…it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (MacBeth)

So the Republicans have taken the house, to say I am underwhelmed would be and understatement.  No shaking in my shoes here, nor I would dare say at the White House.  I imagine because having lived this long you learn a few things, like anger does not prepare anyone for leadership and that once the hype wears off and reality sets in, a more realistic picture begins to emerge and all at once things just aren’t that cut and dry anymore.

I didn’t watch any of the fervid, newly elected Representatives passionately reading the constitution on the floors of the Capital, nor did I hear the outburst from the one delusional soul who chose that moment to vent his feelings on the legitimacy of Mr. Obama’s presidency. Some things I can’t listen to especially because I understand the man they are vilifying is a constitutional lawyer who taught the subject and is clearly better equipped to speak on and interpret it than anyone doing a paltry reading.  But this is America where we allow the lunatics to run the asylum and elevate the simple above the profound.

Here’s a note to the Tea Party fanatics, Barack Obama is President of the United States.  That ship has sailed and he can no more be expunged from the pages of history any more than you can stop the waves from crashing to the shore.  It’s done.  So what’s left now, a blatant attack on his legacy, even if it means further adding to the national debt, or denying healthcare to the millions of people the President fought hard to provide with some dignity.

A note of   caution here, anger and hatred, regardless of its disguise only goes so far and it won’t take long before the very people you purport to speak for begin to understand that the way in which you are seeking to undermine the President will end up hurting them in the long run. 

Having a child taken off their parents insurance even though they are in college and not working, is not an issue that affects only Democrats; neither is the ability of insurance companies to drop coverage for people who become critically ill.  And when you accuse the President of introducing socialized medicine, even as your parents utilize Medicare, you should understand and acknowledge your own hypocrisy.

So for now you have the House and the floor, due primarily to anger with the Democrats for squandering an opportunity to stand with and support the President on our behalf; but don’t get too comfortable because I seriously doubt you will be able to deliver on those foaming promises made during the sound and fury of a campaign, the end result of which now requires you show leadership which will be a cold and a chilling reality for you.

 In the meantime 2012 is coming and I plan to be one of many who will help re-elect President Obama to a second term and the waves will still keep crashing to the shore.

 

Dirty, Rotten, Scoundrels

A few years ago I happened to see the movie Dirty, Rotten, Scoundrels the gist of which was a group of aging con artists combining forces to romance and eventually rob a wealthy woman.  It was quite entertaining and also very telling about how often alliances are formed out of a common desire to steal, discredit or undermine.  In this case I am referring to the mainstream American media and their equally underhanded counterparts in the United States Senate which many times respond to stories in the press like a puppy chasing its tail.

 

It is no secret that the media in this country has changed and that lust for popularity and creating their own storylines has replaced anything resembling the type of methodical, investigative journalism found now only on programs like 60 Minutes, the Newshour and Bill Moyers Journal.  Nowhere has this become more evident than from the moment President Obama took the oath of office.

 

I remember it distinctly because I was at the ceremony and after returning to the hotel and listening to the recap on the news; I wondered if I had attended the same event these reporters had.  The President was still making the rounds of the inaugural balls when his speech was being dissected as to what he said and did not say and of course the inevitable comparison to other inaugural speeches. To my mind, he could have stood on the steps of the Capital and recited the 23rd psalm, so great was my relief that George Bush was no longer in office, that this Jamaican/American who does not like cold weather, stood with the million other well wishers to let my President know, that by just being there, he embodied all my hopes and aspirations for the America I had known, but which had been hijacked and taken down a dark and narrow path.  The media didn’t get that, or maybe they did, but that story line wasn’t that compelling.

 

The media is after all skilled in extracting just the right sound bite and adding just enough to fan the flames of their own contrived story line, leaving most of us to wonder where these American people they are so fond of referring to actually live.  Nowhere has this been more evident than in the ongoing fight for healthcare reform. 

 

In recent days I have found myself humming Bob Marley’s “Ambush in the night” mainly out of frustration and realizing just how apropos his words seem, especially given the media’s all out onslaught to contrive and circulate bad news, without ever acknowledging the American people who are hurting who desperately need healthcare reform and who will bear the brunt of its failure, but who don’t have the energy to indulge in histrionics in order to get their voices heard. 

