Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This Experience Sucks

I'm talking about this whole caring about politics thing.

It kind of blows.

Four years ago, I got semi-involved in politics when I collaborated with every other right-thinking human being in America and decided that four more years of President Bush was not acceptable. I only voted, but I voted the hell out of that ballot. Nobody cast their vote with the same panache and verve that I used.

And we still lost.

Before that election politics was a side issue for me, and since that election it's pretty much been the same. I keep abreast of major news, and I have opinions, but I haven't really cared too much. Truthfully, none of the people involved were important to me.

Y'all see where this is going.

Obama's change-championing and hope-hawking ended all that. That articulate and intelligent bastard sucked me in. His moving memoir, resounding rhetoric and dynamic demeanor eventually erased my apathy and got me started reading blogs and other crap about politics.

Shoot, even this blog is a result of his campaign. Seeing a black man as a viable presidential candidate actually inspired me to get my thoughts out into the world.

But, the problem with caring about stuff is that you open yourself up to pain. As many other people have noted, one of the main reasons black folks were slow to jump on the Obama bandwagon was because we didn't want get our hopes up only to have them ground into dust by the cracker of the world.

Black people, and this is coming from a brotha who has done extensive field studies, are some of the most cynical optimists in the world. We always hope for the best and expect the worst. Of course, this an understandable byproduct of living in a country where getting the shaft is a way of life, but that mindset still encourages self-defeating behavior. Many black people are prophets who regularly issues self-fulfilling negative prophecies about themselves and everyone else in their lives.

"You ain't gonna be shit."

"Ain't no good going to come of that."

"Why you even care, it ain't gonna make a difference."

"Now you know white folks is not gonna allow that to happen."

Negativity is a pathology in the black community, and it infects every economic and educational class..

But, Obama was starting to change some of that.

Just a little, he was encouraging some black folks to be willing to hope. With every primary or caucus win he was causing more black people to care, to get invested in America again.

For example, before Obama came around my father didn't know what channel CNN was on, let alone who the anchors were. Now he can debate random policy points about Obama's health care plan and his proposal to get us out of Iraq. This man calls me up randomly to discuss county vote totals and rattles off which groups are trending towards Obama. It's eerie.

Shoot, on Tuesday I was coming out of a store and a random black man blurted out to me "It looks like old boy is gonna take it."

Now I don't know about where y'all live, but in New Orleans, black men do not spark up random convos with each other unless a girl with fat ass walks by. Typically, we only exchange head nods, and you cannot make eye contact for more than three seconds without risking someone thinking you "booting up."

My initial reaction to this guy's comment was to say "Oh really?" while quickening my stride towards my truck.

But, imagine my surprise when this man started sharing the early vote totals from Vermont and dropping knowledge like "there are no black people in Vermont so that must mean Obama is doing good." You could hear the excitement in this cat's voice, his joy was palpable.

This recent setback ('cause that's all it is) for Obama has surely dampened the hope of some black folks and many of the them are probably wondering if it's worth getting mentally and emotionally invested in political campaigns. There were probably Wednesday morning quarterbacks across the country telling their friends and family that "they always knew the white folks wasn't going to let him win."

Eff them!!!

Seriously, I welcome this pain I'm feeling right now. See, my previous position as an uninvolved observer was unacceptable. The choices I make and the ones I avoid affect not only my life, but the lives of future generations. I will not abdicate my responsibility to be an informed, engaged member of this society just because I'm disillusioned. I will not allow the lies of Clinton and her surrogates to move forward unchallenged, I will not allow them to win.

And neither should you.


BrendaKay said...

Thank you Big Man. You made me cry. But in a good way.

Big Man said...

Damn, I appreciate that for real. Thank you for that.

Danielle said...

What did Yogi Berra say? It's not over til it's over. I wonder if we are so broken as a people that when things get really hard we just give in.

I pray to the ancestors that black folk dig in the trenches and we fight until the end. We have to see Brotha Obama and all of us through this.

I never thought I'd see the day and I am in my late 30's, that a Black Man would be a viable candidate for POTUS. I thought I'd be dead & that it would take generations.

Don't give up!

BigMik said...

It's not over!!! He is leading with delegates and Hillary can't catch him. Plus the DNC knows if they take this away from him while he is over.

I also see Obama is taking off the gloves and the stupid Canadian government is sorry for the NFTA crap they pulled since this man could be the next POTUS and they pissed him off already.

So everyone, stay strong, Obama isn't quiting so we should not....OBAMA 08!!!

Christina Springer said...

This was a lovely call to action, Big Man. I think if we all do everything in our power to keep his momentum going, we will cure one of the most potent symptoms crippling our community - internalized racism.

Just think of how long our people have been trained to give up in the face of hope dashed by adversity. Every foot that came off, or drum banned; every pregnant woman beaten, or share-cropper trapped; every rope...

Once we release this ancestral fear, there will be no stopping us. Then again, I've always been an unrelenting optimist.

WNG said...

Thank you for that post. I'm sending it to Mama G because she's feeling pretty defeated after Tuesday night. I tried to tell her that hope isn't audacious when everything is going your way. It's time for the audacity of hard work by all of to get this man to the White House. There's plenty of room for volunteers over at

Lola Gets said...

Unless youve recently changed the format of this blog, I dont think Ive been here before. But I like it!


Danielle said...

Check out Jack & Jill politics and Baratunde aka Jack Turner's Call To Arms. Powerful stuff!

Lesley Quezergue said...

"cynical optimists", Dude you should copyright that one. I lmao at it's truthfullness. I also laughed @ the reference to your father; my mother hasn't cared this much about politics since she was a part of the voter registration drive as a teenager in the 60s. Now I damn near have to pick her up off of the floor after the news (msnbc of course). She got into trouble @ her job after telling off some Latino chick who was defending that Texas activist who made it clear that she couldn't see herself voting for "the black".

But I have been pretty bummed out. During some unknown period of my life I started to buy into this "post racist" America farce. When I saw Glenn Beck of CNN fame ask Pastor Pimp Rapture Expeditor Hagee if Obama is the Anti-Christ, I was knocked back into reality.

You'd think I would have learned a thing or 2 thousand from Katrina right? I need therapy.

Big Man said...

It's ok Lesley, sometimes you have to get slapped in the face to get back to business.

Christina Springer said...

She's up to some shady .....

But, here, have a good laugh. Then get back to blogging.

sytgrl said...

Thanks Big Man for your comments. I read your blog daily, and I definitely needed to hear your words. I've been pretty down myself the last few days, not because Obama lost, but because all of the double-standard BS (i.e. the NAFTA deal being portrayed negatively, and especially the lack of coverage on Hagee and McCain). Your words brought me out of my funk.

Still, get ready, because with HRC implying offering Obama the VP, then Dean asking for "do overs" in Florida and Michigan today...there's some plotting going on behind the scenes.

Big Man said...

Oh, you know plans are being laid. But, like Christina said, we shall persevere.

Struggle only makes the story better.

Raving Black Lunatic