Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where there's a lack of vision, the people perish....

There are so many things that I could blog about tonight: so much is going on in our world. Alas, time constraints compel me to focus on just one thing--a story that many of the popular blogs aren't running.

It's such an important story that I wanted to highlight it here, to make up for the lack of attention it's receiving, and to use it to respond to several remarks that a commenter has made on another blog.

Over at The African American Clarion Call blog I'm having a fun discussion with Constructive Feedback, and the blog author, Greg L.

Constructive Feedback describes the black electorate-Obama dialectics with the following observation in response to a statement proffered by the blog author:

It is more accurate to say BLACK PEOPLE - knowing that they are going to get some measure of PROGRESSIVE policy AND seeking to retain their VICARIOUS LIVING through OBAMA'S EXPERIENCES - are SILENT over Obama's actions as COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE."

To underscore his position again, Feedback offered this followup observation:

"What we have today are Black people who are looking at Obama as KING Jr but failing to realize that KING turned AGAINST the man who seat Obama now sits when King could no longer accept his actions as Commander In Chief. King prioritized global JUSTICE over 'The Great Society'"

Undeterred by the utter brashness of his position, one shared by other black conservatives, I responded thusly:

I guess you're using an exclusionary clause, exempting yourself from the society of "Black People." But that's to be expected given your ideological propensities. Nevertheless, I would expect someone other than a black person to write the aforementioned statement. It reveals a total ignorance of black people, and their rationale for voting for now President Obama.

Would you say that you're living "vicariously" through Obama, and are waiting for some "progressive policy" from him? No, you wouldn't, but you don't hesitate to confer this dubious honor upon liberal blacks.

Other than being the best president this nation's ever seen--where most have been white--blacks want nothing from Obama: no handouts, no reparations (although Fox News insist we do), and no special treatment.

I didn't make this statement just to provide a counter to the one Constructive made, it's a position I've held from day one. Here's another:

Blacks did not, are not, pinning their economic, social, or political hopes on Obama. Were that the case, we would have deserted him months ago.

Yet, that's what you'd like to believe, because it fits the narrative you've contrived, and it buttresses your ideological predisposition. Blacks saw in Obama, not an opportunity to advance so much, but as confirmation that blacks can reach for the highest office in the land and achieve it, despite the obstacles, the hurdles, and the impediments that are often strewn in our path by the majority society.

That assurance along will drive the vision of blacks now being born, and those who, even now, are aspiring to do great things. You can't see that because you're wearing ideological blinders, and can only see what you've placed in front of you.

I dare to have more faith in our people than you; to believe in their eventual success; to know that a new energy has been unleashed, and a new vision of their potential brought before them.

Where there's a lack of vision, the people perish.

To support my position, let me offer the following:

MEMPHIS (CNN) – A hundred and fifty-five Warriors from Booker T. Washington received a high school diploma and a handshake from President Obama in Memphis today.

"Just a couple of years ago, this was a school where only about half the students made it to graduation. For a long time, just a handful headed to college each year," the President pointed out in his address to the students.

The schools graduation rate is one reason the President came to Memphis on this cool spring day. Booker T. Washington High School is credited with a jump in graduation rate from 55% to 82 % in just four years through the use of gender based classrooms and increasing teacher effectiveness by moving teachers that seem to get more than a years growth out of their students to the core classes of English and mathematics.

"Because you created this culture of caring and learning, today we are standing in a very different Booker T. Washington High School. Today, this is a place where more than four out of five students are earning a diploma – a place where 70 percent of the graduates will continue their education."

The President has set a goal of having the largest percentage of college graduates in the world by the year 2020. Booker T. Washington is an inner city school, is a low-income neighborhood with high incidents of teenage pregnancy and violence.

I believe that a part of their success as students results from this new vision of their potential, but I must also credit the hard work, and persistence of their principle and teachers.

Please watch the following video from CNN. As usual, you'll have to endure a short commercial before viewing it, but it's time well spent. When President Obama makes his entrance, one of the girls in the graduating class breaks down in tears.

Tell me that these young people will forget this special visit and honor, and won't go forward to do great things with their lives!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Obama Got Osama!"

The headline for the St. Petersburg Times newspaper read simply and briefly,


over a picture of Osama bin Laden. It was the most pithy statement of Osama's death I've seen to date, and perhaps the most eloquent for its brevity.

Although I'm happy to see this almost decade-long chapter in American history finally closed, and the families of the victims of 9-11 find a measure of closure that Osama's death brought, we're all painfully and keenly aware that the fight continues against terrorism, and Islamic terrorism in particular.

Human nature being what it is never amazes me, but, in all honesty, it does surprise me from time to time. That was the case following the revelation that Osama had been killed in a U.S. led operation, by an elite military group (probably Navy SEALs taking the lead) to either capture or kill Osama.

The crowd that quickly gathered outside the White House, Ground Zero in Manhattan, and Times Square in New York as well as other locations throughout the United States to celebrate Osama's death, struck me as another of those moments of human interaction that I find puzzling, but not out of the realm of possible human reactions.

I found the jubilation, and the jubilant mood emanating from the throngs surreal and foreign to my sensibilities. Although I should have expected it, it nevertheless caught me off guard, and I wasn't immediately prepared to digest it. I'm not judging their actions. I'm merely sharing my response to their actions.

For one, learning of Osama's death didn't plunge me into a celebratory mood. I experienced a moment of disbelief as I read the announcement on my television screen, "Special Alert, Osama bin Laden is dead." My thoughts like a pendulum swung between the surreal and the real. Is this true? Are they mistaken? Did they get this wrong? How much should I believe?

My sister summed it up nicely when I notified her of Osama's death. "This isn't April first!"

Questions surrounding this successful military operation are already being formed:

How much did the Pakistani government and military know, and were they instrumental in assisting our forces with the capture of the compound where Osama lived, and in his death?

How much should we support a supposed ally that surely knew that Osama was living this close to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and a mile from a Pakistani military training academy?

How far will the success of this mission, the completion of a campaign pledge to either capture or kill Osama bin Laden, go toward silencing Obama's critics who say that he's known for "leading from behind"? This operation was not only gutsy, for all the things that could have gone wrong, and the political fallout that could have ensued, but for the further tarnishing of our already sullied image abroad.

At some point, depending on the aftermath of Osama's death, we can expect a movie or a made-for-television recounting of what took place internally and externally to kill "the most wanted man in the world."

It's hard to say, now, if the death of Osama bin Laden will result in a political coup for Obama in 2012. Yet, this can't do much to hurt his image, and his approval rating this close to that pivotal election for him and democrats who may be running for office at that time.

I hope it will put to rest the oft-stated lie that only Republicans can keep America safe from terrorists. Republicans have already gotten more mileage from this lie than a bald tire with frayed steel threads exposed.

This has been a surprising several days all around, first the release of Obama's birth certificate, and now the death of Osama bin Laden.