  “They say what we know
Is just what they teach us;
And we’re so ignorant
‘Cause every time they can reach us”
    I wonder if one of these conscienceless media outlets has spoken to someone who wanted to see a public option because their deductible is so high that they will never make it for the year,  as a result of which they will pay for insurance the entire year without the benefit of having it cover any of their illnesses.  I know this first hand because I work in healthcare environment.  It is not possible to present a balanced picture, or argue the minutiae of an argument without addressing the issue in its entirety.  There is no point in getting caught up in a debate over paper or plastic, when the goal is getting your grocery home. Competition has been the hallmark of the American society except when it comes to providing essential services to the American people.  Why isn’t the media looking out for our interest and asking the hard questions, do they think this is above our heads, do they think we are really that stupid?  I don’t even watch the news anymore because for me it is an exercise in frustration.  I am not invisible and will not be treated that way and until they acknowledge me and the fact that I know their ability for spin, they really have nothing to say to me. As upset as I am with the media, I am probably even more so with the United States Senate and at this point can say quite unequivocally I have no intention of supporting anyone with my vote or funds.  What has taken place over the past few months has been nothing short of a disgrace.  Republicans I understand, in my estimation they are the modern day Pharisees, so bound up in the law and maintaining their perception of the “status quo” i.e. their money, that they will go to any lengths including using people’s religious beliefs as a guilt trip to force them to vote against their own self interest in the name of god.    “Through political strategy
They keep us hungry
And when you gonna get some food
Your brother got to be your enemy”
 The Democrats are a whole other issue; these people had the power and let it slip because they couldn’t rise to the occasion.  The healthcare bill which would have lightened the load of so many people is now so watered down that it is essentially useless, due to the egregious behavior of some senators who have gone to great lengths to stop the President’s ambitious agenda.  One has to wonder how much of this is out of any real concern, or if there isn’t a racial underpinning to their foot shuffling. One cannot lose sight of the fact that healthcare reform has been attempted by several presidents and each time it has ended in failure.  Should President Obama manage to get this passed, this would be a major accomplishment, one that would certainly earn him a distinction and a place in history.  Human nature being what it is, that is a hard pill to swallow for some in the senate, who like former president Bill Clinton still have a problem with someone who looks like Barack Obama holding the highest office in the land,  instead of fetching coffee for himself as he suggested to the late Ted Kennedy. What better way to stall this president’s agenda that throw up all contrived arguments and delays so the media can trumpets how far the President’s approval rating has fallen based on their own assessment of the “American people” without stopping to make the distinction that what they are actually seeing is an overwhelming anger toward the Democrats for their failure to act, not our President who we not only understand, but fully support.  We also know fully that we elected a President not a King, who unfortunately has to work with a gutless, treacherous and ignoble lot who I predict will find one of their own to challenge the President for the White House in 2012. Personally, I don’t see why the President would run again in 2012 if this type of betrayal and treachery is what he has to look forward to.  He is a man who has a lot to live for, he has a wonderful family, the respect of a world that is also watching how he is being treated and rather than lay with the dogs of war, he should extract himself in a dignified manner, leave the mongrels to fight over the scraps and never, never, never give an interview to another news outlet.

 

The Wailers in Alabama

The Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Alabama in Birmingham is a place of refinement and culture where one can enjoy programs as varied as Cirque de Soleil, classical performances by the symphony, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater or the legendary Nancy Wilson.   These recitals are usually met with enthusiastic, but polite applause as befits the venue, that was until The Wailers arrived.

 

From the very first opening notes, it was clear this night was going to be different as the band warmed up with a couple of instrumentals.  The beat was solid reggae and Aston “Family Man” Barrett laid down a throbbing bass line that got pulses pumping.  By the time the vocalists took the stage, one young man had already left his seat to present himself in front of the stage where he danced with abandon.  All attempts by the center employees to have him return to his seat fell on deaf ear and he was soon joined by another, then another and after that who really cared, the entire center, from the mezzanine to the balcony was one giant party with people dancing, singing and shouting, The Wailers were in the house and it was rocking.

