Mitt Romney is the living embodiment of a President from Hollywood central casting. His all-American good looks and patrician bearing are reassuring to some folk and harkens back to the halcyon days of yesteryear when times were simple and dark people, women and gays knew their proper places. Following the lead of Congressional Republicans in racializing Obama’s policy agenda, Mitt Romney’s strategists, conscious of their diminishing odds of winning this election, elected to frame their horse’s throwback candidacy in a way that intentionally stokes a sense of white racial resentment. President Obama’s every thought, word and deed is construed as a racial attack on God-fearing, taxpaying white Americans. Whites are cast as the victims in this alternate Republican universe and Mitt Romney is the savior they’ve been praying for. It is a lie, like everything the modern Republican Party stands for. It doesn’t matter how confidently Mitt Romney recites his lies. A confident lie is still a lie. Remain calm. There is nothing that transpired yesterday between the contenders to America’s throne that should disturb any Obama partisan.
Let’s review. In the span of 50 years, we’ve gone from, “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever,” to the eleventh great grandson of the first enslaved African serving as President of the United States. God is speaking through this recent revelation in Obama’s family tree. Can you hear him? I believe in my sanctified soul that Barack Obama’s miraculous rise to the presidency was predestined. The African ancestry traceable through his “white” mother shatters the myth of white supremacy and cleanses the stain of chattel slavery. In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells his prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:10 states, “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Every step this brotha has taken in the last thirty years has been ordered by The One Most High.
Eight years ago, Barack Obama was a minor state legislator nobody had ever heard of. He gamely took on the State Comptroller and a Multi-Millionaire Businessman for the chance to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. Heavily outspent, he vanquished them both. Plucked from obscurity by John Kerry to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, he electrified the nation. Two opponents, including his attractive Republican opponent, self-destructed in sex-scandals. Smears, misinformation and right-wing distortions, many of the same we hear today, were employed by an unhinged Republican to stop his rise. None worked. Four years later he went on to defeat the most formidible political dynasty the Democratic Party has ever produced to claim the Democratic nomination for President. The Clintons questioned his fitness for the Presidency and Bill Clinton dismissed his ambition as a “fairytale” and prompted Teddy Kennedy to endorse Obama after letting rip, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.” Oh, how the worm has turned. President and Mrs. Clinton both serve at Obama’s pleasure now.
We love him because he has always displayed the cool serenity and regal dignity that every child of God should emulate. This is the same president that shamed Donald Trump on Wednesday, punked his ass contemptuously on Saturday, and killed Bin Laden on Sunday. Don’t believe for one minute that an empty suit like Mitt Romney got under our president’s skin last night. Don’t fall for that. Obama set a trap and Romney took the bait. Romney shook his etch-a-sketch so hard that he broke it. This is the same president that allowed Republican extremism and obstructionism to trap them into the untenable position of opposing tax cuts, a grand bargain on deficit reduction and a debt limit extension. To hear some pundits tell it, Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he always seems to come out on top.
Romney still has much to answer for. The specificity of his budget and tax plan that journalists and pundits were critical of earlier in the week sure as hell didn’t materialize last night. What we heard was a lot of nonsensical doubletalk and backpedalling from what he was saying during the primaries. The Obama for America campaign is sure to take a hefty pound of flesh from Romney for his evasions and falsehoods. The ads should pretty much write themselves. All one has to do is stack Romney’s inconsistencies on top of one another and call it a damn day.
The corporate media knows that this race was over a long time ago. It doesn’t want to give up the ghost just yet because it invests the empty theatrics and ridiculous posturing of the modern presidential debate with more meaning than the serious policy discussions it was designed to facilitate. The contention that stagecraft means more than statecraft is a serious indictment of our fourth estate and an indication that the systemic corruption beneath the Media’s shiny façade threatens our democracy. We need to continue working, watching and praying for healing and racial reconciliation in our country.
There is a hymn that goes, “We’ve come this far by faith. Leaning on the Lord. Trusting in His holy word… Just the other day I heard someone say he didn’t believe in God’s word. But I can truly say that God has made a way. And He’s never failed me yet. That’s why we’ve come this far by faith.”
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.
“The delusion of power also appears to provide an escape for middle-class Negroes from the world of reality which pierces through the world of make-believe of the black bourgeoisie.The positions of power which they occupy in the Negro world often enable them to act autocratically towards other Negroes, especially when they have the support of the white community.In such cases the delusion of power may provide an escape from their frustrations.It is generally, however, when middle-class Negroes hold positions enabling them to participate in the white community that they seek in the delusion of power an escape from their frustrations.
Although their position may be only a “token” of the integration of the Negro into American life, they will speak and act as if they were part of the power structure of American society.Negro advisors who are called into counsel by whites to give advice about Negroes are especially likely to find an escape from their feelings of inferiority in the delusion of power.”
