Racism in the 2008 Election

The latest statistics I’ve heard indicate that 15% of voters admit that race will still play a role in their decision for President.  The statistics don’t say whether or not it will be a positive role or a negative role, just that 15% will take race into consideration.  I was not raised to consider race in anything, so it is something I don’t understand.  I didn’t know what racism was until at least high school and even then I didn’t hang around with a crowd that was racist so it wasn’t something I thought about.

In the early 1970’s I was in grammar school at Verplank Elementary School in Manchester, Connecticut. I learned how to jump rope, Double Dutch style, from my friends Janet Cooper and Audrey Gaines.  I got so good at Double Dutch that I was better than they were.  But they weren’t mad.  The were proud of me.  We were friends.  I knew that they came to school every day on a bus.  I knew that they lived in Hartford and that is where the buses took them home to every night.  But I didn’t know why, or think about why.  I didn’t care why, I didn’t even question why.   I think I just assumed that there weren’t enough schools in Hartford.  It certainly wasn’t something that I thought was out of the ordinary.  In fact, I was jealous that they got to ride the bus (until I got older and actually rode a bus to school every day).  My parents never mentioned anything about busing and it wasn’t talked about in school.  It wasn’t until many, many years later when busing kids from the inner city out to the suburbs became an issue again sometime in the 1990’s that I even realized that my grammar school was part of desegregation.

My 3 older brothers went to a vocational technical school in Manchester as well.   My oldest brother had a best friend named Eric Coke.   They were much older than I was back then.  My oldest brother and I are only 6 years apart but back then it seemed like generations.  Eric lived in Hartford.  Eric would often stay at our house on weeknights when they boys had a night game or something and it was just easier for Eric to stay with us rather than have his parents or mine drive back and forth to Hartford.  He would come to our house for things like Halloween and dress up with all of us.  We used to laugh because back then with the Polaroid instant cameras, the quality was so bad, and Eric had such a dark, very dark, complexion, he would disappear in the picture unless he smiled.  It wasn’t something racist to us, it was just a funny matter of fact.  We laughed, he laughed, we went trick-or-treating, and that was just another normal day at our house.  I was the youngest of 6 and we’re all about a year apart.  So having one more, or two more people around wasn’t unusual.

Many years after my father died in 1984, my mother and I met for lunch somewhere.  We got to talking about the old days.  I was still in my “I’m going to write a novel” phase.  So I started asking a lot of questions about my father, his past, his upbringing, etc.  My mother told me a story about how my Dad helped the one and only black family in our neighborhood get a mortgage.  He spent weeks going from bank to bank with this man until somebody would give him a mortage.   I didn’t know any of this.  And I certainly didn’t know that banks could be so blatantly racist as to not give a black man a mortgage for a house in a white suburb.  Of course it happened right before I was born.  But it wasn’t something my father bragged about and it wasn’t part of our family story.  It was just something my father did because that’s the kind of man my father was.  He didn’t brag about it because he didn’t want to teach his children that people were different and those differences led to people being treated differently.  I think he wanted to shield us from the evils of life as long as he could.

I am somewhat of a loner.  I don’t like people all that much.  I have always hand-picked the people who are an integral part of my life.  There are a lot of reasons to hate people.  They are crazy.  They are selfish. They are self-centered.  They are dumb, racist, bigoted, loud, misinformed, uncaring, childish.  The list goes on an on.  I can’t image that of all the reasons there are to hate people, someone is going to go with color????  I was raised better than that.

I did not have the best of childhoods and I never really identified with my parents.  They never truly understood me and I did not understand them.  I don’t recall them being very affectionate and loving and I don’t recall really loving them all that much.  Of course that has changed and I have re-evaluated many things over the years.  I learned to understand my mother better and I learned that I am so much like my father that it’s scary.  The big difference between me and him is I don’t have a problem telling people how I really feel.  But when I look back and think about all the things my parents did, and didn’t do, I thank them because I was not raised to hate anybody.  I was not raised to hate those who were different; different from me, or different from the norm, or different from what society said they should be.

I know I am probably living in a fantasy world about the subject of racism.  When I first heard Barack Obama give a speech at the 2004 DNC, I was in awe of him.  I thought, “what a great President he would be”.  And I never even gave race a minute of thought.  I just thought to myself, “Finally, someone who is smart and can inspire me and others to be proud Americans”.

So to me, even if one person refused to vote for a man or woman for President simply because of skin color, that’s one too many.


What would MLK do?

You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? Although it wasn’t what would MLK do, it was “what would Jeses do?” I’ve turned the protagonist of this story from a man in antiquity who died for his beliefs to a man from 1968 who died for his beliefs.

