Friday, October 31, 2008

It's The Messenger, Stupid



Did that make you chuckle?

I sure did.

However, to a bunch of college students in New Jersey, that cartoon was offensive trash and they are angry at their college newspaper for publishing it. You can read about the kerfuffle, here.

Maybe it's because I was familiar with the work of Keith Knight and knew that he was black, but I didn't find the comic offensive at all. After all, it's based on a real story, and he actually avoided using the entire word "nigger" by cutting it off with the panel. It wasn't a gratuitous use of the word nigger, it was using the word to make a real point about who is supporting Barack Obama.

Damn near everybody is hopping on the Hope bandwagon.

Satire is a dangerous business. We all remember the problems when the New Yorker decided it had the intelligence and gravitas to talk about Michelle and Barack through pictures:



Epic failure.

Why was this New Yorker cover so stupid, while the cartoon above so funny?

The messenger.

The New Yorker is known for its intelligence and long articles. Many well-read and forward-thinking liberals enjoy reading the magazine just to prove they're smart. Comparing the New Yorker's national profile to the national profile of "The K Chronicles" is like comparing the dignity of Michelle Obama to that of Sarah Palin.

No contest.

Yet, I trust Keith Knight and "The K Chronicles" more when it comes to having an honest, intelligent conversation about race in America. Like I said, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to black people on using the word "nigger," plus I found that Knight's piece did a better job of articulating its point. We see frame-by-frame how the encounter developed, and we're left with the curious fact that somebody who calls black people niggers would still vote for a black man for president.

In the New Yorker cover, we have a bunch of stereotypical images with no other reference. Sure, some people's minds might make the connection that the cover is poking fun at stereotypes, but most folks are just going to see the stereotypes. There are no clues that the cover is laughing at the right wing attacks, unless you're already pre-conditioned to believe that there is no way the New Yorker could ever believe these sort of lies.

Human communication is a mixture verbal cues, non-verbal cues and shared vantage points. Understanding the context of comments is crucial to getting their full meaning. When we lack the proper context, it's much harder to communicate.

Often, racial discussions bog down because it's still quite possible to grow up in America without becoming acquainted with different viewpoints. The probability of that occurring is much higher for white people than minorities because of the power dynamics and demographics of the country. Many of us deal with each other from positions of cultural ignorance.

When dealing with comedy or satire a failure to understand context is fatal. I remember when comedians were complaining that every joke they made about Obama opened them up to an attack. At the time, I opined that they wanted Obama to joke for them so they could feel more comfortable, but I also touched on another issue.

Many white comedians lack the cultural knowledge to joke about black people in an intelligent manner that doesn't rely on stereotypes about rappers, gangstas and baby mommas. The same is true of black comedians who often rely on trite "white people do this, and black people do that" jokes.

Those individuals who seek to traffic in comedy and satire, to become cultural messengers, owe it to themselves and their audiences to become informed about the groups they want to eviscerate. That will not prevent them from offending some people, but it will greatly reduce the number of those offended. More importantly, it will improve our national dialogue because ignorance only breeds conflict.

Let's all become better messengers.


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

In a Darker World

I did not jack this idea from Maureen Dowd. I had this piece written earlier this week, but was saving it. Dammit.

Scene: Jan. 20, 2009. The Oval Office. John McCain sits at a desk with his feet raised and a Cuban cigar in his mouth. A bottle of Cristal cools on a nearby cabinet. The strains of music and protesters from McCain's inauguration ceremony can be heard faintly.

McCain: *Sigh* It finally happened.

Sonorous, baritone voice answers from the ether: Yes, yes it did John.

McCain: You know I couldn't have done it without you. Without you I'd be trying to pick up the pieces in Arizona and figure out what happened.

Voice: Of course I know that John. You of all people should be aware of how much I know.

McCain: *laughing nervously* Oh I definitely understand what you can do now. I still can't believe I'm sitting in this office. McCain gazes around in wonder, shaking his head. But, you know what? I belong here.

Voice: I promised you the White House. I delivered. I always deliver.

McCain: No shit. Although when the Diva turned on me at the end I got a little worried. That's a dangerous woman, but she eventually came to her senses and worked for the team.

I just kept repeating the lines you gave me about a sure victory. I must admit I doubted if you were going to come through since you do tend to lose battles when The Other Guy is involved.

Voice: What did you say?

McCain: Nothing. Uh, so how did you do it?

Voice: Do you really want those details? Plausible deniability is something that will take you far in this job.

McCain: Nobody is going to make me testify about this. The media is just happy they got a great storyline about my comeback. Now, their enjoying the afterglow of all those advertising dollars, and wondering how they'll convince people to pay attention in four years. Tell me what you did?

Voice: I rigged it. Typical stuff. Suppressed the vote in minority communities, took advantage of a few glitches in those electronic voting machines that were installed after the last election I got involved in. It didn't take much given the groundwork I layed in 2000 and 2004. People don't really believe in elections anymore, so everything fell into place.

Besides, most people never really expected Obama to win. They may have pretended it was a foregone conclusion, but like David Gergen pointed out, Barack was always a black man running for president in America.

McCain: Yeah, can you believe the cojones on that guy? I hope he enjoys life with those losers in the Senate 'cause he's never leaving. breaks into guffaws The nerve of him. Thinking he can just jump the line, thinking this is the kind of country where we elect people like him. Damn socialist.

Voice: Yeah, I couldn't let him win anyway. He has his flaws, but can you imagine how much harder all his hope and change would make life for me? Nope, I like things exactly the way they are. This is working just fine for my aims. By the way, where is Cindy?

McCain: I don't know. I left her in one of the bathrooms. She said she had a headache and might take a few aspirins. Pulled an orange bottle with her special brand out of her purse. Why?

Voice: No reason.

McCain: I know our bargain didn't extend that far, but, what do I do about the Diva now? All her talk about the role of vice president even made me nervous, and I don't think I can just stash her somewhere like I planned. But, I'll be damned if I let her anywhere near my power, I mean near the country's power.

Voice: Don't worry about her, I've got plans for her.

McCain: Something dangerous and difficult I hope?

Voice: You would be surprised.

McCain: Well, I guess you and I are pretty much finished until the next election, right? I doubt if Obama will challenge me again. His political capital is completely spent. If he couldn't win in a year with all these built in advantages, when could he seal the deal?

Voice: True. You're right, our time is up here.

McCain: So, I'll see you around?

Voice: You'll see me everyday. Well, I guess we'd better be going.

McCain: Who is we?

Voice: You an I. We. The two of us.

McCain: No, I think I'll stay here and savor the moment. Just sit by myself for a while.

Voice: No, you're leaving too.

McCain: What are you talking about? It's time to turn this country around. First up, I need to deal with this problem in Syria. You know Iran is behind that crap, and I won't stand for their meddling in other people's business. Then I need to figure out when I can get this health care plan off the ground. It will be a busy 100 days.

Voice: Not for you.

McCain suddenly clutches his chest, his eyes bulging

McCain: Wh...What's going on? What's happening?

Voice: I said it was time to go. You're leaving.

McCain: But we had a deal. You promised this to me. I gave you my SOUL.

Voice: Yes you did. And I delivered. You're the president. You made it. You won despite every indication that you were headed for certain defeat.