 

I don’t think the smile left my face as I looked around the auditorium at the diversity represented.  On one side a middle aged, white professor type was out of his seat and rocking to the beat, while next to him, a young brother with dreadlocks was equally enthusiastic in his response to the music.  Without going through a list of the nationalities represented, let me just say last night was truly a global village and I must admit I was amazed at how many people knew the words to just about all the songs.  If I had to choose the biggest numbers of the evening they would have to be “Exodus” and of course “One Love” which had everyone singing at the top of their lungs. 

 

The defining moment for me, given the history of Birmingham was when the group performed “War:”

 

“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another inferior
Is finally and permanently
Discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war”

 

Nothing needed to be added to that moment, it was profound in and of itself.

 

I had the pleasure of meeting the band prior to the show and learned from them that after leaving Birmingham, they were headed to Memphis, Tennessee then on to Greece, and then the UK before returning home.  If the crowd response is any indication of what to expect, then these guys have enthusiastic fans waiting for them at every stop and one thing is for sure, they will not be disappointed.

 

http://www.iwenthungry.org/

 

I WENT HUNGRY is a global music industry initiative started by the legendary reggae band the Wailers to help eradicate hunger.

 

Bible Study – The Pure in Heart.

I’m a Christian, but I have to admit I don’t listen to “Christian” radio or television much, mainly because with very few exceptions, I find myself completely disgusted by all the latter day doom being predicted by so many men and women of the cloth as they find scriptural references to persuade their flock that the end times are upon us, the country is falling apart and God’s judgment is about to rain down on us because we put the wrong person in office.  Since I do have family in other countries I wonder sometimes how all this American theology impacts them and since they are not yet running to the rocks to fall on them, I personally take great comfort in the fact that there is no divine revelation just for the United States, which excludes the rest of God’s creation around the world.  Simply put, if the same Gospel preached in Alabama is not relevant in Johannesburg, it ain’t the Gospel.

 

I won’t even begin to address why these righteous (or self righteous) voices were so quiet in the past 8 years as the country marched off to war on what we now know was fraudulent information, but that is for another day.  At the moment I am focusing more on this Bible that so many are using to postulate their dire predictions and for what it’s worth, thought I would add my two cents. 

 

I would like to begin with one of my favorite quotes made by Jesus himself in his sermon on the mount.  Every Sunday school child, including yours truly learned this as a part of the Beatitudes:  “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”  Matthew 5:8.  I have to tell you I find this verse both comforting, in that it gives me something to strive for, conversely, it can also be quite challenging in that one wonders is it really possible to be “pure in heart.”  Is it in fact possible to empty ourselves on an ongoing basis of our own selfish desires, in order to attain the level of perfection where our motives are pure enough to merit seeing the face of God?

 

Are you in fact pure in heart if you use people’s ignorance as a weapon against them to scare them into believing things that you know to be untrue i.e.  “Obama is going to put grandma in front of a ‘death panel’ that will decide if she gets life saving treatment or not.”  Are you pure in heart if you incite fury and thinly disguised disrespect, aimed at boxing the President in at every turn, with an alarming brand of mediocrity i.e. “Obama is trying to brainwash our children through his broadcast to their schools” while retreating a position of neutral observer.

 

Are you pure in heart when you purposely and willfully concoct stories you know the press, always on the lookout for the most salacious drivel, will be only too happy to latch onto, issuing noble disclaimers only after they have done their level best to pollute the airways by spreading what they know to be total foolishness i.e.  “Obama is not am American he has a fake birth certificate.”

 

There are people like Beck and Limbaugh, from whom I expect very little and who armed with their high school level education, and temperament, never disappoint.  Their ignorance is superseded only by their overwhelming surprise at finding themselves in the position of being able to influence a built in audience; that certain segment of the population who will never accept someone with the “unlikely” name of Barack Obama as “their” president.  The interesting part for me, however, has been the closet  (for lack of a better word) “haters,” who express “shock” at the level of anger at the town halls, even while pointing to them as proof of what people are feeling about healthcare reform.  Really!  I can find just as many people who support healthcare reform, myself included, who can counter with facts not hysterics, sadly, however, we don’t make the news. Admittedly if we tipped a few desks and shook our fists in the air we might start getting some coverage but as it is we speak truth to power in settings such as the candlelight vigil I attended last week in Birmingham, Alabama, where a mixed group of people (a story in itself) shared their stories and pledged their support for the President’s healthcare initiative.

