that any child born anywhere should be able to reach for the highest political rung in state government and not be deterred, discouraged or attacked on the basis of race. Unfortunately, that is not the America we live in despite the fantasies of some whites that we live in a post-racial utopia.  It does not matter how many blackfolks buy into the white fantasy that Artur can win this year.  It isn’t true. This diary seeks to explore the reasons for this bitter reality.

A black man might be president,  but he would not be if America was a cultural mirror of the state of Alabama.  Only one in ten white voters, according to NBC political director Chuck Todd, voted for Barack Obama.  Extreme racial polarization is a fact of life in the Deep South that smart people can’t get around.

The President of the United States is a biracial man of color who is the product of an interracial marriage. He was raised almost exclusively by his white kinfolks. Most rural whites in the Deep South cannot process these facts and are profoundly threatened by his presidency.

They displace their discomfort with his race by questioning his citizenship and asking to see his birth certificate.  They are willing to question his professed and demonstrated Christian faith and believe any smear about him being a Muslim terrorist because the father he never knew was a Muslim.   They then voted for a Republican Senator universally known to have been born outside the continental United States in the Panama Canal Zone because “at least he is American,” which is nothing more than a euphemism for being White.

The President of the United States is the most nonthreatening black politician in American history. He is decidedly centrist in word and deed to the chagrin of most of us on the progressive left.  To most rural whites, though, he is a Socialist, Marxist, Communist Antichrist hell bent on creating a segregated, racist society in which only non-whites rule and whites are subjugated. That is a nifty piece of racist projection most psychologists would love to get their hands on and take apart.

Because of this ridiculous racial paranoia, there will be no ability to see a similar black man any differently.

Congressman Artur Davis and President Barack Obama

Race is still a bar to achievement and advancement in the United States in some fields of endeavor. Our inability to talk about race or be honest  about our racial fears is part and parcel of the infrastructure, which reinforces the bar to achievement and advancement.

Alabama is stuck in both a time warp and in a black hole of its own making with regard to race. There can be no change unless people are willing to smash the taboo of cross racial cooperation.

Meaningful cross racial dialogue and genuine fellowship is rare anywhere in the Deep South but more likely to occur in urban areas with a large University presence. On the other hand, if folks live in larger communities, they are still largely segregated. Nobody wants to go to school with us or live in our neighborhoods. If we are fortunate enough to live in communities where both white and black do go to school together, the interaction is largely superficial.

When time comes to choose a college, the choices are still segregated. We live separate lives and pretend that it is normal. It isn’t. We (blackfolks) are usually the ones that have to stick our necks out to make change.  It is rarely the other way around.

I think it is wonderful that most of the people on this board look favorably on Artur Davis and the egalitarian ideal his candidacy represents, but the hard work and foundation for an eventual win by a black candidate for Governor has not been done in any state of the Deep South–Georgia included.  Anybody who believes he can win in this backwards and hostile cultural environment is deluding themselves.

Nobody in the grip of a rural Tea Bagger’s poisonous racial paranoia is capable of building community with the blackfolks they see everyday that mirror them in every demographic respect.

They might know your people, might have known your extended kinfolk back to the Civil War, but it still don’t mean that they’ll vote for your daddy to become the first black sheriff. I have a hard time understanding why Artur has to come along like a Negro in a buddy movie and be their black friend when most rural whites have only superficial relationships with the blackfolks they see everyday.  There is no sense of community where stereotypically everybody knows and is kin to everybody. Ultimately, this is why Artur cannot be elected Governor this year.

Dr. King spoke of a desire to “..foster and create the ‘beloved community’ in America where brotherhood is a reality…Our ultimate goal is genuine intergroup and interpersonal living–integration.” That does not exist in Alabama or anywhere in the Deep South.  It doesn’t even exist up north but most of the time northerners are not so blinded by race that they will vote against politicians of color they are philosophically compatible with because they are not white.

We are still living separate lives despite dramatically less racial polarization in the north. The South is less physically segregated than the North but it is more functionally segregated on the ground.  This has to change.  Only hard work done by committed blacks and whites will change it.  Most of the onus is on whites though, and becuase it is I doubt seriously that it will happen anytime before I turn 50 in 2021.