McCain:*breathing heavily, sweating* But, now it's time to govern. Now it's time to rule.

Voice: You're right. It is time for my ruler to take over this country.....SARAH, could you please come in here?

Diva: enters, with her Dude right behind her Yes, I'm here.

Voice: Ready?

Diva: Of course. I was tired of listening to old wrinkled balls over there prattle about his "plans." Like he ever had the vision to have a plan.

McCain: *slumped in his chair, the cigar forgotten on the carpet* How can she be working with you? I thought she hated you?

Diva: I do hate him. But, sometimes evil must by used to achieve the means of good.

Voice: Sure thing, baby. Sure thing... Prepare your crying face, it's almost time for this one and I to leave. You must sell your sorrow before you assume your rightful place. Nobody can doubt you.

Diva: Please, I don't need advice from the likes of you.

McCain has fallen from his chair, and is breathing shallowly on the floor. His head rests in a puddle made by the bucket of champagne.

McCain: *whispering*But you promised me the presidency. You promised me power.

Voice: And I delivered. Let there be no doubt that you were the 44th president and you had power. Now, she has that power. Come, I grow weary...

McCain's eyes close and his breathing stops.

Diva: Finally, I am ready to do the will of the Lord.

Voice: Good baby. I'll let him know you asked about him the next time we talk. I'm sure he'll be surprised to hear from you.



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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

She's a Little Scared

A friend of mine is starting to get scared.

She sees this protracted election season finally nearing its end and she's frightened. Not because she's worried about Barack Obama's safety, or because she thinks he will lose the election. Nope, she's worried about her own well-being.

She fears the dreaded White Backlash.

There is no need to pussyfoot around this subject. If a black man is our next president, there will be a certain segment of the white population that will be unbelievably pissed. Some of these folks will use Obama as proof that racism is dead. Others will blame Obama for every evil in their lives.

And, still others will be on the street looking for some catch back.

At least that's what my friend thinks. Since we live in a red state, she's concerned that some of our McCain supporting brethren may try to strike at random black folks since they can't get to the true source of their ire. She worried about getting cut-off frequently on the highway, getting snubbed in malls and potentially becoming a target for angry, frustrated white people. It may seem like a silly worry, but if white folks are plotting assassinations and beating up Obama's workers, well maybe she's not totally crazy.

But, I just told her to "nut up."

That's right, she needs to grow a pair like Hillary Clinton.

How dare she whine about people not holding doors open for her, or cutting their eyes at her in the checkout line? I'm not trying to downplay the threat of violence, but most of her fears were related to minor slights, not killing sprees. Therefore, I told her she needs to welcome this opportunity to have a little confrontation.

Get that shit off her chest.

I understand that it's easy for me to say all that since I'm a rather large man. She is a petite woman. Therefore the idea of a confrontation, particularly one that might turn physical probably doesn't appeal to her. The thing is, it's highly unlikely that things are going to get physical and if they do, she can just call the police. Unlike black people back in the day, modern black people have some legal recourse when we're mistreated. We have rights these days.

Personally, I would relish the opportunity to have some hardcore conversations with the sort of white folks who think they can jump stupid because their guy lost. Let's get all the cards on the table and let me know how you really feel so I can behave accordingly. If they want to be disrespectful, that means I can drop my veneer of respectability as well. Ain't no thing at all. I like when folks speak their mind.

Cause then I get to speak my mind.

So to my friend, who is also a regular reader of the blog, I say that you need to find a pair of cojones and buy you a sturdy rattail comb. Keep the Vaseline ready too.

If it's a scrap they want, then it's a scrap we need to be ready to have.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Going On?

I'm going to be honest with y'all.

I'm just a tad bit vain.

I write a blog because I have something to get off my chest and because I'm really interested in hearing what y'all think about my feelings. On one hand I think I'm providing a service, but on the other hand it's pretty much a way to get my ego stroked.

Y'all haven't been stroking much lately.

According to StatCounter, I get about 5,000 visitors a month to the blog. Sometimes traffic spikes when I link to a popular site, but that's the average. For the first few months, the site was growing quickly, but lately things have been pretty stagnant.

And, that's been reflected in the comments on the blog.

I guess I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. At times I wonder if I'm repeating myself, if I'm not being creative enough. Would the blog benefit from me posting less frequently, or rigidly?

So, for those of you who are inclined, I'd like to hear from you. Not praise or good wishes, but genuine advice on what you think the blog is lacking and what would increase your interest. And maybe attract new people.

I would appreciate it.


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Monday, October 27, 2008

I Ain't Rich...But I Plan To Be

The title of this blog is an ode to my fellow Americans.

We are a nation of potential millionaires.

We take our cues on fashion, homes, cars and values from people who have more money than we do, particulary if those people have combined their fortune with fame. Many of us don't want to just keep up with Mr. and Mrs Jones, we actually want to be their rich friends.

That is an interesting idea because it describes why John McCain's recent claim that Barack Obama is a socialist is working with some people who really should be in favor of some wealth distribution. (Although I'm convinced that part of the problem is that many Republicans substitute the word "Communist" whenver they here the word "Socialist.")

This article provides even more insight into Americans' thoughts on wealth and wealth disparties. What the article helped me understand is that the reason why people are so worried about economic policies like progressive taxing, which would actually make most of their lives better, is due to a weird mixture of fear and ambition.

Honestly, most black folks understand that one of the real reasons Republicans dislike liberal tax policies is because they think Democrats are going to take all their money and give it to the "blacks on welfare." As black people we understand this because we've had to listen to people discuss Affirmative Action and welfare from positions of mind-numbing ignorance most of our lives.

Very few Americans understand why Affirmative Action was created, and they don't know who really benefits from welfare in this country. Nor do people understand how much most people on welfare receive. If people had that information it would make it much more difficult for conservatives to use welfare and Affirmative action to rally their base.

But, and this is going to be hard for some black folks to swallow, this issue is not all about black people or race. The other reason so many white people fear Obama's plan to "spread the wealth", (and lets's be honest, it's mostly white people who are worried about this plan) is because many of them count being wealthy one day as one of their ambitions.

I'm not saying all white people are currently wealthy, that would be stupid. What I'm saying is that because so many white people believe so strongly in the idea of America as a meritocracy where anybody who works hard can succeed and succeed in grand fashion, they tend to be more optimistic about their chances of joining the ranks of the wealthy.

Sure, black people would like to be rich and we devote entire rap careers to singing about that goal. Some of the more business-minded among us even have detailed five and ten-year plans for becoming wealthy. But, for most black people our prospects for achieving great wealth aren't tangible enough that we are worrying about the tax policies the rich face.

But, white folks, with all their hope and rosy optimism, are different. They don't want anyone touching the money they plan on getting in the future. Got that?

They don't see progressive taxing as a way to insure everybody pays a fair share, they see it as an unfair burden on their future rich selves. After all, they believe that if they achieve more it's because they worked harder. And what's their incentive to work hard if they just have to pay higher taxes? It just doesn't seem right.

The only problem is that this view ignores a reality of life in America, which is that succes is not determined solely by how hard you work. If that was the case, billions of housewives would be "balling", and my best friend's grandmother, who worked as a janitor to raise her grandchildren, would own a private island.

Success is based on a lot of different factors and hard work is definitely one of them. But, unfortunately, another main factor is where you start off in life based on what your ancestors achieved.