 

Anyway, back to my favorite verse about the pure in heart because it would seem to me from where I sit; in order to be considered “pure” one has to empty ones self of personal agendas, selfishness, prejudices, impure motives and that secret desire to wreak havoc while maintaining a dignified position.  One wonders if it’s possible at all, especially with all the agendas, under the table deals and of course those well paid lobbyists who are throwing unbelievable sums of money at any politician they think will help them in their fight against healthcare reform.  Reminds me of a verse I read recently, Proverbs 29:4 “The king (president) by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.” 

 

It would seem at the end of the day as King Solomon said “there is truly nothing new under the sun.”  The poor and disenfranchised have always been with us, hoping for someone to do the right thing on their behalf; the ones who can’t see past their own self interest and who will do whatever is necessary to take care of their own needs have also been here.  For my part, I have learned to tune out a lot of the chatter around me these days because there is a huge difference between righteousness and self-righteousness which is what I see in evidence among those who would vilify the President. 

 

 I don’t believe that anything good comes from the visceral, hate filled spectacles that have played out on the news, rather, it is my belief that purity of heart is realized in acts of total unselfishness without fanfare or even press coverage.  That it is standing up for others and speaking truth to power, without hype, or screaming rhetoric.  That it is not asking “What would Jesus do” but instead answering the question through actions, because at the end of the day, purity is about looking in the mirror and being pleased with the person you see looking back, because you know you did the right thing, for no other reason than it was the right thing to do.

 

My vote – My choice

I am not a Democrat.  Lest anyone get the wrong impression, neither am I a Republican.  After seeing politics up close and personal as a Congressional Aide for a Democratic Congresswoman, whom I couldn’t even bring myself to vote for, I completely lost all interest in the process and eventually registered as an Independent voter.  I felt I had nothing in common with the Democratic Party which seemed to be an all encompassing free for all that stood for everything and nothing.   That was until President Obama emerged and his call for responsibility, accountability and a new way of doing business in America eventually got my fervent support.  I’m still an Independent but was more than happy to support the President and still am.

My decision has taken on even more meaning these past few days as I have watched the increasing debate around healthcare reform and the fact that some Democrats seem unable to focus on what is at stake here, but instead would rather play the same old politics with people’s lives.

I’m not surprised at the Republicans, they after all are simply carrying out the expressed wishes of their great and grand leader Rush Limbaugh, who prays the President will fail.  What is alarming, however, is the short sightedness of those elected Democrats who are focusing so much on the trees that they can’t see the forest.  Where were these voices of reason when the former President was rushing headlong into an unnecessary war,  one I might add which was not budgeted for and which according to CNN could cost $1.6 trillion. 

My question is why is there money for everything else but for the health and well being of the American people whose tax dollars make these ventures possible in the first place.  I work in the healthcare industry and I see what patients have to go through to get precertified for examinations, even when they pay their monthly premiums faithfully.  I also have relatives and friends who have transitioned from one job to another only to find the prospect of continuing their coverage through COBRA nothing but a cruel, grossly unaffordable joke.

Why is there not money to help provide healthcare, but money for everything else.  Why are we the pawns of the insurance companies.   Why did we not even have this conversation years ago when the Republicans were firmly in control of the reins.  Why is it now that there is a serious attempt to do something for “We the People” that all of a sudden we are being told the President’s plan is catastrophic and will put us in debt.  Hello! Is anyone listening, we’re already there; we inherited a nightmare from the previous administration.

Personally, if this measure fails I hope that no politician thinks they can count on my vote again because the bottom line is I voted for someone I respected whom I believe firmly has put the American people first and is looking out for the wellbeing of all Americans.  My vote is not an exercise in futility, if they fail to support him on this critical measure, I hope none of these posturing, preening, empty suits think they can count on my support in the future.   

 

Michael – A tribute

I’m not an emotional person.  When you get to my age, have buried your parents, endured a divorce and suffered your fair, or unfair share of hurt and pain, you learn to process disappointment with a certain sense or resignation; yet I cried when I heard the news about Michael Jackson’s passing.

I cannot begin to describe the profound sense of sadness or emptiness I experienced, the only thing I could liken it to, is losing a close friend, or someone in my own family.  The truth is, in many ways I had; after all, we had all grown up with Michael and his brothers. 

