I’m Running

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

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

I need more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fashion Disaster

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The controversy over Sarah Palin’s opulent, fashion forward makeover is indeed an interesting one because it speaks volumes about her and how unfit she is for assuming the role of Commander-In-Chief. The Republican National Committee spared no expense to ensure that the most inarticulate and ignorant Vice Presidential contender in modern history looked the part while she rigidly adhered to a demagogic and hypocritical script of racial appeals to stereotypical, white Joe Six-packs and hockey moms more accustomed to the cramped aisles of a plebian Wal-Mart than the rarified air of Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Sistah Robin Givhan of the Washington Post has written:

As a country, we remain predisposed to assessing the attire of women with an eye toward meaning and revelation. Some say it is sexist to do so. They are wrong…Clothing can evoke authority, but at the most basic level it is an expression of control.

How does a woman get elected to be a state’s chief executive-a job that entails presiding over the management of billions of dollars and thousands of employees and not have an appropriate wardrobe befitting her station that quietly and and elegantly conveys that authority? She did it, I presume, by running on the vacuous tripe of personality and biography. It also means and the evidence proves that she is not really in control.

In almost every aspect, Ms. Palin is totally unqualified for the job she holds and doubly unqualified for a promotion to the Vice Presidency. If she pieced together her wardrobe and political resume together like she did her Bachelor’s degree-a little bit here and little bit there, it tells me that she is unfocused, shallow, and lacks the intellectual curiosity and depth necessary for wielding executive power.

Again, according to Sistah Givhan”

Attire is not the sole provence of women, but n comparison with men, it remains an area in which they have the greater number of choices, more flexibility, [and] the heavier burden.

Sarah Palin didn’t somebody aside and wisper a request for a makeover. Palin’s handlers knew damn well that she needed one and planned accordingly and spent extravagently. That by itself gives the lie to Republican claims that she is ready for primetime.

The wardrobe they selected for Palin is elegant, simple, understated and very fashion forward. It embraces femininity without conveying frivolity or sacrificing authority. However, it should be noted that Governor Palin didn’t select a stitch of it-her handlers did.

Sarah Palin is fond of calling Barack Obama a socialist while sporting $150,000 of other people’s money on her back. This is a fine example of the racist hypocrisy that African Americans find so repellenat and why we so soundly reject the Republican brand. Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and the Obamas were at the receiving end of this type of subsidized extravagance? Lord, have mercy. Can’t you just hear the howls of wingnut indignation? Moreover, I seriously doubt whether we would be hearing Mika Brezinzki and Campbell Brown defending Michelle Obama.

If Palin’s handlers had been as serious about what they put in the Governor’s head to get her up to speed on national issues as they were what they put on her back, John McCain’s choice would be lauded as a touch of brilliance and perhaps he would still be inthe hunt for the Oval Office he has long coveted.

Sistah Givhan relates:

The public has already settled on the defining characteristics of a powerful man: He wears a dark suit that is well tailored. He pairs it with a crisp white shirt, and if he wishes to underscore his authority, he wears French cuffs…He tries to look dignified and serious.

Sarah Palin’s selection is akin to a fashion disaster or like pairing a garish tie with an expensive suit. The Alaska Governor is the personification of ostentatious fraudulence and her makeover shatters the image of dignified seriousness and gravitas McSame has tried to run on.

When Sarah’s fairy godfather loses the election and the ball is over, campaign flacks claim that the designer duds that McCain’s right-wing Cinderella acquired will be donated to charity. I don’t believe that-especially when we’ve heard talk about whether she would need to claim these clothes on her income tax, which implies that these clothes were meant to be kept after the campaign.

In other words, the campaign is spinning another line of B.S. that, coincidentally, aptly describes the McCain-Palin campaign thus far.