History has arrived

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votebw4

I am headed to my poll location now to work.   Share your thoughts with me as history is being made.

After several hours at the polls, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

The Grandmother of Barack Obama, Madelyn Dunham, has gone home to see the King.

This is a bittersweet moment for all of those, myself included, who prayed and asked the Lord to allow Mother Dunham to see her grandson elected President. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in God’s plan.

Barack’s tears touched me.

APTOPIX Obama 2008

They took me back to the death of my grandfather.

I don’t know what it is like to lose a grandmother and don’t want to know. My maternal grandmother is my heart. She is the matriarch of our family. My grandmother is sweet potato pie and peach cobbler. She is quiet dignity and unconditional love. She is collard greens and cornbread. She is my rock, my anchor, my role model. I cannot imagine life without her love, her prayers, or her presence.

Fifteen years ago, Grandma discovered that her husband of 35 years had slipped away quietly in his sleep after a long illness. She called the sheriff to pronounce the body and the funeral home. While waiting for momma and me to arrive, grandma had a massive heart attack. She was right in the middle of it as we arrived. She rocked back and forth on the foot of the bed as she prayed softly. We called her name and rubbed her back. Mama continued rocking back and forth and praying softly. She finally fell out as they lifted her onto the gurney and transported her to the hospital. It never dawned on me that she was having a heart attack. The whole thing felt like a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from.

We waited helplessly for several hours with other family as they worked to stabilize her in intensive care. When they finally let us in to see her, she was hooked up to a respirator and there seemed to be tubes coming from everywhere. I lost it and quickly dissolved into tears. Grandma gestured for a pen and scribbled a note that read: God told me it is not my time. Stop crying.

That didn’t reassure me.

I spent the next five days on my face, fasting and praying. Nearly a week after being on the brink of death, Mama walked out of that hospital and buried her husband with the characteristic dignity and resolve she’s always displayed. She never had another heart related incident. God spoke to my grandmother clearly and told her it was not her time. There was nothing more to fear. God said it. He did it.

For those of you who believe that we cannot predict an Obama win because you are superstitious, there is nothing to fear because this is his time and nothing will change that. I look forward to April 27, 2009 when the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, writes to my grandmother and wishes her a happy 80th birthday.

Y’all be good and go vote. Do it for all the grandmothers who couldn’t be with us and whose sacrifices made this moment in history possible.

Another Obama Assassination Plot foiled

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Hat Tip: Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Law enforcement agents have broken up a plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 88 black people, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Monday.

In court records unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn., federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school in a murder spree that was to begin in Tennessee. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of ATF’s Nashville field office, said the two men planned to kill 88 African Americans, including 14 by beheading. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree after the Tennessee murders, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

“They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama,” Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying.”

No immediate comment
An Obama spokeswoman traveling with the senator in Pennsylvania had no immediate comment.

The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond. Agents seized a rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested. Authorities alleged the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.

The two men were arrested Oct. 22 by the Crockett County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office. “Once we arrested the defendants and suspected they had violated federal law, we immediately contacted federal authorities,” said Crockett County Sheriff Troy Klyce.

Cowart and Schlesselman are charged with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president.

The investigation is continuing, and more charges are possible, Cavanaugh said.

The court records say Cowart and Schlesselman also bought nylon rope and ski masks to use in a robbery or home invasion to fund their spree, during which they allegedly planned to go from state to state and kill people.

Ram vehicle into Obama?
For the Obama plot, the legal documents show, Cowart and Schlesselman “planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows.”

“Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt,” the court complaint states. “Both individuals further stated they knew they would and were willing to die during this attempt.”

Cavanaugh said there’s no evidence — so far — that others were willing to assist Cowart and Schlesselman with the plot.

He said authorities took the threats very seriously.

“They seemed determined to do it,” Cavanaugh said. “Even if they were just to try it, it would be a trail of tears around the South.”

The court documents say the two men met about a month ago on the Internet and found common ground in their shared “white power” and “skinhead” philosophy.