The news hardly got out before the media hysteria was in full effect and I switched from network to network to watch all the announcers jockey to see who could break the story faster and with their own spin.  In the midst of the mayhem, I kept looking for a black face who would not only know the words that poured out so vociferously from these media darlings, but who, more importantly understood the meaning behind those words. 

I didn’t want someone who could spew the Michael Jackson story as some late breaking, headline grabbing story of the century, with an eye toward embellishing themselves, or prefacing their next career move.  I wanted someone who could tell me with emotion in their voice and the same profound sense of sadness I was feeling, that we had just lost Mike, a beautiful and rare talent.  It’s never enough to know the words, without knowing the meaning behind the words.

I had just turned 15 when I moved to the United States, it was the year after Dr. Martin Luther King had been killed and several cities still bore the scars of the riots that had ensued.  I remember my father took me to Newark, New Jersey to show me some of the areas that had been burned to the ground, I am still not sure why.  Maybe he wanted to introduce me to the dynamics of race in America, or what anger looked like.  This was also the year when the Jackson 5 made their debut and as they say the rest was history.

My friends will tell you that my favorite expression is “God has a sense of humor” because he always seems to have a way of overturning what we have come to accept as the norm and set things on their heads.  I say that because by the time I got ready to graduate high school the Jackson 5 were more than a household name in America and in fact when they played Madison Square Garden in New York there was total pandemonium in the city.  Imagine that, less than 5 years after that awful day in Memphis a group of 5 black brothers brought the Big Apple to a standstill.  How could someone who wasn’t even born at that time now tell me about Michael Jackson as if I am a novice. 

Clearly the press thinks very highly of itself because they are always creating their own version of reality and telling us who we should be in awe of.  With Mike we did not need their help, his talent emanated from somewhere deep inside and left us truly awestruck in ways they can only now struggle to understand in a vain attempt to put into words the feelings that Mike engendered in us all, when all they need to do is just shut up, listen, watch and marvel.

I would like to tell them; we don’t need a lesson in Michael Jackson from you.  We are the ones who bought the albums, danced to the music and bought every issue of “Right On” as soon as it hit the newsstand, as we decided which brother we liked the most or which ones we had crushes on. We learned all the dance moves, wore the funky clothes and watched Mike grow before our eyes until his talent propelled him to a solo career. We don’t need any “breaking news” to tell us about Mike.

We were with him when this same media tried to destroy him with their quest for the inglorious details of the charges against him, which we did not believe for a second.   And we even felt his pain on the most intimate level as he endured his own psychic trauma as he sought to bring his music to an even wider audience, even as forces such as MTV, Motown and even well intentioned family members tried to deny or contain this talented man, who broke through all the boundaries that others tried to set for him. 

Mike was ethereal, gentle, calculating and supremely talented.  His music flowed through him like an endless stream, one he could not contain but simply channel.  He was our Mike and we knew his pain even as he morphed before our very eyes into this new and strange being.  And he was strange, I say that without judgment because he was not like us and I have no idea what it was like in his world, how lonely, how isolated.  I only know that my eight-year-old grandson was mesmerized when we dug out an old video of “Free Willie” to watch one cold Saturday evening and he saw Mike perform the theme song. This was the first time he had ever seen Mike but I quickly had to find other videos on You Tube for him to watch, such was the power of the man.

 I am told Einstein operated on a level so much above our understanding that he would go to work wearing two different socks; clothes were so irrelevant to him.   I would like to think Michael operated on the same level, his only sadness being, in his humility; he still cared what we thought about him, wanted us to love him back.

Mike has left us now, I am sure I will cry some more in the days to come and I hope his funeral doesn’t become a three ring circus because he deserves better than that from the people who really admired him, not the ones who came late to this party, even if they are holding microphones.

 

Why I support Tim Geithner

I learned some things during the Bush years that I have really come to appreciate.  Probably the most important is that I am a lot less emotional than I used to be.  After seeing first hand how Bush and his cohorts used emotions to whip their evangelical followers into a religious fervor totally hijacked the lines between church and state, I made a promise to myself that I would undertake a personal transformation, turn down the rhetoric and start assuming a more pragmatic and careful assessment of situations and arguments being presented to me.  I might add here that this is a lesson the GOP has clearly not learned as they keep fielding people like Joe the plumber, the infamous Sarah and the bellicose Rush, all of whom are meant to foment a rebellion of sort, because God knows they are the only ones’ who truly have their finger on the pulse of the “American people.”

