Speak Lord

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President Obama-thumb

It is Sunday morning and my black arse needs to be in somebody’s church, but I am busy searching for a new car for my Mama.  I thought I would take a break and tell you what’s on my heart.  Today is the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day.    While some of y’all are where you should be “rejoicing and being glad,”  my soul is restless.  In times like these, we need a savior. I’m afraid it isn’t Barack Obama.  I fall back on what I learned at the feet of my grandmother.  In Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, there is a powerful scene with Shug Avery and Celie in the juke joint on a Sunday morning.  Shug is singing and the sound of gospel comes wafting down from the church.  It sweeps everybody in the club up in the spirit.  Instantly, Shug stops and starts singing and marching her way toward the church:

Speak, Lord. Won’t you speak to me?
I was so blind, I was so lost until you spoke to me
Oh, speak, Lord. Speak, Lord. And hear my mind,
Oh, with your word, heal my soul
Oh, speak, Lord. Speak to me. Speak, my Lord.
I love you, Lord. Save my soul.

Can’t sleep at night and you wonder why
Maybe God is trying to tell you something
Crying all night long, something’s gone wrong
Maybe God is trying to tell you something.

I don’t know where we’d be as people without The Black Church.  The cultural heritage and spiritual power of that institution has sustained us since the beginning.  I  don’t know about you, but I can never stray too far.  As far as I am concerned, everything that is good and true has its genesis there.

It occurs to me that we need the Lord to speak to us this morning.   When he speaks, hopefully we will be able to discern what he says.   What I am hearing is that instead of putting all our trust in President Obama and worshiping at the altar of corporate Neoliberalism, we need to put our trust in the Lord and pray that the president hears the Lord’s still, small voice.  We’ve come this far by faith,  people.  Trusting in his Holy Word.  And he’s never failed us yet.  When the President announces to the world that he is ready to throw the moneychangers out of the temple, stops indefinite detention, prosecutes torturers, withdraws from Afghanistan and Iraq, and embraces health care as a right for all, then we’ll know that he has heard the Lord and been convicted by the spirit because he did what was right.

Cohen/Tinker election results

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WITH 72% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING, CONGRESSMAN STEVE COHEN CRUSHES AUNT NIKKI, THE CORPORATE MAMMY, WITH A LANDSLIDE 60% MARGIN!!!!!!!!

STEVE COHEN 44,995 79%

NIKKI TINKER 10,676 19%

JOE TOWNS 844 1%

Black voters, especially those of us in the South, have always been able to judge our politicians by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. We’re never given credit for having that ability when racially polarizing tactics are injected into a political race by one of us, but we’ve always had it and always will. Now Mr. Cohen can go back to the halls of power confident in the knowledge that he has unequivocally earned the trust of a majority of his black constituents. In order to keep it, he must continue to provide the same common sense, progressive leadership that has been known as his trademark.

The epic collapse of the Tinker campaign is one for the history books and closes a sad chapter in the book of political rivalry between Harold Ford Jr and Steve Cohen. His transparent maneuvering to shield his allegiances to Tinker by using his wife as a conduit for campaign cash, and his politically expedient denunciation of Tinker’s tone-deaf tactics should be enough for Barack Obama to remove the Whore from any consideration for a prominent role in his administration.

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.

Church

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Y’all should be pleased to know that I have started going to church again. I am sampling a straight laced Episcopalian Church now. The bourgeois Negro congregation I started to attend has a Jazz Mass. Being the aficionado that I am; I just wanted to see what the fuss was about. The brothas were tight and the selections were appropriate. The people were friendly, almost alarmingly so. The older folk were pleased to see a younger brotha with twists come and worship the Lord.

I hadn’t been to an Episcopal Mass in nearly thirty years. The last time was my great grandmother’s church in Florida. All I can remember is the priest’s white vestments and his swinging that ball thing with the smoke that comes out as he said a homily.

The priest of this patrician Negro congregation is a woman and sistahfriend made it her business to say, before launching into the text of her sermon, that she intended to be controversial in preaching the word. If there was any congregant concerned about their budding political career, now was a good time to raise up and tip out.

All in all, it was an interesting cultural experience for a working class brotha raised Baptist. Going to church every other week is about all I can handle at the moment and this coming weekend is my Sunday. I’ll report back anything interesting.

I Decline

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photo by pacific john, flickr

I have been angry for a week now and I have heard from you.  Y’all gave me much to consider and digest.   Wrestling with this has been very, very difficult and gut wrenching.  At times I’ve felt that I just needed to let my anger go, embrace the moment, and savor this history making candidacy for all that its worth.  Conversely, I’ve thought that this brotha is little more than a Democratic and neoliberal version of Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, the doublemint twins of right-wing imperialist deception.    

Appeasing skittish and racially ambivalent whites that deliberately insult the integrity and prophetic vision of the black church doesn’t work for me. Disassociating from Jeremiah Wright by telling a nationally televised audience that you would not have felt comfortable enough in your church of twenty years to stay if your pastor hadn’t retired just doesn’t work for me.   

I want to support this brotha so badly, but I have gone as far as I can.   I can’t do it anymore and feel good about it. I’ve decided to vote uncommitted in the North Carolina Democratic primary in protest. Moreover, as of today, I formally withdraw my support of Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination for President, my bitter opposition to Senator Clinton notwithstanding, and will leave the Democratic Party to become an Independent.   

In case you were wondering, I have been this way for a number of years and refused to support Bill Clinton because of his lack of candor and respect for the black community on the Death Penalty in 1992.  I actively supported Jerry Brown.   

The vast majority of you will never agree with me, I concede that, but I am a race man through and through and this is about respect.  If a politician doesn’t respect us, they can never really represent us.  It’s just that simple.  I’ve made no decision about the fall.  I’ll let y’all know.  But for today, I decline to support Barack Obama.   

Deflated and Dejected

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I haven’t been in the mood for writing and am still recovering from Obama’s comments last Friday.  The depth and seriousness of the comments y’all left were impressive.  We even heard from a thoughtful member of Obama’s church.  I haven’t reached a final decision but I will probably just sit this one out.  I cannot feign enthusiasm.  I just don’t have the energy.  Rikyrah, I heard you loud and clear and remain unconvinced.  Andrea, you smelled bullsh*t over two weeks ago and told us so, thanks.    

Friday Open Thread: Obama crosses the line on Wright

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“Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable staying at the church,” –Barack Obama on The View, Friday morning.

What is he saying? I know he didn’t just do this after people like me, Hell, the whole of the African Diaspora, has come to the defense of his pastor. I need somebody to help me-Now. OMIGAWD. Please, Jesus. Tell me that I didn’t just read this on Huffington Post and TPM. Lord, tell me that this is just a surreal nightmare. What has this all been for if he cannot go the extra mile and continue to defend Dr. Wright while giving whitefolks the “disagreement” that they need to hear? Why did he cross the line, Lord? Why.

I don’t know if I can forgive this tacit acknowledgement that the round the clock, racist smear campaign against Dr. Wright and the Black Church had merit. I am so angry with Barack right now that I don’t know if I can continue my support. Talk to me.