Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Step for Government, One Giant Leap for Confidence Therein

Dear America,

I write to you from the other side of history. The right....no....CORRECT side. The side that we as a nation have been patiently waiting and sometimes violently protesting to be on. I say that only because the civil uproar of the Civil rights movement can be paired with every moment that we have tolerated blatant racism and discrimination and said NOTHING. Anyhow, OUR GUY is in!! I was fortunate enough to be in the Nation's Capital during that amazing time, and to attempt to regurgitate the experience would do it's many special moments no justice. History has been made, but the moment instantly becomes just that, history, and the REAL WORK begins. But I've heard that said almost a million times, and now, I'm quite sick of that phrase. It was like the phrase"reaching across the aisle" in the general election.

Don't know why I hate that phrase. Probably because it undermines a much greater story of how America came to be. We've just added more laborers to harvest the land, the sometimes barren political landscape. My confidence in this administration lies not just in Barack Obama (though I think he's wonderful, I'll admit) but in the little people. And sure, you've heard it before, but it irks me to think that the mainstream media and those who sit too high on Capitol Hill to be in touch with the rest of us, think that the Barack Obama campaign was the 1st time that Americans rolled up their sleeves and did anything. Pah!! Of significance?? Maybe. Like 4 months working tirelessly on 1 campaign was all that we needed to elect a black dude named Barack Obama. Hardly. It reminds me of a really great t-shirt that I saw while volunteering in MD for National Day of Service. It read:

"Rosa Sat, so Martin could walk"
"Martin Walked so that Obama could run"
"Obama ran so that our Children could fly."

Suppose any one of these people, throughout history had failed to be obedient to the call of justice. We wouldn't be where we are today, certainly.

Ok, sure, we currently lack severely in the social capital department and the righteous indignance needed to turn the world upside down, but the only reason that we a took a GIANT LEAP January 20th was because we've taken countless, un-sung baby steps. We exist, as a society, on the fault lines of compromise no matter how liberal or conservative or liberal you think our country is. Hmmm. I hate those words anyway. I'd like to go back to the old days when the fight was between righteous and unjust; Because let's face it, the future of true progress in our country will not rest on rhetoric, it will be based on the unrighteousness that we can undo.

So I spent my lunch break today reading excerpts of MLK's Letters From Birmingham Jail, and the words that he wrote, stare deep into the soul of our present situation, almost bearing a hole through it. Amazing passages that I highly recommend. The question he answers makes everything in this post-election, post-inauguration season so very clear. The movement of the many, in a positive direction, long-term, depends not entirely on the powerful or the powerless, but on the recognition that they are intrinsically linked and have a shared interest in up holding this thing called democracy. Lots of other great epiphanies too.

But where do we go now? Certainly not backward. God no. But we must certainly, as King says in his letters, uproot the complacency that injustice and silence afford us We certainly have the willpower to do it now. But are we looking to go radical? Martin all but condems incrumental change, but what do we, my generation, know about change? Except that we want it...Are we treking back to the motherland liberals or breaking down the doors at Exxon-Mobil folks? I think that right now, we are on a new journey to figure it out. We must choose, as King says, between justice and order and how we will use time. Will we bend it it in the direction of progress? Or allow time to be an agent of social stagnation? It will employ the greatest minds of past, present and future generations, so hurry and get your seat at the table, it's sure to be a long night. Sorry. It's nothing that a press briefing by Robert Gibbs can fix.:-)

So, in reflection on the dawning of this Obama-Biden administration, I don't have all of the answers. Clearly. But I've got something that I've been craving my entire life, HOPE. Maybe I should call it faith. You know, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. Not in the men that represent us, but in the people that they serve. Frankly, that's more than I had before.

Good night America! You're looking better everyday....:-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

DC Bound!!: Chaos and History

With the exception of Atlanta, D.C is one of my absolute FAVORITE cities in the world. It's the nation's summit: a mixture of everything that's awesome and everything that sucks and needs to be changed about the US. The poverty that plagues many of its natives, in stark contrast with the promise of its rich history. Regardless of its flaws, I cannot wait to be huddled together with people that I love and care about, around the Capitol for what surely be the defining moment of my life and my generation: Barack Hussein being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America.

I'm anticipating more things than I can handle honestly. Among them are:

1) Frigid Temperatures. Can we say thermal underwear?

2) Random people screaming "Obamaaaaaaa!!" and engendering spurts of loud cheering...in the streets.

3) Scared Police. Really scared.

