Will Obama’s legacy be a disappointment?


I have been so disappointed over Obama and his Presidency.  I still like the man.  But I am angry at what has happened and what has NOT happened.  I have this sense of abandonment.  I feel like someone pulled the wool over my eyes.  I keep looking for reasons to NOT write him off.

But then I watched “By the People”, an HBO documentary about the election of Barack Obama.  I suddenly realized that if you listen to his early speeches on why he wanted to be President, he has not faltered from that.  He spoke of running this country without the fear tactics of the Bush Administration, he spoke about running this country without the distractions that are all too common in all Presidencies, and he spoke about correcting the image of America around the world and correcting the disastrous foreign policy of the Bush Administration that took America one giant step backward in the big game of political hopscotch.  I was ready to pick up my stone and my chalk and go home. 

“By the People” reminded me that Barack Obama’s launch into the political stratosphere was hard-fought and based on truth.  Modern political campaigns are long and exhausting.  What may start as a few simple ideas to define any candidate and his platform, end up with a mountain of campaign platform ideas.  The more the candidate fields questions from the incessant 24 hour press, the more his platform expands until every single backer of that politician can identify with several of the candidate’s “opinions” .  For example, Barack Obama did not promise an end to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” early in his campaign.  That came about later when he was pressed for a position.  But now, the gay community is overwrought with anger and feelings of betrayal.  I’m sure Barack Obama believes in what he said – he wants to eliminate that policy.  But is it now or was it ever the bottom row of his political pyramid?  I don’t think so.  Health care reform, yes, gay rights, no.

So after taking a long, hard look at where Barack Obama is today, just 10 months into his Presidency, I don’t feel so let down.  Barack Obama has always wanted his Presidency to be about Us, not about him.  He has always wanted the American people, and by default our representation in Congress, to participate in this democracy.  It is not just Barack Obama and his own agenda that should lead the country, it should be the country that leads his agenda.

Yesterday, I listened to Barack Obama’s eulogy at the memorial services for the victims at Fort Hood.  Not only did this man meet with every family of the people who were killed, and not only did he meet with the individuals who survived but were injured, he was late in giving the eulogy because he refused to cut his visit with these victims and their families short.  He knew why he was there.  He was there to express grief and condolences on behalf of the people of the entire United States.  And when he finally did give his speech, he mentioned each of the victims by name, every single one of them.  He didn’t just say their names; he told us all a little bit about each one of them.

As I listened, I realized that this is what an American President is supposed to be.  Honorable, honest, caring, empathetic, and strong.  He proved to me in those moments that we can turn to him during difficult times and he will lead the way.

In reality, it is too soon to evaluate what Barack Obama’s presidential legacy will be.  I was fearful that in my own disappointment, I would jump on the bandwagon and become an Obama detractor.  While I don’t agree with everything he has done, or NOT done, I still support this man and trust that he will bring America out of the cold, dark place we are in; and lead us into the light.  No President, and no Presidency is perfect.  I think that all we can hope for in a President is honesty, intelligence, hard work, and compassion.  I’m glad we have that.

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Scarborough is wrong, Carter is right on racism


I think Joe Scarborough can be a complete idiot at times.  I rarely agree with him but I usually respect him.  Not this time.  He is one of many who misconstrued and oversimplified what President Jimmy Carter said about racism.

Former President Carter said the majority of “organized protests” against President Obama were racially based.  He didn’t say all opposition to the President was racially based.  He also said that the people who were racially motivated in their hate speak were vigilant about it.  I mean how else would you construe “Welcome to our plantation” on a sign at the Glenn Beck/Fox News/Freedomworks.Org rally in Washington.

Scarborough went on to say that President Carter was playing the race card because Obama’s approval rating had lost 20 points from January.  Scarborough claimed that Obama was elected by a majority and that people just don’t “turn into racists”.  It’s “all about approval ratings”.

No it’s not.  Here’s the point Joe Scarborough missed:  If Obama had a 70% approval rating that means 30% don’t approve.  Of that 30% a large proportion of them are racist.  They hate blacks just like they always have in the South.  If Obama’s approval rating dropped to 50%, that means 20% more people disapprove of the direction he is taking the country.  Hell, I am not happy with the President right now.  But that original 30% or a large portion of it, is still there.  Again, Carter never said all criticism of Obama is based in racism, he said the majority of the “organized protesting” is based in racism.  And he’s right. 

