Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A wee political rant

A wee bit Political
Category: News and Politics

I have to break down and post this. I've been having a great conversation with my friends online about this post and it's validity. Also about the relevance (or lack thereof) of these posturing scholars and "leaders" as Obama has ascended to the national scene. Read and Enjoy:

Obama and the Suicidal Left
Why the black intelligentsia needs to stop hating on
the Democratic nominee.

Updated: 2:59 PM ET Sep 2, 2008

Sept. 2, 2008--During the Democratic National
Convention in Denver, I sat on a panel about hip-hop
and politics with a number of well-read and highly
regarded thinkers in the black community. At one point
a fellow panelist commented that it was impossible to
criticize Barack without being considered a sellout.
That statement inspired a thread of commentary echoing
the sentiment.

Let me say this much: I'm a believer in firm critique
and the virtues of skepticism toward anyone who holds
a position of authority. I publicly disagreed with
Obama's FISA vote and his decision to campaign in
Indiana as opposed to traveling to Memphis on the
anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. But my
response to that line was simply to ask: Why it is
that a group of progressives would spend about 40
minutes discussing how to critique Barack and
virtually no time discussing how to elect him?

Unless John McCain has suddenly become a more
attractive option, perhaps those priorities should be

The GOP has won 7 of the last 10 presidential
elections largely because of the success in creating a
big tent. They manage, however improbably, to get an
unemployed factory worker to vote for the same
candidate as the millionaire CEO who just fired him.
Progressives, however, have the opposite of a big
tent—we have a funnel. We take the broadest
possibilities and narrow them down to just a handful
of ideologically correct, if absolutely unelectable
also, to mitigate the pain of defeat with the balm of
our untainted ideals.

I thought about that conversation again, after I heard
Cornel West and Julianne Malveaux savage Barack
Obama's acceptance speech. Malveaux went hypertensive
because Barack never mentioned Dr. King by name
(despite the fact that he had two of MLK's children
and Rep. John Lewis speak about the March on
Washington and that only the absolute dimmest of bulbs
could not know who that "young preacher from Georgia"
was.) West fulminated that Obama had left out a
critique of white supremacy and missed the symbolism
of the moment. And worst of all, he noted, "no one was

Between acting in The Matrix and launching his rap
career, Cornel West has gone soft around the middle. (camille note: is that soft around the middle of the brain, cause the man left his sense somewhere in Ethiopia during that ill-fated marriage a few years back)
The kind of symbolism-laden speech he wanted is what
candidates give during their inaugurals, not their
acceptance speeches—unless they're 15 points up in the
polls. Obama is running neck-and-neck with a GOP
cadaver, and he was virtually required to give the
kind of nuts-and-bolts speech he delivered on

In truth, we've been seeing this strand of thought for
months among black intellectuals. My friend and
brother-in-arms, Mark Anthony Neal, accused Obama of
"cheapening his religion" when he resigned from
Trinity, but made virtually no mention of the fact
that Obama had put his neck on the line by defending
Jeremiah Wright in March, only to see Wright and
Trinity ignore that gesture, dismiss Barack as a
"politician" and repeatedly inject themselves into the
campaign. Jesse Jackson threatened to manually
castrate Obama for giving a speech that was far more
even-handed than the few lines quoted from it suggest
and completely in line with a series of "personal
responsibility" speeches Jackson himself gave during
his 1988 presidential campaign.

Obama has been giving inspirational speeches. He's
built an amazing grassroots machine and brought people
into active political engagement who had sworn off
politics long ago.

But conventions are about winning elections, plain and
simple. (That was something that Hillary's most
die-hard supporters missed also—their hopes of a
nomination fight harked back to an era when
conventions actually had something to do with policy.
At this point they are closer to Broadway productions,
with everyone memorizing their lines and dancing on
cue.) There are still heated arguments in smoke-filled
rooms—they just take place in May and June, long
before the first delegates have even begun packing.

I was hoping that Obama would avoid the kind of
emotive speech we all know he can give and deliver
exactly what he did: a basic outline of his policy
positions. The measure of Obama's connection to those
movements West was talking about is not whether he
mentions them in his acceptance speech, but whether he
prioritizes the progressive civil rights and
anti-poverty platform he's outlined in his platform.
(Does the fact that he's the only candidate in eons
with a program to employ ex-offenders and reduce
recidivism or one where poor pregnant women can
receive home visits from nurses to reduce infant
mortality mean anything to us?)

