Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Caveat

I really feel that every morning, I'm waking up to a brand new world. And it excites me and makes me pensive and grateful. I have a caveat I want to address about all this.

While I absolutely feel it needs to be recognized how far we've come as a country, I also feel that eventually, race needs to become a non-factor. That is the ideal. But since we're not there yet, yes, the historic significance needs to be highlighted. And I believe this time of transition is the perfect time to discuss it. Hundreds of years from now, due to our nation's history, people will look back and say, "Barack Obama was the first black President elected in the United States."

But my hope is that as the transition occurs, race will become less of a topic of discussion. A woman who called into a local talk show on NPR this morning put it well. She made the analogy to Tiger Woods. She spoke of how when he came on the scene, "all everyone would say was black, black, black. But now, no one really says that and all we see is his awesomeness."

That is my hope for Obama. When he was campaigning and speaking, I saw an inspiring leader. When he got elected, I recognized the massive historical significance. Now, as he gets to work as our new leader, I hope that the issue of race will become a footnote . . . a very significant one, yes, but a footnote. Who he is shouldn't be overshadowed by talk of the color of his skin.

I don't think he's perfect. I don't entirely agree with him on all issues. But I do think he's a pretty amazing leader and I have nothing but admiration for how far he's come, what he's accomplished, and what he has yet to accomplish. I don't envy him the mess he's inheriting. He has a long road ahead of him, but I hope for good things. I do have hope. He has instilled that in me. And I already see change. And I think that's a very good thing.

I don't think he's all about being a Democrat or black or whatever other label we can come up with. He made that clear in his speech at the DNC as a young senator, his speech at the DNC when he accepted the nomination, his speech on race, and his stirring acceptance speech. The cadence and rhythm of his "Yes We Can" acceptance speech did not go unnoticed by this Humanities major--I loved it. I felt it. Yes we can.

Another caller called in and said, "Only in American can a black man be elected President!" Um, not really. Sadly, America is light years behind on that. And that's one of the great significances of this election--we're delayed in our enlightenment, but we're starting to join the rest of the world in the party. Racism and bigotry is, unfortunately, alive and well in our country. Even people supporting Barack Obama have said, "Oh yeah, I'm voting for that (n-word)." Despicable. The fact that even supporters have used that kind of language tells us we have a ways to go. I won't even go into what those who haven't supported him have called him.

But the fact that he's been elected tells us how far we've come. And it gives me great hope and faith in this generation of youth who came out in droves to vote and not only look past the color of his skin, but not even really notice a difference at all. So, yes, it IS significant. And it ought to be discussed and recognized. It ought to be celebrated. But eventually, it will become a non-factor, as it was for much of his campaign. And I'm excited for that.

As it used to be with Tiger Woods, right now there is a lot of talk about "black, black, black." But, as with Tiger Woods, I hope that soon all we'll see is his awesomeness. Congratulations, Mr. President. Welcome. To your destiny and ours, welcome.

" Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America.

There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America." --- Barack Obama


emily said...

I have nothing to say but I know you like comments. So here you go. I read this post and I liked it.

Lena said...

I agree, I will be happy when it is a NON issue. It's already there for me. I hope he is a good president. I know he got this nation fired up and I hope he uses that wisely. I want to see if he can walk the walk now that he's talked the talk and I'm willing to give him that chance ;)

Foltron said...

How could Obama being black ever be a non issue? He will always be known for being the first black president regardless of what great or horrible things he accomplishes in office. There is nothing he can do or say that will change his race. Until the day we die we will always think first of President Obama as the first black president. I don't see anything wrong with that. By saying this should be a non issue is taking away his accomplishment. By making it a non issue it tells black boys and girls that it doesn't matter that Obama won the presidency as a black man. By making it a non issue it helps kill the dream that I could do something that no one else before me could do. By making it a non issue...

The trick is to not make it an issue so big that it overshadows what he does in office. Once again, both the good and bad. I didn't vote for the man and doubt that he can make good on even half is promises but I'm grateful he gave me the opportunity to be a part of something huge. Romney/Colbert 2012.

Jill O said...

Great video, thanks!

emily said...

Greg, YES! Romney/Colbert 2012!!! LOVE IT.

Mom said...

Nice articles. I keep saying "magazine article writer."