Many people in past generations had their prospects for success limited artificially, and that means some people's present day "money trees" were germinated in injustice. It doesn't make successful people today bad people and it doesn't mean they haven't worked hard. It just means their success is complicated.

Unfortunately, this is one of the most difficult concepts for Americans, particularly white Americans, to grasp. It runs counter to the mythology that they are fed along with their mother's milk. It directly challenges and maligns their own self image.

Most importantly, this worldview does not benefit them at all. That's why John McCain has been able to get so much traction out of a conversation between a millionaire politician who built a life from very little, and plumber who is planning to earn more than $250,000 in the near future. Americans may not like rich people all that much, but they do want to be like them one day.

Life's complicated like that.





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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rekindling Relationships

I'm not a particularly friendly person.

I think I've made this observation previously in this space. Friendly people seek out other human beings and love interacting with them, I tend to prefer my own company. I can be jovial and humorous, but these things don't come naturally to me the way they do with other people.

Much of this is due to the fact that I tend to be distrustful of new people. Dishonesty and small mindedness are traits far too many people seem to possess. The world can be a dangerous place, and it just seems safer to create barriers that prevent people from establishing close relationships with me.

In a lot of ways, I'm very similar to America.

Sure, America has this reputation of attracting the world's dreamers, welcoming them to her shores and giving them a chance at fulfilling their hearts' desires. It's a wonderful story that has some truth in it. Very few countries have allowed the sort of open immigration America has allowed in its past, and few countries allow their residents to go from poverty to wealth as often as America does. These are the facts.

But, there is another side of America. We call this country a melting pot, and that's accurate. Only the force that causes things to melt and meld together isn't love and acceptance, but the fierce fire of conformity. When you come to America, we expect you to become American. And being American means believing this is the best place in the world and that whatever America does is probably right.

Dem's the rules.

Not only do we demand this loyalty from people coming to this country, but when Americans go abroad and when our country deals with other nations we project this mindset. America is might and America is right. We set the rules, we set the agenda we are the world's only true superpower.

Naturally, through the years, this type of mentality has strained relationships with other countries, and in recent years things have reached a breaking point. In many developed and undeveloped countries America is seen not as a beacon of hope, but as a dark cloud of oppression and dominance. Sure we make life better in many parts of the world, but we do so strictly because it makes our lives better and we make sure people know this. I'm not judging this country, that's how most people behave in general, but I think it's key to understand what people think of us in other countries.

I read this article and it discussed how an Obama presidency might change this state of affairs. Obama is not the Messiah and for the most part he will look out for American interests in much the same ways as those who have come before him. But, as is true in so many other instances, just by Obama's existence he does more for America's image than billions of dollars in aid or hundreds of fighter planes.

It's amazing how symbols affect our lives. Little things, things that don't really have any tangible value, can mean so much to us. An old cross passed down through generations is a symbol of God's endurance, a weathered wind chime could represent the sound of spring. A black American president.

For much of the world, Obama would be proof that America has decided to return to its stated ideals of equality and justice for all. Even if the reality would be much more complicated, the symbolism would still have value. I find that heartening. I'm really feeling optimistic. Not because I think Obama will be so wonderful, but because I think he might inspire some other people to be wonderful.

Yep, I'm getting high on hope again.


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Friday, October 24, 2008

Sorry About This

My bad y'all.

For the first weekday in a while I wasn't able to to get something written for the blog today. I really feel bad because I pride myself on getting something new up every weekday.

Anyway, I'll have something up for Saturday. But, y'all can check out this link for a wonderful story about what some of us will see at the polls when we vote for Big Homie.

Sorry again.



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Thursday, October 23, 2008

They Are Golden

Don't have much time, but I wanted to share with y'all something that came to my mind.

I was wondering, despite the supposedly tightening poll numbers, about some of the after effects of a potential Barack Obama win today. More specifically, I was thinking that if the Democrats manage to get this country' first black man elected president, what exactly would they have to do moving forward to lose the support of black people?

It's kind of like that Eddie Murphy joke on "Raw." Eddie said that once a man makes a woman orgasmn a certain way, he can do damn near anything he wants and she will forgive him. He claimed that the good will a man builds up from being a stallion in bed is amazing. In fact, Eddie said a woman could catch a man in the bed with another woman in her home, and thanks to the fact that he made her have a "Super O", all that man would have to say to escape punishment would be "It wasn't me."

So, basically, if Democrats are the party that gives black people a black president, I'm thinking that they are pretty much guaranteed the black vote in overwhelming numbers for the rest of this country's existence. Black president trumps the party of Lincoln every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Right?

Anyway, here's a short list of how Democrats could potentially ruin the goodwill they would have among black folks if Barack Obama wins the elections. Feel free to include your own stuff in the comments.

5. Democrats would have to name Don Imus as the official party spokesman.

4. The party of the donkey would have to outlaw the names Keisha, LaToya and Leroy for children.

3. Dems would have require black people to perform an ethnic dance to gain entrance into the party, and bar clothing during that dance.

2. 3. Democrats would have to pass a constitutional amendment okaying the use of the word "nigger" by every American regardless of their race or the situation.

1. Democrats would have to bring back slavery.

If they avoid those five things, they are pretty much golden.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's On For Real

Sometimes it's so cool to be black.

It sucks to be black when you have to listen to four star generals minimized and dismissed because they happen to support a black man. It also sucks when you watch ESPN blatantly treat black athletes differently from white athletes and then pretend like nothing happened.

But, sometimes, it can be pretty sweet to have black skin.

Like, when you walk into an early voting area and talk with random black people about why they are voting early even though it means standing in the same long lines they would probably see at their regular polling places on election day. It's really cool to have those folks look you in the eye and say "It's just that important."

It's just that important.

I have been debating whether I should vote early. Part of me wants to get things over with, but another part of me wants the experience of casting a presidential ballot for a black man among a big crowd of black people.

Man, that's going to be a joyous event no matter what happens later that night. It's just something I want to soak up. I want to be a black man with other black people all around me suffused with hope and happiness.

It's rare to get that feeling.

Truthfully, it's not even about Obama or if he's so special. It's about what he represents, what his success to this point represents. Sure, he's not the black man I might want him to be, but he is undeniably a black man and over the past year or two, he's dealt with things that connect him to every other black person. That means something to me, it's even more important to me than his tax plan or healthcare policies.

I'm not saying that I have only supported Obama because he's black because I damn sure have voted against black people in the past. What I'm saying is that what this event represents cannot be really understood unless you've been black and dealt with the things black people deal with. That's why I want to cast that vote with other black people.

Man, I looked in people's eyes who were early voting and you could just sense their earnestness. You could feel their hope. It was like they knew that this moment might never come again, and they wanted to be certain they took advantage. I imagine it's what black Chicagoans felt when they voted for Harold Washington, or when black people in New Orleans voted for Dutch Morial. Only, it's multiplied by 1,000.

I don't have much more to say, just wanted to let y'all know I caught a special vibe today. I hope y'all catch that vibe as well.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Warm and Fuzzy Warrior

So, I'm sitting in church Sunday trying to feel the Spirit and avoid a nap.

The preacher is giving a message I don't find particularly relevant to my life, although there are snippets of good information that occasionally pour forth. Then he says something that really gets my attention.