-E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie
I am Skeptical Brotha, your blog host. Welcome to Barack Obama’s FantasyIsland.
The passing of actor Ricardo Montalban last month has reminded me of the power of fantasy and delusion.Portraying the fictional Mr. Roark, the owner of a mystical FantasyIsland where people paid munificent sums to live out their fantasies, Montalban became an icon of the seventies and eighties and for me, the personification of an era fixated on the make-believe of Ronald Reagan’s right-wing conservatism.Tall, elegant and regal, Ricardo Montalban possessed a rich baritone and perfect diction.In the late seventies, the Mexican-born actor was the “happy darkie” white America needed to facilitate their fantasies.Today, we have a tall, elegant and regal African American President with a rich baritone and perfect diction to fulfill that function.
The historic election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States has fueled some troubling delusions about the nature of power in this country and the role of African people in running it.It ain’t what some of y’all think it is.
Montalban said of the iconic series FantasyIsland:
What is appealing is the idea of attaining the unattainable and learning from it. Once you obtain a fantasy it becomes a reality, and that reality is not as exciting as your fantasy. Through the fantasies you learn to appreciate your own realities.
Blackfolks have been stumblin’ around for the last two months as if we landed on Mr. Roark’s FantasyIsland.Metaphorically speaking, we’ve attained the seemingly unattainable fantasy of electing a Black President. Now, we’re about to enter the stage where the reality of Obama’s election won’t be as exciting as our collective fantasies. It is up to us to use this surreal event to appreciate the racist, imperialist reality of the world we still live in.
Let me be clear. We ain’t running nothing up in here. We ain’t now and won’t be after the inauguration. Don’t get caught up in the delusion of power that Frazier wrote about or get any wild ideas about the real status of the Negro in American society. The white corporate power structure ain’t relinquished control of a damn thing, shug.
The View co-host, Sherri Shepherd, moved me to tears after the election when she retold how she would be able to tell her son that because of Barack Obama, there were no longer any limitations on the aspirations of black men in this country.We could do and be anything we wanted.Sherri tapped into the powerful flood of emotions that flowed as I wept with millions of people watching Barack Obama solemnly claim the Presidency.
What Sherri said was raw—her pain jumped out of the screen.What she said felt real, but after the emotions subsided and I allowed myself the space to critically think and evaluate what I’d seen and heard over the course of the campaign, I knew immediately that it wasn’t true no matter how I longed for it to be. We can be many things, more than ever before, but I am still waiting on whether a Negro can be a progressive president.
Sherri’s claim is synonymous with the historic battle of African people in this country to be freed from the stigma of slavery and subjugation.It is what we’ve always demanded and what we’ve historically been denied.Barack Obama’s “victory” changed nothing in that respect.The battle for equality and economic justice continues.
The Price of Admission
Barack Obama writes in Dreams of My Father about the advice given by a black mentor and father figure:
“You’re just like the rest of these young cats out here.All you know is that college is the next thing you’re supposed to do.And the people who are old enough to know better, who fought all those years for your right to go to college—they’re just so happy to see you in there that they won’t tell you the truth.The real price of admission.”
“And what’s that?”
“Leaving your race at the door,” he said.“Leaving your people behind.”“…Understand something, boy.You’re not going to college to get educated.You’re going to get trained.
They’ll train you to want what you don’t need. They’ll train you to manipulate words so they don’t mean anything anymore. They’ll train you to forget what it is that you already know.They’ll train you so good, you’ll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh*t.They’ll give you a corner office and invite you to fancy dinners, and tell you you’re a credit to your race. Until you want to actually start running things, and they’ll yank on your chain and let you know that you may be a well-trained, well-paid nigger, but you’re a nigger just the same.”
Barack Obama understood from the beginning what the price of admission was for the U.S. Senate and the Presidency.He paid in full.What was the price?It was the unconditional acceptance of ruling class demands and an uncritical embrace of neoliberalism and globalization. The price of this bourgeoisie fantasy, if we knew what it really was, would be a price that most blackfolks would be unwilling to pay.
Barack Obama cannot embody the aspirations of the African Diaspora because he is the president of the United States.As such, he is a tool of the corporate power structure that controls our country and the top spokesman for the ruthless neo-colonialism that oppresses the majority of African people through despotic institutions like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization.
It’s time to grow up and wake up, black people.Deep down, we all know damn good and well what the deal is.It is time to snap out of the fantasy.
