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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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

...But I Know Change 'Gone Come.

The newsrags and pundits are all wondering out loud about the role that race and gender played in this campaign. Sexism and racism should be discussed, because they are both salient issues. But let’s not let that discussion proceed without an acknowledgement of the realities of this primary:

The Obama for America team simply ran a better campaign than the Hillary for President team. And a majority of primary voters have demonstrated that they believe Barack Obama is simply a better candidate to lead America. These are the realities.

Now, I have already heard, and fully expect to continue to hear, the ‘chorus of critics’, the naysayers and doubters. They caution us and warn us that Obama simply cannot bring about the change that he has promised us. Washington is too set in its political cement to be bothered by change.

And let me be very clear: I understand that the task at hand (changing the politics of Washington, changing the domestic issues that challenge our country, changing our foreign relations, etc) is by no means simple. And there will be nothing easy about an Obama Presidency. The change we desire, the change he has promised, will be at best, very difficult to achieve.

But for one (or for many) to suggest that change is impossible, is for one to be willfully (and woefully) ignorant of the facts: in one year, the Obama for America team significantly changed the way presidential primaries are ran in this country and viewed from abroad; the Obama for America team significantly changed the way presidential primaries are funded and managed; and if current numbers are any indicators (and I believe that they are) the Obama for America team significantly changed the way presidential candidates are elected. Considering these facts, it stands to reason that in four years, the Obama Administration can significantly change the politics of Washington, significantly change domestic issues, and significantly change foreign relations (and change them all for the better).

Those who don’t believe need only look at the composition of the Obama for America team to understand why and how the change happened, and why and how still more change is possible. Millions of previously disengaged citizens, young, old, and in between, now have the ear of a true leader, and he has theirs in return. So to the ‘chorus of critics’, naysayers and doubters: do not underestimate the power of many who are committed to changing the power of few. Others have and they are not better of because of it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Obama/___ Short List...

So yesterday Senator John Edwards endorsed my good man Barack Obama for President. I immediately thought "well ain't he a day late and a dollar short". But further analysis (we should always do further analysis) gave me reason to consider his timing. I want to give Edwards props for supporting Obama even after a major loss in West VA (West VA - never forget Megan Williams see here for the hate crime story that West VA's Senator never even commented on - the same Senator who made a speech on the Senate Floor over the M. Vick case...) and for keeping the light on the poverty stricken citizens of one of the most prosperous country in the world.
Even so, I do not think Edwards is the best choice for Obama's VP. As usual, I was inspired by the Field after reading his post this morning; I gave some real consideration to who Obama should select as VP. I was really leaning heavily toward a woman, for the obvious reasons, but an article from News One, which by the way appears to be shaping up as a very decent alternative news source for people like me, made me think twice about that. My good Governor, Tim Kaine, was listed by the author, for some darn good reasons:
"Another man of faith Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia might be a good choice. A devoted Catholic, next to governing Virginia, he and his family spend a lot of time helping his Church. He appeals to neighbors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the Carolinas, which would help Obama. During Governor Kaine's tenure, Virginia has been recognized as the most business-friendly state in American, the top-performing state government in America and the state where "a child is most likely to have a successful life." These are great credentials to help build upon Obama's economic plan as well as education reform. The Governor who once was a missionary would even rock the evangelical voter too--and give McCain some trouble in the Bible Belt."
Woodson also points out that Sam Nunn of Georgia may offer the best option against McCain:
"...preeminent foreign policy and defense strategist former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia could be the total package that Obama will need to finish off McCain. Nunn, who represented Georgia for two decades, chaired the Armed Services Committee and now heads Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a nonprofit that works to reduce global threats from nuclear or biochemical weapons. Obama, who wants to pull the troops out of Iraq, could use the advice of Nunn, who voted against the first Gulf War. And geographically, Nunn can help Obama lock up Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Texas and add to Obama's base in Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi. Nunn, having been a former colleague of McCain's, knows his weakness and is better recognized for his command of foreign affairs."
Now I have to go do some research on Nunn. Because I think this argument is sound; one of my primary reasons for backing Obama is his stance on the war, and his commitment to ending it. But I also know that it will be no easy task pulling our troops out and leaving the region, and I think an experienced, level-headed foreign policy and defense strategist would be a great asset to getting this done. Obama and his team really have a tough job in selecting the VP choice, and I pray that they will do so wisely.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Another Day Goes By in Darfur (2)

I am attending a Council on Foundations Conference in MD this week; we had the pleasure of hearing about how the philanthropic world is attempting to keep human rights on the forefront of the international conversation, from three individuals from South Africa, Ireland, and the US. The crisis in Darfur continues and I will highlight it in my own small way until it ends. This is an article updating the status of the conflict. Another day goes by...

UNITED NATIONS, New York: The conflict in Darfur is deteriorating, with full deployment of a new peacekeeping force delayed until 2009 and no prospect of a political settlement for a war that has killed as many as 300,000 people in five years, UN officials said.

In grim reports to the Security Council, the United Nations aid chief and the representative of the peacekeeping mission said that suffering in the Sudanese region was worsening. Tens of thousands more have been uprooted from their homes and food rations to the needy are about to be cut in half, they said.

"We continue to see the goal posts receding, to the point where peace in Darfur seems further away today than ever," said John Holmes, under secretary general for humanitarian affairs at the UN.

The conflict began in early 2003 when rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated central government of Sudan, accusing it of discrimination. Many of the worst atrocities in the war have been blamed on the janjaweed, the militia of Arab nomads allied with the government.
A joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force took over duties in Darfur in January from a beleaguered AU mission of 7,000 officers. But only about 9,000 soldiers and police officers of the 26,000 authorized for the new mission have been deployed.

"We are late, and we are trying to speed up the deployment of this mission, and we facing many obstacles," said Rodolphe Adada, the envoy for the UN-AU force. "But eventually, with the help of some donors, we could be in a position to achieve maybe 80 percent of the force by the end of this year."

The mission faces major problems in putting troops into a very hostile environment, Adada said. It still lacks five critical capabilities to become operational - attack helicopters, surveillance aircraft, transport helicopters, military engineers and logistical support.

Holmes said that further progress in deploying the joint peacekeeping force, known as Unamid, would help protect civilians and possibly humanitarian convoys.

"But only an end to all violence and concrete steps toward a political settlement will make the fundamental difference needed, as the rebel movements themselves above all need to recognize," Holmes said.

The UN and the AU have tried for months to open peace talks between Sudan and rebel groups after the failure of a 2005 agreement to stem violence. But most rebel chiefs are boycotting the negotiations, and security in Darfur has further deteriorated in recent months.

Adada told the council that "unfortunately, it is commonly understood today in Darfur that peace is not at all attractive - neither economically nor politically."

When Jan Egeland, the former UN humanitarian chief, brought the Darfur conflict to the Security Council's attention in April 2004, he said approximately 750,000 people were in danger.

Now, Holmes told the council, "of Darfur's estimated six million people, some 4.27 million have now been seriously affected by the conflict."

Holmes said that many of them have had to flee their homes, with 2.45 million people sheltering elsewhere in Sudan and 260,000 more in neighboring countries. Approximately 100,000 civilians have been forced to flee this year, he said. Sixty thousand of them were displaced in West Darfur, which has recently seen an increase in violence.


Friday, May 2, 2008

"Teach them well and let them lead the way..."

Questions: Where can I get one of these posters? Why isn't it a news story that these posters are necessary? What can I do to encourage more Black men to take young boys in our community as their responsibility (fathers or not!)?
Answers forthcoming...
(Hat tip to News One for this article