"John McCain is a good man."

Wait, did I just hear my pastor correctly. In a black church, in a black city, did he just say that Old Man Hater is a "good man?"

"Y'all heard me, John McCain is a good man. And I think that good man is coming out right now."

Welcome to the world of the warm and fuzzy warrior.

Before this campaign, Sen. John McCain had a proven image. He was the independent warrior. The man who was beholden to no party and answered to nothing but his own conscience. His morals and courage were forged in a Vietnamese war camp, and they were beyond reproach. This was his media narrative.

Now, much of this narrative wasn't completely accurate, but that didn't matter. When the media creates a template for you, it doesn't have to be accurate. And the media template for McCain cast him as a principled, resolute maverick.

For months, McCain was able to hold on to that "maverick" pose despite doing everything in his power to embrace George Bush and the conservative far right. It didn't matter how many times he flip-flopped or how many extremists he embraced, the media was loathe to change the narrative about John McCain because, frankly, they liked John McCain.

It wasn't until recently when McCain began an all out attack on the media, when he began to tell blatant lies and when he selected an idiot as his running mate that the narrative about McCain started to change. His independence began to be seen as irritability. His aggressiveness became anger. The "maverick" facade was crumbling and McCain was feeling the full power of the media as they attacked him.

Realizing that once he lost the benefit of the doubt his campaign was completely doomed, McCain in recent days has toned down his own personal attacks, while his supporters have ratcheted up their attacks to previously unheard of levels. McCain has even defended Obama from attacks that he previously let slide. And it's working. Now McCain loves the media and the media loves John McCain.

So he hired Barney the purple dinosaur as his media liaison.

When my pastor told us that John McCain was a good man, he was repeating something he'd heard numerous times from news sources. In fact, any comment about McCain's dirty politics was prefaced by a note that he's a good guy, and must have been convinced to do bad things by bad people. Reporters have tripped over themselves to provide McCain with a plausible excuse for his despicable campaign, and even when they finally began to attack him, they were looking for an excuse to embrace him again.

I'm tired of the idiocy. I was raised that a real man walks the walk and talks the talk. Let me put it in Christian terms: "Judge a tree by the fruit it bears."

If a politician is a good man, why would he appeal to the lowest common denominator to win? What does it say about a man that he would be willing to sacrifice his core values to attain a political office? How do you reconcile the idea of an independent maverick with the reality of an old man who can easily be led astray by his campaign aides?

Something doesn't fit here. How many good men would do bad things just to get what they want? How many good men would willingly embrace someone who backstabbed and mistreated them just to fulfill a political ambition? How exactly does that make you a good man?

Let's put an end to the myth that John McCain is a good man.




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Saturday, October 18, 2008

What Would the REAL Big Homie Do?

I don't discuss my faith too much on this blog because there are other excellent places to read an intelligent perspective on Christianity like my homie Deacon Blue's wonderful website.

But, today, I've got to talk about something.

During the last debate, when Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain were taking turns professing their undying love for Joe the Plumber, McCain seized on a comment by Obama that he wanted to "spread the wealth." That comment was part of Obama's response to Joe's complaints about paying higher taxes, and viewed within the proper context it makes sense.

Well, it makes sense if you're not a Republican.

Republicans hate wealth redistribution the way fat people hate airline seats. In their simple minds, they believe it's totally unfair that they have to pay more taxes when they earn more money. To them, that's basically punishing them for their success, while rewarding lazy, (black) people.

Most of them are too afraid to say the word black, but that's typically what they mean.

Of course, this mindset ignores the basic truth that taxes don't just go to lazy people as direct handouts. See, taxes help pay for the critical infrastructure and military power that make America the world's biggest badass. Not only that, most Americans have jobs that have some sort of connection to government, whether they realize it or not. So, the idea that taxes are really giveaways to welfare queens is not based in reality.

But, that's not my real problem.

My problem is the way so many conservatives claim a connection between their movement and Christianity, yet cannot seem to grasp a basic Christian tenet like loving your neighbor as you love yourself. How can they claim to love the Lord, but forget that early Christians sold all their possessions so the flock could survive?

I understand that evangelicals have some of the highest volunteer rates of any group in the country. I live in New Orleans and I've seen firsthand the kind of good deeds Christians can do when motivated and mobilized. Yet, I've also seen this irrational fear that any form of new taxes is a harbinger of the Apocalypse.

Nobody likes paying taxes. All of us had that "WTF" moment when we got our very first paycheck and realized that we had an invisible pimp named FICA. Giving money away that you have earned is not a good feeling.

But, I quickly understood two lessons about life: some people need that little extra help that my money provides and the government can't spend money it doesn't have.

Taxes are the government's way of helping those people the rest of us appear committed to ignoring. Head Start, free lunch, public schooling, these are all programs that benefit from federal funding. Growing up in a city as poor as New Orleans, I've seen firsthand exactly what kind of difference a lack of money can make in the lives of people who depend on these programs.

It would be wonderful if every government program ran smoothly without waste or fraud, but they don't. It also would be wonderful if human beings treated each other with dignity, respect and kindness, but we don't.

So, I cut the government some slack on its failures because I want God to cut me some slack on my own. I know that if it needy people in this world were dependent on my largess to survive, they would probably die. Consequently, I don't mind that the government has taken over the role of helping the needy, as well as providing services that I actually use. It's makes sense to me.

As a child of God, I often take the mindset that God promised to take care of my needs, and he's never failed me. I try not to worry too much about not having everything my neighbors or friends have because I don't understand what they had to sacrifice to get those things. More importantly, I try to remember that Jesus never rewarded anyone who was stingy or greedy. My savior often sacrificed so others might have, and that's honestly the way I view taxes.

So, I'm a little disappointed that our country's economic policy has become yet another example of religious hypocrisy. It's true that the government should be better stewards over our wealth, and those individuals who are able to work should be working. But, I think all of us need to take a more Christ-like approach to taxes and "spreading the wealth."

What would the ultimate Big Homie do?


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Friday, October 17, 2008

She Cried For 45 Minutes

Rejection is anguish.

Opening your heart up to someone and then having them trod all over your exposed emotions is a terrible thing. It can cause wounds that never heal, only scab over before being rubbed raw again by the slightest friction. Rejection makes people feel unworthy, unacceptable and unwanted.

Dammit, it hurts.

But, sometimes, on certain rare occasions, I like to laugh at other people's pain. I find humor in their rejection. This is one of those times.

Check out that link. It will lead you to a story about a Californian Republican group that sent out a newsletter featuring a caricature of Sen. Barack Obama. The caricature had Obama as a half-man, half-donkey, surrounded by KFC chicken, watermelon and Kool-Aid. Oh yeah, Obama was gracing the cover of his very own food stamp.

Yep, you read that last paragraph correctly.

Hold on, don't get upset yet because I'm about to make you laugh. See, the blatant racism in this image was denied by the white woman who created the newsletter because she claimed when she saw the picture she only saw food. This woman then claimed she couldn't be racist because she once supported Alan Keyes. However, she showed more grace than many ignorant people because she actually gave a full apology to anybody who was offended by her actions.

So, here's the funny part. The article contains some quotations from a few black members of this Republican group who were dismayed by the newsletter and the ideas it promoted. Here is the one that just tickled me:

Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.