Africa Action, the oldest black-run lobby in D.C. that’s half-way decent in fighting for the rights of the entire African Diaspora succinctly summarizes the real obstacles to black self-determination:
Africa‘s massive external debt burden is the single biggest obstacle to the continent’s development and to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The over $200 billion that African countries owe to foreign creditors represents a crippling load that undermines economic and social progress. The All-Africa Conference of Churches has called this debt “a new form of slavery, as vicious as the slave trade”.
The albatross of illegitimate debt diverts money directly from spending on health care, education and other important needs. While most people in Africa live on less than $2 per day, African countries are forced to spend almost $14 billion each year servicing old, illegitimate debts to rich country governments and their institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Over the past two decades, African countries have paid out more in debt service to foreign creditors than they have received in development assistance or in new loans.
Much of Africa‘s foreign debt is illegitimate in nature, having been incurred by unrepresentative and despotic regimes, mainly during the era of Cold War patronage. Loans were made to corrupt leaders who used the money for their own personal gain, often with the full knowledge and support of lenders. These loans did not benefit Africa‘s people. More generally, many Africans question the notion of an African “debt” to the U.S. and European countries after centuries of exploitation. They ask, “Who really owes whom?”
Yet, despite the social and economic costs of this massive outflow of resources from the world’s poorest region, the wealthy creditors of Africa‘s debts continue to insist these debts be repaid.…The U.S. is the single largest shareholder in the World Bank and IMF, the institutions to which most of Africa‘s debts are owed. As such, it holds major influence over the international response to Africa‘s debt crisis.
Barack Obama campaigned on doing nothing meaningful to alleviating Africa’s crushing debt.His official position commits him to the IMF/WORLD BANK shell game of exclusionary rules and mealy-mouthed guarantees that continue to bleed the continent dry, leaving it impoverished, and beset with skyrocketing infant mortality rates, declining life expectancy and writhing under the weight of pandemic levels of AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
Moreover, because of African indebtedness, the IMF/World Bank imposes onerous structural adjustment programs on indebted countries that:
“…Are designed to reduce consumption in developing countries and to redirect resources to manufacturing exports for the repayment of debt. This has caused overproduction of primary products and a precipitous fall in their prices. It has also led to the devastation of traditional agriculture and to the emergence of hordes of landless farmers in virtually every country in which the World Bank and IMF operate.
Food security has declined dramatically in all Third World regions, but in Africa in particular. Growing dependence on food imports, which is the lot of sub-Saharan Africa, places these countries in an extremely vulnerable position. They simply do not have the foreign exchange to import enough food, given the fall in export prices and the need to repay debt.
Basic conditionalities of the IMF-World Bank include drastic cuts in social expenditures, especially in health and education. According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, expenditures on health in IMF-World Bank programmed countries declined by 50 percent during the 1980s, and spending on education declined by 25 percent. Similar trends are evident in all other Southern regions.
IMF-World Bank programs come with other requirements. Governments are generally forced to remove subsidies to the poor on basic foodstuffs and services such as rice and maize, water and electricity. Tax systems are made more repressive, and real wage rates are allowed to fall sharply.
..But the greatest failure of these programs is to be seen in their impact on the people. Using figures provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, it has been estimated that at least six million children under five years of age have died each year since 1982 in Africa, Asia and Latin America because of the anti-people, even genocidal, focus of IMF World Bank SAPs.
The fanatical insistence on a “post-racial” reality is fuc*ing ludicrous.It represents a willful ignorance that cannot be defended when any cursory examination of empirical data on globalization and income inequality is undertaken. The election of Barack Obama changes nothing for the black victims of globalization and neoliberalism. Moreover, it is a disingenuous act of token integration by the power structure. The browning of America inevitably means that some coloredfolks need to front for the power structure to camouflage the predatory nature of American imperialism and give the illusion of inclusion.
You could see the change his assumption of power wrought after he solemnly addressed the nation on Election night. His establishment cabinet, the continued no strings attached Wall Street Bailout and his unconscionable, silent complicity in the face of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza. The first Negro has completely nailed his part as America’s stern father figure dispensing status quo medicine.No matter what he does and no matter how many times he betrays the African Diaspora, blackfolks will make excuses for his departures from progressive principle and will highlight the admirable aspects of his character as a devoted husband and father that a desperate black community seems to need to repair the brokenness endured in a country weaned on white supremacy and the deliberate destruction of the black family.
Mary Mitchell, a black columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, is a prime example.In her first appearance on the establishment’s top televised salon, Meet the Press, she said:
You have someone who did what he was supposed to do. He got a good education, he married his sweetheart, he’s a father for his children. That’s the kind of image the African-American community needs right now.
I hate to think that we’re so desperate for the validation of whitefolks and for appropriate black role models that we’d accept anything an establishment Negro President does at the behest of his corporate puppet masters.
