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Barack Obama

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I’ve not blogged about politics for a while, mostly because I’ve been burnt out on the subject since the election. I get this way after every national election and can’t write about politics for a long time after. Lately, there have been things that have been bugging me though, so I’m going to go on a little rant.

Republicans
Republicans need to grow up. I’m so sick of them publicly announcing that they want President Obama to fail. Seriously. How patriotic is that? That is disgusting. You may not agree with the guy’s policies, but he’s doing what he thinks is best for America and by wishing he fails you are wishing that America fails. Rush Limbaugh needs to shut the hell up (so does Ann Coulter) and the Republicans actually need to reach out to the other side. The Dems and Obama have reached out numerous times (even when I wish they hadn’t) but each and every time the hand comes across the aisle the Republicans slap it. It’s no wonder that the polls are showing that people have a more favorable opinion of the Dems than the Republicans.

Democrats

Grow up. You are also having problems. Pay your taxes. Don’t show up to the big dance with the hot date and then brag the entire time. Yeah, you have reached across the aisle, but you have done it with a bit of smugness that you don’t really need. I know, I know, the Republicans were like that when they were in power. But they aren’t anymore. There’s a reason for that. Don’t get to cocky.

President Obama
Mr. President, you’re making some great speeches and getting some things done, but I do have some issues with you. Stop being so eager to get support from Republicans. They are just going to burn you. You’ve gotten a little better lately with not caring what the Republicans think. You even reversed Bush’s policy on funding for stem cell research, which is a definite “F You” to most Republicans, and that’s good. Play hardball with them, especially when they aren’t doing anything to give you support and are publicly bashing everything you (and your wife) does. They aren’t the only ones you need to play hardball with though. Start playing hardball with Wall Street. It is time to say no more. Giving them more and more money isn’t going to help. They will keep asking for more and more. Instead, stop giving to Wall Street and give to the people. How about a stimulus check please? Hell, you give me $600-$800, I know I’m going to spend that a lot more wisely than Wall Street bankers. I’ll do something to stimulate the economy of real people. Not the economy of corporate jets and retirement packages.

That’s all I got. It’s a scary time right now and I’m sick of all the right-wing rhetoric being blasted my Limbaugh, Coulter, CNBC, and anyone else who wants to see the President fail. At least when Bush was in office we didn’t want to see him fail (we knew in the back of our minds that his policies would anyway).

In the spirit of the week where we inaugurate Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America I thought I’d post a song of the week.  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but Obama’s campaign slogan reminded me of it.  The song is by a group called The Treacherous Three.  They were a hip hop group that formed in the late 70’s and had a few hits, including Santa’s Rap, and were featured in movies such as Beat Street and Wildstyle.  One of the members, Kool Moe Dee, went on to have a successful solo career.

With the success of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s song The Message, other rappers decided to try their hand at socially conscious music.  The song I present to you today was released long before Barack Obama declared “Yes We Can” but the sentimants are the same.  Let’s work together.  Let’s treat each other as equals.  Let’s rebuild America.  Yes We Can.  Here is song Yes We Can-Can by the Treacherous Three.

[audio:http://pieceofshep.com/audio/34-Yes-We-Can-Can-(Single_LP Version).mp3]
Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office
Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office

I guess I should say something about the inauguration. The thing is, I do not have much to say on the topic. I’m speechless. It’s almost like a dream. Whether or not you voted for him or agree with his policies, it was a momentous occasion. The country is forever changed, for the better, from this day forward. I will never forget this election. I will never forget this day. I wish I could have been there. Heck, I wish I could have watched it live on TV instead of listening to it on NPR. At least I experienced it. His speech I think was perfect for the occasion and I think he handled expectations well. He warned America that the road to prosperity will be a difficult one but if we take responsibility for ourselves and work hard, we will get there. The whole day was just amazing. Again, it’s almost like a dream.

Today is election day, go vote. I voted for Barack Obama at 6:30 am this morning, after waiting in line for an hour, so this is not my election story. In celebration of the day I leave you with this touching story. If you don’t tear up just a little, you have no heart.

I have a confession to make.

I did not vote for Barack Obama today.

I’ve openly supported Obama since March.  But I didn’t vote for him today.

I wanted to vote for Ronald Woods. He was my algebra teacher at Clark Junior High in East St. Louis, IL.  He died 15 years ago when his truck skidded head-first into a utility pole.  He spent many a day teaching us many things besides the Pythagorean Theorem.  He taught us about Medgar Evers, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and many other civil rights figures who get lost in the shadow cast by Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I didn’t vote for Mr. Woods.

I wanted to vote for Willie Mae Cross. She owned and operated Crossroads Preparatory Academy for almost 30 years, educating and empowering thousands of kids before her death in 2003.  I was her first student.  She gave me my first job, teaching chess and math concepts to kids in grades K-4 in her summer program.  She was always there for advice, cheer and consolation.  Ms. Cross, in her own way, taught me more about walking in faith than anyone else I ever knew.

But I didn’t vote for Ms. Cross.

I wanted to vote for Arthur Mells Jackson, Sr. and Jr. Jackson Senior was a Latin professor.  He has a gifted school named for him in my hometown.  Jackson Junior was the pre-eminent physician in my hometown for over 30 years.  He has a heliport named for him at a hospital in my hometown.  They were my great-grandfather and great-uncle, respectively.

But I didn’t vote for Prof. Jackson or Dr. Jackson.

I wanted to vote for A.B. Palmer. She was a leading civil rights figure in Shreveport, Louisiana, where my mother grew up and where I still have dozens of family members.  She was a strong-willed woman who earned the grudging respect of the town’s leaders because she never, ever backed down from anyone and always gave better than she got.  She lived to the ripe old age of 99, and has a community center named for her in Shreveport.

But I didn’t vote for Mrs. Palmer.

I wanted to vote for these people, who did not live to see a day where a Black man would appear on their ballots on a crisp November morning.

In the end, though, I realized that I could not vote for them any more than I could vote for Obama himself.

So who did I vote for?

No one.

I didn’t vote.  Not for President, anyway.

Oh, I went to the voting booth.  I signed, was given my stub, and was walked over to a voting machine.  I cast votes for statewide races and a state referendum on water and sewer improvements.

I stood there, and I thought about all of these people, who influenced my life so greatly.  But I didn’t vote for who would be the 44th President of the United States.

When my ballot was complete, except for the top line, I finally decided who I was going to vote for – and then decided to let him vote for me.  I reached down, picked him up, and told him to find Obama’s name on the screen and touch it.

And so it came to pass that Alexander Reed, age 5, read the voting screen, found the right candidate, touched his name, and actually cast a vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Oh, the vote will be recorded as mine.  But I didn’t cast it.

Then again, the person who actually pressed the Obama box and the red “vote” button was the person I was really voting for all along.

It made the months of donating, phonebanking, canvassing, door hanger distributing, sign posting, blogging, arguing and persuading so much sweeter.

So, no, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama.  I voted for a boy who now has every reason to believe he, too, can grow up to be anything he wants…even President.

McCain responded to amazing $150 million in fundraising (with 3.1 million donors) month of September by the Obama Campaign:

“History shows us where unlimited amounts of money are in political campaigns, it leads to scandal.”

And that, Senator Disgrace McCain, is why I just donated another $50 to the Obama Campaign. I’m sure he thanks you. Please, if you can, donate now.