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The road less traveled

29 Aug

Senator Barack Obama has officially accepted the presidential nomination from the Democratic Party (on the 45th anniversary of “I Have a Dream” no less) and has made history in the process. America is making history. We like to talk about how far ahead some European countries are in terms of racial equality, but none of them have done this. This country has such a long, checkered past of intolerance and hate (genocide of Native Americans, slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow, Japanese internment camps, etc) and we still have a lot of work to do on that front, but to have a black man be this close to being commander in chief is awe inspiring.

My father, who is in his 50’s, was in the Detroit Public Schools system when Brown v. Board of Education required schools to be integrated. He was bussed to an all white school and his white classmates would literally spit on him. His white teachers deliberately selected black students for corporal punishment whether they deserved it or not. Today’s racism is a lot more covert, but blatant, over-the-top, government sanctioned racism is not ancient history. To be able to hear the not-so-distant memories of overt racism by my elders (and I actually have my own stories too) and then sit here, no STAND here, and watch Barack Obama accept the Democratic nomination for president is incredible.

And Barack Obama is not just some generic, fill-in-the-blank, token black guy being thrust out there for the sake of saying “Look we let black people do stuff.” He has substance, drive, passion and I believe, a sincerity that people in my generation have never seen in a politician on a national scale. This upcoming contest in November will be the third presidential election that I have been old enough to vote in and it is the very first time that I don’t feel like I’m going for “the lesser of two evils.” That’s not to say that I agree 100 percent with everything Obama has said, but I truly believe that he is not just the best candidate of these two people, but that he is the candidate who can get this country going into a positive direction.

Obama’s speech last night was phenomenal. He was poignant and practical and really tough on the Republicans. I have not doubts about his ability to run this country effectively and compassionately and repair our global reputation. America does deserve better than the last eight years. We need a president who can make the next eight years as tremendous as the last eight were disastrous.

We know what happens to a dream deferred. It does fester like a sore. It does sag like a heavy load. It does explode. Langston Hughes was right about all of those things. What he didn’t mention was how that dream turns into a nightmare and perpetuates cycles of poverty and despair that strangle the forward progress of countless families in this country. For black children to see someone who looks like them within reach of being the leader of the free world is like injecting a big dose of “YES, WE CAN” into their brains and into their hearts. They can truly believe that there are no limits to their potential. That’s a beautiful thing and it’s priceless.

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5 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2008 in Black History, Detroit, Love

 

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5 responses to “The road less traveled

  1. tracey in Ohio

    August 29, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Howdy! Both your posts were beautiful & right on point today! I have nothing more to add. Obama is smart, intelligent, powerful, damn handsome, and just well… just “Obama, baby.” (LOL!) Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

     
  2. loveisdope

    August 29, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    LMAO! You said it! You have a good one too. πŸ™‚

     
  3. Auntie Kitty

    August 30, 2008 at 7:25 am

    I’m glad you’re feeling all that. For a minute there I thought something was wrong with me. I can’t seem to listen to my next President without crying. He fills me up and your comment is the reason. I know that grown folks like me got us into this mess, and here, finally, is the avenue for young people to shake off the mantle that we have given them of irresponsible, selfish, layed back, unaware, apathetic, apolitical amoebas and come to the rescue. How is that for empowerment! Everybody who is worried about this campaign going to McCain are thinking about the votes of the people who regularly go to the polls. They are discounting the votes that are going to save us from this sewage we have grown sadly accustomed to slogging through. They are taking polls of people with land lines and are not speaking to the ones who will lift us out of this quagmire because their cell phone numbers are not listed!
    While the political pundits are talking the cavalry is texting.
    And that’s why I’m crying these tears of joy and hope, and possibility. I know what is meant by the phrase “I’ve been to the mountain top”. It is the absolute certainty that you are at an altitude that let’s you see further than your normal myopic view. You see the forest and recognize that it is composed of trees. The reason that it is a forest is because all the little trees that have not yet matured are feeling in the gaps. That is what makes it a forest and not a stand. So everytime I hear that hip-hop music it sounds like the cavalry bugle call to me. Everytime I see those sagging pants it looks like Patrick Swayze emerging from a burning building with a baby in his arms. Everytime I feel the breeze of some maniac on a kamakazi skateboard whizzing past me in a mall parking lot I feel the winds of change. I taste freedom. I smell success.

     
  4. buppie chick

    August 30, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Wonderful post. My parents were also involved in the many changes of the civil rights movement – as many of our parents were. However, we are definitely seeing the results of the struggle and pain they endured. I am delighted to not only see a Black man as the Dem Presidential nominee, but I am thrilled to see someone who can lead our country for the change we have all be striving to see. Go Obama!

     
  5. loveisdope

    August 31, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Hi Auntie Kitty! Yep, folks are really energized this time around and I think we will make it to the polls and really make change. Leave it to you to put “sagging pants” and Patrick Swayze in the same sentence and somehow it still makes sense. πŸ™‚

    Hola buppie Chick! Thank you. Glad you stopped by! Yeah, this is a really good time to be a grown up…to have tangible connections to such a wide array of societal changes. Obama, baby!

     

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