"This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party," she said. "I'm really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes."


.............................

Shelia?

Can I call you Sheila?

Wipe your face girl, there you go, here is a clean tissue.

Sweetheart, this little newsletter is not why black people aren't Republicans.

No, don't argue.

Sheila, this newsletter is more like a tiny dollop of fetid whipped cream on top of the crap-flavored double espresso of hate that is the reason why black people aren't Republicans.

Simply put, and I don't mean to be crass Sheila, this really ain't shit.

Sheila, do you realize that Republicans once waged a conscious campaign to attract the most racist and vile members of the Democratic party to their ranks in an effort to offset black people gaining the unfettered right to vote, and using that right to support Democrats?

You didn't? You poor ignorant baby.

Sheila, Republicans have welcomed into their ranks unrepentant and unreformed racists like Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and Trent Lott even after it was no longer cool to be racist. (At least the Democrats made their former Klansman admit he was wrong.)

Republicans have fed on white people's hatred of black people and any other minority like vampires. They've fanned the flames of hate so high, a towering inferno of malice has engulfed much of America's South and Midwest.

Sheila, sweetie, Republicans have done a lot more despicable things than create a nasty email.

I'm trying hard to be kind Sheila, but I just have to ask you one question.

Are you really surprised?

I would have more sympathy for your tears if I thought there was any way that a reasonably intelligent, informed woman like yourself could have been surprised by the hatred brewing among Republicans.

You haven't noticed McCain's race-based attacks?

You didn't find it strange that other Republicans were calling Obama "uppity?"

Sheila, are you telling me that you don't get those questionable emails about Obama that every other Republican gets? The ones that call him the Anti-Christ, a Muslim, a terrorist and the irredeemable spawn of Satan? (Well maybe not that last thing, but you get the point.)

Sheila, baby, there is no way you could have missed all of this and actually been informed about this campaign.

Consequently, I have two prisms through which to view your tearful outburst.

One, Sheila, you didn't bother to research your candidate or your party because you were enthralled with the idea of paying lower taxes. You've never noticed the racism because the idea of being tax free created something inside you similar to a crack cocaine giveaway on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Utter madness.

This is possible Sheila. Hell, plenty of poor white Republicans have fallen for this same scheme.

Republicans suck people in with this anti-tax, anti-spending rhetoric that sounds wonderful until you realize that spending money on stuff actually makes life better. But, if that's what happened, I understand and I feel your pain.

Unfortunately, Sheila, I'm leaning towards option number two. That option is that you knew all about the racism in the Republican party, you knew how many of your colleagues viewed black people and you didn't care.

You just didn't care.

Sheila, you didn't think you were one of those black people, did you?

Or maybe you really don't like black people that much in the first place. Maybe black people were mean to you because you were dark-skinned, or light-skinned, or smart, or stupid. Whatever it was, I'm wondering if maybe you just don't like Negroes.

"Niggers and flies I do despise, the more I see niggers, the more I like flies."

Sheila, is that how you feel?

I can see that you were trying to recruit other minorities to the GOP, but was that because you truly believed the party would help us, or because it would make you look good to your new white friends?

Sheila, I'm talking you.

Sadly, if your tears were caused by the realization that these ladies that you have so valiantly struggled to impress really don't like people who look like you, well Sheila that's too bad.

See, Obama is intelligent, educated, articulate, "clean" and employed. If these Republicans were willing to attack him with stereotypes about ribs and chicken, well Sheila I'm guessing you're right that they never liked you.

They tolerated you. You were an easy answer to anybody wondering if they had black friends. You were proof that their racism wasn't really racism because a black person was co-signing it. You were their little piece of black protection.

And Sheila, that makes your tears pretty funny.


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Can Hope Go Sour?

Big Homie appears to be opening up the full can of whoop ass on the old man right about now.

So why don't I feel better about this race?

With a double digit lead in the national polls, historic turnout projected among black people and leads in key battleground states, Barack Obama appears to be in great position to become this country's first black president. He has more money than his opponent, has more fervent volunteers and has every key issue on his side right now.

Yet, like many of my dark brethren, I can't shake this weird feeling in my tummy.

Are black people naturally pessimistic? Has our shared history conditioned us to constantly expect the worse, even when every indication says that things will be great? I don't think so. Sure, black people have problems with cynicism, but we also tend to forgive easily.

No, I guess I can't really fully embrace the idea that Obama is going to win because there are still 20 days until the election and Obama's election would easily be one of the top five most improbable political events in this country's history. When you're hoping for something as unlikely as a black president, it's hard to feel safe no matter what kind of lead your candidate has. It's kind of like cheering for the Saints with Mike McKenzie and Fred Thomas as your cornerbacks.

*Shudder*

My hope hasn't gone sour, but neither have I felt comfortable beginning my buck-naked victory dance just yet. Although, I have let it be known that the Wednesday after the election is an unofficial black holiday no matter what happens. In the back of my mind I keep waiting for McCain to unveil one more dirty trick, or even for there to be some sort of convenient terrorist attack. I just cannot believe that a black dude could not only win a presidential election, but could do it in a laugher.

Oh well, let me just keep hoping.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back With A New Perspective

Epiphanies are funny.

During the past ten months, I've written more than 250 blogs on a variety of personal and political topics. Most of those blogs have discussed the world from a distinctly pro-black point of view. Some of y'all may even remember me saying that I considered myself a black man before I identified as an American.

My vacation allowed me to re-consider that point of view.

I'm still pro-black, that will never change. But, the idea that I'm a black man before I'm an American, well I might have to rethink that.

See, I spent the past few days on an island teeming with black people. At every level of society and government there were black faces making decisions. On every street, black people went about their daily lives, and white faces were an anomaly. It was like an HBCU campus multiplied by 1000.

And I have rarely felt so uncomfortable.

It wasn't an obvious thing at first. Initially, I was enthralled. Walking through the airport surrounded by black faces had my head on a constant swivel. It was like I was in an alternate universe; a universe where black people were in control and no longer dependent on anyone else to survive. I imagine it's what many black people feel when they first arrive in Africa.

Then the poverty set in.

See, this island paradise has a serious problem with poverty. An American dollar is worth dozens of this country's dollars. Tourism is the second most important industry in the country after the remittance paid by natives who have left home for better jobs.

As I began to understand the full scope of the country's poverty, I also got a clearer picture of my role. I was not some long lost compatriot with whom the island's natives shared a connection because of our similar skin tones and historical backgrounds. Nope, I was just another wealthy American from whom they needed to scam a dollar.

That was a strange feeling.

I was surrounded by black people; they served me drinks, helped me do activities, drove me places and cleaned up after me. But, there was no kinship between us, no bond. In many ways, I felt like my presence was resented, that I was a necessary evil not a cherished and beloved distant cousin. Maybe this is a sign of my naivete, but the natives' attitudes shocked me. I was totally unprepared to be seen as an interloper and outsider by all these black people. I was unprepared to be simply seen as an American.

It's not that I've never been seen as an outsider by black people. Often when I travel to certain poorer neighborhoods for my job, my clothing and diction identify me as different. I don't truly belong in these neighborhoods, not matter how much I bop in my walk, or use ebonics. Yet, those situations did not prepare me for being viewed as just another American.

