From KKK crosses to a black president

4 11 2008

As a white child growing up in east Tennessee in the 1950s and 1960s I remember seeing huge KKK crosses burning. I didn’t fully understand what I was seeing, but I did feel shame as a white person. My grandfather had a farm and hired several black men as farmworkers. He always referred to them as “niggers” and that term felt uncomfortable to me then. It was a way of talking about people that was demeaning…that meant they were less than in his eyes.

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A Change is Gonna Come

4 11 2008

A song for today. Seal doing more than justice to Sam Cooke’s song.

Let’s Go Change the World

4 11 2008

This video is so inspiring. We can change the world today. VOTE.


3 11 2008

11/4/08 we choose a new America. McCain and Palin did everything they could in this election to divide the country, create hate, inflame racism, lie, cheat, hide, deny, smear, and more. ENOUGH. 11/4/08 WE CHOOSE A NEW AMERICA.

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Rachel Maddow and Barack Obama

30 10 2008

I watched Dr. (and Rhodes Scholar) Rachel Maddow interview Harvard Law Review President Barack Obama tonight on her show. This was two highly intelligent, engaging, and informed intellectuals going head to head. There has been (by the McCain campaign) so much emphasis put on Obama being someone who can give a good speech and draw crowds. It’s easy to forget that Obama is also a tremendous scholar. CLICK HERE to keep reading


29 10 2008

What did you think? Love it? Lukewarm? Didn’t like it at all? Here’s what I think:

  • It was incredibly well-executed. It was directed by Davis Guggenheim, the director and executive producer of former Vice President Al Gore’s global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and producer and director of the HBO series “Deadwood.” Guggenheim also directed Obama’s convention video.
  • It was heart-felt, moving, and according to many Twitter posts, had lots of people in tears.
  • It showed ordinary Americans with big problems due to the downturn of the economy, lack of health care, and more. Those people are everyman. He drove it home to us…made it personal.
  • It was totally positive. It was all about what Obama could do for America, not what’s wrong with America.
  • John McCain or Sarah Palin were never mentioned. Again, the focus was on the positive and not bashing the other guy (or gal).
  • Obama came across as presidential. He was commanding yet caring, knowledgeable and intelligent, confident yet accessible.
  • Obama said in this video “You can trust me. I understand you. I want to help you. I care about you.”
  • Bravo! Well done!

If you didn’t see it or want to watch it again, you can watch it here. Enjoy!

Why So Angry? Afraid You’re Losing YOUR America?

29 10 2008

You’ve seen them. Those angry people at rallies and being interviewed on TV. I’ve seen them in commentary on this blog and in hateful blogs of their own. Why are people so angry?

Any psychologist – even an armchair one – will tell you that anger often masks fear. In other words, if you display anger, you’re probably fearful about something. The Republicans may fear the loss of the election and Congressional seats. That’s understandable.

But I think there is more going on here than a fear of losing power. Often people are threatened by those who are different from them and Barack Obama is different. He has a funny (to our ears) sounding name, he has an African father and a white mother, he looks black, etc. Also, Obama is super intelligent, thoughtful, and is measured in how he makes decisions. This seems foreign to a lot of people, especially those who don’t value intelligence and education and are married to some rhetoric that tells them how to think and what to do. They say they don’t trust him because they just don’t understand that kind of intellect and ability to analyze and make judgments.

There are also a lot of people afraid of losing what they see as the normal America…the white America, the evangelical America, the dumbed-down America, the bellicose go-to-war and fight-fight-fight America, and the our-country-is-supreme America. What these factions don’t seem to understand is that while Bush and Cheney were the face of that kind of America and tried to perpetuate that facade, the real America (and I’m not talking about the real America Palin talks about) has moved on as has the rest of the world.

We are black, white, Asian, Indian, bi-racial, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, Hispanic, Christian, atheist, and more. We realize we are well behind other industrialized countries in education and need to catch up. More and more of us believe that peace is possible and don’t believe in spending $12 billion a month in Iraq. And we are owned in large part by China and other countries and will go the way of England or Spain and lose world leadership if we don’t bring our focus back to our internal problems and begin to fix them.

We can’t afford anger, hatred, divisiveness, self-appointed moral authority, finger-pointing, and tearing down each other and the country. This is not what our country needs. We need inclusiveness, understanding, working together, building each other up, and hope.