What would Marting Luther King Jr. say about what is going on today in American politics? I can’t say for sure. I never knew Martin Luther King Jr. and when he was gunned down on the fateful day in Memphis, Tennessee, I was only 3 and a half years old.

On November 4, 2008, in the wee hours of the morning, or even beyond that, as recent elections have made seem possible, Barack Obama may become the next President Elect of the United States of America. And on January 20, 2008 when Barack Obama takes the oath of office with his hand, his head, and his heart held high, swearing to defend and uphold the U.S. Constitution and to protect all of us within its borders, Martin Luther King Jr., I believe, would be proud.

Not because after all these years, an African American has become President of the United States “even though” he is black. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud because Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, and the fact that he is black makes no difference at all.

Why is Obama slipping in the Polls?

I don’t know.  I always see the results of polls but I have no clue how the polls are taken.  Of all the people I know in this world and of all the people I have known in my life, I have never once, never heard of anyone being asked their opinion in one of these so-called polls.  I’ve never been asked.  My mother has never been asked.  My brothers and sisters, cousins, friends — nobody.  So how can I trust that these polls are accurate; or that they were actually taken in some scientific manner at all.

So according to somebody’s “numbers” generated by somebody’s “poll”, Obama isn’t as far ahead as some think he should be.  What the hell does that even mean.

And I heard a very good argument today to which I had not given much thought, but it makes sense.  A great deal of younger voters, and older voters like me, don’t have a home phone, just a cell phone.  And polls are only taken on land line phones.  The Republicans and the right wing media will portray this information as a joke or a ploy that the Democrats are using to explain away their “losses”.  But it is true.  Think about it.  And how many people in the middle of summer are sitting by their phones waiting for the pollsters to call?

I didn’t listen to the polls when Obama was ahead and I’m not going to listen to him when he’s behind.  What I am going to listen to is first and foremost, my own voice.  The little one inside my head that I can trust.  Then, the voices of those around me.  My family, my friends, the people that visit my blog; they all give extensive opinions about the candidates and I can judge pretty well what’s going on.

However, the media is so hungry for something to fill up the 24 hours of television programming they must fill every day that they will come up with any topic, and surround themselves with “experts” to evaluate poll numbers as to things like why Obama slipped a point, or why McCain gained 2 points or whatever.  I’m going to suggest that when FOX News (I use that term loosely), CNN, MSNBC, and the like run out of real topics, just put up reruns of “Green Acres” or something.   It’s funny, AND Eva Gabor speaks better English than George Bush.

Get over yourselves.

Women, Hillary, Obama, and McCain

As an Obama supporter, I would have been extremely disappointed, even mad, if he did not get the nomination for Democratic Presidential Candidate.   There was a time when things looked bleak and I said to myself that I would vote for ANYBODY rather than Hillary Clinton.  So I understand what Hillary supporters are feeling.  I watched the Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting aftermath and the women who were so angry; they were yelling and screaming and crying.  Their emotions were overflowing and they felt betrayed by somebody.

In trying to keep this in perspective, I tried to put myself in their shoes.  How would I have felt if it were Obama who was “robbed”?  Who would I lash out at on my blog or elsewhere?

After much thought, I came to some conclusions.  Barack Obama himself was not the reason that Hillary Clinton did not win the nomination.  He did not decide how the Bylaw Committee would vote.  He did not say anything even remotely misogynistic about Hillary Clinton or any other woman.  He has no control over how the press decides to cover Hillary and her campaign.  Yet these fervent Hillary supporters, with all of their displaced anger, are willing to punish Barack Obama by not supporting him, or voting for him.  I understand that they may want to punish the Press, or even specific pundits or on-air journalists.  I understand that they may be enraged at publications like the New York Times, or the Washington Post, a specific Blog or Blogger.  But to punish Barack Obama and cause such polarization within the Democratic party because of things beyond the candidate’s control seems misguided.

The same would be true if roles were reversed.  I could not blame Hillary Clinton herself if Barack Obama did not win the nomination.  She would have had nothing to do with it, other than run her campaign as best she could.  She has no control over what the Press says, what bloggers say, or how people vote, etc.

I find it hard to believe that any voting Democrat would punish the other candidate and vote for John McCain.  If they did cast their vote for McCain, or refuse to vote at all, they would realistically only be punishing themselves.

We all know the differences between the platforms of Obama and Clinton are few and far between.  However, if you compare the collective platforms of Obama and Clinton as “Democrats”, to those of the Republicans and John McCain, you will see the polar opposites. 