DON’T HATE THE PLAYA; HATE THE GAME
It is difficult to muster the energy to demonize or dislike Barack Obama after being inundated by endless streams of positive, empty propaganda spoon fed by a compliant corporate press. However, as blackfolks, we need to stand ready to rebuke the President we claim to love so much when he inevitably falls off the wagon of progressive principle.Our shared African heritage and the uniqueness of this moment in time do not constitute valid reasons to give Obama a pass.Despite the laughable and despicable efforts of the right-wing to portray our President as a “terrorist” and “secret Muslim,” Barack Obama is an establishment politician that sold out a long time ago and that makes him a “safe Negro” in the minds of the imperial power structure.
What I am saying is not meant to turn you against the President, dislike him in any way or fail to honor and celebrate this remarkable achievement. Hate is so counterproductive. What I’m saying today is meant to get you to think critically, evaluate what his Administration does objectively, and demand that Barack actually becomes the progressive president he fooled you into believing he would be. In short, don’t hate the playa; hate the game.
From the Urban Dictionary:
Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization, which allows or encourages the behavior that has provoked your displeasure.
One day in the distant future, the first African American President will pass away after living a long life, just as Ricardo Montalban did, and hopefully, the President be remembered for the progressive, concrete achievements of his era and not for some ridiculous bourgeois fantasy concocted by a crooked corporate power structure to disguise it’s racist imperialism.
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.
THE QUICKNESS, a political homage to Jill Scott’s “The Thickness”
By Skeptical Brotha
Ain’t this some shit. He got,
Big ol’ ears,
Big ol’ eyes,
Big ol’ lips,
Big ol’ hands,
And a Big ol’ dick,
He so big!
He supposedly has an expansive mind
But he still looks 14,
Articulate, clean, supple, and fine,
all those oohs and ahhs slip as he licks his lips,
Oh, all the women wanna fuck him,
They want him to talk about it, (Hope)
Relive the conquest,
How he beat her stupid ass (Hillary) and how he knocked that shit, (outta her hands)
Blacks folks don’t stop,
To recognize that there’s more,
More underneath that quickness,
That sweet and round, brown, intellectual bigness,
Barack likes his Negroes mindless and eager,
Sweet and meager,
Don’t you complain about my shifting positions (Jeremiah Wright, FISA, Affirm Action),
Just drop that pro-black shit (Reparations),
And help me rise to the presidency with a quickness,
Black folks don’t stop (to think),
Won’t stop (to think),
Lift it, (his campaign)
Lift it baby,
Drop that pro-black shit again,
Cause I ain’t your tribesmen no more,
I ain’t your friend,
Come on y’all just let me get in,
Let me into all that thickness, (of imperial presidential power)
That sweet and round supple bigness,
Now that he’s won the nomination can’t nobody even try to reach yawl’s minds,
The Black Community has been degraded, exploited, NOT celebrated,
Saturated with self hatred,
Let me say that again please:
We’ve been degraded, exploited, NOT celebrated,
Saturated with self hatred,
Cause every time we turn on the TV,
What do we see, big ol’ Obama changing positions to please whitefolks who will never fucking vote for him,
And it don’t have nothing to do with what is right for allof America,
Thus, my definition of progressive betrayal,
Thus, my definition of progressive betrayal,
Jesse hit the nail on the head
Oh, oh, oh Lord,
Let him recognize the magnificent opportunity you’ve created,
Let all of America be elevated,
Let all of America be elevated,
Let all of America be elevated,
Let her be elevated,
Cause he is so big,
he’s so big,
he’s so big,
he’s so big,
he’s so big,
he’s so big,
he’s so big,
he’s so big,
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 BlackChurch.
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.
Deliberately misled by the corporate media, people have fallen for the “mash-up” of video clips of several sermons of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright which attempt to defame, deceive and misinform people about the life, ministry, and character of Barack Obama’s pastor and by extension Obama himself.
This is nothing more than a propaganda trick and transparent hatchet job and one, which some ignorant Negroes and many Whites have fallen for. I resent the criticism engendered and the disavowal that political expedience required of Barack Obama.In an effort to inform, I offer you a fuller depiction of the sermons in question by Dr. Wright and leave it to you to judge for yourself.
If you are so inclined, share these sermons with some brain dead Negro content to sit like a child in front of the idiot box and perhaps the scales will fall from their eyes when they realize the truth. If they don’t realize that these attacks are attacks against the prophetic black church and those who believe in God’s truth, then they are truly lost.
Barack Obama: Bow to the white woman, and take the vice presidency. Heal our bruised white feminist egos.You’ve come too far too fast and you know it.This was supposed to be our turn.You will run in eight years with our vocal support as we surreptitiously undermine you behind the scenes and destroy any possibility of your election. You must pass through our feminist sieve first though: bow to the white woman.