I've never really thought about being an American. On a certain level I've understood that Americans are blessed to have an amazing quality of life compared to much of the world, but because of this country's racial past and present it's always been difficult for me to generate the intense patriotism that so many other people possess.

Being a black American is a lot like dating the finest girl in high school who also has herpes. Sure, the advantages of being with a beautiful woman are immense, but having to constantly be on the lookout for an outbreak is a drag.

Traveling to this country reminded me of how completely American I really am. I think like an American and evaluate the rest of the world using American standards. I expect things to be done the American way. And, most importantly, I'm not pleased when other people don't want Americans around.

I was dismayed by how often people in this country tried to finagle extra money out of me because they assumed that as an American I could afford it. Or the way they became irate if I didn't pay them for any small task they did for me. It wasn't that I was adverse to tipping people, in fact I probably was one of the better tippers at the resort where I stayed, it's just that I've never been a fan of people aggressively seeking my money. I'm also not a fan of folks trying to con me out of my money.

Maybe this would have been a problem whereever I traveled, particularly if poverty was a problem in that country. In fact, I'm certain this is this case. Yet, for some reason, I expected a different feeling, a different experience when I was surrounded by black people. I guess I thought it would be like one big international family reunion.

This post may make it seem like I had a horrible vacation, but I really didn't. It was a nice place, and I had a decent time. I just came to realize that despite all my complaining about America, I don't think I would really be interested in living anywhere else.

I really am an American.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Just Beneath the Surface

I watch entirely too much television.

Because of this, I also consume dozens of commercials every day. Car commercials, food commercials, insurance commercials, commercials about commercials, I've seen them all. I think I read a while back that a 30-minute sitcom is really only about 20 minutes long because of all the commercials that have to be squeezed into that time span.

For years, I thought that I was on a mental plane that allowed me to transcend commercials and ignore their influence. I scoffed at the idea that some catchy jingle would cause me to actually purchase goods I didn't truly need. People who were influenced by commercials were weak-minded simpletons, I told myself.

I was an arrogant idiot.

Looking back, I realize that I tried my first Gordita from Taco Bell because of their catchy commercials. I felt compelled to purchase Grand Theft Auto IV in part because the game's commercials were so kickass. Sure, I wanted those products for my own reasons, Gorditas are delicious, but I was also swayed by commercials touting their benefits.

Recently, I've begun to notice more and more commercials that don't tout a particular political candidate, but do champion certain issues. The American Medical Association and AARP have run several ads about healthcare, and I saw one from oil and natural gas producers proclaiming that America actually produces 66 percent of its oil and natural gas domestically. (As I told my wife, we may produce a lot of natural gas here, but adding in oil was just some slick marketing.)

One series of ads has really caught my eye. They are sponsored by this billionaire by the name of T. Boone Pickens, and they encourage Americans to ask politicians to find alternative energy solutions for this country. The ads point out that politicians have been promising to end America's dependence on foreign oil since the 1970s, yet we consume far more foreign oil now than anytime in the past.

When I first saw the commercials, I tuned them out the same way I tune out all commercials. But, gradually, I began to pay attention to them and listen to their message. I was particularly intrigued by their discussion of something called "compressed natural gas" which the commercials claimed could be a gas alternative. I hadn't heard of compressed natural gas, but it sounded like a good idea if it was going to save me money and make the country less vulnerable.

On a certain level, I had begun to support the "Pickens Plan."

However, I decided to take another look at the issue recently. After all, it's not every day that a regular citizen has enough money and conviction to spend $58 million on national television ads. My natural cynicism kicked in, and I decided that I wanted to know why this rich guy wanted me to be so gung-ho about compressed natural gas and other alternative energy sources.

I discovered that Pickens is pushing alternative energy because he's made massive investments into the field and stands to make billions of dollars if the federal government focuses taxpayer dollars on developing those energy sources. For years, Pickens supported Republican policies, including their oil wars, but recently he's become a champion of alternative energy. Here is a blurb about his plans:

Critics of the plan, however, point out that it is self-serving: Pickens is a huge investor in wind power, and subsidies and mandates for wind power would help his personal financial position.[48] The announcement of the plan also coincides with Pickens' need for federal subsidies for wind to be renewed, as he's already begun placing orders for his planned wind farm in Texas.[49] Pickens usually answers this criticism “I’m 80 years old, and I’m worth $4 billion. I have plenty of money.I think it shows leadership that I’m putting my money into the wind business, and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”


Once I took the next step of investigating this guy's motives, his nationwide ad campaign made a lot of sense. I'm not saying that his plans don't have merit, but they are not altruistic panaceas. Yet, if I hadn't done the bare minimum of research, I would have continued believing that the Pickens was the kind of guy who makes America great.

It made me wonder about how many other ideas I've been subconsciously fed by commercials, or the media, or even by my parents. These ideas may seem innocuous, but they actually are pushing my life down a specific path. I realized that I had greatly overestimated my ability to tune out outside influence. My confidence in my mental abilities had left me vulnerable, and if Pickens had been a little more crafty, I would have been a goner.

This information made me take stock of the influences in my life. It made me study my true motivations. Too many people today avoid thinking about why they live the life they live, and just focus on the daily grind. I think when we take a step back, we can gain clarity on how we got our present location, and also plan out our next steps accordingly. Usually our motivations are the real key our present reality.

It's better than just blowing in the wind.



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I'm Out

I am officially on vacay today, so y'all will be without my words of lunacy until Oct. 15. Have fun.



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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just Walking Away

Most of y'all know I have a son.

I love that little dude. Watching him grow from an infant to a toddler has been one of the most awe-inspiring things ever. My wife and I shower him with love and affection, although I do find the time to add in a little discipline every now and then. In fact, I joked with my wife the other day that our son is going to have the shock of his life when he has to fight for attention with the new brother or sister he's supposed to get this spring.

Because of the amazing love I have for my son, it's difficult for me to understand the actions of the parents in this article in the New York Times. Extremely difficult.

The story talks about a nascent problem in Nebraska where parents are taking advantage of a new law that was designed to give new mothers the option of leaving their babies at safe havens if they can't provide for them instead of abandoning the infants in a dumpster. Problem is, Nebraska allows parents to drop off children up to age 19, not just infants.

I know children can be trying, after all, I was once a trying child. As a child, I once cut a girl with a knife on a school bus because she scratched me with her fingernails. I repeatedly stole from stores. One time at a family reunion, my brother and I took turns hanging from a second story balcony and dropping down to the first floor because we thought it would be fun. Another time, I bear-hugged my brother so hard I made him black out and split his chin open so wide that blood was gushing through his fingers like water.

I was no angel.

However, I wasn't a stereotypically bad child. I obeyed most of the time, even if I did have a penchant for challenging my parents to make logical arguments. I also got good grades in school, never really got into smoking or drinking and didn't do drugs.

Throughout my childhood my father would tell my brother and I that if we didn't like the rules in his home we could hit the door. He also told us that if we called protective services, or "the people" as he called them, we'd better be prepared to spend the rest of our lives with them because we couldn't come back home.

But, despite all his bluster, my pops never threatened to throw me out just because he was tired of dealing with me. (Although I did discover from talking to my mom later that he got pretty close at certain points. Thank God for the persuasive powers of Mommies.)