14, 88 are skinhead symbols
The numbers 14 and 88 are symbols in skinhead culture, referring to a 14-word phrase attributed to an imprisoned white supremacist: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” and to the eighth letter of the alphabet, H. Two “8″s or “H”s stand for “Heil Hitler.”

Helena-West Helena, on the Mississippi River in east Arkansas’ Delta, is in one of the nation’s poorest regions, trailing even parts of Appalachia in its standard of living. Police Chief Fred Fielder said he had never heard of Schlesselman.

However, the reported threat of attacking a school filled with black students worried Fielder. Helena-West Helena, with a population of 12,200, is 66 percent black. “Predominantly black school, take your pick,” he said.

liddy dole’s fallen and can’t get up

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s relentless television assault on freshman Senator Elizabeth Dole,73, has laid the Plastic Magnolia low. Politically speaking, Liddy Dole has fallen and can’t get up. I can show you better than I can tell you.

The folksy old men are devastating, but the man on the street testimonials in Salisbury, her hometown, nail the coffin shut on her chances for re-election. Person after person and even the people on the street where she claims a residence have never seen her.I have a friendly wager with a co-worker that she’ll lose Jesse Helms’ seat. He vigorously disagrees, but with 400 paid Obama staffers on the ground in dozens of offices throughout the state mounting the most aggressive grassroots campaign in nearly 50 years, I have no doubt that she’ll lose.

State Legislator Kay Hagan, 55, a Greensboro Democrat, is running a top notch campaign with the assist of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ads running non-stop. She vows to send Bob and Liddy Dole back to Kansas because she believes that there is no place like home. During some years in her tenure, Liddy Dole has spent less than two weeks in North Carolina. Ranking 93rd in effectiveness and voting with President Bush 92% of the time, Mrs. Dole, just like her plastic surgeon, hasn’t delivered on what was promised. Her tenure has already been a bad joke and if she’s re-elected, nobody should be laughing.


Hate First

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Video Hat Tip: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Crooks and Liars

The mainstream media has been talking around this for weeks now, but Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern news channel, lays it out plain and shows White voters spewing out the racist, sectarian, xenophobic, Anti-Obama talking points of the Republican Party.  The Republicans have been playing a ridiculous game of denial with the media and everyone else that calls them on their bullshit–thus, the histrionics by Republicans over John Lewis’ open letter calling out McSame and Failin’.  They know exactly what they’ve been doing because they’ve been doing it for over 40 years.  They have been masters at the non-denial denial and the art of deliberately stoking the racial resentments of their white constitutent base against the liberal enemies of the moment.  Southern Strategy, anyone?

Another exercise in futility

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These “Debates” and I use that term loosely, are colossal wastes of time.  Did you really learn anything? Did they really say anything of import?  What we really have here a two establishment politicians engaged in an obligatory battle in a long war that is all but over.  John McCain has lost the biggest prize in American politics to a Negro, an establishment Negro, but a Negro nonetheless.  He’s obviously having trouble coping with that.  Ignoring the humiliating finality of his impending defeat, he launches into the long telegraphed salvo of Ayers and ACORN.

AYERS

William Ayers, 63, the 60′s radical who blew some s*it up to stop the Vietnam War and in solidarity with his oppressed Negro brethren-harmed nobody,  and was allowed to re-enter society without doing any jail time and become a part of the Chicago establishment as a member of the faculty of the University of Illinois.

Victims of COINTELPRO, Ayers and his wife got off on a technicality when they were able to prove prosecutorial misconduct.   Ayers and Obama met up later when Barack was an adult and they served on two community boards. One board distributed grants given by Ambassador Walter Annenberg, a Reagan era Republican, to Chicago schools.   Ayers later contributed $250 bucks to one of Barack’s legislative campaigns.   That’s it.  There is nothing more.

Ayers is this year’s boogie man, a latter day Willie Horton in whiteface.  Never before has a white senior citizen been used to make a young black man seem dangerous.  It is absolutely ridiculous.  Running with the terrorist meme, they have managed to whip the white party’s adherents into a frenzy over this lame bit of deliberate, racist character assassination. 

