Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Yes, We Can

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Politics
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obamawin

Growing up, Black History, to me at least, consisted of repetitive information about Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington among others. This was the case from the classroom to the church.

Sure, it was good information and gave me a sense of from whence I came, but that’s were it ended. It was the 80s and 90s now. And while problems still existed, I fortunately didn’t have to deal with some of the struggles like my parents, grandparents and people I read about had to experience.

So, in many ways, I couldn’t relate. I often watched and cringed at old civil rights footage and listened to my relatives talk about the feeling they had back in the 60s hearing Dr. King speak. I marveled and wondered what that time period was like and how they made it through.

But at the end of the day, I still couldn’t relate.

I never felt the way they felt.  I didn’t understand the pride that they showed when they had moments of reflection. Outside of Sports, there were few

In February of 2007, a young black senator from Illinois launched a campaign for President of the United States. Barack Obama. Many, including those in the black community, never game him a chance. Not for the fact that he wasn’t qualified. I attributed it to the mere fact that, because of history, people just couldn’t fathom the idea of a person of color actually winning the presidency.

Times hadn’t changed that much, had they?

As time progressed, I saw the potential. The potential for change. Many others who looked like me and talked like me saw the same thing. Throughout the primaries, to the debates, battling Hilary Clinton and eventually with the securing of the nomination, an excitement and optimism overcame me. We had hope. He was our guy.

I shared with the girlfriend how I felt above. And because of Obama, how the feeling I had heard about many times before had begun to ignite within.

Yes, we can.

There was a unique pride I felt every time I heard Sen. Obama speak. And although I’d voted before, I’d never been so involved and interested in politics as I was this year. I never missed a debate, educate myself on the issues, wore the gear and encouraged family and friends to do the same. Like generations before, Sen. Obama had given people, particularly those of color hope.

Yes, we can.

So on Tuesday, Nov. 4, I was up at 5:50 am, eager to vote. This was my first time voting in Connecticut, so I wanted to make sure I was there in time and that everything went smooth. And, much to my surprise, it did. I was in and out in 20 minutes.

Never before had I had a day so filled with such anxiousness. I was glued to CNN all day and while I got my work done, nothing was more important than what I hoped was about to occur later in the day. I called my parents, other relatives and friends to share my excitement and to make sure they had exercised their right to vote.

That night, I join some of my closest friends to watch history. We laughed, joked, drank and cheered every time Wolf Blitzer made a projection for Sen. Obama. We watched attentively to the key states — Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia among others.

At about 11 p.m., our lives and worlds changed forever as Sen. Obama was projected as the winner and President-elect of the United States of America. Cheers echoed throughout the condo and while we couldn’t physically hear them, we heard them in our minds from people across the country and world.

Yes, we can

I watched and cheered in amazement and awe. Admittedly, my eyes moistened up a bit. I called my parents, two people who remember hearing Dr. King speak when they were children, to share this moment with them. I did the same with my grandmother.

No matter how much I write, words can’t describe the feeling I had and still have. President-elect Obama has preached change and hope throughout his career and campaign. With his election, our country has changed and, as a result, has given millions a new sense of hope.

Yes, we can.

For years, it’s been well-documented that one of the most segregated hours in America is around 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings. For as much as we’ve made racial progress in the country in the past 40 years, when it comes to religion, particularly the Christian faith, there remains a distant separation between black and white. As someone who grew up in church, I can testify to the fact that black folk love themselves some Jesus. Those who grew up in the black church, whether Baptist, Pentecostal or Non-Denomination can back me up. This not to say that those of other races are equally, if not more, religious, but black folk “worship” a tad bit different. And if you’ve been to a “white” church and a “black” church, you know what I’m talking about.

The black church with music, testimonies, praise dancin’, altar call and the list goes on and on tends to be more lively than our caucasion counterparts. Sometimes, if we’re not careful, we can lose sight of why we’re even in church because we’re distracted by the “show” that’s going on. Our preachers and pastors are not only leaders of the congregation, but widely recognized as leaders in the community. 

 In the pulpit, sermons are lively. Black folks are familiar with this. It’s part of our culture.

So when the whole Jeremiah Wright thing went down, there were mixed emotions, for me at least. As I watched clips, he appeared, on surface level to sounds like a “regular” preacher. While I think it’s safe to assume most black folks had heard other black preachers speak about and in the way Wright has, it baffled me and others to listen to some of the news outlets present Wright and his “preaching style” as something unorthodox. As time went on, it was clear the lack of exposure to what goes on in the black church would lead to the Wright situation being overblown, which wouldn’t be good for Barack Obama.

My issue wasn’t witht he media coverage of Rev. Wright, although I wonder how many black producers sat in on meetings at FOXNews and MSNBC. If so, would this have been brought to light as much as it has. My beef landed directly on Wright. When the spotlight was on him, in my opinion, he has milked his 15 minutes of fame and has been seeking more attention than need be and, in the process, hurt the Obama campaign. In the past couple of months, Wright has been seen on every show, read about in every publication and has been flying all over the country to speaking engagements. From the sidelines, a lot of people, both black and white wishes he would just sit himself down somewhere. Obama is embarrassed. Black preachers from all over are ashamed and apologetic.

It’s sad on many levels. It’s just a shame when the mainstream media gets a peek inside the black church, this is what they see. I just hope it doesn’t cost Obama the election.