I’m Running

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For the last twenty years I have struggled with a lifelong desire to be a political figure and the realization that American politics is infected with what bell hooks terms “White supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”   Trying to navigate shark infested political waters in a way that preserves my integrity has been a tough slog.  I’ve tried volunteering on campaigns, I’ve even run some for people I thought brought something special to the public arena.   I’ve tried writing and blogging.   None of it quite fits me even though I had some success.

I’ve been contacted by national writers from the Washington Post to the Los Angeles Times.  During the 2008 campaign I even saw my blog mentioned on CNN.  None of it was enough though.  I allowed myself to become disillusioned with politics and watched passively as life passed me by.

I need more.

I’ve wasted a lot of time and I’m not getting any younger.  Next year when I hit forty I need to fulfill what I’ve always thought was my purpose: running for public office.  I ‘ve been obsessed with politics and  policy for as long as I can remember and life is too short not to try and make the world a better place.  I realize that I am just as fucking flawed as some of the politicians I despise and looking for perfection in this life is a fool’s errand.

I am a progressive that believes in what the good people of Black Agenda Report call “The Black Consensus.”  In sum, what that means is that we do no harm to the political, economic and social viability of the black community and that we do our level best to strengthen black institutions.   The last thing we need is a dependant and prostrate black community willing to sell out for the crumbs of imperialism.

Capitalism, for the most part, operates to the detriment of people of color.   Not always, but mostly. It is the obligation of African American pol’s to level the playing field in any way possible.   Some of you will complain that this explicit racial consciousness is un-American, but I can assure you that as a dreadlocked skeptical brotha, nobody allows me to forget my race.  The knee-jerk apprehension when I enter white spaces is palpable.

President Obama is the main example of this phenomenon.  Since the day it was apparent that he would defeat Hillary Clinton, it has been open season.  Conservatives have been ringing the bell and sounding a disturbing racial alarm.   The sound and fury of conservatives signifies discomfort with everything Obama symbolizes.   They refuse to accept his legitimacy as president and displace that into rhetoric questioning his citizenship, patriotism, and religion and they smear him as a socialist, Marxist, and Muslim.

Their thinly veiled racism and full throated hatred ain’t fooling nobody, honey.    They want to “take their country back” from the unwashed hoards of Negroes, Latinos, Asians, and Gays of all persuasions and turn back the clock to a simpler time when they knew their proper places in the underclass.

Some of us have gotten sidetracked the last 18 months worrying about these attacks, but it really isn’t about Obama, it’s about us, people.   Obama is just the proxy, y’all, conservatives are attacking progressive progress in general and the black community in particular. Obama is a very flawed politician despite his many gifts. I admire him tremendously, but his penchant for defending an unacceptable status quo and softening the edges of America’s harsh imperialism is not really admirable. TripLBee said it best:

When any President, including this one, glamorizes and sanitizes warfare, I will be offended. I found his speech offensive; especially because he knows he was spouting nonsense. Does he really want his daughters buying into his blather about the sanctity of waging war against the poorest country on the face of the Earth? He is sounding like every other emperor. It’s pathetic.

Lastly, I feel compelled to run because l feel an obligation to do something more than bitch and complain on a keyboard.   Some folk can effect positive change that way, but I don’t think that is really my gift.

Kristi Watts: Pat Robertson’s Slave Girl

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Name: KRISTI WATTS HAVE YOU SEEN THIS DELUSIONAL NEGRO?
Questionable Role: Pat Robertson’s un-be-weave-ably happy darkie co-host on the right wing 700 club. KRISTI NEEDS YOUR HELP
Age: Old enough to know damn better. Sex: Female
Date she left reality: The day her stupid arse went to work for Robertson’s talabangelical network in 1999. Race: Black (Kristi’s membership in the race is under review.)
Latest Incident: Sitting there like a lobotomized coon while Pat Robertson attempted to discourage charitable giving to Haiti by spinning a fictitious tale of Haitians making a pact with the devil to gain independence from the French. Height: 5’6″
City Last Seen: Virginia Beach Weight: 140 lbs
State : Virginia Hair: Weave
Country: United States Eye Color: Brown
What You can do: Apparently Kristi doesn’t know that slavery is over and that she is free to leave Pat Robertson’s racist plantation network at any time to find legitimate work that doesn’t prey on her people’s religiosity and steal their hard earned money. Your generous contribution will help assist a team of professionals that will plan and execute an intervention on Kristi. They will show her that she doesn’t have to be Pat’s fuc*ing slave girl and that Christianity is not synonymous with the GOP. Should they fail to persuade Kristi, they’ll just beat her damn arse like she stole somethin.’

