We came to hear a word from the Lord


After the announcement of an Obama speaking at Claflin University, I decided it was time for a Skeptical Brotha and the Safe Negro to meet. I conjured up a dramatic confrontation in what must have been a delusional episode during the tedious drive which had me angrily confronting Obama about a long list of sins. I painstakingly choreographed asking a startled and perplexed Obama, Condi Rice, you voted to confirm Condi, she of the harrowing mushroom cloud and disappointing perm.” Explain that, Sir!!! “How can she tame warmongers if she can’t even tame those nappy roots?”

I combated my cynicism and fatigue long enough to embark upon an arduous journey of 16 hours: two 8 hour round trips to pick up the precious tickets of admission to Claflin‘s sad-sack gymnasium to hear the one, the only, Safe Negro in the flesh.

The gymnasium was packed to the rafters with black folks in nervous anticipation for what was to come: a chance to touch the hem of His garment and be miraculously healed of their cynicism and disappointment. In short, we came to hear a word from the Lord. It was supposed to be an event that would forever leave us changed and uplifted. It was supposed to be an event where souls were saved and burdens cast off. It was supposed to be an event to remember that would chart the trajectory of an irrepressible star on an unalterable rendezvous with destiny.

Hallelujah!! We came to hear a word from the Lord. We heard some prefunctory remarks from the University’s President and South Carolina’s legendary black Kingmaker, Congressman James Clyburn. The Congressman graciously introduced Him. The “Arena” and I use that term loosely in a Negro HBCU kinda way, erupted as He and sistah Obama entered. After brief recognition of the assembled Negro dignitaries, He began.

Obama started off by telling an odd story about his children that is meant to convey to whites an upper class cultural cue of patrician obliviousness: our children are just as clueless as yours. His vignette told of one of his children asking the other for the umpteenth time, “What are we doing here again?” The child inquired of responds to the other with perfunctory efficiency: “you know, Daddy’s President thing.” This is said in a tone that doesn’t indicate that either child comprehends or cares about the import of what Daddy’s doing.

I cringed and thought, “Y’all didn’t explain the historic nature of this Presidential undertaking to your babies?” “Whatever y’all said ain’t sink in.” Another epiphany occurred, “If y’all can’t get the babies to understand, what realistic chance do I have of you all breaking it down for me?”

Exhausted, strung out, delusional, angry and sad, I should have called out to the one who is able to keep us from falling. Instead, I leaned in closer, tottering dangerously close to the edge of my small seat like the rest of our people hungry to hear a word from the Lord.

Obama continued and spoke of America reaching a domestic and national crossroads. He spoke of a broken health care system and threw in a little something about a parent taking a child to the emergency room for an asthma attack when all they needed was proper medication from a primary care physician. Then it happened, the moment we’d all been waiting for, he spoke of what was on the tip of every tongue, on every heart and mind: small business insurance.

Father God, in the name of Jesus!!!! Small business insurance? Are you freakin‘ kidding? It went down hill from there. We heard some trite bromides about No Child Left Behind, teachers’ salaries, and the need for our children to be able to compete with China and India. From there, he transitioned to a mind blowing description of the need for more infrastructure, port system investment, and the need for more access to broadband internet. I was operating on a grand total of three and a half hours of sleep over two days and 16 hours of travel with two friends to hear about port system investment?

We came all this way to hear a word from the Lord, not a damn fool who insisted on boring us with the tedium of port system investment!!! The air seemed to be stealthily leaving the room and suddenly we all became trapped in a theater of the absurd. The room started to swirl as the gathering aroma of my own funk made itself known because I neglected to bathe. My New Wal-Mart track suit looked incredibly cheap next to my comrades snappy attire and everybody else’s “Sunday best.”

Laboriously, my mind came back into focus and I thought, “Barack, you flew down here to the Bible belt to bore black folks to tears with some whitefolks s#*t?” I should have looked heavenward and beseeched the Lord to “Fix it, Jesus,” “Fix it.” Instead, like a damn fool, I leaned in closer to be anesthetized with an awkward and perfunctory mention of a recently buried soldier, his opposition to the War and wasting $400 billion and some mumbo jumbo I didn’t quite catch about Obama being in a room full of “patriots willing to defend our freedom,” and his unwillingness to continue placing people in the middle of a civil war. Again, we came to hear a word from the Lord.