4) An assortment of furs that span the animal kingdom and makes PETA hang their heads in shame

5) Streets lined with cars where people have taken refuge, having no hotel accommodations or supporter housing

6) Numerous folks who will not remember this weekend due to heavy intoxication.

7) AT LEAST a handful of arrests for public drunkenness

8) Lastly, individual moments when the true magnitude of what is happening this weekend will hit people, resulting, likely, in tears.

So, how will all of this CHAOS turn into history?? Much like everything else does I suppose. Like the riots in the streets of LA and South Africa turned the tide of change and put power in the hands of the people, if only for a moment. But these moments are crystallized and cannot be stolen from the people who were there. Though we still have a long way to walk on this path of "liberty and justice for all" I will take heart in knowing that the steps that will be taken by one man, will be many steps taken for us all.


Bush to the First in a Trilogy of Dr. Seuss Books....or have someone write them for him.

First Sarah Palin, now this. Is the GOP trying to pull the wool over our eyes or is someone in need of a ghetto pass??


Thursday, January 8, 2009


This really should have been the title of this whole blog.....

I've always believed myself to be a cultural mutt of sorts. I see things through the eyes of a girl born black; the daughter of a father from the ghettos of Houston and mother from backwoods SC; growing up in a conservative, racially homogeneous, borderline xenophobic, blood-red suburb; a sarcastic girl with a thirst for knowledge who has never been the same after having seen the movie "Malcolm X" at 8 years old. Somehow, at that point, the world began to fascinate me. So I took hold of it, and have been captivated since.

I was always that 1 black kid in my class (I pray that there were more in your class) who was asked to give the BLACK people's perspective on everything:

Teacher: "Marquisha, (thats my first name, and the name I used to be called by, before I met one too many phonetically challenged people) How do you feel about the Emancipation Proclamation? "

Me: "Great."

I was the white girl's playground date. They always wanted to touch my puffy jet black hair, like I was a science experiment. I was their gateway to learning what a weave was. ("Can you take your hair out so I can play with it?") Some of those very same girls grew up to be my best friends and as a result, know better :-)

I spend the first half of my life oblivious to how unlike me my classmates and neighbors were, the next portion becoming painfully aware of such things, and the most recent part building the toughest outer shell of self-awareness and resilience that you have ever seen.

Somewhere in there, I managed to develop a unique and often confusing view of the world. I've had the opportunity to go to schools where students are indoctrinated with the "sky's the limit" mentality and mega churches that make Sarah Palin proud but there's something about the condition of the world and the injustice that so deeply divides the "haves" and "havenots" that has pricked my heart much deeper than any one of those.

So why would a good little brown, God-fearing, Georgia girl ever want to check her ballot Democrat? Remember the time that I told you I fell in love with the world? It was because the world, in many ways, despite the occasional punch in the stomach, loved me back. Not in the systematic way, of course. Heck, if I was still relying on the system I'd still be in the bathroom scrubbing my skin, trying to purge it of every trace of my ancestors struggle. It has been in the way that I have been able to learn and be inspired by the most unlikely people that the world has otherwise discarded. Amazing people that have bolstered my compassion for humankind and caused me to fall in love with the movement that unite us in purpose and live. In my adulthood, aligning myself with the Democratic party has been the closest fit (notice I didn't say perfect fit).

The reality (sprinkled with a tad bit of opinion) that I live by is this: I love God, but God loves the person sitting next to me too. The compassion that we show, as Christians, the judgment we reserve when others dole it out freely, will be our mark. I believe in the bible, I believe in the law that it represents, but I'd hate for my belief to smother my tolerance for those who don't. I believe that's what Republicans have done, use the bible as a branding iron for the undesirable, the overt sinners; the folks who swear like those are the only words in their vocabulary; the people that drink until their liver hails a cab home; the folks that lay down with just about anyone, even those of those of the same sex" It makes me ill because it's the worse kind of discrimination and oppression possible. The kind of ill that makes you want to blog!! Grrrr.

You see, we focus almost entirely on the reasons that Christ lives in heaven, and forget the reasons why he came to earth to begin with. He came, representing the virtues that we have tried desperately to restore in the world. We've used institutions, relationships, heck, even WARS to force into existence the very things that Christ embodied: loving-kindness, tolerance. He tells us, often, to bury these things in our hearts and let them flourish. These things didn't come out of nowhere. That, most simply, is why I believe and follow Christ while still voting Democrat. Because just as I believe in the bible, I believe in the mercy, grace and compassion that God has commanded us to show others. So, whoever says that Christians are these brainwashed people, sent to earth to judge and ostracize people, might have it all wrong. Or they might have been following a person (imperfect) instead of God.