I often wonder who these people are to whom they are referring, because clearly I have never met them.  I suspect they live in some alternate  universe where hyperbole is the norm and where they only get trotted out when needed to illustrate the universality of an idea, no matter how inane. What I have found to be true is there is no universal idea that holds true for any of the Americans I know or interact with, which is after all the beauty of this country.

Of course pulling back to an observant sideline is by no means an indication that I am in a retreat mode, or about to give ground on things I feel strongly about, far from it.  Rather it’s about learning how to choose my battles; knowing which fires are worth putting out and which should be put out in short order.  Which brings me to Tim Geithner.

My curiosity as to  what about this man so scares the GOP and the cable show pundits that they seem to be on an all out witch hunt for his head, sent me to the internet in an effort to educate myself about Mr. Geithner.  What I learned was most interesting beginning with his qualifications. Clearly this is not someone who just came out of nowhere to his new role as Secretary of the Treasury

From the Department of Treasury’s website

http://www.ustreas.gov/organization/bios/geithner-e.shtml

On January 26, 2009, Timothy F. Geithner was sworn in as the 75th Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury.Before his nomination to the Treasury, Secretary Geithner served as the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he began on November 17, 2003. Secretary Geithner first joined the Department of Treasury in 1988 and worked in three administrations for five Secretaries of the Treasury in a variety of positions. He served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs from 1999 to 2001 under Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.He was director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 until 2003. Before joining the Treasury, Secretary Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates, Inc.Secretary Geithner graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree in government and Asian studies in 1983 and from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a master’s in International Economics and East Asian Studies in 1985. He has studied Japanese and Chinese and has lived in East Africa, India, Thailand, China, and Japan.

In fact CNN, a network that always seems alternately to always be looking for a bandwagon to jump on, or whipping people into a frenzy with their over the top style of reporting, seemed to agree: http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/20/news/newsmakers/geithner.questions.fortune/index.htm

 When Obama announced in November that he intended to nominate Geithner, financial markets rallied. Observers applauded Geithner’s experience, including the six years he has spent as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” I find it interesting that all that good will has faded in just a matter of months as we have been subjected to the onslaught of pop culture journalism.  Which makes the excerpt from Yahoo news even more meaningful in light of my premise that emotionalism has no place in serious media because it is a weapon that undercuts serious journalism.  I like to think of Charlie Rose as the antithesis of much of the hot air that permeates cable news, and the excerpt describing Mr. Geithner as a “thoughtful man” is precisely what we miss when we run headlong after sound bites and the people who perpetrate them. From Yahoo News http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20090312/ts_ynews/ynews_ts254“To be fair, Geithner gave a fuller accounting of himself and his ideas in an hour-long interview on PBS’ “Charlie Rose” a few days later. The thoughtful man sitting across the table from Rose seems a far cry from the dithering caricature being pilloried in the media.” So what is my point.  At the end of my research is that those who would like to have Mr. Geithner’s head, are the ones who most fear the fact that he is right.  That he will actually help the Obama administration turn the economy around to one that is more responsible, equitable and accountable and not given to playing Russian roulette with people’s future.   

It is imperative that we not lose sight of the much larger picture, in that removing Mr. Geithner will open the door of attack against the very foundation on which President Obama is defining his presidency. 

 Comparatively speaking, my co-workers and I are not high rollers, when our 401k’s take a hit, it means something, especially since most of us are in our 50’s.  What I don’t need, however, is someone who is full of spit, vinegar and hot air trying to sell me a quick fix for getting us out of this hole.  Personally,  I  am more comfortable with Mr. Geithner at the helm of this present economic nightmare.  Emotions might have worked before, they shouldn’t  this time, and they won’t if people step back from the bait, educate themselves and start questioning the credentials and motives of some of these people who are doing all the talking.  I have found a good place to start is  turning off most of the cable shows and turning on the Newshour which seems to be one of the few places that provides a balanced assessment on the state of the economy without the yelling and posturing..   At the end of the day, if I have to thank George Bush for anything, it is for making me less emotional and more pragmatic.  As such, I think I will stick with Mr. Geithner who has demonstrated much grace under pressure, as he has withstood the onslaught of those in Congress who are jockeying for points they hope will play well with their constituents during their next campaign; all at the expense of this decent man who is solid and more knowledgeable on the subject,  than anyone else in the room and is  using a methodical approach to finding a solution that will be sustainable and not just a temporary fix.  After all the man has children too, I would think he has a vested interest in what happens to their future. For those who truly need a media darling and the surrounding hoopla, well he sort of looks like Warren Beatty.