McCain can bellow as loud as he wants that he is not a continuation of the Bush presidency.  But the basic tenets of McCain and the Republican agenda are the same as George W. Bush.  There may be some minor differences, but if McCain were to take office today, you would not notice a difference in our Foreign Policy, our Economy, our Health Care System, or anything else that makes a difference to each of us as Americans.  In fact, unless someone told us that McCain took over, we would never notice.

For Democrats, this election is NOT about Barack Obama, and I think Barack himself would agree.  This election is about us; each and every one of us as individuals.  It is our responsibility to get the word out about Barack Obama as our vehicle for the kind of change this country needs.  He is our vehicle to restore our place in the world as the best country in the world, to inspire us to be the best we can be, to solve huge problems like the Iraq War, ignoring Afghanistan, high gas prices, the economy in general, education, and health care.  It is our responsibility as Democrats to talk to Independents and Republicans and try to convince those on the fence that Obama is the right choice for this country.   There are those in the Republican base whose mind you will never change so don’t waste your time there.

I do not tend to stand on my soapbox and herald the Democratic Party.  I am not even registered as a Democrat; I am unaffiliated.  I wasn’t even “political” until Bush’s second term.  I was absolutely blown away, depressed, angry, sad, and bewildered that he was elected to a second term.  And I blame every person who cast his or her ballot for George W. Bush for the condition in which we find our country today.  That’s a lot of anger and baggage to carry around and I am trying to let it go.  But I feel if I don’t speak out, and speak out loud and early, that it might happen again.  I can’t imaging how I would feel on November 4th, or 5th depending, if McCain is elected as the 44th President of the United States.  We will pay for it in cash, tears, and blood.  The middle class will disappear, and we will never restore our place in the world as a beacon of hope.  The Iraq War will trudge onward and Al Queda in Afghanistan, where the real war should be, will continue to be ignored.

Now is the time, and I challenge each of your who truly wants the right kind of change in this country, to go out and do something about it.  Help restore the United States of America to its former glory.  I don’t want to sound corny or poetic, but it is time for America to rise like a phoenix to a place high enough that the rest of the world can see the light.


Hillary won’t concede and McCain thinks he’s won the Iraq war

Last night I was in a reflective mood, happy about Obama winning the nomination, a bit forgiving of Hillary, and overall just enjoying the moment.

This morning, I’m fired up again.  Last night, Hillary refused to actually concede the election to Obama.  She spoke to her “supporters” in New York and treated it more like a rally or call to arms.  Neither she, nor her misguided mouth pieces like Terry McCauliffe, and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, will answer point blank questions like “Isn’t it over for Hillary”.  All you get is “Listen, she ran a great race, millions of people supported her, she won the popular vote (if you use Hillary math), and blah, blah, blah”. 

Neither the candidate nor her surrogates can seem to muster up the strength to say, “Congratulations Barack, you won, we didn’t”.  I find it self serving, insulting to Obama, and it is like she’s living in some fantasy world; and so are her supporters.  They were yelling and screaming last night like SHE had won the nomination.  All of them refusing to admit the truth to themselves.  And the media is giving them a pass.  Both CNN and MSNBC gave the Clinton campaign lots of latitude and never forced McCauliffe or Rendell to answer the question; instead letting them get away with continuing to campaign for Hillary Clinton rather than forcing them to concede.   They need to let it go. 

They need to let Barack Obama get on with his Presidential Campaign and launch his team into overdrive against John McCain.  Instead the Clinton campaign continues to attract attention to themselves that, at this point, is unnecessary.  She didn’t win, it’s over.   And if she is bucking for a VP position or some other position in Obama’s administration, it’s not like Obama is going to forget she’s out there.

All the while, McCain on TV last night is talking about how “different” he is from George W. Bush.  Really?!  Who is is trying to convince; him or me.  He said that we are finally winning the war as a result of the “Surge”.  Really?!  Ask to troops on the ground, as my nephew, as the local Iraqi people who, after 5 years, still have no running water or electricity.  If that’s winning, what does losing look like. 

McCain claims that at times he was a lonely voice on Capitol Hill, speaking out against how the Bushies were handling the war.  So apparently when he is sitting in the Capitol cafeteria, talking to his secretary over a cup of herbal tea and saying “You know, I’m not sure they did this quite right” constitutes as a Beacon of Change regarding the Iraq War.  So which is it, are we already winning or are speaking out against how the war was handled.  You can’t have it both ways, Johnny.  McCain has always maintained that Barack Obama did not serve in the military and therefore makes Obama less qualified to be President.  Well, I think that just because you were in the military, does not make you more qualified to be President. 