Obama began again and said that “People were hungry for something new” and were tired of the “Can’t do, Won’t do, Won’t even try,” that we often get. “Yes,” I murmured to no one in particular. He pledged by the end of his first term as President to make health care access affordable and accessible to all, and then, inexplicably, launched into a mind numbing, soul stealing, mini dissertation about cutting the administrative costs of health care by utilizing new technology and eliminating duplicative paperwork.

“Lord, have Mercy.” Mercifully, He ended his “talk” after some boilerplate about parental responsibility regarding education and opened the floor to questions. A question about education and HIV/AIDS was asked which he answered passably. Then came the question and the answer which perfectly fit the stanza in the Negro National Anthem which says:

“Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chast’ning rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet, Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?”

A question was asked about rural economic development to which he regaled the assembled crowd of two thousand southern fried Negroes with a smattering of white meat about the urgent need for alternative fuels like bio diesel which utilizes switch-grass and manure. WHAT IN THE HELL IS SWITCH-GRASS? MANURE? You mean BULLS*IT, dontcha, Barack?

I was truly starting to feel like Marion Barry when the police bum rushed the room after he had exhaled from a crack pipe, and exclaimed, “The bitch set me up!” The media set us all up and we all fell hard. Serves my dumb butt right for not listening to my skeptical inner voice.

I left my home and drove for 16 hours to hear some sho’nuff whitefolks s#*t about some freakin’ switch-grass. Michelle, what the Hell kinda ignorant ass mess are these whitefolks fillin’up your man’s head wit and WHY IN THE HELL didn’t you get up and let the people HEAR YOU? Your law degree comes from the same place his does. If you felt the need to fall up in South Carolina with your man, the neighborly thang woulda been to say your peace, girl. You know, give us a word from the Lord since hubby couldn’t. Nobody was feelin’ that tired First Lady wave. You were beautifully turned out in those expensive heels and bell bottomed pants but come on, Hon. Did y’all leave Barack at the airport and bring an Oreo twin named Barry instead?

Do us all a favor next go-round. Leave Barry at home and make sho’ y’all bring Barack witcha. Small wonder Darrell Jackson and Robert Ford ain’t got time for ya. I wouldn’t make any time for ya either after what I heard. Miss Hillary isn’t gonna mess up her do worrying about you.

40 thoughts on “We came to hear a word from the Lord

  1. rikyrah

    LMAO from beginning to end.

    SB, I was LOL from the moment I saw the title of the post.

    I guess you didn’t have a good time.

    Sorry about that.

  2. sand

    It is unfortunate that Obama didn’t dumb down his rhetoric for your enjoyment since it is obvious that you went to this event to be entertained rather than educated.

  3. SB, I am assuming (and hoping) that this was a very satirical calling out of how the majority of the electorate doesn’t really care a whit about issues versus a candidate’s personal style. In which case this post was pure genius, bro… 😀

  4. Preach it, Skeptical Brotha.

    You came to hear a word, and left like most of us do when the Preacher hollers but saying nothing about Jesus.

    They already told his wife to STHU and not make waves for the Safe Negro. How dare he go down in the South and not invoke what magnifies as true righteousness.

    We’ve had enough “style”. We want “substance” and sadly, this “brotha” is going to be slinging this slop until the New Hampshire Primary. That’s when either he sh’ts or gets off the pot.

    Some are singing his praises now. But what will they say when he shows his pimp, better known as the DLC/Corpotocracy?

  5. yogo


    Barack has a real problem now. He does not know how to talk to black audiences. He’s gonna have to start rolling with a hype man (put AL on the payroll?), or Michelle needs to be more active in his campaign.

  6. SB, Great post.

    Its scary, based on your post it appears the only thing Obama has going for him is, yes unfortunately, I have to say it the color of his skin.