Delegate Jeff Fredrick, the Chair of the Virginia GOP, a wingnut I have personally campaigned against, made the absurd assertion that both Obama and Osama Bin Laden had friends who had bombed the pentagon.  The lynch mobs that double for McCain-Palin campaign rallies have gotten carried away calling Obama an “Arab,” a “terrorist,” or my personal favorite, “Kill him.”    Frederick now claims to have been kidding and McCain made a big show of being offended by being called on the carpet by John Lewis for their calculated attempts to stir up white resentment against Obama.

ACORN

The ACORN allegations are straight outta of the Fox News playbook of red herrings recycled from 2004.  McCain’s attempt to link Obama to this group’s sometimes sloppy voter registration methods are both laughable and pathetic.  Lazy people’s attempts to pad their paychecks by submitting bogus voter registration forms do not constitute a conspiracy to commit voter fraud.  Voter fraud is when you deliberately purge 57,000 people from the voting rolls, 88% of whom are black,  for the “crime” of having names similar to those of convicted felons in state and out of state with no other identifying data.

For those of you who are slow, Republican, or both, I am referencing Florida in 2000.     Finally, voter fraud is when you deliberately screw up elections administration so that Democrats of color have to wait in the rain for 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours on Election Day to cast a ballot like they did in Ohio in 2004.

Nobody pushing the Acorn meme should be taken seriously-especially John McCain.  

This is all McCain had against Obama and its why he is losing.

Going through the motions

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The candidates are just going through the motions now because this thing is over and done.  I’ll tell you like the revival preacher told me at my home church in July.  “Obama’s gonna win.  You can shout now.”  The electoral college map as represented below is clear.    A landslide is brewing and nothing will likely mitigate the damage to the Republican Party.

Senators McCain and Obama are starting to engage fully now without laying too heavy a negative glove on each other.  The economy is front and center and it does nothing but help Obama.  The longer they discuss it, the more he strengthens his hand.    A half-hour in an we still are talking about the economy.  McCain isn’t doing anything to change the game.  His mild criticisms are neither pointed nor compelling.

The Big Debate at Ole Miss

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Obama never answered the question about being for or against the Wall Street bailout.   It is a clear equivocation and it does not help him.

What say You?

Food for thought

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It never fails y’all.  Just when I am ready to embrace Barack Obama’s historic campaign emotionally, he does or says something I find abhorrent and inimical to the interests of the Black Community in particular and damaging to everyone else in general.  I am not a head in the sand or up my arse kinda guy.  If you’ve been reading me for awhile, you understand that I pay attention to details and demand substance.

Barack, the Safe Negro, has decided to buckdance for his supper again.  News came yesterday that he announced a willingness to keep Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, in some capacity in the next administration. This comes on the heels of an earlier announcement that Obama is considering asking Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to stay on as well.  Nothing about keeping Paulson and Gates is evocative of “Change We Can Believe in.”  Nothing.

Surrounded by a coterie of corporate vampires from the Clinton Administration, the same folk responsible for the deregulation that made this bailout necessary,Barack Obama seized the moment the other day to quiet the unease of capital markets in the throws of hysteria surrounding the near collapse of insurance conglomerate AIG and the failure of the federal government backed mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The resolution of this crisis threatens any progressive agenda for the next administration given the evaporation of one trillion dollars in stock market value and the massive size of a $700 billion bailout package.  It should be clear to even the most intellectually challenged progressive that Barack Obama doesn’t belong to us anymore, if he ever really did.

Bob Rubin, a corporate whore of stupendous magnitude, is the lead predator advising Obama along with Larry Summers, Laura D’Andrea Tyson, and Wal-Mart apologist Jason Furman.The symbolism and substance of an Obama victory is actively being destroyed behind the scenes by these people.

Naomi Klein is correct, it is time to get busy creating a progressive movement that will pressure and fight an Obama Administration’s inevitable capitulations to the corporate power structure.  If we don’t, we can forget about change.