This is not an ode to my beliefs and certainly not an ode to self-righteousness. Moreover, being a Democrat doesn't explain everything about me. No check mark or ballot box should ever do that. It's just a bit of perspective so you don't think that this Georgia girl is talking out of the side of her neck when she steps up to the mic. (metaphorically speaking).

My Moma (Missouri mother from the Obama campaign) once told me in opposition to my half-baked idea to get fist tattooed on my body, "Jojo, Don't get a first tattoo on your body, you already have one on your brain." Ya know, maybe she is right. So I'll keep living like there is a fist on my brain to fight against the ignorance and the misconceptions that float among us and a fist on my heart to love mightily, those who judge me. I know, I'm weird. I'm just a Georgia that loves her Jesus and her politics.

Monday, January 5, 2009

E= MC Meathead??

First Post of 09!! Whoo!! I pledge that this will be a year chalk full of insight, humor, sarcasm and convoluted ideas expressed in run-on sentences. :-)

Ok, so Remember those meatheads that you hated in high school and college?? The kind that could crush cans with their heads.? The ones that you weren't sure could read, but positive that they could count sets of reps at the gym? Well, in many distant years of retrospect, I've to KINDA come to understand. No, I haven't become a gym buff, but the last couple weeks during which I have gone back to the gym and gone to see Cirque de Soleil (fantastic show!!), I have realized a couple general and specific things about the human mind, body and will.

For the few days that I have worked with a personal trainer, he has been like a life coach. Though he brings me to tears almost regularly, I really have to will myself through all of the stuff that he makes me do. The workout, once my body is physically tired, becomes a test of the will of my mind connecting to the strength of my body. The meat head pumping iron next to me might be experiencing the very same thing (doubtful). The circus act contortionist that bends herself to her limits does her job by bringing her body under the submission of her mind. Once you have experienced the limits of the human body and the will to push past these limits, you are unstoppable. :-)

Sometimes, when I was organizing, I felt the very same way. Organizing flexed, strained and strengthened every muscle in my body. My RFD (Regional Field Director) was kind of like my personal trainer. He didn't care if my muscles were sore. He didn't care if it took everything I had to get to where I was going.....he still expected and demanded it. Seemed harsh at times, but in my post-organizing life, as those muscles heal, it's was all for the good. I didn't always hit it out of the park, but I'm more toned than I have ever been. I've learned how far that I can go. No excuses can be made for not exceeding this height.

I'm not saying that everyone should run out to the gym or join the Circus and exhaust every ounce of physical strength in order to create the change that the world needs. The realization is this: Our bodies are instruments of our will. So if we want to loose weight, change the world, or champion a dear cause, the first task that we must undertake is connecting our ideas, with our will to get them accomplished and force our bodies and minds to rise to the occasions.

The STANDard here? Bring our bodies and wills into alignment. Not the cult-like kind. But truly, align them with the purposes of our lives.

So, to truly walk out this principle in my own life, I've decided to train for a marathon. No. Really. Don't laugh. I think 2009 is the year to set my sights on something higher. Its not about the phyiscal race that I will be running either. It's about the will that it will take to get there. So, join me on this journey of self-discovery.

Lastly, turn your attention to these Good Reads courtesy of Huffington Post:

To the Shock in Awe of Absolutely None.....except MAYBE 5 people.

Read the update from FOX. Is that supposed to be some type of apology!?!? They could have kept that. Geez.

1) I Love it 2) Do you think that they can provide Obama organizer supporter housing?? LOL.

Aside from being humored by the though of a Republican diaspora out of DC and surrounding areas, I think this truly shows up the divisive nature of the party. It's back to an US and them type of thinking that has gotten us so far. Hmmm. White flight anyone? "They" are coming for Inauguration so "We" have to leave! They might as well have pasted the sound bite of Saxby Chambliss calling us the "other folks" on the RNC website. I mean, where, exactly, are these people going?? To a place where Barack Obama won't be the 44th President of the US? I hear Iraq is taking visitors.

Good Strategy Dude. Good Strategy.

The most clear and decisive step in diplomacy for the Bush administration.

Classic HATERation

I bet Ann Coulter would not say this to Michelle's face, because my money is on Michelle.

**Sorry that all of my news clips alluded to how childish, simple-minded and divisive republicans can be. :-(There's always next time.

Personal Notes: 1) Jonae needs a hustle and quick. Idealism does not pay the bills. 2) I wish that we could skip all of the jazz of the next 2 weeks and skip straight to D.C and Inauguration....sigh.