Around the World today, I have realized that this is not just about us.  From France to Kenya and many other nations, there is excitement that America has grown up, they finally matured enough to realize that color has nothing to do with the process.  It’s been said more than once but I will say it again.  What happened yesterday was an historic moment in the history of the United States of America.  The least that Hillary could have done was acknowledge that Barack Obama WON the nomination.  But she is too self-centered, and egotistical for that.  She’s no different than her husband.

Hillary – stop lying to yourself and your supporters, it is over, so just admit it.  Stop wasting MY time with your ungracious double-talk.

McCain – you know, good luck to you.  There is not a man, woman, or child, that can not see you are nothing more than an extension of Bush.  You can double-talk all you want but America is not stupid.  As you stand there and say we are winning the war, I wonder what the families and friends of the 4100 dead soldiers, untold thousands wounded, untold thousand of dead civilian Iraqis, and the people of Iraq trying to survive every day will think about that.

Obama wins the nomination

I don’t have a lot to say about this.  I still need time for this all to sink in.  We, as Americans, and all the baggage that comes with that, have elected a young black man to represent the Democratic party in the race for the Presidency.

I am proud of America, and Americans.  I have new hope that America can become the strongest, most respected country on the planet.  It will be a long road to the White House but I just can not imagine any reason why John McCain should be the next President. 

We needed inspiration and we got it.  I know that Hillary Clinton supporters are disappointed.  I would be too if Obama did not win the nomination.  I stood by my beliefs and said I never would vote for Hillary Clinton and I said I would vote for McCain before I voted for Clinton.  But the reality is, I would not elect a Republican to the White House at any cost.

I congratulate Hillary and Barack for the most fascinating and interesting race for the Presidency in my lifetime.  Just keep an eye out for the spin and the lies.  Keep on seeing through the smokescreen that the Republicans will put in your way.




To Clinton Supporters: Please explain yourself

I need help trying to understand this situation and I am being honest here.  I don’t get it.

Before Michigan and Florida delegates were reinstated, Barack Obama was ahead in number of states won and number of delegates.  After the reinstatement, Obama is ahead by number of states won and number of delegates.

Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton decided themselves how the Michigan and Florida primary debacles were resolved.

I understand the anger, and the passion behind the anger, for supporters of Hillary Clinton.  If Barack Obama were in the same position, I would feel similarly. 

But Hillary Clinton has been behind Barack Obama for the majority of this primary cycle, if not the entire cycle.  Clinton has been clawing and scraping up every possible delegate, super or regular, just as she should, and so has Barack Obama.

If Clinton Supporters were mad at the Democratic Party, the DNC, the party leaders themselves, State governments, then I get it.  But to blame Barack Obama for what the DNC decided just does not make sense to me.  The DNC could have stuck to the rules and negated all delegates in both states.

The American political system is based on Delegates.  That’s what we have to deal with, and those are the rules under which we must operate.  I don’t like it either but I can’t control it.

The only possible item up for contention is the popular vote.  There may be an argument for that but I have two problems with it.  First, the numbers are sketchy considering a lot of the caucus numbers are either estimates or pure speculation.  Second, if you make your argument to try and convince super delegates to make up their mind, or change their mind, and they don’t move towards Clinton, then you’re done.

Again, all of this number crunching has nothing to do with the Campaigns themselves.  Neither Barack nor Hillary are controlling most of this process.

So I think Hillary should do whatever she can to try and win the nomination, but don’t take it out on Obama or his supporters if it doesn’t happen.  The attitude of “if we don’t win, then you don’t win, and so we’re voting republican” is ridiculous.  So you’re not a Democrat, you’re just someone who single-mindedly supports one candidate; not a party, not a concept, not a movement, just a person. 

I probably don’t like Clinton any more than you like Obama.  In fact, I’ve said some nasty things about Hillary.  But when you get down to the end, I would vote for Hillary Clinton rather than ANY republican.  I am emotional about this issue, but I am also practical and realistic.  You have to play with the cards you were dealt.  Trying to divide the party by acting like 4 year old stomping his feet and pouting isn’t really doing anybody any good at all.

So you can make all these arguments about misogeny, threaten to vote for McCain, talk about popular versus delegate votes, but what does it accomplish.  Keep in mind that you have people out there who won’t vote for Obama simply because he is black and/or believe he is a Muslim (and extremist at that).  Is that the group of people you want to associate yourselves with because you think you have been wronged.  It’s not about you.  It’s about our country and about the men and women trying not to die every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It’s about the poor, the uninsured, the lost and forgotten; all the things the Democratic Party stands for.