Fathers and Sons

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I first saw this photograph when rikyrah used it on Jack and Jill Politics and it disoriented me and I didn’t understand why until today.   I could appreciate the beauty of this photograph without being able to connect with the emotions the photo evokes.  The look on this little boy’s face is angelic and blissful.   The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don’t remember my father holding me, embracing me, touching me, or loving me.

My parents divorced over 30 years ago.  To put it succinctly, they were estranged.  My parents were typical high school sweethearts and after graduation, they found themselves expecting a little bundle of unexpected joy.  Married to the sound of a shotgun, their union quickly disintegrated.  The breakup occurred one day after Daddy came home from work and Momma had no food prepared.  It became physical and Daddy told his pregnant bride that she was stupid and that he had fallen out of love with her in the span of their three week-old marriage.  He put her out of the apartment and told her never to come back.

Momma wandered the streets in tears for two days before she swallowed her pride and called her parents.

I have only two memories of my father during my childhood because I only saw him twice.   When I was four, Daddy asked Momma to take him back.  He took us to the state fair and it was the only time that I remember feeling whole, complete, total.   We had a great time and the single photograph of me at the fair was lost in a fire over twenty years ago, but I remember it because I feel the same as the boy in this photo.

My father is the most intelligent man I know and his physical presence makes an impression.   His commanding voice and magnetic gaze are intimidating.   Momma withstood it all, thanked him for a wonderful evening and asked for a divorce.

The last time I saw Daddy was in the grocery store.  I was all dressed up for Easter in a suit that Momma made.  I strutted my stuff.  I couldn’t have been more than five.  It was the last time my parents spoke until I was 19 and I briefly went to live with him.

My grandfather picked me up daily from school until I was old enough to hoof it on my own.   I saw him everyday.  He was there for me providing a gentle and quiet example.  He wasn’t demonstrative though and I don’t recall hugs and kisses being his thing.  I know he loved me and after his death I wore his clothes and used his Old Spice so that I wouldn’t forget his smell.

Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with love.  I grew up with unconditional love.  The Father blessed me with a wonderful Momma and grandparents who nurtured and cared for me.   But being surrounded by the children of the white middle class, I felt damaged and incomplete.   Some of that is a function of race and class and some is because of Daddy’s estrangement.  It occurs to me as I write this how much I needed my father’s love and how the absence of his love played into my self esteem and insecurities as a grown ass man.  I am so blessed to have Daddy in my life now.

Barack Obama never got the chance to reconnect with his Daddy the way that I did.  He understands what I’m feeling and he decided that his children would never know what this feels like.  This photo speaks to me because it shows a Black man unafraid to embrace himself and Black men in all of their complexity and love them. Despite the skepticism I am always expressing about Senator Obama, and will invariably express again, I will push it aside and vote for him.

To my brothas who have sons:

embrace them,

hold them,

make them feel safe in your arms and comfortable in your presence,

and love them unconditionally.

 

I love you, Daddy

Why I am pro-choice

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Mother n Child (late 1930s) by Omega418.

Several years ago, I was asked to do a project for a Women’s history class and interview a woman of a certain age in the family. I interviewed my great Aunt Alberta. My aunt was her mother’s namesake and she told me my great-grandmother’s story. According to the census of 1930, my great-grandmother was my grandfather’s second wife. Born in Mississippi in 1907 to a family of 15, she met and married my great-grandfather, a Baptist minister, sometime in the late twenties and to their union were born three children: Uncle Isiah in 1927, Lula, my grandmother in 1929, and my Aunt Alberta in 1930. About 1933 my great-grandmother Alberta became pregnant again.

The economic injustice of the Jim Crow south was intensified by the near total economic collapse brought on by the depression. Times were tough for blackfolks anyhow, but the misery of the depression made some of us long for the degradation of slavery because at least they could be assured of being fed. It was into this climate of desperation, penury and fear that my great-grandmother faced the prospect of having a fourth mouth to feed.

