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To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it; I believe it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

How long?

I don't know Mrs. Bell, and she doesn't know me. But I know that we are both wondering the same thing today. How long will a young Black man's life be worth less than anything else in America?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Opportunity of Lifetimes

No need for backdrop on the current status of the Democratic Primary needed. My thoughts, especially in light of The Field’s ‘you have to start somewhere’ commentary, wandered about in my mind. What is my other option in November?

I am ideologically on the other side of the state from McCain, and he probably couldn’t care less. I find the whole ‘Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton monarchy equally unappealing (and just plain wrong when you think about it, if anyone would ever stop to think about it). A third party would be great and I would be on board, but it is improbable at best, though not impossible.

So in truth my options are limited, in fact, singular. I can only vote for Barack Obama. If his name is on the ballot, or if I have to write him in myself, I will cast my vote, a right purchased for me with the blood of ancestors who knew that I would never take it for granted, for the only candidate can help us do the impossible.

And if we in these United States, don’t come together to elect this individual, if we do not find a way to choose as our next leader an individual who has energized previously dormant swaths of the electorate (young and old alike) with a simple call to community and civic service, who has re-invented the entire game in terms of political campaign financing by allowing people with less than five dollars to have a real stake in this campaign, who has implemented a strategy that rests on (gasp!) the collective needs of all portions of the electorate as opposed to the top 18 percent or the ‘big states’, who has demonstrated the ability to build working coalitions and bring about meaningful and useful public policy on issues that matter, who has exhibited a enormous amount of grace under fire and dignity under duress, who has come through an unnecessarily evil and ugly season with preserved integrity, who knowingly puts life and limb on the line for the like and love of this country, if we do not find a way to elect him, and are only able to offer as our best excuse, the color of his skin, then shame on US, and sorry is our future.

No one individual in particular will suffer from the inability of the US to move forward. But everyone in general will have missed out on what can only be called the opportunity of lifetimes. And the consequences will be devastating, far-reaching, and painfully long-term.

The truly regretfully part will be that we in these United States have been at similar junctures before; where fate, or decency, or dumb luck has offered up a chance for this country to live up to its true creed; we are provided at fleeting intervals, occasion to do the right thing. And, with a predictable regularity, we rarely miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. We are slow to pass up a chance to pass up a chance. If there is one thing that we do with consistency, confidence and pride, is snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Let it not be so this time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rape of the Earth...

Happy Earth Day Folks.

I am sad to say that we have made some, but not as much progress as I would like on saving our planet. The environment is not "sexy" enough, I suppose. As I celebrate today, and think of what else I can do in my little corner of the world (changed most of my light bulbs already, recycle even though there is NO curbside pick-up, cut off my boiler every day even though I have to go in the dungeon-basement to do it...), a song from one of my favorite artists, Tracy Chapman, comes to mind:

"Mother of us all

Place of our birth

How can we stand aside

And watch the rape of the world?

This the beginning of the end

This the most heinous of crimes

This the deadliest of sins

The greatest violation of all time

Mother of us all

Place of our birth

We all are witness

To the rape of the world

You've seen her stripped, mined

You've heard of bombs exploded underground

You know the sun shines

Hotter than ever before

Some claim to have crowned her A queen

With cities of concrete and steel

But there is no glory no honor

In what results

From the rape of the world

She has been clear-cut

She has been dumped on

She has been poisoned and beaten up

And we have been witness

To the rape of the world

Mother of us all

Place of our birth

How can we stand aside

And watch the rape of the world?

If you look you'll see it with your own eyes

If you listen you will hear her cries

If you care you will stand and testify

And stop the rape of the world

Stop the rape of the world"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wise Men (and Women) Still Seek the Truth...