And Carter should know.  He was born and raised in the south and was the Governor of Georgia.  President Carter is a smart man, and a humanitarian.  I trust his judgement over Scarborough’s any day of the week.  When an 80-year-old white man from the South says that there is a severe hatred being displayed towards the President and it is based in racism, I believe him.  That doesn’t mean all people who disagree with the President are hate-mongers.  Just some of them.

Scarborough also said that Jimmy Carter has lived in a bubble since 1976 and continued with “What America does Jimmy Carter live in?”.   He lives in your America, Joe, and mine.

Scarborough says that Bill and Hillary Clinton were treated much worse by their detractors than Barack Obama is being treated.  But the Clinton’s did not continually have their lives threatened on blatant protest signs painted by Birthers who miss the days of the KKK.

Maybe the Clintons and George Bush were called mean, hateful things.  But those words and those emotions were never based in racial hatred.  I can NOT believe that you, Joe Scarborough, believe that the good ol’ boy network of Negro-haters in the South doesn’t still exist.

There are people alive today whose great-grandparents owned slaves in this country.  There are people alive today whose grandparents and parents used different building entrances and different water fountains than Black folks.  And there are children alive today who live in an American where anti-black views and values still exist and are passed down from one generation to the next in Southern White families.

Racism is about treating people differently because they are a different color than you.  It is based in ignorance, arrogance, and fear.  Do you really think that a poster of Barack Obama as a monkey, or Hitler was brought to a rally to have an informed discussion on health care?  These people, the ones that Jimmy Carter is talking about, are so filled with hate and anger because a Black man is President, that they can’t see straight.  All they see is red.  Scarborough may refer to these racists as the “fringe”, but what else is left of the Republican party than the fringe.

The Republican Party is the party of the white South who fought for, and died for, the right to own slaves.  There are some who still resent losing that war and are proud to carry the Confederate flag.  Joe Wilson, they guy from South Carolina who screamed “YOU LIE” at the President, voted to keep that Confederate Flag flying at the State Capitol because it was part of South Carolina’s heritage.  Joe Wilson is right.

The Birthers – most not born in the U.S.


Who knows where all the Birthers were born.  Does it matter?  We’ll just make shit up.  It seems to work for them.

If case you don’t know what a Birther is (meaning you live under a rock and don’t partipate in society),  a Birther is someone who believes Barack Obama was not born in the United States (yes, Hawaii is a state) and therefore, has no legal right to be President.

If during George W. Bush’s Presidency, you know, those god-awful years between 2001 and 2008 when the world hated us and still does, someone had told me W. wasn’t born in this country and therefore was not legally the President, would I have believed them? You bet your ass I would.

I despised Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, the whole ugly bunch.  I would have looked for any reason to start a movement to get rid of any one of them.  So in some ways I understand why the radical right wing conservative movement in this country is perpetuating the idea that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., is not a U.S. Citizen, and therefore, not legally the President of the United States.  It is brilliantly simply.  If you are not a natural U.S. citizen, you can’t be President.

Let’s not get too confused about this, however.  The Obama Birther movement was born out of extreme hatred which is based on extreme racism.  There is some scary kind of hatred involved in this.  The birther movement is a cover for racism.  Birthers hate Barack Obama and is blackness so much that they will scratch the bottom of any barrel to get rid of him.

I felt the same way about the Bush Administration; not the racism part, but the willingness to do anything necessary to get rid them.

However, if someone on the Democrat, or Liberal, or Progressive side of the map who I trusted or believed said to me “Hey, don’t be an idiot.  As much as we want to believe this stuff, it is simply not true”.  I would have had no choice to throw my hands in the air and give up the fight.  I would have tried other tactics but why spend so much time dealing in lies.

So why is it that few, if any, radical conservatives can’t utter the words “Hey folks, it’s just not true”.  From Limbaugh to Glenn Beck to the halls of Congress, these people and their “believers” can’t bring themselves to say “This is stupid and it’s not true”.  Even when they pretend to debunk the myth, they say things like “Barack Obama is a citizen” but won’t actually say the words “he was born in this country” leaving a sliver of room to back out and re-interpret what they said at a later date.