I say that because I wonder at what point does a parent give up on their children. Sometimes I wonder how I would handle it if my son became a thieving drug addict who was a threat to my wife or me. Would I just cut him off? Could I sleep at night knowing that he was in the world suffering, or if I didn't have any information about him at all?

It's always dangerous to judge other people without seeing the world from their perspective. Yet, I find myself judging parents who give up on their child, parents who are willing to have the state take over their parental responsibilities. We all know that the government cannot raise a child, so what does it say about a parent that they would place their flesh and blood in the state's care?

I don't know what it says. I really don't know.





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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

His Daddy is a Kenyan

Life is a marathon, not a sprint...

Y'all ever watch the Kenyan long distance runners do their thing?

Those suckers are amazing in motion. The relentless way they run is similar to the way wolves hunt in the wild. Wolves use a gait that never seems too fast and never seems too slow; it just eats up ground. Just when it looks like the antelope or gazelle will escape, the wolves close on them and go for the jugular.

Obama is the big, bad wolf in this campaign.

Slowly, but surely he is cutting off John McCain's wind. He doesn't rush, he doesn't falter. No matter which way McCain ducks and dodges, Obama pursues him, his mouth filled with a confident smirk. It's similar to the hungry grin wolves give their prey before they go down the gullet.

McCain is a sprinter.

Like a jackrabbit, he makes wild dashes, briefly unbalancing the wolf on his trail. He darts here and there, desperately seeking freedom, yet constrained by his inability to see a clear path. McCain cannot grasp the big picture, and therefore cannot fully press his advantages.

How often did we see McCain rush to attack Obama with a line that was clearly prepared, but stumble in his delivery? Did you notice his pained attempts at humor, attempts to connect with the audience that he didn't take the time to bring to fruition? I saw his quick bursts of anger and frustration, and they were evidence he smelled the wolf.

You know, it's been amazing too watch Obama's transformation from the hunted to the hunter over the course of the past year. He's learned from his mistakes, learned from Hillary and even from McCain. He's confident, assured and prepared. He presses his advantages, but pulls back when he senses unsure footing. My wife and I were both impressed with his progression, it's clear evidence of how he would perform in the Big Show in our minds.

The race is not to the swift...


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No Zip On The Heater

Caribou Dummy is riding hard!

Things are dire for Old Man McCain, so he's unleashed the hounds; the snow hound that is. He's got Little Miss Mooseburger coming hard at Big Homie's neck with attacks about whether or not he "sees America the way you and I do." Check it out here.

First of all Governor Barbie, you are damn right that Obama sees the world differently from you and the right wing nincompoops who support you. If he didn't, I wouldn't be voting for his black ass. If Obama grew up black in America and thought like you, I would consider him certifiably insane and he would be a prime candidate for King House Negro.

Seriously.

However, I must admit it's hard for me to gin up any real fear or anger at the line of attack Palin and McCain are taking right now. In fact, I'm a little disappointed. We've already heard about William Ayers and Tony Rezko; Hillary Clinton saw to that. It's kind of sad that the Republicans had all this time to come up with good smears for Obama and the best they could generate was a rehash of Hillary's strategy.

They do realize she lost, right?

The Repubs should have run with those early lies that were circulating that Obama was part of the underground gay scene in D.C. But, I guess it's hard to paint Obama as both an effeminate, closet homosexual, and the angry black man out to ravish old white women. Pity.

Maybe conservatives should take aim at Michelle Obama again. Only, if they start talking about spouses, then we might hear about how Cindy McCain has never met an Oxycontin or Percocet she didn't like, and how the "First Dude" dislikes America so much he joined a political party dedicated to seceding. Nope, that won't work.

Hell, why don't Republicans just make up some good stuff, or take a more hard-nosed racial tact. I thought that whole idea of painting Obama as an "uppity nigger" had some legs. Or maybe that should go back to the Affirmative Action baby argument. I guess the real problem with all those smears is that we've heard them all campaign long, and while they caused Obama some heartache, they haven't really worked too well. Plus, now that John McCain has been labeled a liar by the media, they aren't cutting him any slack on his bullshit anymore.

I guess we're witnessing the end of an era. The Republicans are campaigning against a black presidential candidate, the kind of situation that would have been perfect for their attack machine five years ago, and they are struggling. They are like a baseball pitcher who used to throw 95 miles per hour heaters, but now can barely get over 80. Obama is the young slugger hitting bombs off them every time he steps to the plate.

Let's play ball bitches.





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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Omnipresent Obama

I read a story recently about some union workers in West Virginia calling for a work stoppage because they didn't like the fact that the National Rifle Association was filming an anti-Obama ad at their mine.

The funny thing was that when reporters approached NRA reps to ask them about the miners response, a spokesman said that unions love the NRA and the miners actions were clearly the result of "mischief" by the Obama campaign.

Is it just me, or does it seem like Obama gets around more than Tupac?

Have any of y'all noticed this trend? House Republicans refuse to vote for a bailout initially, and John McCain blames it on Obama/Biden Democrats. The entire world questions whether Sarah Palin is qualified to run a busy Dairy Queen, let alone the United States, and McCain supporters blame that on Obama as well. John McCain is asked by an Iowa newspaper whether he would ask Palin for advice on foreign policy and he promptly points out that he would never ask Obama because Obama is the reason why the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Sheesh.

Look, I know that it's standard political practice to blame your opponent for everything that goes wrong in the world, but this seems excessive. It's like the McCain campaign strategy is to just blame the Negro anytime things don't go his way. I'm pretty sure that's why McCain has been having a very public temper tantrum these past few weeks. Nobody likes to be thwarted by an Uppity Negro.

A friend of mine pointed out that this whole situation reminded her of Susan Smith blaming the mysterious black guy for driving her kids into a lake, and Lindsay Lohan blaming some random black kid for stealing car that she in fact boosted during a drug induced binge. Maybe this isn't a McCain thing, but just standard practice for certain white folks. Aren't conservatives blaming black people for the mortgage crisis right now?

What does it say about John McCain that despite his quarter century in the Senate, his admirable war record and his multi-millionaire wife that he can be so flummoxed by this skinny black man? Really, aren't black people supposed to be the intellectually inferior members of the human race? If we are, then how the hell is he getting outsmarted by a Negro and why are so many racist white people okay with that? If I was racist white dude, the one thing I could not support would be a white man who wasn't smart enough to outsmart a nigger. I'm just saying.

It's really been amusing to watch McCain take these impotent potshots at Obama at every turn, and then turn around and claim that he's the one who can really work across partisan lines. Hell, from what I've seen the only reason McCain has worked so often with Democrats in the past is because Republicans don't like him enough to listen to him. If House Republicans had thumbed their noses at him any harder they would have probably pierced their pea brains.

What's truly amazing is how many McCain supporters have swallowed this idiotic idea. In a country with a 12 percent black population, these people really believe that one thin Negro has the power to become a mocha-colored Geppeto and pull everybody's strings. They think he's the reason why Palin looks bad, or why McCain is getting caught in lies. If black folks had that kind of power, do these white people really think we would keep eating their shit?

The idea that Obama is the mastermind of some massive plot to thwart every effort by Republicans is really one of the most entertaining subplots of the campaign. The only thing more fun is taking bets on when Republicans are finally going to go "all-in" and just start calling Obama a nigger in public.

It's just really funny.