When a woman is intent on ending a pregnacy to preserve the family that she already has, there is nothing that she won’t do.  My great-grandmother searched high and low for an abortifacient that would work and settled on a method, which is lost in the mists of time, that took her life. Her death left a hole in the family that could never be filled. My great-grandfather re-married twice. The woman who raised my grandmother and her siblings was a cold, emotionally distant woman who expected her grown children still at home to pay room and board before each eventually married. My great-grandfather was a strict disciplinarian who had trouble understanding the difference between necessary discipline and child abuse.

Several years ago, my Auntie gave grandma an old black and white photo similar to the one here. My great-grandmother, who my grandma closely resembles, is holding an infant, my aunt, while her two toddlers stand to her sides. Grandma cried as she told us how much she missed her mother. Her loss is felt even now. Because of limited career choices available to their generation, my grandmother and her sister became nurses and I know that her mother’s death made grandma firmly and unalterably pro-choice. Out of respect for her and the memory of my great-grandmother, I am too.

It did my heart good to see that the National Organization for Women endorsed Barack Obama and Joe Biden today. They said in part, “Sen. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Prevention First Act, to strengthen access to contraception and reproductive health care, and prevent unwanted pregnancies. He strongly supports Roe v. Wade and will oppose any efforts to overturn it. …Sen. Obama opposed the nominations of George Bush’s extreme right-wing nominees to the Supreme Court, who have consistently ruled against women’s rights.”

“For more than a decade, Barack Obama has said “yes” to women’s rights, while John McCain has consistently said “no” – NO to pay equity, NO to contraceptive access and reproductive rights, NO to appointing Supreme Court judges who will uphold women’s rights and civil rights, NO to funding shelters and other anti-violence programs, and NO to supporting working moms and dads with policies that support work/life balance.”

Barack Obama is not perfect and is far too accomodating and corporate for my taste. However, he is the only candidate in the race who shares most of my values that is capable of winning. Anybody who claimed to be for Hillary Clinton that doesn’t support Barack Obama is lying when they claim to be feminists. Feminists support the rights of women–all women, to be free of patriarchy, racism, violence and economic discrimination. Supporting John McCain and his right-wing fembot is antithetical to the philosphy of feminism.

Hiding behind John McCain and Sarah Palin or Cynthia McKinney changes nothing. Sarah Palin is not a feminist, no matter what she claims, and she doesn’t support preserving the reproductive rights of women. Cynthia McKinney, on the other hand, is a good feminist, but she has absolutely no chance to win.

The choice for feminists is clear. Anybody who says anything different and insists on bludgeoning Barack Obama as the scapegoat for the slings and arrows of sexism is really more interested in preserving white supremacy than they are in defending Hillary Clinton from sexist patriarchy.

Colin Powell, undecided voter

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Former Generalissimo and Secretary of State Colin Powell told a George Washington University audience that he is undecided in this year’s presidential contest and is still weighing his options.   The idea of a black president, according to Powell, would be, “electrifying…but at the same time [I have to] make a judgement here on which would be best for America.”

Powell’s statement lays bare the delicious contradiction implicit in departing from the Republican Party.  Caught between racial pride and a lifetime of devoted service as the white power structure’s militaristic enforcer and their prestigeous blackface foreign minstrel, he cannot support Barack Obama without calling into question everything he has been about for the last 35 years.

In the end, the imperial crusade he helped to launch in Iraq with erroneous intelligence and blatant falsehoods and the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Hati, will be his legacy.   He needs to own that failure.

Colin Powell Lied, 100,000 Died - Demonstration Toronto - Wednesday, March 15, 2006 - 059 by photopia / HiMY SYeD.

Endorsing Barack Obama will not turn the page on his lifetime of betrayal.   If he decides to go with Obama, it won’t be a personal decison.  It will be a surreptitious effort of the imperial establishment to control Obama for Powell’s beloved plantation puppet masters.  Colin Powell is no longer one of us.  He is an enemy of the black community and if Barack Obama accepts his endorsement, he may become our enemy as well.

DNC day three: Obama Nominated By Acclamation

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I am just so overwhelmed and I can’t write anything coherent. It has finally happened at long last and all I can do is take it all in.  

Bill Clinton has finished his address, what say you?