Perhaps the most biting irony is a kind of reverse
affirmative action, where Obama seems to face a higher
bar for support than the white candidates who preceded
him. The Congressional Black Caucus and black
progressives asked virtually nothing from Kerry (at
least not publicly) and not much more from Gore, yet a
former civil rights attorney who has litigated
employment and voting discrimination cases has to pass
a "good faith" test.

On some level, you understand the logic of expecting
more from your own people, but not the logic that says
you should road-block the path to election.

William Jelani Cobb is associate professor of history
at Spelman College and author of "The Devil & Dave
Chappelle and Other Essays." His blog, "The Delegate,"
appeared on The Root last week.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What did I tell ya'll about how I work?

See. I'm at work RIGHT NOW. I've been here for close to two hours. I'm just sayin...

So, it's Sunday and I'm going to take a moment to blast my little sister for not taking any pics of me with my fly new haircut (hint: I got bangs) and thus disabling me from showing you guys my fly new Betty-Page-esqe look.

Add insult to injury: I think little sister also flew away with my camera. I may have told her she could, but only telepathically. I think. I don't know, it was a long time ago. Like, last weekend.

The other day, my friend "J" got himself hit by a car on a bike. Again. How fucked up is that, that I have to qualify that statement. It is not enough to unveil the horror of a loved one's mortality with "he got hit by a car while on a bike." Oh no. I have to say "again." Because it's accurate and true. This is the second time (that I'm aware of, though he has disclosed 6 accidents, I don't know the details of them).

The key differences - he walked away from this one. In a sense, at least, I mean, he was ambulanced away but left the ER sore but able to perambulate on his own. The last time he got hit by a car he was not so fortunate.

That's what we're going to focus on, the fortunate part. Yes, i thought it was pure folly for him to commute on a bicycle, but I understood the economic concerns (even if they were mainly the result of a skewed sense of priorities, but whatever). I can appreciate staring death in the face and getting the glorious reprieve of "not this time." Thus, i am fortunate to still have my friend, in one piece no less, and that's that. Ya'll just send up a thought for the mysterious, accident-prone "J", who is really the best lunch buddy a girl like me could ask for (he believes in free food, listens like a pro, empathizes no matter what the situation, and has an attention span equal to or less than mine, and he's just damn interesting).

Another friend, "M", also got in a car accident. He totalled his car last week, so add him to your thoughts list. M is having what I have deemed an interesting life. We don't get to talk much, but he's a good guy and deserves warm energy.

Alright, well, that's my shoutout list for the week! Send all requests to...LOL.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Yeah, I suck

I did actually write a post yesterday, and the day before. But both days i was feeling emotionally upheaved and didn't post. I lost interest. you know it was bad when I just couldn't bring myself to write anything, anywhere. It was all very maudlin and tacky. I'm on the tail-end of it now, mostly I want to indulge in a couple of krispy kreme donuts and hang out with fun people whom I like.

I rearranged my living room last night. I love moving furniture, creating a new pattern within the confines of the structure. I like to say "change your hair, change your life" but I also believe in "change your furniture, change your life."

I think I've had a nasty case of inertia. I was doing alright, then, late last week the visigoth got all Visigoth-ish on me. He was "going through something" and since that is a rare occurrence and not particularly descriptive, it mostly came off as the prelude to a breakup. Please imagine how distressing this was to me on at least two levels. We have been so happy and then suddenly I had this surly, snarling mess on my hands. Apparently we are not breaking up, so after that was established, I needed a little "fall apart" time. Cause, um, whenever someone starts throwing crazy signals, I mostly get busy catching. The practical parts of breaking up I am quite adept at handling - housing, dissolution of financial whatevers, getting scarce for at least a year for the purpose of "healing" on both sides. The nice "I've just been through a breakup and travel is necessary" trips to new lands. I'm very good at all of that.

Anywho, that's all water under the proverbial bridge. Just the reason I've not been writing. Now I am, as my Jamaican colleague says, "trying to find some ambition." Until recently I have been chock-full of ambition, brimming with ambition, bubbling over with ambition. I suppose part of the problem is that I appear to be battling another (again, i mean good GAWD) infection. How is it that I went through a year of major surgeries, lived on a farm and played with the animals and generally made a nuisance of myself, but didn't get a single infection or side effect or take medication BUT now I have three infections of increasing strength and potency in one month?

Well, I think this is enough catch-up for all of us. I shall totter off and find some lunch and ya'll will do...whatever it is you do.

Do it well