Majority of voters don’t buy Obama’s denounciation

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Hat Tip: Rasmusen Reports

 

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 30% of the nation’s Likely Voters believe Barack Obama denounced his former Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, because he was outraged. Most—58%–say he denounced the Pastor for political convenience. The survey was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday night. Obama made his statements about Wright on Tuesday.

 

Wright held a mini-media tour last weekend capped by a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday. Only 33% of voters believe that Obama was surprised by the views Wright expressed at Monday’s press conference. Fifty-two percent (52%) say he was not surprised.

 

Fifty-six percent (56%) say it’s at least somewhat likely that Obama “shares some of Pastor Wright’s controversial views about the United States.” That figure includes 26% who say it’s Very Likely Obama holds such views. At the other end of the spectrum 24% say it’s Not Very Likely that Obama shares such views. Just 11% say it’s Not at All Likely.

 

Just 7% of the nation’s voters agree with Wright’s views of the United States. African-American voters, by a 64% to 12% margin, disagree with Wright. Eighty-one percent (81%) of all voters are following the story somewhat or very closely.

 

Nine percent (9%) of voters have a favorable opinion of Wright. Eight-one percent (81%) have an unfavorable view. That includes 62% with a Very Unfavorable opinion. As you would expect, there are strong partisan differences on these questions. Generally, Democrats are divided while Republicans take a less charitable view of Obama.

 

Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans believe it’s somewhat or very likely that Obama shares some of Wright’s views. That assessment is shared by 48% of Democrats and 49% of those not affiliated with either major party.

 

Democrats are evenly divided as to whether or not Obama was surprised by Wright’s comments on Monday. Republicans overwhelmingly reject that notion. Just 36% of Democrats believe outrage was the motivation for Obama to denounce his former Pastor. That view is shared by 38% of unaffiliated voters and 16% of Republicans.

 

No Preference

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I voted today and did as I said I would do and voted no preference for the Democratic nomination for President because I am profoundly dismayed and angered by the lack of backbone shown by Barack Obama during the recent attacks upon his faith and the Black Church.

I struggled mightily. The twenty minutes I stared at my ballot seemed like an eternity. I went back and forth several times. Surrounded by other blackfolks, I became self-conscious. I wrestled with the lie I told the cheerful White Obama canvasser who ambushed me as I left my home. I then struggled with the commitment that I felt strongly enough to tell all of you about and my twenty-five year desire for a black President.

I teared up a bit and stared at the paper some more. My thoughts drifted to a dear friend’s 25 year-old brother lying comatose in intensive care, the victim of double aneurisms, dangling somewhere between life and death, and I wondered what is so damn wrong with refusing to compromise your core values and living the life God gives you informed by Trinity United Church of Christ’s motto “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.”

If the Father gives that boy a second chance at life, as I pray he does, I have no doubt that he will live his life to the fullest and without regrets. He comes from a proud Nigerian household and their love and commitment to each other is uniquely powerful. It makes me proud to know his sister and count her as one of my dearest friends. Their pride in their heritage makes them stronger as black people and as a family. It is unfathomable to me why Obama, a son East Africa, is afraid to embrace the power of his black religious heritage and stand on what I know he believes but refuses to confess to White America.

And yes, contrary to his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, there is a White America and a Black America. And they are separate and unequal because we are not one people and never have been.

I watched Bill Moyers interview with Dr. Wright last night and heard nothing a reasonable person who understands the depth of African American suffering and the shame of our country’s history of slavery, genocide, and Jim Crow could be offended by.

Still grappling with my decision, I remembered Obama’s Friday presser. Senator Obama continued to distance himself from his Pastor of two decades yesterday by continuing the use of his weasel word mantra of “profound disagreement” over Dr. Wright’s, “objectionable” comments and why he and White America, “took offense.” I marked my ballot, smiled at the sistah who took my name and gave me ballot, and strode confidently back to my car.