Question for you: What can you tell me about Mrs. Obama? I've heard Mr. Obama speak and some of his background, but not so much about her. In one of your posts you said how much you admire her. Why? What is her background, causes, etc. Each First Lady has had her personal projects and focus. What do you think hers will be? Just wondering and I figured you'd know.

Dr. Mark said...

I'll let Stacy share why she likes Michelle Obama so much. I imagine much of it is her down-to-earth persona in addition to her commitment to raising two young children as normally as possible.

There is a nice minibio of Michelle over here: is the website set up for the transition team. It's really new so new items are still being added but I imagine it will end up being a way to track President-elect Obama's thoughts and progress in preparation for taking over in January.

jaredski said...

You're being way too hard on the US by saying that we're behind the rest of the world when it comes to racism. I haven't travelled that much, but I have read and heard that blacks in Japan and most of Asia are widely considered to be a rung below the rest of humanity. Do you think any non-Arab would be treated as an equal in the Arab world? Even in Europe, that bastion of progressivism, there are strong anti-immigrant feelings in every country.

So I would say that the US is probably one of the most tolerant countries in the world when it comes to racism. I'm not saying we don't have knuckle-draggers, but as a society we are remarkably diverse and tolerant.

Claudine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boquinha said...

Claudine, do I know you?

Claudine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay said...

All I can say at the moment is that I have probably one of the most passionate sister-in-laws in the world! Which is a cool thing. My goal is to become more passionate...put more thought to certain things

Boquinha said...

Thanks, all, for the comments.

Greg, I absolutely think we should never lose sight of the fact that he's our first black president. When I say it should be a non-issue, I'm referring to not making it so big an issue that it overshadows who he is as a person. So, I think we're on the same page about that. ;)

Vivian, wow! Thank you for the very nice compliment! As for Michelle Obama, she will put her own family first (and rightly so) and I think her projects will have to do with families in general, perhaps military families as she has been very moved when meeting with the spouses of military families and hearing their stories and feeling that they haven't felt like they've had much of a voice.

From her bio on Obama's website:

"If Barack is honored with the privilege of serving the United States as president, Michelle looks forward to continuing her work on the issues close to her heart-supporting military families, helping working women balance work and family, and encouraging national service.

"My first priority will always be to make sure that our girls are healthy and grounded," she says. "Then I want to help other families get the support they need, not just to survive, but to thrive.

"Policies that support families aren't political issues. They're personal. They're the causes I carry with me every single day.""

(Source - More here)


There is a wonderful write up about her on DailyKos that has a lot of pictures and background and really, fun personal tidbits. The post also links to many great articles about her. I think it's a great place to start learning more about her--a lot of what's said there is what I love about her, too. She's down to earth, strong, articulate, educated, hard-working, family-first, beautiful, open . . . I haven't EVER personally seen a first lady quite like this one and I'm EXCITED!!

The story can be found here.

I highly recommend it.

Jared, you know what? Your comment gave me pause. I think you may be on to something! You're right about the racism and xenophobia that exists in other countries. Maybe I'm not giving enough credit to how far we've come. Thanks for saying something. There are definitely more tolerant, progressive nations like the Netherlands and Canada, but yeah, the U.S. may well be one of the front runners, despite the fact that we've had a shameful past (and present) in many ways when it comes to civil rights. Really good food for thought.

Boquinha said...

Claudine, interesting. Who do we mutually know?

Awww Lindsay, thank you! What a compliment!

Boquinha said...

Oh, one more picture . . . the final one in this article. I love it.

Claudine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boquinha said...

All right, that's it. I'm more than happy to discuss things with people and I have absolutely no problem with differing opinions, but I have very little tolerance for elitist attitudes, arrogance, and cowardice.

I do NOT believe in censorship. I did not delete your comment. YOU did. I didn't censor you--your comment, posted and deleted, stands for that very reason. I'm not sure what "wrong idea" you fear people will get, but if your concern is appearances, maybe don't comment in the first place or if you do, leave your comments where they are. I don't make a habit of telling people how to run their personal blogs and don't appreciate someone telling me how to run mine.

I thought you'd posted what you did, thought better of it, and then deleted it, so I ignored it. If you want to email it to someone, posting a comment and then deleting it isn't the way to do it. Requesting an email address is more appropriate. Doing so through a comment that will be forwarded to me is a one-way conversation as it gives no reply email address, which shows you'd like to spout off your opinion without hearing one in return. Poor form.