This is by far the best analysis of the the whole "Rev. Wright Flap" that I 've read thus far. I can't re-state any of this better that Tim Wise did, so I will just provide a snippet of my favorite part of the essay (entire essay can be found at Hat tip to the Field Negro for always planting these great seeds of knowledge. I can't wait till harvest time...
"So that's the truth of the matter: Wright made one comment that is highly arguable, but which has also been voiced by white America's favorite black man, another that was horribly misinterpreted and stripped of all context, and then another that was demonstrably accurate. And for this, he is pilloried and made into a virtual enemy of the state; for this, Barack Obama may lose the support of just enough white folks to cost him the Democratic nomination, and/or the Presidency; all of it, because Jeremiah Wright, unlike most preachers opted for truth. If he had been one of those "prosperity ministers" who says Jesus wants nothing so much as for you to be rich, like Joel Osteen, that would have been fine. Had he been a retread bigot like Falwell was, or Pat Robertson is, he might have been criticized, but he would have remained in good standing and surely not have damaged a Presidential candidate in this way. But unlike Osteen, and Falwell, and Robertson, Jeremiah Wright refused to feed his parishioners lies."
"But white folks have a hard time hearing these simple truths. We find it almost impossible to listen to an alternative version of reality. Indeed, what seems to bother white people more than anything, whether in the recent episode, or at any other time, is being confronted with the recognition that black people do not, by and large, see the world like we do; that black people, by and large, do not view America as white people view it. We are, in fact, shocked that this should be so, having come to believe, apparently, that the falsehoods to which we cling like a kidney patient clings to a dialysis machine, are equally shared by our darker-skinned compatriots."
"Whites refuse to remember (or perhaps have never learned) that which black folks cannot afford to forget. I've seen white people stunned to the point of paralysis when they learn the truth about lynchings in this country--when they discover that such events were not just a couple of good old boys with a truck and a rope hauling some black guy out to the tree, hanging him, and letting him swing there. They were never told the truth: that lynchings were often community events, advertised in papers as "Negro Barbecues," involving hundreds or even thousands of whites, who would join in the fun, eat chicken salad and drink sweet tea, all while the black victims of their depravity were being hung, then shot, then burned, and then having their body parts cut off, to be handed out to onlookers. They are stunned to learn that postcards of the events were traded as souvenirs, and that very few whites, including members of their own families did or said anything to stop it."
"And oh yes, I said it: white preachers lie. In fact, they lie with a skill, fluidity, and precision unparalleled in the history of either preaching or lying, both of which histories stretch back a ways and have often overlapped (my emphasis added here because let's face it, this is such a way to put the truth!). They lie every Sunday, as they talk about a Savior they have chosen to represent dishonestly as a white man, in every picture to be found of him in their tabernacles, every children's story book in their Sunday Schools, every Christmas card they'll send to relatives and friends this December. But to lie about Jesus, about the one they consider God--to bear false witness as to who this man was and what he looked like--is no cause for concern."
Tell the truth Tim Wise. Tell the truth.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Day Goes by in Dafur

I don't have to go into details here. The crisis in Dafur is horrific, especially for women and girls. We should be more proactive (we = USA) and I support the current efforts to use the Olympic Games as a way to highlight China's connection to this. In order to keep myself from feeling absolutely powerless on this issue, I am forming a campaign with my young OPAL members to write our elected officials, sponsoring agencies, and the Olympic Committee. I am also going to host a year-long education and awareness campaign on this issue - I think it will be very beneficial for my high school Seniors during their last year.

Much kudos to my President, Barack Obama, for being on the right side of this issue in MHO; he believes that a boycott of the opening ceremonies should be up for consideration, in order to shed light on this continued crisis and China's involvement in it. While all the pundits pontificate on political ‘problems’ (read: not actually problems, just non-issues that make for good bad news coverage and ratings), another woman in Dafur is violently raped; another child becomes an orphan, another tear is made in the fabric of family, another day goes by in Dafur.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Back from my local travels!

It has been a while since I last posted - I've been busy changing the world one day at a time! Actually, I've been doing the majority of my blogging on my Barack Obama page. But, my brother just started a new blog, and I've been tracking the Field Negro and Electronic Village very regularly for the past few months, so I thought I would re-activate over here as well.

Needless to say, I have been volunteering for the Obama for America campaign here in Petersburg, VA. I am still doing youth mentoring work in my community as well - can't change the world by focusing on the world!

Late shout out to "Villager" for that great advice on local travel. I am going to take your advice, and take some young people with me on a scavenger-discovery hunt around our great city. I may devote several posts to the current condition of the City of Petersburg, and my determination to be one of the many people who help turn it around.

'live well'.