Some people would rather live shackled by a cacophony of patriotic white supremacist lies than live in freedom and truth. Any campaign which genuflects to the head in the sand mentality so prevalent in White America is a campaign based on lies of political expedience and I cannot support that without protest.

If you disagree, watch Dr. Wright and Obama for yourself.

Demonizing Barack: The enduring racist double standard

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(Obama sets the record straight on Race, Religion, and his Pastor)

Having absorbed all of the calumny, reprobation, and histrionics I can stand regarding Barack Obama, Trinity United Church of Christ and its former Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, I can be silent no more.

Having failed to make the manufactured Farrakhan smear stick, Obama’s tormentors have succeeded in distorting Jeremiah Wright into his horrifyingly racist doppelganger.

First, let me say that Barack Obama’s “denunciation” of some of Dr. Wright’s justifiable indignation about America’s hypocrisy regarding race, war, and Hillary Clinton, left a bad taste in my mouth, a very bad taste indeed.

Obama, the Junior Senator from Illinois, has labored mightily to run a campaign which focuses on that which unites rather than that which divides because it is a reflection of the way he has lived his life and made his career as an organizer, lawyer, state legislator, senator, and presidential candidate. He hasn’t always met that goal. His unequivocal support of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of innocent Lebanese civilians in 2006 and his failure to adequately address the Clinton campaign’s deliberate and repeated attempts to racially polarize Democrats reflect his craven accommodations to America’s racial hypocrisy.

A sistah named Cassandra from Michigan emailed me saying, “For the first time I don’t care whether or not he wins if he must shed his spirituality and dilute his soul to neutralize the stench and sting of truth that so many White Americans refuse to acknowledge…The hypocrisy and denial of how racism is destroying the integrity of working class and poor American blacks, whites, Latinos, Arabs and Asians is the seam that is dividing and will eventually shred the Democratic Party.”

Americans talk a good game, but in the end, as Jesse Jackson before him, he is being held to a racist double standard that previous white Presidents and Presidential Candidates were not held too.

Barack Obama’s religious affiliation with Trinity United Church of Christ is an affirmation of his own bi-racial heritage as the son of a Kenyan and white Kansan. To say that his membership in the United Church of Christ, a predominantly white denomination created in 1957 from the Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical Reform Church is somehow suspect or racist is both ludicrous and false.

Trinity United Church of Christ is both integrated and welcoming of all people-including gays and lesbians. When Hillary Clinton’s denomination, the United Methodist Church, sent conflicting signals over the issue of homosexuality and restricting the role of gay clergy and the ability of gay congregants to have their unions blessed in the Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ went in the opposite direction in affirming its covenant with gay clergy and parishioners. Years before then, Wright established an AIDS ministry and a singles ministry for gay and lesbian congregants.

Lisa Miller, writing in Newsweek said, “As a leader, Wright defied convention at every turn. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year, he recalled a time during the 1970s when the UCC decided to ordain gay and lesbian clergy. At its annual meeting, sensitive to the historic discomfort some blacks have with homosexuality, gay leaders reached out to black pastors.”

“At that session, Wright heard the testimony of a gay Christian and, he said, he had a conversion experience on gay rights. He started one of the first AIDS ministries on the South Side and a singles group for Trinity gays and lesbians—a subject that still rankles some of the more conservative Trinity members, says Dwight Hopkins, a theology professor at the University of Chicago and a church member.”

Given the hatred and venom spewed forth in too many black pulpits toward black gays and lesbians, Dr. Wright stands out as enlightened, inclusive, and welcoming. But he would have to be in order to grow the church from 80 to 8000 members in three decades. Dr. Wright is the opposite from the bitter, angry, and bigoted portrait the corporate media has fashioned.

Come on, people. Do you really believe that a “black racist” would choose a 90% white denomination in which to plant his flag or are you just some kind of a damn moron engaged in a typical form of racist projection. I defy anyone to name one integrated, gay-friendly, mainline, protestant, predominately African American congregation you’ve ever stepped foot in where you’ve experienced hatred. I know damn well that nobody can because there is no such thing. Are you seriously scared of a moderate, bi-racial politician who bends over backwards to be inclusive, mainstream and non-threatening? Please.

Don’t fall for the right-wing attack campaign launched by Fox News and its corporate mimics.