So the question is, are you really part of the Democratic party or not.  Do you want real change or not.  How can you be for everything Hillary Clinton stands for, but be against Barack Obama who essentially has the same platform.  The word “Party”, in this case, does not necessarily mean it’s going to be fun all the time.

Please help me understand by using rational arguments how you want to punish and blame Barack Obama because Hillary Clinton did not win the nomination.  It’s not his fault.

Clinton would rather McCain win than Obama

After today’s meeting of the DNC Rules and Bylaws committee, in which Hillary Clinton did not come out a winner, Hillary Clinton, through her Mouthpiece Harold Ickes, threatened to bring the issue to the Crendentials committee.

So essentially she is not intersted in unifying the party, as she as said on so many occasions.  Compromise is not good enough for Hillary.  She wants 1968 all over again when there was so much disention in the Democratic party that the Democrats lost the election to Richard M. Nixon.

Hillary fully intends to bring this fiasco to the DNC Convention, cause trouble, poke a stick at it, pick a scab, and do anyting she needs to do, so that if she doesn’t win, neither will Obama.

Is she really a Democrat if she doesn’t support a Democrat winning at any cost.  No. She would rather be able to look at Barack Obama and say “IN YOUR FACE” than to actually stand up for real Democratic pinciples, and her country, and do what is best and right.  

The bottom line is that Senator Obama conceded delgate votes to Hillary Clinton in Forida AND Michigan.  In Michigan he had the votes on the Committee to split Michigan delegates 50/50.  But in the interest of unity, he conceded delegates; and yet the Clinton campaign still wasn’t satisfied.  When is enough, enough.  Ickes had a tantrum about arbitrarily moving delegates from one column to another, when in fact, they started with none and deserved none (neither did Obama) because the states broke the rules.  The Committee did what was proposed by both campaigns and the party leaders themselves.

Ickes should just do what he does best and carry Hillary’s purse for her.

“You bet your ass” Ickes is a sore loser – so is Clinton

After much ado, and by ado I mean using words like “you bet your ass” and “hijacking”, Harold Ickes did not get his own way at the May 31 meeting of the DNC Rules and Bylaws committee.

And so he pouted, took his toys and went home because Hillary Clinton, a person whom Ickes thinks “deserves” the presidential nomination simply because she exists, wasn’t going to get his own way.

On a final note:  can you ever image a time when the Republican National Committee or for that matter the Republicans in general, would ever have a nationally televised, open conversation about how their party shoud proceed.  The Democrats, while not perfect, did it with transparency, class, and unity, something the Republicans not only can’t even dream of, they don’t want to dream of it.  That’s why the country is turning Democrat.  They have seen the lies and secrecy and are sick to death of it.

With a threat of going to the Credentials Committee, poor Harold Ickes isn’t going to get an overpaid, overstuffed, privileged, elitist position in the Hillary Clinton administration because it isn’t going to exist.

Ickes, like Clinton, thinks the rules don’t apply to him.  Well, guess what, they do.  Neither Ickes nor Clinton would recognize fair play if it stood up and slapped them in the face.  And right now, I think a slap in the face is the only gesture that either of them would understand.

And to the Clinton supporters in the room at the Committee meeting:  Shut the fuck up!!

You have no idea how to participate in a democracy and if you don’t like how real democracy works, with all of its benefits (one of them being the fact that you can attend a meeting like this) and flaws, then move to Darfur, or Burma, and then crawl back and scratch at the border begging to get back in. 

Donna Brazile’s mother said it best.  “Rules are rules, and if you don’t play by the rules, then you are a cheater”.  Touch any nerves Hillary?


What a remarkable and inspiring thing it would be to have a woman be our President.

Women bring and uncanny sensibility to everyday life.  They have raised the children of the world.  They have instilled in these children the values of compassion and kindness, intelligence and humor.

As far as I know, and it is what I believe, no woman would ever think that war is a good option.  It don’t believe that a woman would think that war is even in the top ten options as a way to deal with conflict.  Women believe in talking things out.

While fathers hurt just as much when a son or daughter is killed at war, there is nothing like a mother’s love.  A mother has an incomparable bond with a child because she carried that child inside her body and gave it life.  True, she needed a man in the process.  But motherhood, and the process of parenting as a mother is a unique skill ingrained in the genetic code of women.

For these reasons and a host of others, how great would it be to have a woman as President of the United States.  A woman who thinks of the country as one of her own children.  Guiding and protecting with love.

I hope that in my lifetime I get to see a woman President, and I believe that America is ready, in fact eager to see what it would be like.  We want a woman, we just don’t want this one.  Goodbye Hillary, it’s time for you to go away.