On the surface the Birther movement appears almost harmless because it is so ridiculous.  The following is what they want you to believe:  In 1961 Barack Obama was born in Kenya and secretly shipped on a cargo tanker (I guess) to Honolulu, Hawaii where someone who knew that he would run for and win the Presidency some day, planted a birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper all so that in 2009, a forged birth certificate could be disproved by said newspaper announcement.   Hmm.  Sounds plausible to me; you?

Chris Matthews on MSNBC the most trustworthy G. Gordon Liddy (ahem!) as a guest,  so that Matthews could show Liddy all of the facts and copies of the paperwork first hand proving Obama’s birth and citizenship.  Matthews hoped that the irrefutable evidence would convince Liddy to go back to the listeners of his radio show and say “OK guys, I know we want this to be true, but it simply isn’t; Enough is Enough”.  However, Liddy stared at the evidence in what can only be described as an Alzheimer Haze, twitching and mumbling something about wanting to see originals and some woman in Kenya and an affidavit about seeing Obama being born in Kenya and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  It would have been funny if it wasn’t one of the saddest things I’ve even seen on Television.  Search for the video on Google, it’s easy to find.  I do question Chris Matthew’s motives in bringing on one of the most famous liars in the world in an effort to reform him on conspiracies.  But I guess Matthews was trying to start with someone on the radio who had a following.  Liddy was probably the only conservative talk radio host who would accept an invitation from Mr. Matthews.

Some believe that the birther movement is harmless.  But if you undersand that the people involved in the movement are using it as a cover to hide (and not so well) their extreme racism and hatred of Black America then you won’t think it’s so harmless anymore.

It is time now for those of us who are adults with working brain stems to call our Senators and House Representatives demanding that they speak out on this issue and put the Birthers in their place.  Force your legislators to have a spine by speaking out against the fringe right wing.  I’m all for freedom on speech, but when you are inciting riotous and violent acts based on your speech or actions, i believe you forfeit some of those rights.  The Birthers are full of hatred and are trying to spread it around.  That’s just plain wrong.  Nobody should have the freedom to do that.

There are two trains of thought on debunking lies.  First is to never address is; therefore not giving the idea any traction.  You don’t dignify the accusation by responding to it.  The second method is to nip it in the bud.  You run the risk of drawing out the amount of attention the lie gets but you look strong in your defiance.

The Democrats, and in fact the White House itself, have chosen option one.  Ignore the accusation and you won’t give it any traction.  Let’s see.  How did that work our for John Kerry and the Swift Boaters?

The wheels on the Republican bus have officially fallen off


I didn’t think that the Republican Party could fall out of favor any further than it has.  But in true Republican fashion, they never let you down when it comes to disappointment.

I would not have believed if I didn’t see it.  Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher blamed Barack Obama for the violence and death on the streets of Iran.  He said that if Obama had spoken up and denounced the violence three days ago, the violence would have been avoided.  That woman who was shot and died on live television would be alive if it weren’t for Barack Obama.  Yes, this guy actually said it.

And what if John McCain was our President.  According to his recent remarks, we would be at war with another Islamic country; further degrading the standing of the United States around the world.  And thousands upon thousands more would be dead.  McCain couldn’t even answer this question:  Is Barack Obama on the side of Majmud Ahmadinajad or is he on the side of the factions that are protesting an unfair election.  McCain said “Well I know what side I”M on” insinuating that Barack Obama was on the side of the tyranical President.  He’s kidding right?  No he’s not.

Then, Republicans like radio host and columnist Mark Savage, and a Maryland Republican women’s group, and many others too numerous to mention, have been, just in the last few days, comparing Barack Obama to Hitler.  They are litterally trying to make direct comparisons between Obama’s actions and policies to Hitler’s reign of terror.  It is amazingly ridiculous and hateful, and so far off base that I can’t figure out who these people are trying to convince to join or support their party.  They should have stuck with the idea that Barack’s birth certificate is a fake.  At least that is a conspiracy theory the right wingers can REALLY get behind. 

And now Mark Sanford, South Carolina Governor, admits to infidelity with an Argentinean woman, which explains where he was over Father’s Day Weekend when neither his wife, his sons, nor his administration  knew where he was.  And all the while they thought he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  He was lost in the woods, alright, metaphorically speaking.  I can’t wait to see how Sanford’s close friend, Joe Scarborough handles this tomorrow morning on “Morning Joe”.  Will he defend Sanford using tax payer money to go to Argentina for a booty call?  Just this morning (Wednesday) Joe was defending Sanford’s behavior.