Obama’s rise to prominence has been swift but it is not unlike that of another little known state politician who rose to prominence over thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter. Carter, you’ll recall was a born-again Baptist layman who also made common cause with all people regardless of race, religion, or background in order to heal the nation after Watergate. During the first months of his presidency in 1977, his home congregation, the Plains Baptist Church, of Plains, GA, forced out Pastor Bruce Edwards, because he sought, with the support of the President, to integrate the church.

During the waning days of the Presidential campaign, a black minister and “publicity seeker,” Rev. Clennon King, challenged the official policy of the church forbidding “Negroes and other civil rights agitators,” from membership. I find no record of the firestorm of criticism we see regarding Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Nobody called on him to resign his membership or denounce the racially prejudiced people with whom he had lived his entire life.

Plotting a middle ground, the church, following Carter’s lead, denied Rev. King membership. The final straw, however, came after Pastor Edwards and his wife adopted a half-Hawaiian child. According to the President’s brother Billy, it was bad enough that the pastor was a liberal integrationist, but adopting the “tan-skinned” child was “99 per cent of the preacher’s problem,” wrote Margaret Montagno in Newsweek.

The Plains Baptist Church subsequently changed its policy in word, but not in deed. Nicholas King, writing in the New Republic said, “The ‘opening’ of the Plains Baptist Church was achieved last fall under the leadership of the Carter family…But there was opposition to the opening from the church’s old guard, and the only black face in the congregation the Sunday Jimmy Carter first returned to Plains as President belonged to a Secret Service man.” After he left the presidency, Jimmy Carter left the church and joined with former Plains Baptist Church members at Maranatha Baptist Church. The small congregation of 135 opens its doors to 12,000 visitors a year to hear the President teach Sunday School. A few years ago, Carter also left the hopelessly right-wing Southern Baptist Convention.

According to the Los Angeles Times, during the 1980 presidential campaign, in the midst of a conservative tide taking over the Southern Baptist Convention, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bailey Smith, proclaimed, “God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” Again, nothing was heard from the media calling on President Carter to renounce the convention of which he was a member or for then Governor Ronald Reagan, who had addressed the same gathering of evangelicals in Dallas that same day to renounce the divisive and anti-Semitic statement of a right-wing supporter. The Washington Post covered the story on page F10 on September 26, 1980. The New York Times covered the story on three occasions and A 18 was the closet it came.

Lastly, can anybody recount for me the media firestorm over Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. Refresh my memory about how many times the clip of the Religious Broadcaster and Baptist Minister advocating the assassination of the president of Venezuela, a supplier of oil to the United States, was run on Fox News and the rest of the corporate media in denunciation of Giuliani. How many times did they run the clip of Robertson agreeing with Jerry Falwell about the proper blame for 9/11 on abortions and gays and lesbians in a manner meant to accuse Giuliani of intolerance?

Today, nothing is materially different for the Hawaiian bred Barack Obama than it was for the half-Hawaiian son of Jimmy Carter’s Pastor. America, like Plains Baptist Church, has the same problem and like Jeremiah Wright has pointed out eloquently for thirty-six years as Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, race is 99 per cent of it.

Pastor Wright leaves Obama campaign

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Hat Tip: by Alex Johnston, MSNBC

 

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., condemned racially charged sermons by his former pastor Friday and urged Americans not to reject his presidential campaign because of “guilt by association.”

Obama’s campaign announced that the minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., had left its spiritual advisory committee after videotapes of his sermons again ignited fierce debate in news accounts and political blogs.

Obama did not clarify whether Wright volunteered to leave his African American Religious Leadership Committee, a loose group of supporters associated with the campaign, or whether the campaign asked him to leave.

“I think there was recognition that he’s obviously on the verge of retirement, [that] he’s taking a sabbatatical and that it was important for him to step out of the spotlight in this situation,” Obama said.

Wright was the latest in a series of advisers to Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who have stepped aside as supporters of both candidates trade racially charged accusations.

Obama rejects comments
Obama spoke warmly of Wright, who retired last month as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Wright is a man “I’ve known for 17 years, [who] helped bring me to Jesus, helped bring me to church,” he said.

“I strongly condemn” Wright’s statements, but “I would not repudiate the man,” Obama said. “He’s been preaching for 30 years. He’s a man who was a former Marine, a biblical scholar, someone who’s spoken at theological schools all over the country.