 

Why I Love Michelle Obama’s Mother

The other day while walking down the hallway at work a black lady passed me with the most alarming shade of yellow hair that I had ever seen.  I didn’t laugh; my response was actually something closer to an ache in my chest, especially when I saw the sideways glance of the other mainly, white people who also passed her, followed by their cynical smiles.  To them this woman, who seemed to more clearly identify herself with Anna Nicole, was nothing more than an object of ridicule.

I have always found it quite interesting that while for so many years we have touted the banner of being beautiful people, we spend a small fortune at the hairdresser or beauty  supply stores purchasing the items we think we need to be beautiful.  It is as if no one has taught us or our daughters that true beauty comes from a sense of confidence that shines from the inside out and is not a race to the finish line to see who will be the most eye popping.

I can’t blame my sisters.  For years we listened to the Wesley Snipes of the world tell us about our attitudes, even as we watched our men leave us to find those who wore their confidence effortlessly and seemed to be more “polished” than we could ever be.  Only a few seemed to understand or care that on this journey of life, we also needed their support and appreciation to boost our self esteem, so we too would be polished and confident.  Thankfully the times are changing and I now see more and more young black women who are stepping forward, head held high to claim their place in the world.

And then there’s Michelle.  The First Lady of these United States who has obliterated all the things so many people have said for so many years and all the sideways glances and all the ridicule, to show us what a force all black women could be given a chance and the right role models.  One has to stand in awe of the woman behind Michelle who kept her daughter focused and steadfast in the face of so many negatives. 

Like Michelle’s mom, I too am old enough to remember when Essence was The Magazine for Today’s Black Woman” because white cosmetics companies shunned the publication like the plague.  Of course that was before black woman started coming into their own and their earning power began to increase.  I remember when all we had was Posner’s and Fashion Fair because, aside from the various companies promising us long hair if we used their pomades, no one catered to us.  No one saw us as beautiful, or that our self esteem was taking a beating.  We were never the object of love and desire on the screen; we were loose women, loud over bearing women, or maids, deserving only abuse and subservience.  Yet, in spite of all the negatives, Mrs. Robinson raised a daughter who stood straight and tall, believed in herself, looked the world in the eye and didn’t flinch for a second.  It is almost as if she knew she was rearing a First Lady.

So thank you Mrs. Robinson for giving us Michelle because we are grateful on so many levels, that I personally could not even begin to tell you.  I only know that because of you our loads are a lot lighter these days and there is more of a spring in my step because the future is brighter and like Michelle my girls can also look the world in the face without flinching.

 

Dear Mr. President

I plan to buy a home this year, not a house but a home.  A house is something you buy, possibly with an eye toward reselling at some point in the future; some of which has been done recklessly both on the part of the buyers and unscrupulous financial institutions in the past few years.

 

At 54 I am purchasing a home, because with you in office I now feel safer and more confident that I finally have an advocate; someone who is working on my behalf and who will do his level best to ensure my home, my job and the laws that protect me will be fair, just and equitable for me and for the people of this great country. 

 

I have heard your critics, those determined to wring the life and vitality out of something they can’t even begin to understand, even though the common people clearly do.  Mr. President you won the election which means you won the hearts, support and goodwill of the American people.  We needed a champion and we chose you, not because you are a “rock star” but because we were sick and tired of being serfs in the American feudal system.  You won because we wanted to exhale and this is what the GOP does not understand.  We might not have the advance degrees but we know what relief feels like and that is what we voted for.  To go against you now means turning our backs on our own self interests and going back into a dark, abusive, one sided relationship.  Why would we do that when we can finally feel the sun on our faces.