    He appears to be a 21st century Putney Swope, who is now o boring black folks to tears. One has to wonder what is going to happen to his candidacy?

    My gut and history says his candidacy for President will ultimately fall short. It will probably be a Clinton-Obama ticket, Gore-Obama Ticket or an Edwards-Obama ticket.

    If Obama gets the Democratic nomination expect the 15% factor to kick in. Republican’s win a landslide. And black folks who follow Jessie Jackson and vote based on “Race” only, have another Republican to love for 8 years. Expect him to crash and burn.

    Skeptical Brotha please keep following the Obama campaign for us, lets hope he can get his act together.

    PS, Get some rest : -)


    Why on earth would Barack want to be caught talking to black folks about black issues? Participating in or even acknowledging the legitimacy of any intra-family dialog among blacks would tarnish his luster as the black guy who has “transcended race”.

    Oh, and peeps around brutha O have been talking about a run for VICE president since 1993. That is his goal: VP to HIllary. The way you run for VP, under the present system is to run for prez, and get picked by the eventual nominee after proving your value to the ticket.

  8. dblhelix

    get picked by the eventual nominee after proving your value to the ticket.

    Only thing that would convince me otherwise is Obama bringing a knife to the fight, but I think he has also transcended knife fights.

  9. Good report Skep….

    I agree with some of what you had to say….and you had be laughing hard at times…. however, I have to disagree with the overall message.

    It’s a new day…. I am personally glad we aren’t getting the Sharpton, Jesse Jackson line again with Obama. Obama shows that we as Black folks, are in fact diverse.

    And you have to understand the situation that Obama is in. He is not running to become the President of so-called “Black America”. A lot of folks want to paint him into that box. The fact of the matter is…. he is running to become the President for all Americans. Therefore, his message has to be a broad one. The problem that many African Americans have is that they have not broadened their view.

    Contrary to your point about not wanting to hear about other issues… (such as international issues for example), I believe that Black Americans have to recognize that such issues are important to them. They may not appear to be important on the surface, but they are. What happens with U.S. foreign policy has an impact on what is happening (or not happening) in terms of an effective urban policy. The billions of dollars that are being wasted in these foreign interventions is money that will not be available for the domestic programs that are important for Black Americans….and poor/moderate income folks across the board. Less money for education, College loans/grants, etc.

    Tax cuts for the wealthy?…. that is less money that is going for education and healthcare.

    NATO expansion?…. that means that Black blood will have to be wasted for countries that many Black folks can’t locate on a map and for countries that “we should not care about” as you say.

    Election/campaign finance reform? That IS important. Any effort to level the playing field a little, is a pretty decent idea. Anything that will limit corporate Americas influence over who can run and who is elected, is exactly what we need. If we could go to a public funded system where all the candidates have a similar amount, that’s a good thing…and it would mean that more minority candidates may be able to participate…and voters just MIGHT have a little more influence over who is elected. I will be waiting to see exactly what kind of campaign finance proposal he comes up with….hopefully something that won’t be just cosmetic.

    Lack of a healthcare plan? Who does that impact disproportionately????

    Have you seen the 2008 Budget? An 11% increase in military spending and cuts in domestic programs like Medicare/Medicaid. Who does that hurt most (disproportionately)? Black folks who depend on those programs.

    My point is…. it IS important for Black folks to have a broader understanding of the issues. Blacks SHOULD know and care about what is going on internationally. That way, Blacks will not only know that they are being screwed….but will have an understanding of exactly how rich politicians are doing it…. so that they can deal with it more effectively…by pushing for better policies (domestic, economic, international, etc).
    And all of these policies and issues are interconnected one way or another. So it’s important for Blacks to understand what is happening….especially when it comes to international affairs.

    And politically…. Blacks must know what is happening from a broader perspective rather than just from a Black perspective, because that kind of old political approach is dead. It is no longer relevant to the American political scene. Obama (hopefully) represents a new breed…. although that remains to be seen.