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Friday, October 3, 2008

Just a Reminder

I got a reminder of what it's like to be black in America watching the vice presidential debate.

Most of y'all have read Tim Wise's excellent write-up about exactly how Sarah Palin has benefited from white privilege so I'm not going to bore you with a long list of exactly how she is getting over. Google "Tim Wise and white privilege" to get a thorough listing.

My color reminder came as Palin spit out folksy one-liner after folksy one-liner in an attempt to connect with "Joe Sixpack" and his wife, who unfortunately could be known as "Sally Black-Eyes" because of Joe's drinking.

Every time she said "doggone it," or "darn it" or "aw shucks" I got a little more angry and frustrated. And it wasn't just because her voice reminds me of a Minnesotan on crack.

Listening to her spew colloquialisms, I wondered if a "plain-speaking" black person would be considered a legitimate presidential candidate. You know, a black person who said stuff like "fo' sho," or "girl, please" or "that ain't right."

A black person who speaks the way many of us speak when we're around our friends.

As a friend of mine pointed out, Sarah Palin even took the time to give a shout out to some third graders in Alaska, all while winking at them. Can y'all imagine if Obama gave props to all the homies down at the Boys and Girls club and then gave his chest a fist bump?

No, you cannot imagine that.

Some might say I'm looking for a racial angle, and I can't deny that the vast majority of Americans probably didn't even see this aspect of the debate. But, just because some people are blind, doesn't mean I should close my eyes.

Every time I see Sarah Palin I'm reminded of how unjust this country can be. I'm reminded of how much different my life would have been if I was white, and I'm reminded that white skin is a great advantage to have. When I see Palin playing by a different set of rules than people who look like me, well it's hard to feel patriotic or hopeful.

It's a nasty reminder.


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Thursday, October 2, 2008

What Can I Say

Yo, I watched it.

I didn't learn anything new.

Sorry, I don't have much else to say.

Except, I have a real problem with that woman and her demeanor. If she wins, it's a game changer.

The game will have changed forever.





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All Big Homie, All the Time

For those of y'all who can't get enough of the greatest politician of all-time, yeah I like hyperbole, I have some good news.

It's the Obama Channel! Yep, get your fix of those purple lips, collosal ears and smirk anytime of the day from the comfort of your own couch.

If you have Dish Network that is.






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Come On Now, Let's Get Real

I tried to ignore it, but it seems like I have to comment.

Are they serious about this Gwen Ifill thing? So the sister wrote a book about the state of black politics that has Obama's name in the title. And now that means she's unqualified to moderate a debate? Really?

And are McCain's people really pretending they had no idea about this book before they agreed to allow Ifill to be the moderator? So it's same to assume that the debate moderators got the same vetting as Sarah Palin?

Wait, if Ifill is biased, how was Sean Hannity qualified to interview Sarah Palin? I mean how could he be trusted to conduct an unbiased informative interview when Hannity has the GOP's dicks so far down his throat he probably shits peanuts.

Seriously, this is some utter foolishness.

I can't believe how willingly the media has cannibalized one of its own. The amount of coverage devoted to this issue has far exceeded the amount of coverage dedicated to the fact that Sarah Palin's husband was a member of a political party that advocated for Alaska's secession from the United States.

You know what? I lied. I'm not surprised at all how much coverage this issue has generated. See, if somebody like Tim Russert had this sort of conflict, it would have been dealt with in one day as every announcer expressed their supreme confidence in Russert and refused to discuss the issue again. Russert would have been given the benefit of the doubt based on his long record.

But, Gwen is black and Obama is black.

Like many things in life, this is a race thing. Not because every media person is racist, but because many of them still have doubts about whether black journalists can cover a black presidential candidate. The National Association of Black Journalists actually had to issue a press release a while back telling the mainstream media that they would be objective in their coverage. Strangely, all the white journalists who have covered white candidates in a country that's shown a predilection towards favoring white people have never had to issue similar press releases.

Funny how that works.

Anyway, Gwen is too classy to ever talk about the real reason why this issue has such legs. She would probably just say it's the typical political posturing that comes with any campaign. But, I wonder if deep inside she resents this affront to her professionalism. I wonder if she resents having to prove herself once again after all these years. Having to prove she can "fit in."

I know I would.



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What You Gonna Do When the "Race Issue" Comes for You?

I'm so tired of reading, writing and talking about the race issue.

Not because I don't think it's important. I do. And it's not because I think it's one of those problems that just can't be solved. I think it's very solvable. Nope, I'm tired of discussing the race issue because it seems like nobody really wants to "talk."

We'd all prefer to "converse."

Some of y'all are shaking your heads and wondering if I understand that "converse" and "talk" are synonyms. Trust me, I'm pretty good with words so I was aware of that. But, in my mind, despite the dictionary definitions, those two words don't really mean the same thing.

See, when I discuss the Obama candidacy with my co-workers, we're conversing. When I discuss it with y'all, we're having a real talk. When guys talk to girls for the first time on the phone, they are conversing. When guys are trying to explain the naked pictures of their old girlfriends that their new woman just found, well then they are doing some sho' nuff talking.

Conversing implies a surface conversation; one where no feathers are ruffled and no imaginary lines are crossed. Talking is what you do when you're comfortable and want to get to the truth. Conversing makes people feel good about problems, talking can actually solve problems.

When it comes to racial issues, most of us prefer to converse. I just read this story about a racial incident at a Quaker college and the whole article is an attempt to "converse" about race. There ain't a shred of real talk in the article and the only useful information is the comment that many Americans view economic success as a "zero sum" game. (That means that most folks figure that if you succeed, it means there is less success out there in the world for them. Sounds stupid, but in my experience, it's a pretty accurate observation.)

If y'all check out the article, it's about students hanging an effigy of Barack Obama from a tree at a college in the Northwest. Attached to the effigy was a note that railed against an affirmative-action styled program at the college. The article tries to determine the motives of the students who hung the effigy without actually talking to them. And, wouldn't you know, the article dances around discussing the most obvious explanation.

The students feel like black people are getting an unfair advantage in the world, and Obama is the biggest example of that fact.

It's really that simple. If the article had forcefully and continually attacked that position, instead of pussyfooting around, the world would be a slightly better place right now.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that the best way to combat lies is with the truth. And not some milquetoast versions of the truth, but the unvarnished, factually-based truth. That doesn't mean you have to be rude, but it does mean that you cannot co-sign lies. This approach has lost me many a romantic interest and a few friends, but it's still the approach I prefer.

When it comes to race, we just need to step up to the plate and talk this ish out. Let white folks say how they really feel, and then let them listen to how black people feel about those opinions. Then lets bring in the stats that matter when it comes to racial disparities. More importantly, the media, and other individuals with knowledge, need to do a better job of showing people the true reach of affirmative action.

I think that if white Americans were hit over the head with the facts about how few black people actually benefit from affirmative action it would be much harder for them to hold some of the views they hold. Instead, too often we tend to avoid talking about why affirmative action was created and what it actually does because we don't want to have that kind of "talk." We "converse" about how sad it is that certain people hold such outdated racial views, but we rarely "talk" about where they get those views from and what's needed to combat them. Once we start having those talks, then we can start taking some action.

As long as we keep conversing, we'll just have cottonmouth.














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Raving Black Lunatic