Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Cowards Among Us

It's all over the news by now so I'm quite late.

Crazies in Denver were planning to kill Obama and had the rifles, ammunition and bulletproof vests needed to execute their plan. They were only caught after local police caught one of them driving drunk and found drugs and guns in his vehicle. Here is an article about the plot.

Have you ever been a coward?

I know I have. A coward in work, a coward in school, a coward in love and a coward in fights. I've seen myself shrink from many big moments and falter when I needed to take flight. My balls have shriveled into peas under pressure and I've seen my ideals disappear when confronted with true fear.

I've been a coward.

But, not always.

Sometimes I've risen to the occasion. I've hit game-winning shots, and fought impossible fights. I've stood up to authority and stared down bullies. My balls have hung low and I've asserted myself when others crumbled.

I have been something much more than a coward, almost a hero.

We are all cowards and heroes. Often we show these traits in the most mundane ways. Not challenging your neighbor about his overgrown grass, cowardice. Refusing to allow the shady mechanic to overcharge you for repair work, heroism. Simple things, but still important.

However, sometimes we see heroism and cowardice displayed in much more spectacular ways. Congress agreeing with Bush to invade Iraq was cowardice. The devotion that many Muslim Americans still have for this country after being terrorized the past seven years is heroic.

This story about Obama is an example of cowardice and heroism.

The men who would have killed Barack Obama from 750 yards away while wearing bulletproof vests are cowards. Authorities are saying their plot had no chance of succeeding, and that may be true. But, they planned to gun down a loving husband and father of two because he had the audacity to seek the presidency and that makes them sniveling, despicable cowards.

On the other hand, Obama has become a hero of sorts in my mind. I don't always agree with his decisions, and he is just a politician. But, it takes a certain type of heroism to stand up to death to get a job. Even if it is the most powerful political job in America.

How many of you love your jobs? I can't raise my hand, but I'm sure some of you did. Those of you who love your jobs, how many of you would die to do that job? In fact, how many things are there in your life you would risk death to accomplish?

My list is painfully short.

Obama the Hero may have been created by his amazing ambition, but he is still heroic. How many other politicians can say they've faced three or four moderately serious assassination plots before they were even nominated by their party? Shoot, as horrible a job as George Bush has done in the past eight years, how many serious death threats has he received from Americans? Now that's saying something.

I've read some wonderful expressions of pride from black people at what Obama has accomplished so far, and some painful concerns about what it would do to black people's collective psyches if he was killed. I won't add too much more to the topic because I don't know if what I have to say is all that eloquent.

Basically, it would fuck us up.

It's that simple. If this man joined the long list of "black leaders" gunned down by hateful white people and brainwashed black people, it would be devastating. I don't know if many of us would ever commit to this country after that.

Yet, without the threat of death, how many of us would really appreciate the sacrifice of the Obama family? The willingness of Michelle Obama and her children to deal with the possible death of their husband and father says something about them. I know the girls don't understand that much about the threats, but I think they know enough. Daddies are always heroes to their little girls, but I think Obama has done more than that.

He's become a flawed hero to us all by going forward when so many other people want you to fall.

I think we can all practice that heroism.


Rob said...

Well said Big Man. I'm still incredulous that the DA cast them aside as "meth heads" and not a credible threat. What does it take to be credible. They had weapons, warped ideology, and half of a plan, which may have been more than Lee Harvey Oswald was working with. My gut feeling is that the posturing by the authorities is meant to allay the real fears that they were almost caught sleeping. Only luck--no, God-- allowed them to stop a possible assasination attempt because of erratic driving.
This has to be a wake-up call, and not just for Obama.

Big Man said...

I agree Rob. I couldn't believe how quickly and easily people in the media moved on. These people had a high powered rifle and bulletproof vests. Those are not your run of the mill items drug addicts collect.

And thanks for reading the site so loyally.

Deacon Blue said...

I agree with Rob many times over...a random crazy man who had a fixation on Jodie Foster proved to be a pretty credible threat to Reagan. And he had to do it from close range. I suspect the meth wouldn't have messed up their chances of hitting Obama in a "grassy knoll" somewhere.

And Big Man, great post as usual, man. Love the eloquence you almost always display no matter what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

I would weep like a widow if something happened to Obama. Imagine how different the world would be today if JFK and RFK had not been slain. The thought of Obama getting assassinated crosses my mind a lot, but I know he's had extra taut secret service protection since very early on. Nevertheless I sure hope he's behind some kind of bullet proof barrier at the stadium in CO tomorrow night.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

i could not agree more

Truthiz said...

A painfully Honest post Big Man...

Well said.

Gye Greene said...

Good spin about the family angle: that Obama's not just risking his own life, but the happiness and security of his own family as well.

I have tons of respect for Presidential candidates (as well as firefighters, cops, military...) who do a job that might leave their kids and partner without them.

The sort of stuff you think about as you get older and have kids, I suppose. Would you (Big Man) have had the same sort of insights as a hip, single 22 y.o.? I know I wouldn't have. :)


sixfive said...

GREAT post.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

A wonderfully brave post. I too have wondered how he dares to stand before such huge crowds and look so composed. The only time I ever saw him look nervous was standing behind the bullet proof barrier at the AIPAC meeting, which was elevated and the best any would be assassin could get is a head shot. I wondered if death threats had come that day be were unreported.

MODI said...

yes, a heroic post indeed... I appreciate the honesty in your writing...

now about the "meth heads"... I may have to disagree that they were a serious threat... and of course, I base that opinion on the picture!

Raving Black Lunatic