Otherwise it will be about your voting record and you do not want to live through that punishment, especially if you are innocent. Premier Hillary represents the soul of the Democratic Party: the white women who support her, Latinas, Latinos, 5 percent of the black voters, white blue collar worker, male and female, as just proven in Ohio, and the fake azz white Baby Boomers…quit bitching and moaning and whining now! Be a punk and take vice, bow to the white woman who is the last vestige of the neoliberal white power structure which represents the military industrial complex. You can’t win without the votes of the people who support Clinton. You do not have the white working class vote; you do not have the white majority on your side even with white independents. The states you win are not swing states or even Democratic states. You are a spoiler and your campaign is alienating Clinton’s white vote. Many of Clinton’s white feminist backers are turned off due to the truthfulness of the attacks your supporters Gary Hart and Samantha Power has let loose on your opponent.
You can’t fight back dirtier than she can — it will bury your message of hope and change. It obscures the message of the people in this party!
The white feminist message is: Hoes before Bros.The white women who hold up this party and are its majority want equal rights for the Machiavellian she-devil that claims to care about those of us who work for a living. Equality and no less. Attacking the female candidate as the power obsessed monster that she is will not work for you. Your strident leftist advisors are off the mark. White people are centrist, especially during a war.
Join and ultimately lose!!!! It will take both of you to win this campaign: the one who was wrong on the war and the one who was right: however, the people want to be ruled by a white above all else! If you take this nomination from her she will see to it that the party factions itself to death and you lose to another old white man, Fuhrer McCain.Then she’ll run again, serve two terms, and by then Chelsea will be old enough to run for office and continue the dynasty.
Be stupid, Barack, show us how cooperation works, let’s live the fake white liberal dream of Dr. King…blacks and whites, Christians and Jews, male and female left and right holding hands on the way to another two centuries of white imperialist domination of the earth. Stop the massive movement for “Change we can believe in” and be a damn fool by taking the vice presidency.
With her Evita Peron fantasy shattered and her imperial coronation ruined, Hillary Clinton will shoot her load in tonight’s debate because she has absolutely nothing to lose. What she has to gain, in short, is the tantalizing possibility of acquiring the ultimate aphrodisiac and the glue of her sham marriage: unlimited power.And for that, she will risk it all.
Power is the only thing that Bill and Hillary covet because they certainly don’t care about one another. People and issues are mere abstractions that they must deal with in order to rule.The Clintons galactic sense of white entitlement has been their stumbling block throughout this contest and they’ve acted as if this race was a fait accompli.In a sense, Barack Obama is the perfect Manchurian Negro because it is almost as if he was born and bred to be the one that planted a red, black, and green flag in the inner sanctum of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
Political expediency and a shrewd attention to every detail has led Obama to this moment, its my prayer that after his massive accommodations that he will be a transformative president.
Hillary’s quest tonight is similar to a defense attorney in a criminal trial-creating reasonable doubt.She’ll fail miserably.If nothing else, being raised by white females gives Obama the advantage in this pissing contest, he’ll never take the bait her jabs proffers, and he’ll flick her away and stay above the fray.All he needs to do is stay focused; she needs to stay alive and sadly for her, her imperial campaign is brain dead. One week from today, the voters will courageously pull the plug and euthanize the imperial nightmare that has terrorized our nation for the last eight years.
This is the week set aside in honor of one our own, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Normally a time for celebration, I have come to dread our annual commemoration because of photo-op’s like the one above with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, has fallen off the mountaintop, bumped her damn head, and become a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy.
Employed full-time by the religious right, she is an aggressive pro-life activist, minister, and professional public speaker. As she has moved steadily to the right, Alveda has provided political cover and given full license to those who would distort, defame, and destroy the dream of her late Uncle in the name of a fictitious colorblindness that is really white supremacy.
A long time opponent of Affirmative Action, she is entangled in a network of right-wing preachers hell bent on destroying the progressive social change that Dr. King fought for.While Dr. King spoke of the power of love and the creation of the beloved community, the glue that holds their little movement together is hatred, homophobia and a fixation with stopping same sex couples who love each other from having the right to marry.
In the month of Mrs. King’s death, Alveda participated in “Justice Sunday,” a wingnut gala consisting of the full constellation of reactionary politicians and their talabangelical brethren dedicated to fighting for the confirmation of Bush’s judicial nominees like Samuel Alito.Alito, an archconservative with a history of hostility to civil rights, provided the fifth vote to strike down voluntary Affirmative Action plans in the public schools last year. Weakening the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education without the guts to admit it, Alito and his allies on the court dealt the principle of ending separate but equal education a mortal wound.
