Friday, September 18, 2009

Setting the record straight on the Wilson Debate: What's the issue?


The allegation is that Wilson may have used racial bias because he felt comfortable enough to be disrespectful to the office of the President. It is a comfort that was reached because the President is Black. This notion that no one can disagree with the President is ridiculous; he was rude, disrespectful, unprofessional, ignorant, maniacal and moronic. All liberties that some feel he would have kept reserved if the President was still a white man.

The "You Lie" heard around the world.

I was raised in South Carolina, and I'm a supporter of the President. Race does not dominant everything Obama here, but it's definitely in the background. The culture of this state is unique; it's one that can only be understood by someone raised in the atmosphere. I'm sure the President doesn't think that Wilson was being racist. However, I would say the President has no frame of reference to draw the appropriate conclusion from Wilson's comment. From a cultural environmental standpoint, Wilson is the product of a tradition of bigotry in a State historically known for its inherent hatred of people based on their skin color.

As a young Black man growing up in SC, I was told by my parents to never stop in certain places, and if I needed help or got stranded in different locations, to stay in my car until an officer came to assist. My point is that today most people are not outright bigots because it's not the "proper thing", but if given a chance when no one is looking, they will jump at a chance to practice the art of bigotry passed down to them. Not since the beginning of the century has anything ever happened like this, not once. Even when Clinton was going through his sex scandal, or when Bush gave speeches after finding no WMD, did anyone call out in such an ignorant display of incivility?

To Wilson and many like him, it's easy to disrespect the President because before he sees the President of the US, he sees a Black Man that's not equal to him in intellect and status. It's easy to call someone a liar when you've been taught to degrade and trivialize their mere existence in your world. This "pseudo-dominance" is ramped throughout this State. Hopefully with the election of Sheheen or Rex, we can begin an in-depth discussion on race relations to change the attitudes of many in the state.

We get a Black President, and then we get the following firsts: Citizenship is questioned, First President to legitimately be labeled the "Anti-Christ", "First President, based on name only, to be labeled a Muslim Extremist, First to be Criticized for Taking his wife to dinner (Contrary to what is shown in the media, many of us, black men, take care of our family and are attentive to our spouse), and the First President to have to fight to keep companies from stereotypical commercializing his children. In every field of human endeavor, the rules are different, or changed, when it comes to Black folk. It is my hope the President Obama doesn't forget that and get to comfortable in the dogma of American politics.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Obama: On the Cusp of Greatness"

As a young man, I remember taking my grandfather to the VA hospital for his visits, and sitting for hours for service. I remember the delicate balancing act of making $1424 stretch to cover the cost of maintaining a home, eating, and supporting two grandsons in college. But my grandfather, with grace, dignity, and class, made it work. We never knew how difficult it was for him until he passed. We never knew that he had nothing in the bank, savings or checking, because it took everything he received monthly to pay for prescription after prescription, one pair of glasses after the next, etc. I understand him more today than I ever did in the past because I have a family now. I'm a better man because of his wisdom, and his hardships.

The "Health Care" debate is very real to me; I've been in overnight meetings, and have taking 6am wake up calls to lessen the blow of the lack of conversation concerning it up to this point. My wife and I welcomed a healthy baby boy to the world in April; we didn't welcome the burden of debt that came with him. Initially, we were given an estimation of what we would owe once the insurance paid, along with a request to go ahead and pay our projected portion in advance. As if, As if we had a couple of thousand sitting ahead to prepay for health cost. To complicate things even more, my wife developed diabetes, which required additional monitoring and scheduled appointments with an Endocrinologist. Long story short, we paid an average of $380 a month in medical bills that were not in our monthly budget the nine months she was pregnant. This cost didn't include the insulin, needles, or other supplies needed to maintain her health. Thankfully, we made it through, but not before we started receiving calls from collection companies working for the hospital or fighting the insurance companies to have claims paid that were refused the first or second time before they were finally paid.

President Obama's speech resonated with me because of my experiences in childhood as well as my experiences as an adult trying to maintain a healthy family without going bankrupt doing so. I'm a registered Democrat, but I don't care whether the solutions to our societal ills come from a Republican or a Democratic. I do, however, care about whether they are effective and efficient. It was important to me that the President referenced those across the aisle like John McCain, who had an idea fused in the melting pot of resolution. I needed to be reassured that my elected officials were more concerned about me than having their political egos stroked, or advancing their individual political agendas.