    A Black politician running on a “Black Issues only” platform is doomed to failure before he even gets started. He would have no chance whatsoever of getting elected. Obama understands that. Unfortunately, a lot of Black folks are having a hard time catching up…especially those who say he isn’t “Black Enough”. This is one of the things that I hate about modern Black culture… Blacks are quick to attack and destroy their own, even when it could be something positive. Yet I don’t see the same Black folks attacking those things that ARE negative within their culture with that same kind of vigor. Go figure!

    Blacks must come to understand that 80-90% of our issues are shared by other poor folks across the board….therefore, they must learn how to build coalitions across race, religion, class, etc in order to make something happen. Therefore, candidates like Obama have the right approach from that perspective.

    But getting to your point… he probably could have talked more about issues that were more important to his particular audience (as well as the other issues….because those are important as well, even if they don’t appear to be). Those “other” issues will give him a fighting chance to get a foot in the door.

    Perhaps his campaign team just doesn’t have a well thought out plan regarding what issues to talk about in front of different demographics. Some simple Market research would have told his people that the crowd would be mostly Black & moderate/middle class working folks….more concerned with the price of medicine…how to stay alive, etc…
    He has been used to talking in front of white or mixed audiences for the past few months…. A Black crowd might have thrown him off a little. lol

    It’s still early in the campaign. He hasn’t had the chance to really shape his message just yet.

    See my comments about a new approach for Black politicians.



  10. JoPo

    Thanks for the ride skeptical.. we enjoyed the trip but didn’t enjoy the lecture that was given to South Carolinian Blacks who really came to see the second coming of Martin’s dread, Moses himself to lead the people out of synicism and where the main Blvd is named “John C Calhoun”. I came for the sake of curiousity. For I was there at Hampton when Judge Higginbotham rant about being in succession to the courts in 1995. I was privy to see and listen so many times to Jesse’s d sermons and was quite awed at Bellefonte speech at Duke last year. I was even privy to Maya’s “pulse of morning” at Clinton’s inauguration. I have seen and heard so many politicians, poets and decedents of past leaders. So the curiosity that exists in this nation for Obama was something I had to see for myself. Not necessarily waiting for Moses himself, but in a sense to see the sincerity, passion, and characteristics of leaders of our times. Kennedy, Bobby, Roosvelt and hell…even Regan… I was dismayed. But we did have a hellava ride to and from…

  11. Bruce:

    Now you know why Barack would be caught talking to Black Folk. He watched the SOBU to see how his announcement would be received in Hampton Roads. It got a lukewarm reception for the most part, and outright dissing from the likes of Al Sharpton, Keith Ellison, Julia Hare, Lerone Bennett, Jr., and Cornel West.

    You know if you tear your ass with that contingent of Black Intelligencia, you’re toast.

    Not to mention that in hindsight, he probably knows he should have scheduled his announcement before or after the SOBU. It’s not like he didn’t know when it was.

    Whoever his advisors are, they’d better brush up on knowledge of Black communities. We are universal, but not monolithic by any means.

    I think Skeptical Brotha would agree.

  12. I should have also said:

    He should have had his ass in Hampton Roads at the SOBU, instead of being in Springfield making that announcement in front of a crowd with few Blacks in it (probably too damn cold). Bad move because it sent the signal he was going to distance himself from Black people. Then we roared, and his wife tried to roar back on his behalf, but that’s his fight, not his woman’s.

  13. meuphys

    the skeptical brotha seems disappointed that obama is not jesse jackson. i would ask him to remember that obama, if he is to be successful, needs everyone’s votes, including those of us who think that issues such as bio- and other alternative fuels and healthcare are priority issues in today’s america. he says “they came to hear a word from the lord,” and i think that’s the problem. we are not electing a deity, we are electing a political leader who must speak to and for everyone, regardless of racial, social, or economic background. the “brotha” expresses a wish to see the quote unquote real barack, meaning the candidate he wishes to see, who would remind him of jesse or sharpton – but i would have two questions for him. first, does he want a speaker who can evoke strong sentiment in rhyming alliterative phraseology? or would he be content with a decent, intelligent man whose ideas could take all of us – black, white, hispanic, asian – in a positive direction after eight years of bush? and second, does he believe it would be better to lose with a preacher then to win with a policy wonk? how exactly would that improve the lives of african-americans?