During most of Dubya’s first term, he found some way to paw Coretta Scott King in a manner that made my blood boil. Born on the same day as my grandmother two years apart, Mrs. King was always an icon in my household.I would NEVER allow George W. Bush to put his damn hands on my grandmother and I could never understand why Mrs. King visited the White House of a man who stole the Presidency. Her graciousness was always taken advantage of by this White House and she invariably became a colored prop in Dubya’s annual racist stage play of deceit every third Monday in January.
My personal favorite was the 2003 King Holiday.Within days of the holiday, the Administration announced a bold frontal assault on Affirmative Action by filing a brief against the Affirmative Action Admissions programs for both the University of Michigan and its School of Law.Writing a powerful Five-to-Four opinion upholding the principle of Affirmative Action, Sandra Day O’Connor ended her twenty years of steady opposition to Affirmative Action programs.Within two years, she resigned from the court only to be replaced by Alveda’s choice, Samuel Alito.It is only a matter of time now before Affirmative Action is destroyed by the Roberts Court.
This week, Martin Luther King III, “deeply” concerned about politicians misappropriating the legacy of his father, wrote John Edwards a beautiful letter telling him to keep fighting and stay in the race.If he was truly concerned about folks distorting the dream, he would have stopped his Mama from being used by George W. Bush, stopped his sister Bernice from demonizing gays and lesbians, put his foot down to permit the man who paid for his Daddy’s funeral, Harry Belafonte, to eulogize his mother instead of the ignorant patrician in the White House, and done something to put his cousin Alveda in check.
As adherents of the drum major for justice who preached non-violence, it would be unseemly for the members of the King family to take Alveda aside and beat her ass until she remembers what the hell the dream is really about.Nevertheless, let me be the first one to say to the King family that all of black America would happily forgive y’all if you laid down the principles of non-violence temporarily to “lay hands” on Alveda with “the love of the Lord.”
I won’t tell nobody and I am quite sure that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, a King family friend, would help.After all, she has kept her girls outta jail, despite the mess they’ve been involved in, and I’m very sure a discrete word from the mayor to the Po-po would squash it. If Shirley can’t help, somebody can always call Bishop Thomas Weeks, Juanita Bynum’s soon-to-be ex-husband.The way I see it he’ll pop either the question, Alveda, or both.
Although I can’t help but lampoon Alveda and make light of this situation for the sake of my fragile sanity, bastardizing Dr. King’s dream is no laughing matter.
I’m sorry I took too long, but as Gene Robinson of the Washington Post has said, this is a “Goosebumps moment.” As I write and listen once more to the victory speech, the tears are coming and I feel as emotional as a pregnant woman does. I will be in church on Sunday morning and nobody will be able to hold me down because I will be a shouting fool.
I needed this as my grandparents needed Martin and Malcolm. I needed this because I need to believe in something again. I needed this because my spirit has been shattered, my joy has been stolen, and my hope in my country destroyed. God has moved and his hand is clearly on Barack Obama. Iowa, 95% white, has sent the nation and the world a message that in the words of one of Sam Cooke’s signature tunes,”A Change gon’ Come.” And come it has.
“They said this day would never come.They said our sights were set too high.They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do.”
“You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days. You have done what America can do in this New Year 2008.In lines that stretched around schools and churches, in small towns and big cities, you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation, one people, and our time for a change has come.”
I still have Goosebumps.I could shout right here in this internet cafe.I don’t know about you, but after the almost divine intervention of Oprah, I could feel this tectonic shift in American politics coming.
Basking in the glow of this historical moment, one I’ve dreamed of for 25 years, I’ve overcome my bitter and sarcastic cynicism, and I have decided to endorse Barack Obama for President of the United States.
I am not taking back the substance of my criticisms because they represent my unvarnished feelings.Today, however, I feel like Patti Labelle and have “a new attitude.”Looking back over last year, I skillfully erected a wall of opposition to Barack Obama as strong as anything in the biblical Jericho because of his various missteps and obvious pandering to the corporate power structure.It got to the point where I could not even hear the brotha speak without picking out how he was telegraphing his mainstream intentions to the establishment and I just tuned him out.He didn’t move me until last night but Michelle and Oprah did, I must admit.
Michelle Obama cracked the walls of my ideological Jericho with her forthright manner in general and her South Carolina speech in particular. I cannot say enough about how attractive, articulate and persuasive a spokesperson she is on behalf of her husband.In February, after hearing him in person for the first time, I made it clear how necessary it was for Barack to give blackfolks, “A Word From The Lord.”He did and I guarantee that Black America will respond by abandoning Hillary Clinton en masse.
For me, however, Michelle Obama had already beat him to the punch with her address to a Orangeburg, South Carolina gathering. Sistah girl nailed it.