This is like a bad plot in a bad daytime soap opera.  Even Luke and Laura knew when it was time to give up the Ice Princess plot line.

So Mark Sanford goes on TV today and gives a very long list of all the people he hurt; beginning with his sons.  The young people behind him in his news conference were giggling.  I don’t know who they were or why they were there.  But it was sad, demeaning, and even somewhat humorous.  If there were ever a reason to have a pre-planned speech or tele-prompters, that news conference was it.  This is a man who said President Clinton should resign for such sexually deviant behavior.  Well, Mr. Sanford, will you now resign, because you should based on your own moral compass.

Is it any wonder why the Republican Party is falling apart.   What comes next; calling Barack Obama a extra-terrestrial being while some other Republican congressman gets arrested for molesting pre-school boys. 

Barack Obama is poised to strike and get whatever he wants out of Congress; Republicans or Democrats.  Now is the time Barack.  DO IT!  Get health care passed.  Clean up the environment, Get all the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, create millions of jobs, send America over into the financial abyss; finance our asses off.  Who cares?  It can’t possibly be worse than anything that brain trust we call the GOP can come up with.

And just yesterday, the GOP had begun to lay out plans to take back Congress in 2010.  Sorry guys, I don’t think so.

And the cherry on top?  Rush Limbaugh said about Sanford – “he could have been our JFK”.

I can’t even keep up anymore with the train wreck and casualties that make up the GOP.

It’s time to Fade to Black.

Right America Feeling Wronged


In Alexandra Pelosi’s new documentary “Right America Feeling Wronged” she does to radical, right-wing, evangelical America what family and friends would do to an addict at an intervention; she holds a symbolic mirror up to their faces and asks them to take a good, hard look at themselves. 

Like all interventions, if things go well, the addict will see the error of their ways, begin to take responsibility for their actions, and begin down the road of recovery, all with the support of those who intervened in the first place.  If things don’t go well, the the addict will continue to lie, cheat, steal, and fool themselves into thinking they are OK and not doing anything wrong.  Meanwhile, the addict spirals out of control once again.

Below is an exceprt from “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC where Rachel is interviewed filmaker Alexandra Pelosi and show some brief clips from the documentary.  While these two liberals don’t always have the same views on “middle America”, the certainly agree about shedding some much needed light on some real problems.

 I will admit right here, right now.  I recorded this documentary on my DVR and when I sat down to watch it, I had to turn it off after about 5 minutes.  Why?  Because I was truly freightened.  Some of this clips that I found freightening are those included in the very brief film trailer leading into the MSNBC interview.

As I switched channels and sat back for a bit watching something else, I just had to do it.  I turned it back on.  Once I again I wretched in disbelief and had to turn it off.  To me it was like watching a grotesque surgical operation.  You are curious and want to see it, but you sort of look through your fingers that are half-covering your face.  And when the really bad parts come, you look away and say “OOOH, GEEEEEEZ!!!

As I watched “Right America Feeling Wronged” a few thoughts came to mind.  First, it seemed to me that every person showcased in this movie had a glazed-over, blank-but-hate-filled look in their eyes.  Or maybe it was blank with fear.  Or both.

I encourage everyone who’s interested in what the Evangelical crowd is doing and thinking to see this documentary.  This is not a narrated documentary where you might be led down a certain path of opinion based on what the filmaker dictates.  This movie leaves the character development up to the characters themselves.  They reveal a great deal about themselves on their own without prodding from anyone.

While I know that the hatred exposed in this film is real and still exists, I can’t help but think what would have happened if McCain got elected.  What I saw in this film was what I have always seen in Republicans; they don’t tell you what they are “for” but hey will certainly tell you what they are “against”.  In fact at one point a woman was asked what all McCain supporters have in common and she said “We don’t want Obama to win”.  To this radical group the 2008 Presidential Election wasn’t about standing behind a candidate, it was about standing in front of an adversary.   To them Barack Obama became the enemy; out of fear, ignorance, hate, misinformation, and and outright lies by the Right Wing conservatives of the party.

I hope you watch the interview above but hope even more that you watch the entire documentary.  If you do watch to film and don’t see why Barack Obama should fear for his life, then you weren’t listening; play it again.