 

So the GOP is out in a fury trying to create their own self fulfilling prophesies insinuating that “the American people have doubts.”  That’s interesting, because no one I have spoken with at work, church or even socially has any doubts about the necessity of the stimulus.  The fact that the stock market rose preemptively last week after the dismal news about job losses, indicates that they are of the mind that clearly the Senate now “gets it” and will vote to pass this Bill.  That there is still ongoing discussion, only highlights the disconnect between Washington and Main Street and shows that this is more about politics than the people.

 

 We understand fully that the Republicans are between a rock and a hard place in that if the stimulus is passed and the economy begins to turn around they will be have a lot of explaining to do next election; which is why they are insisting on actions they know will impact people like me in a negative way.  Cutting back on aid to the states means my local taxes will go up, while services like fire, police, trash etc. will be reduced and which will provide them with fodder for their next campaign in their districts.  This is both mean spirited and cynical.

 

My singular hope is that a lot of the rhetoric being tossed around on the Senate floor will resurface in campaign ads during the next election so people like Lindsey Graham who complained about the bill “stinking up the place” will have to explain his reasoning to his constituents, whom I hope, will in turn ensure he knows first hand what it feels like to lose his job.

 

On the other hand, I also understand that you are gracious enough to give credit where credit is due to those Republicans who rose to the occasion, put country first and in the spirit of bipartisanship helped to pass the Bill.  I also understand, however, that there is a time and a place for everything and if your offer of bipartisanship is rejected as it was in the house, that you are under no obligation to keep casting your pearls, or going to anyone hat in hand, especially when you already have the strong support of those of us who don’t get our opinions from talk show blowhards.

 

In closing Mr. President, might I again restate that I plan to buy a home this year, possibly a new car, after getting comfortable with a new house payment, that I plan to plant a rose garden, do some traveling and have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family.   My friends, family and I pray for you daily that God will protect you and your family, grant you wisdom and order your steps as you work on behalf of his people. “Seeing you are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, I pray you will set aside all the distractions and run with patience the race that is set before you.”

 God bless you Mr. President

 

Personally, I couldn’t care less

So the Republicans are voting against every measure put forward by President Obama from stemming the downward spiral of the economy to delaying the switch to HD television, what a shock!

 

It’s not as if we didn’t see this coming, they are so discombobulated at the moment that they even have McCain warning the President to back off Rush Limbaugh and oh yes electing a new Republican Chairman in the form of a black man they think will help them redefine and launch their desperately needed outreach to the people they have treated like (with apologies to Barbara Striesand)  “the pimple on the nose of life’s complexion” for more years than we care to remember.  Good luck on that, wonder if Rush will have him on his show.

 

Here’s what I think after standing in the cold on the National Mall in the middle of an energized, joyful sea of faces, if I were a Republican I think I would find ways to work with the President, to do otherwise will seem petty and trifling.  Our President is a very cool under pressure individual who is always surveying the landscape, who has extended the hand of cooperation if not friendship, not out of weakness, but out of the desire to give them an opportunity to say we found these solutions together.

 

At the end of the day, however, these elected officials have to remember they did not vote for President Obama the American people did and as such it is incumbent on him to work for the ones who put him there and not the ones who are trying to make a name for themselves by opposing him. 

 

It is evident from listening that some of the objections to the stimulus plan have not been thought out and is just plain desperate.  What is the use of touting tax cuts over spending when the unemployment numbers are astronomical.  What will tax cuts do if you are unemployed and not paying taxes?  So who exactly are the Republicans proposing these tax cuts for, more for the richest Americans no doubt.

 

And while we are on the subject, might I just ask where were these super geniuses when Bush was driving the economy off a cliff.  After all they were the majority party, why didn’t anyone speak up then.  The country has been in a recession since 2007 why are they just finding their voices now to oppose the President. 

 I will tell you why, because the Republicans have always been known more for pomp and pretension, self righteousness and keeping themselves sanitized from the common people, rather than meeting people in the very real world where real men and women struggle daily with real issues and have to make real and very painful choices in order to make ends meet.  So while they puff themselves up with their petty outrage and look for things to nitpick and argue about whether the President has disrespected the Oval Office because he doesn’t wear a jacket, they miss the point that he is about the business of the people, something that should be near and dear to their hearts as duly elected officials. Personally I couldn’t care less if the President showed up for work in a kilt as long as he does what he promised to do.