And if you know who we are, why are you being so cryptic with little hints using my name and saying you know all my in-laws? You can come out in the open and discuss something rationally with us. We have many people comment on our blog with whom we don't always agree but we're able to discuss things with respect and candor and openness.

Why would I appreciate discretion? Or persuasion? I appreciate openness and dialogue, not secret emails and behind-the-scenes mudslinging. You clearly think that you're right and everyone else is wrong and it's very difficult to have a conversation with anyone that way. Why should I bother responding to you when you already feel that you are the superior in this case? I'm open to information but not in an "I'm right-you're wrong" way. We can all be respectful and talk on the same plane. And if you'd like to do that, I'm happy to participate.

How unbelievably ARROGANT to say to me, "I hope you have done some HW on the points I brought up. Ignorance is bliss for only so long. Good luck with that."


With regard to your comment that you posted and later deleted (and which anyone who has subscribed to this blog after you also received in their inboxes -- very discreet), I have very little patience when it comes to people who believe every crap-filled email that is sent their way and don't do their own homework. Have you even read his book?? (I saw a great line on someone's blog today on a post about a high school English teacher who has apparently outraged parents because she dares to teach . . . from books! When she asks the parents if they've read the book about which they're upset, the answer is usually "No." The commenter made the very good point, "Asking if they've read it might make them feel cornered and no self respecting control freak likes that."). So, forgive me if that's what's going on here, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that surely you've read the book, you know, the one straight from his own mouth.

Please don't spout off information as facts without backing it up with sources. My post is about being inspired by a leader--that is subjective. They are my feelings. I did not say he is this or he is that. I said he inspires me. No one can take that away from me. It is mine.

I do not agree with everything that President-Elect Obama says, but I believe in him as a leader. He's part of the Executive Branch now, not the Legislative. And there are checks and balances in place. I'm not concerned about anything imploding. He is a leader, that is clear; and one I'm happy and proud to have representing our nation abroad, helping fix our damaged reputation. I believe in the principles that he encourages--in his book, in his speeches, in his platform. No President is able to carry through on everything they'd like to do. Voting records are a joke to discuss. But as a leader? Yeah, we're in good hands.

And seriously? I'm not the one who needs to do her homework. Look closely at ALL of what surrounds the vote on bills about abortion, not just what's convenient to tell people in order to paint a skewed picture. He is not going to ban all guns--that's absurd. And are you clairvoyant, too? You know that the Constitution will be trampled by the ignorant? There are no unanswered questions about his birth in Kenya because he was born in Hawaii!! (Have you heard of There are no Freudian slips to consider about his Muslim faith, because he's not a Muslim; he's a Christian! And honestly? So what if he were a Muslim? He's not, but what if he were? Muslims are wonderful people. It's utter ignorance to brand an entire religion and people due to the actions of some extremists.

And seriously? This part?

"Yes, change has come to America.

America has changed from a proud, independent, God-fearing and FREE Nation to one where the majority are whiny, blasphemous imbeciles who need the government to wipe their noses."

Wow, that's harsh. What a sad view of our nation. You and I do not see things in the same way at all. Our perspectives are our reality and I refuse to be cynical at a time like this. Cynicism gets you nowhere fast. Hope propels me to action and you can NOT take that away from me.

Then you say this:

"Yes, Obama is the perfect front man and puppet to usher in the destruction of our Constitutional Republic toward One World Government and universal feudalism. He is the first Black President and will be the last American President.


I have blasphemed against the "One". But, Stacy, I sincerely hope that you will remember what I've said in 2012 when we are witness to the Desolation of Obama Nation."

This closing statement together with everything else you've said illustrates that you are more concerned with being right than doing something about what upsets you. Who's whining?

You don't like it? Do something. Be proactive. Get involved. But please don't come rain on my parade with falsehoods and cynicism and clandestine, arrogant comments. Show up to the party with a name tag and the willingness to debate openly with a healthy amount of consideration that you just might be wrong. Then we can talk.

Foltron said...

I really want to know what Claudine said to provoke the wrath of Stacy. I mean, I try pretty hard to get Stacy riled-up but I haven't been able to crack her yet. So Claudine, if you're still out there, I could use some pointers. Also, Claudine if you know me you didn't leave a great impression because I have no idea who you are. I haven't discussed this with any of my brothers and I'm not asking for their permission but please don't associate yourself with my family if you're going to ignorantly attack them. And finally just to be a jerk, when listing the "F Boys", S comes after M.