Why Obama is the right person, right now


We know the economy is a mess.  In a way I feel lucky because I lost my job in April of 2007, lost everything, was out of work of 18 months, without any programs to help me.  I’m now back to work making half of what I did before.  I am still struggling to stay afloat after those 18 months, for most of which I did not receive unemployment compensation.  And while I am working now, it is for a small business with 13 employees.  So I can’t count on anything going forward.

Lucky?  You ask quizzically.  Yes, because I already went through what many people are going through now and will continue to go through.  I don’t have a car payment anymore because I lost my car to the repo man.  I don’t have a mortgage because even before all this happened I didn’t make enough to own a home.  Some would say I did.  Many tried to convince me that a single person like me making the kind of money I made, should be investing in a home.  I’m glad I didn’t.  Rent is just fine with me.  And while I almost lost my apartment, the kindness of friends, family, and an understanding landlord have helped me hang on.

I watched President Obama (I still love writing that) last night in his non-State of the Union Address.  Have you ever in your life heard a President be so bold to tell the truth?  He told the truth about the current condition of our country and gave us hope that we can get through it.  There is an awful lot to be said for having the right attitude.  And Barack Obama has it.  I get the sense he truly does believe we can turn this situation around. 

The President is not letting the “party of NO” stop him from going forward.  The American public spoke.  They spoke in November of 2006 and in November of 2008.  One party is in charge right now for a reason.   Can you really imagine John McCain being the President right now.  Really?!  For Christ’s sake he’d still be talking about “the surge”.  And while I have learned a new respect for Hillary Clinton, I don’t think she would have the same oratory skills required for the job.  Not to mention that Bill Clinton would be an incredible distraction.  The Clinton’s would have been skewered by the neo-cons and so much distraction and shell-gaming would be going on that the country wouldn’t have a chance.

When they call the GOP the “party of NO” they mean it.  Republicans are so out of touch with the pulse of America right now that they should all be sued for malpractice”.  And soon-to-be former-presidential-candidate Bobby Jindal with his insinuations last night that Barack Obama’s message included something about America ‘s best days are behind her.  What is that all about?  Did you, or he, hear something I didn’t?  I watched the President and listened to what he said.  THAT, my dear Jindal, is NOT what he said.

What I am about to write is not an original idea but it keeps popping into my head.  Democrats will tell you what the are FOR, and Republicans will tell you what they are AGAINST.  That is one of the major differences between the two parties right now.  The GOP has no leaders, no platform, and has lost the trust of the American people.  Average Americans are not even listening to what Republicans have to say, because all that comes out of their mouths is blame, finger pointing, the word “NO”, or nothing at all.

There’s no question that I am a Barack Obama supporter.  I don’t agree with many things he has said or done.  The one thing I have to hold on to is that I trust him.  Unlike the Bush Administration,  Barack Obama is in this for the American people, the Americahe loves.  The Bush Administration was in it for their own egos, their own power, and in many cases, their own pocket books.  (Can you say “Halliburton”?).

And one last thing.  Karl Rove didn’t show up AGAIN for his testimony to Congress.  It’s time to hold him in contempt and throw in him jail.  That’s what we do to criminals, don’t we.  Barack Obama said last night, unequivocally, “The United States does not torture”.  But if Rove doesn’t want to play by our rules, let’s play by his.  Anybody have an extra water board lying around?

So back to my original premise. Barack Obama is the right man for the job.  There’s another Democrat (and certainly not a Republican) who has the balls to do what he is doing right now.  And as for these Republican Governors who lambaste the stimulus package and then want some of the money, you can’t have it both ways.  Grow a backbone already.  And if you don’t know how, ask Obama.

The February Update


Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t written a post for this blog since Inauguration Day.  Three things have kept me away.  First, there has been a lot going on in Politics but in my opinion there hasn’t been anything earth-shattering that hasn’t been covered by everybody else blogging and in the general media.  I haven’t seen any blatant mistakes or misrepresentations by others than haven’t gone unchecked, or caught, by others.