  14. meuphys,

    No sir/ma’am, I want brotha Barack to talk to black folks in a manner that respects what we care about and in a way such that we can receive what he says. We care about war and peace and economic justice. The policy-wonk speak is for y’all. Deaconess Jackson doesn’t understand what broadband internet and bio fuels are. She will ,however, be voting. The question is weather she will be voting for Hillary or Barack.

  15. JoPo

    Sand, Meuphys and The Angry Independent,

    Great leaders of our time speak to the masses in truth and with integrity backed by their faith which moves all generations, all race and nationality. Although the people in the arena were hungry for a leader, short of the wordly view of “All Americans” to which definintion still lacks, they were there as a community to seek such leader that embodies Martin’s dream, Lincoln’s principle, Ghandi’s courage, and Bobby’s genuine presence. And to deride such notion that hes running for “President of All Americans” is an understatement, yet trivial, to what everyone should be really be paying attention to. A leader!!!, or “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success to the cause we believe that is just !!” Cookie-creaming it to fit, or to design a “one size fit all Americans” package is not how a leader of any community rise to true success. Leaders are created by the communities and the masses of those who yearn and struggle for equality, liberty, freedom, fairness with a sense of belonging as a whole community. Created by those who seek simular ideas of the pursuit of happiness even if its the three bedroom house, two children, two cars and a dog… They were looking for a word, a word from a leader….and not a politician that can be viewed on C-span or any other news show. Thus skeptical brotha, was disappointed.

  16. JoPo,

    Thank you from the bottom of my skeptical heart for your kind words and your dead on words of wisdom. I couldn’t have said it better. The shout out to the post was unexpected, thanks!!! 🙂

  17. Again, Obama is not and cannot be the leader of “Black Folks”, that many are looking for, nor is he some great mythical leader of the ilk of a King (Hell, I could have told you that and saved you some gas money). He never claimed to be either one. It’s the media that has painted that box for him to curl into. Now that folks are seeing that he doesn’t fit into the boxes created for him, folks are getting upset. lol

    Black folks are whining that he is not Jesse or Al Sharpton….or MLK…. But as I mentioned before, that is a bygone era. You aren’t going to get that from Obama. If you want to hear a feelgood speech about Black issues only…. then go to a Jesse Jackson event….or a CBC function…. they are good at having “Church”. Actually getting anything done however, is a different matter. lol

    I have studied leadership and I would be willing to bet that Obama gets a wider range of support (which is needed to be successful in politics) than any of his African American predecessors. Leadership is often determined by followership. Yeah… Jesse and Al got the Black vote….but they couldn’t win with just the Black vote. They ran symbolic feelgood campaigns. On the contrary, Obama is trying to reach out to more voters… (and the so called “Black Community” attacks him for trying to run an intelligent campaign).

    Black folks (a lot of them) have a very narrow view of what a Black President or candidate should be.

    BTW… you mentioned “Lincoln’s principle” as a way to describe how Obama should be????

    Lincoln didn’t free the slaves out of the kindness of his heart. I always wondered why people talk about Lincoln as some great mythical leader who loved or even liked Black folks.
    But I do get your point….

    However….demanding all of those qualities in one guy might be too much.

    Let Obama be Obama…. he can’t be a Ghandi, King, Jesse, and all the rest. Everytime he does something (or doesn’t do something) he is compared to one of these figures.
    In many ways, he is catching more hell from Black America than from White America. I knew he would catch hell from Black America….because Black America likes to create this kind of controversy when candidates don’t dumb themselves down enough to become the Ghetto President. That’s the kind of mentality (the mental chains) that holds Black folks back and keeps them in the same old box that they have been in for the past 20-25 years.

    It’s ironic that Black folks are looking for some kind of leader to save them (as if they need to be saved from something being done to them from the outside) when many of the problems in so called “Black America” are self inflicted…(The ignorant ass hip hop culture is a perfect example).