I watched his speech, so elegant and poignantly delivered, but it was not until I read it for myself that the words of the late Ted Kennedy settled in my spirit with such conviction and relevance to this debate. His question was simple, “What is the character of our country, our nation?" At the end of the day, we are all in this thing together. Differences aside, we're hurting. We all feel the daily sting of rising health care costs. With the spirits of pragmatism, civility, and compromise, we have to move forward towards creating a more inclusive society in which every life matters.

One child without healthcare should make us all anguish. One senior in bankruptcy because of health cost should cause us to be disgusted. One father, or mother having to tell a gravely ill child that a cure is available but not attainable because of cost should pierce our empathetic souls and propel use forward with such a kinetic jostle that we take immediate and deliberate action to affect change and lay the ground work for the infrastructure of communication that must take place between Democrats, Independents, and Republicans to ensure our futures are not held captive by the hope of future compromise.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dr. Cosby

I'm not sure who wrote this but, I had to post it. It sums up so much of what I feel and say on a daily basis to friends and family, or anyone who will listen. Preach on Dr. Cosby, preach on!

The Reverend Jesse Jackson almost never gets
upstaged and I had never seen the Reverend
Jesse Louis Jackson cry in public until last month.
Jackson invited Bill Cosby to the annual Rainbow /
PUSH conference for a conversation about the
controversial remarks the entertainer offered on
May 17 at an NAACP dinner in Washington, D.C.
when America 's Jell-O Man shook things up
by arguing that African Americans were betraying
the legacy of civil rights victories. Cosby said
'the lower economic people are not holding up their
end in this deal. These people are not parenting.
They are buying things for their kids. .
$500 sneakers for what? But they won't spend $200
for Hooked on Phonics!'

Bill Cosby came to town and upstaged the reverend
by going on the offense instead of defending his
earlier remarks. Thursday morning, Cosby showed
no signs of repenting as he strode across the stage
at the Sheraton Hotel ballroom before a standing
room only crowd. Sporting a natty gold sports coat
and dark glasses, he proceeded to unload a Laundry
list of black America 's self-imposed ills. The iconic
actor and comedian kidded that he couldn't compete
with the oratory of the Reverend but he preached
circles around Jackson in their nearly hour-long
conversation, delivering brutally frank one-liners
and the toughest of love.

The enemy, he argues, is us: "There is a time,
ladies and gentlemen, when we have to turn
the mirror around." Cosby acknowledged he wasn't
critiquing all blacks. . .. just the 50 percent of African
Americans in the lower economic neighborhood
who =2 0 drop out of school, and the alarming proportions
of black men in prison and black teenage mothers.
The mostly black crowd seconded him with choruses
of Amens.

To the critics who pose, it's unproductive to air our
dirty laundry in public, he responds,
"Your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day."
It's cursing on the way home, on the bus, train,
in the candy store. They are cursing and grabbing
each other and going nowhere. The book bag is very,
very thin because there's nothing in it.
Don't worry about the white man, he added.
I could care less about what white people think
about me. . . Let them talk.

What are they saying that is so different from what
their grandfathers said and did to us?
What is different is what we are doing to ourselves.
For those who say Cosby is just an elitist who's
"got his" but doesn't understand the plight of the
black poor, he reminds us that,
"We're going to turn that mirror around.
It's not just the poor-everybody's guilty."
Cosby and Jackson lamented that in the 50th years
of Brown vs. Board of Education, our failings betray
our legacy. Jackson dabbed away tears as he
recalled the financial struggles at Fisk University ,
a historically black college and Jackson 's Alma mater.
When Cosby was done, the 1,000 people in the room
all jumped to their feet in ovation.
We have shed tears too many times, at too many
watershed moments before, while the hopes they inspired
have fallen by the wayside. Not this time!
Cosby's plea to parents:
"Before you get to the point where you say 'I can't do
nothing with them' , do something with them."
Teach our children to speak English.
There's no such thing as "talki ng white".
When the teacher calls, show up at the school.
When the idiot box starts spewing profane rap videos;
turn it off. Refrain from cursing around the kids.
Teach our boys that women should be cherished,
not raped and demeaned.

Tell them that education is a prize we won with blood
and tears, not a dishonor.
Stop making excuses for the agents and abettors
of black on black crime.
It costs us nothing to do these things.
But if we don't, it will cost us infinitely more tears.