Second, I have been very busy with my other blog about Digital TV, High Definition TV, and the converstion of Analog to Digital.  It’s been very busy over there at http://mainehdtv.blogspot.com

Lastly, my Carpal Tunnel problem has quickly gotten worse.  It’s sort of ironic that after spending almost 2 years writing and teaching about Digital TV and the Conversion, that my C.T. surgery is randomly scheduled for February 17, 2009, the day of the conversion.  So if things go horribly wrong, I won’t be able to type for a few days.  In thinking about his more broadly, it’s probably best.

Oh, did you think that President Obama’s achievement of extending the conversion to digital to June 12, 2009, will actually have any impact.  Well, it won’t, because it is non-binding.  TV Stations can still turn off their analog signal on February 17, many have already shut off their analog signal, and there are only the few stations left who are so far behind the digital curve that they are using this extension as a smoke screen to cover up for their technical inadequacies.  Anyway, you can visit the other blog to learn about that if you wish.

I feel I should comment on the Stimulus Act that will be signed by President Obama (I do love typing that) early next week.  However, I can’t even pretend to understand it.  I’m not an economist. Hell, I don’t even balance my checkbook.  I know how, barely.  I just don’t.  I hate dealing with money.  So all I can say is that I hope somebody out there in Stimulus-land is way, way, smarter than me.  I trust Barack to try to do the right thing.  It seems as if nobody knows whether or not it will work.  Although, the Republicans seem pretty positive it won’t.  They don’t know what WILL work, but the know what WON’T work????  How does that work?

I had the misfortune of watching that big, screaming, Republican queen, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), swish and lisp his pretty homosexual mouth through the motions of pretending to know what the hell he was talking about.  All the while I kept wondering from whose talking points memo he was reading verbatim.    And I was thinking how scared he looks all the time that someone might out him.  Yup, that was my Sunday morning.

I’m in a foul mood today because when I had no insurance, I got some discount prescripton card off the internet.  Now, with my prescription coverage, I had to spend $178 for three prescriptions because I haven’t satisfied my deductible.  So my plan for the weekend were cancelled because I had no money to spare.  I needed every single one of those dollars to eat, drive my car,  and pay some utility bills.  I had planned to go to an inexpensive dinner with friends yesterday.  So I had to cancel.  I don’t know if the new Stimulus Plan will help me specifically.  I doubt it.  But I sure could use some stimulating.  In more ways than one.  Maybe Lindsey has some advice??

Sorry, no big news, no big opinions.  I got nothin.

Voices of my Father


As I watched the Inauguration of Barack Obama today, I deliberately chose not to blog.  I wanted today to be a time of observance and reflection.  As I watched the happenings and while I felt moved and occasionally welled up, there was something missing for me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I have been emotional at other times during the Obama “movement” including Election Night itself.  And as President Obama began his speech today, I listened intently.  It was a strong, powerful, moving speech, filled with honesty and clarity of purpose.

I don’t think there has ever been a time in history when so many people gathered in Washington D.C. to see an inauguration.  Not in my lifetime anyway and perhaps not ever, not even for John F. Kennedy, my father’s political hero.  Of course, this is a television/internet era.  So not only were there record crowds on the National Mall, there are record TV audiences and record internet traffic on Live Coverage sites.  But for the first time ever, there were crowds around the world, around the Planet, to watch this truly unique, and world-changing event.  From Kenya to Israel to Japan, they all celebrated today.  Yet even knowing that, there was still something missing.

After President Obama’s speech, and after most of the early fanfare, and the departure of the ex-President by helicopter (what a wonderful sight – that made me cry), my phone rang.  I didn’t answer it because I decided I did not want to be interrupted today, no matter who it was.  If it was urgent, I would call back whoever it was.  I quickly looked and saw that it was my mother and let it go to voice mail.  I figured she was going to ask me some question or tell me some story, or whatever, I knew it wasn’t so important that I needed to stop what I was doing; what I wanted to do at that moment was watch these historical events unfold on television.  I was glad I had a high definition TV; it is truly a grand TV-watching experience,  But still there was someting missing.

After a brief while, I checked my voice mail.  It was my mother, of course, but the tone in her voice was different.  I could tell she was a bit choked up, a bit emotional.  For a brief moment I though “Uh, oh” what happened. 

Throughout the Obama campaign, and  throughout the election, my mother and I didn’t really agree.  She didn’t have the same passion for politics and change that had come to be part of my life.  I didn’t feel she understood how important all of this was to me   Barack Obama winning the Presidency will always be one of the highlights, if not THE highlight, of my life.  Similar to what JFK was to my father and her.

