Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pinch me - is it really 2012?

Cause lately it's feeling circa 1962.

In 2008, most Americans were ready to admit that yes - we screwed ourselves royally electing that chucklehead "W" that first time and we had to 'effin be high as kites the second time. As we passed yet another anniversary at war (s) that nearly bankrupted us, left us few international allies, and robbed us of leaders either through IEDs and/or permanently damaged psyches that something had gone horribly wrong under the watch of "W".  

Enter a handsome, Harvard educated law professor turned Senator of mixed parentage (what better combination to finally unite America) with a level of calm, composure, and cool that boggled the mind and oratory skills that rivaled MLK II and Malcolm X.  We were all so hopeful that change had finally come to America. By we, I don't mean just African Americans but many White Americans were just as hopeful that he embodied the best of what America could be despite our history. Granted there has always been and will always be a segment of the population (far too large for my tastes) who believe and talk as George Wallace did  (segregation today,...tomorrow and ... forever") while acting like Strom Thurmond behind closed doors. But during campaign 2008, those types seemed to be in the minority. Americans were hopeful that Barack Husein Obama embodied the very best of what America could be despite our history. We understood fully that this guy was the real deal - decent, well educated, no skeletons in his closet and no, he wasn't Muslim and yes, he was born in America. Senator Obama was elected President Obama and the WORLD rejoiced. The newspaper front pages both here and abroad were nothing less than astounding, I have about 6 different ones myself.  His message of hope and what could be so galvanized the world that he won the Nobel Peace Prize the same year even before being official inaugurated.

Then after barely a year on the job, those who secretly (or not so secretly in the case of Mitch McConnell and Co) wished him failure (or more accurately feared his success) started mumbling about death panels in his new healthcare plan to the masses who prefer entertainment to cold hard facts. He didn't have a magic wand to fix what had taken decades of bad policy-making and de-regulations to create. But come to think of it have you ever seen his birth or baptism certificates...something's a little smelly around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or so they said. Later that year Congressman, Joe Wilson, handedd him one of the most disrespectful blows of his or any Presidency by yelling "You Lie"  during his State of the Union address in late 2009. It's amazing how easily White America has found it to disrespect the office once it's held by a man of color.
 
I love Barack Obama. I love his swagger, his family, the glow of hope that overtakes me every time I hear him speak. When he threw his hat in the race, I believed he should serve another term as senator to gain more experience, political acuity and connections but once he did there way no way I would ever vote for an angry old white man who  was unabashedly incensed that this young Nigg*r from Hawaii had upstaged his last chance to be President. admittedly, I have my own disappointments with President Obama.  The biggest of which being that he hasn't put up staunch enough fights for some things that he KNOWS will benefit all of us namely single payer healthcare, true reforms for our education and banking systems (for Pete's sake Tim Geithner, who was feckless as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is now our Secretary of the Treasury - really Barack, you couldn't do better than that!!) and getting every last troop out of Iraq and Afghanistan completely. Granted congress has acted deplorably for most of his term but that cool head of his - I could scream and shake him sometimes. I have said more than once, that I'd rather have him make some lasting changes and be a one term President than an over-compromising two termer who seems weak and misdirected. That's just my opinion. So my prayer is that this time having learned how to navigate the aisles of Washington and the alleys of the world, he will truly act like the most Powerful Man in the World that he truly is and take no prisoners where his veto pen is concerned to get us back on the right tracks. After all, he can only serve two terms so who gives a flying fig if he pisses some folks off - git 'er done Mr. President.

I have seen the difference in this land of the free and the brave since we entered the Obama era and it ain't pretty, it's actually very sad.  I'm here in Smalltown, Pa aka Lily-white-ville. We moved here 2 years prior to the election and one thing I loved and often quipped was that people here were either very friendly or they left you alone.  Since Obama's election I've had "Nigger" yelled at me on 3 separate occasions albeit the cowards were riding by in cars but still. That's not something you forget, nor does being surrounded by oh so many Confederate flags put me at ease. So many white people I encounter now look permanently angry...at me!? Maybe they no longer have the house they used to or the high salaried job. In that case we're two peas in a pod because, it is only through God's grace that I am making our budget fit my newly diminished earnings but I don't blame them for that.  My home is not in jeopardy but using it as collateral when my daughter goes off to college in 3 years will never be a realitysince I owe more than it's worth. But I'm not angry at white folks for 400 years of institutionalized oppression and racism yet they've had barely 3 years under a man of color's leadership - he leads, rarely legislates - there is a difference - and they blame him for everything wrong thing in their lives. I have a neighbor who frankly I'm scared of, and I don't scare easy. He's lived down the street from me since I've been here but has never once spoken to me, he just stares in a menacing way. So now every time I see him I pray for God's grace and protection. I'm seriously contemplating buying a gun and I despise guns.The one thing that's causing my procrastination in the purchase is that this is precisely how Trayvon Martin was killed. A scared little man, disappointed with the turns his life had taken, transferred that despair and fear in the dark of night on an unsuspecting kid who had no idea what the hell was going on.  Rest In Peace, my dear Sweet Prince.We will do better by you in death than we managed during your brief life. 

I've never been a person to use race as the excuse for why I'm not chosen for a job, whatever or asked to participate in a survey or credit card at a local mall. When I'm certain it has been true at times but race relations are palpable in way they have never been in my lifetime. Just look at the recent incident with the Washington Capitals player, Joel Ward, upon scoring the winning goal that advanced the Caps in the Playoffs (finally!).  There were  tweets  and rants about killing him, calling him Nigger and Monkey because he scored the winning goal against your team??  Is that all it takes for your true colors to show?  There was even a survey done over the last few years that proved NHL players received more penalty calls when the wore a certain color jersey - guess what color?Yep, black!! Racism sadly is so deeply embedded in the foundation of our culture.

What's next, are they gonna bar Darius Rucker (you know, Hootie) from performing at the Grand Old Opry?  attempt to the Voting Rights? Regular working class white folks especially those lacking a college education need to recognize this election is not about Democrats or Republicans, Christians or Heathens - it is about "W"s haves and have mores taking care of themselves...ONLY.  If like far too many Americans you fall into the I still don't have mine yet category, wake up because they are not working for you. YOU are no more their kind than I am - and make no qualms about it - besides residing in these here United states Mitt Romney and I have nothing in common.  I'm a 99% ers, he can loan his campaign a $50 million as an afterthought except I did leave my cat on the deck all day last week :(

Don't get me wrong some of my best friends are white (and yes, I know how that sounds) and ain't mad at y'all these are just my observations. It is true we've come a long way but there appears to be a long road ahead yet with some possibly dangerous curves just over the horizon aka the 2012 Presidential election. Time to put on my big girl pants and thicker skin, and remember to order my OMG (Obama's My Guy 2012)  bumper sticker.   "Dayum, dayum, dayum" in my best Florida Evans voice.

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