    Blacks should stop waiting for some great leader to drop out of the sky and instead become the leaders that they are looking for.

  18. Angry Independent:

    We aren’t waiting for another Black Leader because ain’t nobody coming to save us.

    Having said that, we Black Folks get skeptical when Corporate Media is trying to foist a “Black Leader” upon us.

    Especially one who has been manufactured by said Corporate Media. Now he’s got us following his money trail, as opposed to outlining his agenda. While he shouldn’t cough up everything on his platform this early in the game, he shouldn’t be so vague as to have the only comments about him being “clean and articulate”, but no actual political platform.

    Right now, he’s all hat, no cattle. Be nice if he showed up with the herd, instead of thinning it for all.

  19. Political Junkie,

    Now THAT I can agree with. We are on the same page there.
    The Corporate media is shoving a lot of this down our throats… and not just with respect to Obama…but also with respect to the other candidates…like Clinton. I have criticized both Obama and Clinton for being media creations.

    But at the same time, Black folks should not attempt to pigeonhole the man either.

    We agree on more than we disagree with regarding Obama…. I was just pointing out that Blacks should not be so quick to shun a wider view (in response to the original comments).

  20. “We came all this way to hear a word from the Lord, not a damn fool who insisted on boring us with the tedium…”

    “He pledged by the end of his first term as President to make health care access affordable and accessible to all, and then, inexplicably, launched into a mind numbing, soul stealing, mini dissertation about cutting the administrative costs of health care by utilizing new technology and eliminating duplicative paperwork.”

    OK…this is some of the stuff that threw me off into thinking that this was satirical. I haven’t been reading this blog more than a couple months, but the vibe I was picking up was that ‘the tedium” is more important than the stylish musings of another shyster politician. I was actually happy to hear Obama was speaking in more than platitudes, because you KNOW the platitudes are meaningless and a cheap way of playing to the crowd/getting votes. He states that he will make health care more affordable and available and then, knowing that the question will be “How?” actually attempts to give an answer. I much prefer to hear that than something about “the audacity of keeping hope alive”, etc.

    I had just finished reading a mainstream media article on “Obama the Rock Star” complete with a close up photo of several ethnically diverse 20-something mesmerized faces staring up at the podium, which gave me eery flashbacks of the looks seen on faces of (much less ethnically diverse) Germans during 1930s political rallies. The cult of personality lives on. We don’t need it.

    I absolutely loathe the MTV/soundbyte/hype infotainment culture that’s helped presidential campaigns become issue-free excercises of trademarked platitudes and underhanded gossip mongering. It’s enough to make one wonder if we aren’t better off just getting rid of the office of President and replacing it with an executive council of some sort. At least it will be harder for the corporations to smear/buy off a group than an individual. But in the meantime go ahead on Obama…give me the tedium of how you plan to solve problems rather than the usual “hope dope’.

  21. Ernesto,

    Tedium and Policywonkspeak is why God made position papers and websites to place them on. Most people just want to get a sense of the man and whether or not he cares about people like them. It really ain’t that deep, brotha.

  22. SB,
    OK gotchya, bro…but I think my skepticism has been kicked to a higher level over the years. Obama’s impeccable DLC credentials lead me to believe he isn’t The One willing to solve our daily struggles, even if he WERE able to masterfully conduct an old time tent revival. 😉

  23. sand


    “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success to the cause we believe that is just !!”

    And does Hillary exude these qualities? Honestly? Hillary is a cunning and conniving megalomaniac and black folks seem to praise and envy her for these traits. That is just sad and pathetic.

    On the other hand, we have Obama who actually IS black. We can discuss the flaws in his rhetoric, the voids in his policies, the lack of “blackness” in his heart, etc. But when it comes to the very definition that you provided, he is hands down the best candidate.

    What skeptical brotha was looking for is called pandering, and I’m sure he’ll get plenty of that from Hillary.

  24. denise

    “…And does Hillary exude these qualities? Honestly? Hillary is a cunning and conniving megalomaniac… ”

    When did we established that Obama is none of these things?

Comments are closed.