As I listened to her message, she told me in a quivering sort of voice, that she had just finished watching the Inauguration.  And as the words came out of her mouth, I was a bit astonished.  She said “I was thinking about your father, and how proud he would be; how happy he would be at what was happening today”.   My father died in 1984.  In the reality of our family, my father, his beliefs, his politics, his point of view, are rarely, if ever talked about.

So I thought for a moment and the tears came to my eyes.  The man who was so distant as a father, but taught me so much from afar, was with me today.  By not teaching his children about racism and bigotry, we didn’t know it existed.  As he helped ex-cons by giving them jobs when no one else would, and as he helped the first black family in our neighborhood get a mortgage when no local bank would give them one, we never knew.   He helped that same family renovate the electrical service in their own.  They paid him weekly, maybe $5.00 a week until they paid off what they owed.  My father told them to just pay what they could, when they could.  My father quietly did his part to try and end racism and bigotry in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, John and Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  He did not boast or brag about what he did, he simply did it.  And this is what Barack Obama talked about today in his speech.   Obama said that America was ready to once again take the lead; in terms of diplomacy, inclusion, fairness, world peace, equality, and all of the tenets upon which this country was founded.  Indeed all Americans are created equal.

So it came full circle for me.  I finally understood why I was emotional throughout Obama’s campaign, his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, his victory speech at Grant Park in Chicago on the night of November 4, 2008, and today when he put his hand on the Lincoln Bible where he swore to protect and defend America and uphold the Constitution.  It was the voice of my fahter.  Not his actual voice, in fact just the opposite.  It was his silence in not pointing out what racism was, or what bigotry was.  We werent’ told about it because he didn’t want us to even fathom the thought of it.  I grew up not knowing that some people thought there was a difference between white and black, jew and christian, rich and poor, gay or straight.  He didn’t want to teach us about racism for fear that we would participate in it.  Instead, he led through quiet example.  Never judging people based on the differences by which some found it so easy to judge.  

Dad, you did the right thing.  I didn’t learn about racism and bigotry until I was in my very late teens; I learned it from the world.  And it was a terrible thing to realize.  I must admit that I did judge people.  I judged the ones who wanted to deny others their  basic human rights.  Even today some still try to do it.  But not Barack , Dad,  He’s a different kind of guy.  When I look at him I don’t thnk “he’s black”.  I think, “he’s cool, he’s smart, he’s of my generation and he thinks like me, only smarter”.  You would really have liked him.  Thanks Dad.  I found my JFK. 

And so I blogged after all.

It’s time to get back to politics


Today is December 29, 2008, only 29 days until Barack Obama will take the oath of office and become the 44th President of the United States.  I just finished watching “60 Minutes” from last night.  I had it on my DVR which is set up to tape new episodes of “60 Minutes”.  I just forgot about it until I went through my list of things taped, but unwatched.

“60 Minutes” did a retrospective of Barack Obama’s rise to political power from the day before he announced his candidacy back in February of 2007.  I forgot how long ago that was.  “60 Minutes” told the whole story.  About his start in politics, issues of race, Reverend Wright, the Muslim smear attacks, the DNC, the night of his historic win, and everything in between.

I forgot about those agonizing days and months when I was keeping up with all things Obama.  I forgot my frustration over the lies and right-wing smear campaigns.  I forgot about election day and waiting hour by hour, watching the return come in.  I was watching MSNBC and this part I did not forget  There is some question as to who made the announcement on MSNBC.  But it was Keith Olbermann, another hero of mine, who said those fateful words “Barack Obama is projected to be the next President of the United States.”  I could hear the shaking in his voice.  I begin to sob.  I could not believe it was finally over.  If you want to see and hear it again, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1HSnnDfCks. It is so difficult for me to watch this piece of video and not have tears come to my eyes.  Have we forgotten already?

There were so many emotions going on that night.  I know how hard Keith worked on behalf of Obama.  He was the one clear, strong voice in the Media who never faltered from his mission.  Now, I know that journalists are supposed to remain neutral.  But much like Edward R. Murrow, one of the most famous and respected Journalists ever to grace the television screen, Olbermann stuck up for his own personal beliefs; sometimes crossing the line between Journalism and Opinion, just as Murrow did against Senator Joseph McCarthy and McCarthy’s witch hunt against communists.  Sometimes, wrong is wrong, and a journalist who knows the truth must simply speak it.