“That’s the man I know,” Obama said. “That’s the man who was the pastor of this church.”

But Obama acknowledged that “there’s no doubt this is going to be used as political fodder, as it has been in the past.”

“What I hope is [that] what the American people will trust is what I believe,” he said, that “my values, my ideas, what I’ve spoke about in terms of bringing the country together will override a guilt by association.”

But the sermons, at least one of which was delivered long before Wright retired last month, revived uncomfortable questions about Obama’s ties to the minister, whom conservative critics have accused of advocating black separatism.

A videotape of one sermon captures Wright using a harsh racial epithet to argue that Clinton could not understand the struggles of African Americans.

“Barack knows what it means, living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people,” Wright said on Christmas Day of last year. “Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a [N-word]!”

In another sermon, delivered five days after the 9/11 attacks, Wright seems to imply that the United States had brought the terrorist violence on itself.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye,” Wright says. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back in our own front yards.”

In a later sermon, Wright revisits the theme, declaring: “No, no, no, not God bless America — God damn America!”

Obama: I didn’t hear inflammatory sermons
Obama took the title of his 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope,” from a sermon by Wright, who baptized him and officiated at his wedding. He has called Wright “a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible.”

In his remarks on MSNBC, Obama expanded on a brief posting that was made under his name earlier Friday afternoon on the Huffington Post Web site.

“The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation,” the posting said, adding that over the years, “Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life.

“In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.”

Obama wrote that he had known of similar statements by Wright over the years, which he strongly condemned. He wrote that he chose to remain in the church because “Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community.”

Clinton adviser gives Obama a pass
There was no formal reaction from the Clinton campaign, but Lanny Davis, a senior adviser, said he took Obama at his word.

“I give Senator Obama completely — completely — the benefit of the doubt that he has nothing to do with this bigotry that’s being spewed forth by this man,” Davis said on MSNBC’s “Tucker.” “For me, that’s all he has to say.

“I think we should stop this guilt-by-association thing, because some of our supporters say stupid things,” Davis said.

But the videos created a firestorm among political observers and commentators.

“Mr. Obama obviously would not choose to belong to Mr. Wright’s church and seek his advice unless he agreed with at least some of his views,” Wall Street Journal columnist Ron Kessler, publisher of the conservative Web site NewsMax.com, wrote Friday.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of the Web site of the conservative magazine National Review, wrote Friday that “now we know he’s contributed money to, voluntarily listened to, and publicly defended a cleric who peddles racial warfare.”

Others saw an attempt to “smear” Obama.

“How come righteous Republicans are rarely asked about the views of their spiritual advisers? Or why wasn’t George W. Bush (and the presidents preceding him) forced to distance himself from the anti-semitic comments of Billy Graham?” Ari Berman wrote Friday on the Web site of the liberal magazine The Nation, for which he is a contributing writer.

Andre Carson elected to Congress

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Fulfilling his grandmother’s wish, the voters of Indiana’s seventh congressional district sent her “seed,” Indianapolis City County Councilman Andre Carson, to congress to fulfill her unexpired term.   With 100% of the precincts reporting, Carson was elected with 54% of the vote to Republican Jon Elrod’s 43%. The race begins anew to serve in the 111th Congress to be seated next January.  In Indiana’s May Democratic Primary, Carson faces determined opposition in the form of three contenders: State Rep. Carolene Mays, publisher of the black paper of record, the Indianapolis Recorder, former state health commissioner Woody Myers, and State Rep.  David Orentlicher.   

Mays and Myers as African Americans will provide Carson,33, with some stiff competition for African American votes in this majority white congressional district leaving Orentlicher free to persue white voters by himself.   The Indianapolis Star, the paper of record, refused to endorse Congressman Elect Carson and gave their nod to Jon Elrod.   I suspect that they will again refuse to endorse him a will give the nod to Orentlicher instead. 

With his election, he becomes the second Muslim American elected to the United States Congress, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the surreptitious character assassination and guilt by association that has characterized this race.  Carson has had to defend himself from charges of being associated with Minister Louis Farrakhan, a friend of his grandmother’s who attended her funeral and voiced support for his candidacy.  

The newest member of the Congressional Black Caucus has much to prove and little time in which to prove it.   I wish him Godspeed.