Thanks to for the tip on their ads about people wanting real change and hoping for a better future. Here’s one of their great ads. Others are posted on their website and on YouTube.

The Politics of Moral Superiority

27 10 2008

I am bothered by what I hear from some Republican evangelicals…that they are the only ones who are religious, moral, and right and their way of thinking about God is the only one that counts. Their self-annointed supremacy means that they should also be in political power in the country because the rest of us are (as one of my commenters said) “atheists” and “immoral.” Really? Last time I checked, I was neither one of those things and I’d say most people aren’t. CLICK HERE to keep reading

Yes, Lashawn, Your Child Could Be President

22 10 2008

Only white, Christian males have ever been president in the U.S. As a white female growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I never even considered that I could ever be president or that any girl could. Now I believe it will happen in my lifetime. Hillary Clinton certainly helped pave the way.

I saw the movie “The Secret Life of Bees” today. It is set in 1964 when racial prejudice meant a black man might be beaten if he were seen in public with a white woman, there were separate “colored” entrances, and the Ku Klux Klan would burn crosses and terrorize black people. As a child growing up in east Tennessee, I remember seeing those crosses burning and recall my grandfather calling the hired hands on his farm “niggers.” Even then I hated the demeaning sound of that word. I remember we had a childhood rhyme we would chant “Eenie, meanie, miney moe. Catch a nigger by his toe. If he hollers, make him pay $50 dollars every day.” It was a way to decide who went first by pointing first to me and then to the other person as we recited that rhyme. I didn’t think about the racial ugliness of that at the time. It seemed harmless. It wasn’t. It was reprehensible.

Children born into a world that eyed them with such hatred, disdain, and invisibility certainly could not imagine even being considered equal to white children, much less attaining the highest office in the land.

Things have changed. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 to ensure equal rights for all people, but attitudes and real change take time. There is still a lot of prejudice against people who don’t look like us or have a funny sounding name or have a non-Christian religion. We’ve seen it in video clips of people at McCain/Palin rallies who say they could never vote for a “colored” man or accuse Obama of being a Muslim as if that automatically means he is a terrorist. These incidents peel back the ugly layers of prejudice that still exist throughout our country.

And yet, there is progress. I have spent quite a lot of time talking to and hanging out with African-Americans. When Obama was in the primary battle with Hillary, they were sure in the beginning that not many white people would vote for a black man for president. White people had let them down and worked against them all of their lives, going back over two centuries; this would be no different. They were in shock when Obama actually won the nomination. That obviously wasn’t possible just by a strong black vote; white people were actually voting for a black man!

And now, we are on the eve of a bi-racial, self-declared black man becoming the most powerful person in the world. We still have a lot of hatred, divisiveness, exclusivity, and unequal opportunity. But now, Lashawn, and all those other black, Muslim, Hispanic, etc. mothers, you can turn to your child – be it a boy or a girl – and say “You, too, could be president one day. You can be anything you want to be!”

Change is coming…long time coming.

If You Aren’t a Republican, You’re Not a Real American?

20 10 2008

What happened to the UNITED States of America? What happened to us all pulling together like we did after 9/11 or after devastating hurricanes or wildfires to help our neighbors? What happened to common decency, inclusion, and our fellow man? How did we get to the place of so many people saying YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US, which means we’re better than you, you’re scary, we don’t trust you, and we’re not going to include you.

A man at a McCain rally today had printed up bumper stickers that had Obama’s name and the word “Change” written with a swastika and Islamic symbol. He was saying to Obama and the more than 50% of the American public that supports him: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Republican Representative Michele Bachmann from Minnesota on Friday’s Hardball with Chris Matthews says she “…is very concerned that Barack Obama may have anti-American views”. She then called for the media to investigate whether members of Congress are pro-America or anti-America. She is saying to Obama and members of Congress who are left leaning: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

White people have been interviewed on television saying they cannot vote for Obama because he is “colored”…they could never vote for a black man for President. Some say he is a Muslim or an Arab (he is neither) as if those are dirty words. They are saying to Obama: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Sarah Palin said “We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.” If you’re not a small town person, she’s saying YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Sarah Palin also said this in a rally about Barack Obama: “Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country. This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America.  We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism.” She’s saying to Barack Obama: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Since when did Republicans and those on the right have a corner on being patriotic and country-loving Americans, of being good people, of being a force for good, and of loving God? Republicans, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and the people coming to McCain and Palin rallies with signs that say things like (and this was one waving right in front of Todd Palin’s face at a rally) “Charles Manson was a community organizer”, do you think you are MORE American with your hatred, your divisiveness, your false accusations, your racism, and your inciting lynch mobs and prejudice?  