I believe that both Olbermann and Rachel Maddow had a profound influence in the 2008 Presidential Election.  And good for them.  It is a pleasure to see the year-end lists that every media outlet does for bests and worsts of 2008.  The pleasure stems from how long we have waited to chastise these people publicly.  People like Bush, Cheney, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sarah Palin, and all of the other right-wing crazies whose time has come after 8 long years, to bury themselves back under the rock from which they came.  They fooled enough Americans for long enough to get eight years out of of George W. Bush, but no more.  We simply aren’t going to take it any more.

As I sit tonight looking forward and back, I find myself only wanting to look forward.  I don’t want to forget the past, I just want to put it where it belongs, in the past.  Barack Obama has worked hard at choosing an eclectic and amazingly smart group of people to join him in his cabinet.  I look forward to whatever Obama has (maybe up his sleeve) to offer us.  I believe it will happen quickly.  A lot of changes will take place early on so that Obama can set himself up to move forward and get this country back on its feet.

I hope for transparency but also understand that some things simply can not be transparent.  I believe that if Obama exposed all of the morally wrong and simply evil deeds of the Bush Administration, America might not believe we can get ourselves out of it and may loose hope.  Right now he needs America to be strong, to stand behind him, and be ready to offer their assistance and sacrifice anywhere the President asks for it.  The next few years will be amazing and I am glad I am here to witness all of it.

I’m happy that the President Elect is taking some time off with his family in Hawaii.  He was probably suffering from almost complete exhaustion.  When is the last time you think he might have gotten a good 8 hours of sleep to recharge over night.  I want my President rested, strong, and confident; with a clear head to make the right decisions.

What makes makes a good President?  Many things, but here’s how I see it.  There are things that Barack Obama has said and done that I don’t agree with.  But I trust him enough to lead us down the right path.  I don’t have to agree with everything he says or does, I just need to believe in him and trust him.

We will get there.  Wherever “there” is to you.  We’re not used to trusting our elected officials. It’s a new concept, or at least a lost,concept.  Barack Obama’s priorities are to bring back trust to America and bring back the respect America has around the world.  What will American Politics look like in four years?  Let’s hope we’ll be in the midst of a new era; an era where we can’t believe how far we’ve come because it seemed so out of reach back in 2008.

Cool to be American?


I know that I shouldn’t be concerned with what others think or say about me, and I’m not.

I know that I should never listen to a piece of “journalism” from “The Today Show”, but I did.

Lester Holt introduced a piece called “It’s cool to be American” on Saturday morning.  It should have said “Again”.  While I don’t care what people think or say about me, I do care what the world thinks and says about America.

When world leaders are beating down our doors saying “Now that you’ve smartened up and elected a real President, we’re willing to work with you”, it has an impact on us and them.

When the Iraqi Parliament says “Now that you have elected a real President, we trust you and want to sign a continuance agreement with you”, that is saying a lot.

In the end it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about us as a country, but it helps.  And it doesn’t matter what they think about the American people, but it helps. 

We were always taught, from grade school on, that America is a beacon of hope and the gold standard for a good life.  It is the standard that countries all over this planet aspire to achieve.

It took eight long, eight very, very long years, for some Americans to finally admit that George W. Bush, his criminal activities, his desire for war, his lies, his ignorance of the Constitution of the United States, has turned this country upside down.  We don’t even recognize America anymore.  Or at least we didn’t, until we decided, we ALL decided that enough is enough.  We’re more afraid of what the world will do to us if we keep the Republicans in power than we are of terrorism itself.  I don’t know what it was that made America wake up.  Bush as elected (sort of) twice, and John McCain WAS a third Bush term, I don’t care what you say.

But I digress (as usual).

The world thinks America is cool and Americans are cool (unless of course you are still a Republican).  My hope is that the country finally understands the both Democrats and Republicans have good ideas, they just need to be melded together correctly.  That’s what Obama can do and what Bush could never do, and what McCain had no interest in doing.

So go travel the world again, when you have enough money again, and don’t be afraid to say you are American. 

Hint:  If you find yourself in a dicey neighborhood in the world somewhere, I’d still go with Canadian.