Michelle is able to communicate from the heart in a way that is both uplifting and empowering to me.Her spiel serves the dual purpose of communicating to whitefolks her safe middle class bonifides and her commitment to black empowerment. The frank recounting of the reservations she expressed about a presidential bid tells us that the sistah is grounded by the love of her upbringing, and will use those values as a guidepost for the road ahead.For Michelle, the personal is political which is demonstrated by her faith in a loving God and her wholesome commitment to strengthening families, especially the black family.I can think of no other woman I’d rather see become First Lady.
Michelle’s statuesque beauty, effortless style, bottomless grace, quiet intellect and amazing humility are exactly the qualities that America’s trailblazing black First Lady must exhibit and that her husband ought to have at his side.
Oprah, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.Being in South Carolina with that massive crowd was almost a religious experience.The walls of my ideological Jericho came down with a mighty shout.I’ve been wrestling with how to tell y’all because I knew when I left the stadium that I would support Obama.
I traveled to South Carolina alone and adopted the lady in line next to me as my play mom for the day.I asked Ms. Johnson how many of her girlfriends supported Hillary. Ms. Johnson told me, “I don’t know nobody supporting Hillary.”I shoulda known then that Obama had ended Hillary’s chances of the nomination.Taking nothing away from the formidable imperial guard surrounding Hillary, Iam quite comfortable predicting that Hillary will lose New Hampshire and the nomination to Obama.
Trailblazers like Oprah were way ahead of people like me.Never a true skeptic although she remained aloof from politics, Oprah, a billionaire as a result of her finger on the pulse of this country, knew a winner when she saw one.
Pondering the import of Oprah Winfrey’s whirlwind tour on behalf of Barack Obama has left me seeing the world in a new way and has me viewing Obama’s groundbreaking candidacy through the prism of Oprah Winfrey’s experience.Oprah’s humble yet passionate articulation of Obama’s cause brought the right touch of star power and street cred.Skeptical pundits have been forever silenced by Oprah’s power to help Obama draw weekend crowds of 66,000 in three states.
Both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, as Maya Angelou would agree, are phenomenal women, phenomenally.Just like Michelle Obama, I’ve had trouble reconciling Barack Obama the man and Barack Obama the phenomenon.Together, Michelle and Oprah helped put it into the proper perspective for me.Let me break it down, it’s all about the O, and I don’t mean Overstock.com.
Examining the arc of her remarkable life from Mississippi, Tennessee and Illinois, I am struck by how similar it tracks the same path as another daughter of Mississippi: Ida B. Wells-Barnett.I’ve always believed that although a prominent heroine of black history, Mrs. Wells-Barnett never fully received her due as a result of the bitter Victorian sexism of her time. Mrs. Wells-Barnett more than earned her place in the pantheon of black historical legends like Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois.
Born into slavery in 1862, orphaned at 14 by a yellow fever epidemic and left to raise five younger siblings, Ida B. Wells rose from the grinding poverty of HollySprings, Mississippi to the highest echelon of black society.A teacher, journalist, anti-lynching activist, feminist, suffragist and Republican politician (we were republicans then), her significant contributions to our struggle against white supremacy and Jim Crow segregation cannot be exaggerated.
Crusader in Defense of the Black Body
Well educated for a child of slaves, she was educated at Mississippi’s RustCollege and Tennessee’s FiskUniversity, both HBCU’s.By twenty, she moved with her siblings to Tennessee and settled in Memphis.By twenty-two, Wells-Barnett was leading campaigns against segregation in public accommodations.By twenty-four, she was writing editorials and investigative pieces to fight against lynching and white supremacy.She became a crusader in defense of the Black Body and a defender of our lives against the relentlessly racist oppression imposed by Jim Crow.
Crusader in Defense of the Black Spirit
Kosciusko, Mississippi born Oprah Winfrey, a trailblazing journalist, businesswoman, media personality, philanthropist, and child advocate, picked up Ida’s torch and has become a crusader in defense of the black spirit.Nashville’s first Black news anchor, she has used her life to fight a crusade against child sexual abuse, racism, poverty, and neglect.Single-handedly, the victim of rape and sexual molestation at the hands of cousin, uncle and her mother’s boyfriend, she is responsible for federal legislation that she authored to create a national registry of sex offenders to track predators against our children.
A philanthropist of legendary scale, she has given millions to black colleges and universities, is spending more money on rebuilding housing for hurricane Katrina victims than the damn federal government-over $17,000,000 million, despite billions appropriated and not spent by Washington, and is channeling millions of dollars for educational programs and HIV/AIDS programs in this country and worldwide.