That’s not the America I want to be a part of. If you want rioting, hate mobs, KKK, white supremacists, lynching, shunning of Arabs, Muslims, or anyone who isn’t white and isn’t a Christian, then those of us who want to promote peace, harmony, love, inclusiveness, caring for each other, understanding, and acceptance must say to you: YOU’RE NOT ONE OF US.

Barack Obama: Inclusiveness in a Time of Divisiveness

17 10 2008

The endorsements for Obama by typically Republican newspapers, columnists, and media speak of how Obama brings inclusiveness when our divided country desperately needs it. Here are a few excerpts from endorsements for Obama by CONSERVATIVE newspapers and columnists:

  • Chicago Tribune – “We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.”
  • Washington Post – “Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. But Mr. Obama’s temperament is unlike anything we’ve seen on the national stage in many years. He is deliberate but not indecisive; eloquent but a master of substance and detail; preternaturally confident but eager to hear opposing points of view. He has inspired millions of voters of diverse ages and races, no small thing in our often divided and cynical country. We think he is the right man for a perilous moment.”
  • Seattle Times – “At a time of huge challenge, the candidate with the intelligence, temperament and judgment to lead our nation to a better place is Sen. Barack Obama.”
  • Christopher Buckley, who resigned from the National Review (which his father started) over his endorsement of Obama – ” Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for. So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship.”
  • Michael Smerconish, Philadelphia radio host – “He’s better suited to be a unifier.”

These are some of the typical Republican mouthpieces that are crossing party lines to endorse Barack Obama because they see him as the man who can help the entire country rise out of the major crises we are facing now.

The electrifying keynote speech that Obama gave at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which introduced him on the national stage to most people, rings even more true today to what our country needs. In part, he said:

“It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”

He goes on to say that “We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

The polls reflect that people are tired of the divisiveness that Palin and McCain tout at their rallies and in their inflammatory ads and campaign letters and calls. Their inciting near-riots and mob lynches at rallies – particularly Palin – are reprehensible, irresponsible, and downright dangerous. This talk of Obama as being “not one of us” is racist, divisive, and exclusionary. Palin even questions the loyalty of some Americans and praises certain areas of the country for being more patriotic.

Our country will be well served by a president who truly puts country first, rises above what separates us, looks for ways to connect us, and invites us all to join him to make this a better country. Barack Obama is the one we’ve been waiting for…the one we need to lead us and unite us.

Barack Obama – Calm, Steady, Presidential

12 10 2008

The world is in the midst of an enormous financial crisis. 401ks, life savings, jobs, banks, and businesses are vanishing before our eyes. Barack Obama is the calm, steady hand we need to lead our country out of a near-depression, a 10-billion-dollar-a-month war in Iraq, and a 10+ trillion dollar national deficit.

Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic and columnist for the UK’s Sunday Times has written a brilliant article for today’s Times about Obama’s calm and how he does not panic.

I am in awe of Obama. His challengers try and provoke him and he does not take the bait. McCain runs negative ads against him and Obama says he trusts the American people…that they are smart enough to see through all that. McCain calls him “THAT ONE” in the debate and Obama just smiles and lets it roll off his back. Obama just does not get ruffled.

His opponents try and paint him as too cool or elite. It’s been so long since we’ve had a calm, intelligent, and thoughtful president that the Republicans make that sound scary.

Republicans, the fear-mongering and swift boating just won’t work against Obama. He’s just too smart for you. He’s assembled a brilliant team of people who are just as steady and calm as he is. They are in it to win and they will win.

23 days. Calm. Steady. Stay the course. Focus on the issues. Let McCain and Palin flail in desperation. I can’t wait to have an intelligent, methodical, mature, and honest president. President Obama. Just who our country needs.