Dr. Mark said...

It's good to see you around here again, Foltron!

Boquinha said...

I love you, Greg.

Chica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boquinha said...

Wow, you really need assistance with this process. Okay, let me help you.

And you love air quotes. Fitting.

I "ignored" the comment you initially deleted, but when you resurfaced and explained that you were hoping I'd see it after all via email, I responded.

As for inviting, I do invite dialogue. As for questions, well, those are rather pointless when someone doesn't answer them.

And yes, NOW you've added your email as well as a profile and a picture and a new name, none of which were there when you initially posted.

And yes, I have plenty of opinion. This is MY blog. You came here. Whose opinion did you expect to read? I enjoy and welcome exchanges, but civil ones are generally more enjoyable.

Yeah, I do think he actually wrote his book. It was published in 1995, well before his campaign. Where in the world do you get your information? So yes, I have read his book. And by your own admission using the word "either," you have not.

Most any life decision is made with some degree of emotion. Rational thought coupled with emotional reasoning is what makes us human and what makes us able to function at a level other animals do not.

Well, "bully," let me know when you're ready to drop the snarky comments. In the meantime, I'll say whatever I damn well please.

Rebecca said...

Wow - go Stacy. I'm dying to know what Claudine/Chica originally said.

Lena said...

Rebecca- It was rude and obviously by someone who has no tolerance for other people's opinions.

Of course- that is just MY opinion of the comment and how it came off to me ;)

Boquinha said...

Thanks, guys. It's funny. I wouldn't presume to go around blasting McCain supporters on their blogs nor have I gloated about Obama winning. I've simply expressed my excitement, happiness, and hope about what's happening on our own blog. I thought that maybe I was being Punk'd.

I entertain the *possibility* that I could be wrong and Obama could be an abysmal president, but I choose to go forward with optimism, hope, and belief in a leader who inspires me, because otherwise what has one got? I believe in the law of attraction and what it invites. I hope for good things for our country and our new President.

So, my apologies to our regular readers. We were sharing a lovely conversation before our guest arrived.

And for the record, questioning my judgment doesn’t upset me (I love a good debate), condescending comments and arguments without logic do.

Fear and insecurity underlie attacks. People who are fearful don’t like when other people are not—it feels threatening to them, and their insecurities show how much they wish they weren’t scared, too. It’s human nature and we all have a little bit of this in us.

kristenhcubed said...

I thought the saying went like this. "Only in America can a poor black boy grow up to be a rich white woman." Michael Jackson did it!

Lindsay said...

I've read the last sentence of Greg's last comment three times now and I've laughed out loud each time. Now I'm laughing just thinking about it. Oh boy, I needed a good laugh. But now I've got to stop procrastinating and get going on my reading for Contracts tomorrow.

Lindsay said...

Dangit. I keep forgetting that our computer automatically logs us into blogs as Lindsay and not me.

Boquinha said...

Kristen, that's funny.

And Lindsay . . . I guess you're Scott then? I was wondering why Lindsay was going to read contracts. :P

I love the feeling of having so many brothers looking out for me! :D

D'Arcy said...

Stacy, let's go into politics together. I am serious.

You've said everything else I could have possibly said.

Claudine said...

I want to apologize. Your blog was not the appropriate forum to vent my political frustrations. You were celebrating your successes and my comment was in bad form. Your original impression was right. Once it was posted I immediately regretted doing it and deleted the comment. However, when I realized you had received it anyway in your e-mail I tried to cover my ignorance on how blog comments work by trying to play it off as if I had done it on purpose. This was only the first in what I can only describe as comedy of errors, none of which were very funny. When I went back to the comments page it looked different from when I had originally deleted it. I was confused and thought you had deleted my comment removal. Stupid, I know. I got caught up in the fray when I should have just apologized and walked away. A few weeks before I had read an article on the sociology of bullying. My reference to “bullies” stems from when I realized that I got caught up in that power play mentality operating as you said from a position of cowardice. Until now you’ve probably forgotten about my comments and moved on. Five months later I am still bothered by my poor behavior. I suppose there is some justice in my heavy conscience over the last few months. I am sorry, both for my poor behavior and for taking so long to apologize for it.

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Claudine. Apology accepted. I think it's mighty big of you to come back and apologize like this. Really. Thanks.