An actress of legendary prowess, she came to national attention in her portrayal of Sophia in Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.”The character Sophia is asked by the wife of the town’s Mayor if she would like to be her maid.Sophia’s reply, “Hell No” is so robust, vehement, and unexpected that it ends up causing a dust-up in which she has to defend herself from a racist physical assault for “sassing” Miss Millie and her white male defenders.Sophia ends up rotting in Jail for years before being re-united with her family and the “kind-hearted” bitch for which she initially refused to work-as her maid.
Domestic servitude in the kitchens of white women is part and parcel of the history of black women in this country and touches upon a raw nerve that exists for black women of multiple generations-even now.Black women’s unjustified allegiance to Hillary Clinton tap dances on that nerve. My maternal grandmother, now in her 8th decade, is a woman of remarkable intestinal fortitude, humor, wisdom, and unassailable dignity.She is the rock upon which our family has relied for nearly 60 years.As a young mother of three and wife of an abusive husband, she found herself having to abandon the marriage and flee to the safety of family a good distance away.Work as a domestic in the homes of white women was what was available to her and she took it and used it to put herself through nursing school.
Mama told me how she was asked by the south Florida matron she worked for if she knew what “elbow grease” was.The woman wanted Mama to get down on her hands and knees and scrub the floor with a toothbrush like a house slave on the plantation.That vignette has always stayed with me and is like a festering boil that never heals.My grandmama’s story reveals the texture, depth, and authenticity of black women’s struggle in this country. It is something that Hillary Clinton, blinded by her sense of royal entitlement, will never understand and something that the grandson of a British colonial servant does.
Reminding us of the “Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” on the tour with the Obama’s, Oprah echoed Jane Pittman when she famously asked each of the children, “Are you the one, Are you the one that will save us.”He won’t single-handedly save us, but I sincerely believe that he is the one for this moment.
His election as president, should it occur, will not overnight result in a diminution of the world’s oppressive racial order, but it will be a step in the right direction for change.I could never get the image out of my head that Michelle conjured up of her husband taking the oath of office.I don’t think he can single-handedly end white supremacy and the grip of capitalist patriarchy, but I think that he may serve as an inspiration to the child or children who can.
Obama truly got game. He can unite this racially divided country in the spirit of brotherhood as nobody can, and for this reason, he will have my unswerving support.
After 35 years in the U.S. Congress, Mississippi Republican Trent Lott officially stepped down from the U.S. Senate last night after casting a series of late votes. Once at the pinnacle of power as Senate Majority Leader, he is famous for saying at former Segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmod ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our (racist) lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems (Uppity Nigra’s) over all these years, either.” He leaves the Senate to pursue other interests-presumably, as has been reported, a lucrative gig on K street as a lobbyist, corporate whore, and free lance segregationist. Mississippi’s right-wing governor, Haley Barbour, has a self-imposed ten day deadline to huddle with GOP grand dragons and select another pinstripe Klansman to replace Lott.
Mychal Bell, now 17, originally was charged as an adult with attempted murder in the beating of Justin Barker in December 2006. That charge was reduced before a jury convicted him in June of aggravated second-degree battery. In September, that verdict was thrown out by an appeals court that said Bell should be tried as a juvenile.
Under the deal, Bell pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery in return for an 18-month sentence with credit for the 10 months he already has served. Without a deal, Bell faced being placed in a juvenile facility until his 21st birthday.
Bell also must pay court costs plus $935 to the Barker family and he must testify truthfully in court if any other of his co-defendants in the Barker beating go to trial.
Bell is one of a group of teens who came to be known as the “Jena Six” as word spread of their arrests on attempted second-degree murder charges, which could have landed them in prison for decades.
“We were prepared to go forward with the trial, but you have to do what’s best for the client,” said Carol Powell Lexing, one of Bell’s attorneys. A juvenile court trial was to begin later this week.
As part of the deal, Bell will undergo counseling and begin to be reintegrated into the school system, his lawyers said.
LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters said he was pleased with the deal “because Mr. Barker is beginning to get the restitution and compensation he’s due.”
Walters said he would try to work out plea deals with the other teens charged in Barker’s beating. He said his decision to work out a deal was not influenced by the intense media coverage and civil rights demonstrations.
Critics said prosecutors have treated blacks more harshly than whites in LaSalle Parish, pointing to an incident three months before the attack on Barker in which three white teens were accused of hanging nooses from a tree at the high school. The three were suspended from school but never criminally charged.
Walters has said there was no state crime to charge them with.
I am livid right now and essentially unable to comment, but I’ll have more to say later.
Yesterday, surrounded by friends, family and his GOP Klavern, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott announced his retirement from the U.S. Senate by the end of the year. Lott, a 66 year-old segregationist from Pascagoula, Mississippi, spent 35 years in the U.S. Congress serving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. His repeated attempts to repeal the twentieth century and the thirteenth amendmendment to the U.S. Constitution proved unsuccessful.