Friday, March 21, 2008

Understanding the Black Church

I haven't quite gotten my thoughts together about the recent flaps concerning Geraldine Ferrarro and Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the reactions to their comments. But, I came across this letter to the editor by a SNCC activist I thought I should share.

Dear Editor: The general White community does not understand that
Black people in general join the church and not enjoin the preacher.
I am 4th generation of my family church, Hutchinson Missionary Baptist
Church. Through the generations, my family has seen six
pastors. I, personally, have seen three ministers in the pulpit. I
am certain that there were congregants who disagreed with this or that
minister down through the years, especially during the height of the
modern Civil Rights Movement from World War II in the 1940s to the
Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Voting Rights Movement in the 1960-1970s.
Almost no congregant, particularly those with historical family ties, left
our church. Most Black churches have generational family members. We
must keep in mind the historical development of the Black church, which
came into being by fighting against de jure enslavement of our people and
then the de facto practices to continue discrimination, injustices
and institutionalized racism at the detriment of Black U.S.
citizens. In this current discussion of Black social-justice in accord
with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I think is good in gaining
understanding and appreciation for our diverse religious cultures we
must remember: A preacher is not running for the presidency.
Sincerely yours, Gwendolyn M. Patton

Friday, March 7, 2008

Say What?

Sorry to be so late with this, but:

One-fifth of white Ohio voters said race was an important issue to their vote, and those who did voted three in four for Clinton. That compares with the one in five Democrats in Ohio who said gender was important to their vote, and they voted six in 10 for Clinton.

That essentially means that 16% of the Democratic voters in Ohio are racist. Yes, I used the "R" word.

When I first had this exit poll Tuesday night, I thought Nora O'Donell had misspoken. Sadly, I was wrong.

Breaking News: Clinton Downplayed Her NAFTA Criticism

Okay. I've been trying to 'vet' this story for the past little bit, but I'm not getting all the info I want. All I'm getting is that Hillary Clinton's campaign told Canada's government to take her comments regarding renegotiating NAFTA with a grain of salt. Some reports say that both Clinton and Barack Obama reassured the Canadian government. A few recent reports say it was Clinton's campaign who contacted the Canadian government, not the Obama campaign. Plus, the opposition party in Canada is alleging that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, or at least an aide, wanted the story leaked to try to knock Obama from the elections.

And do we need to get into Clinton's apparent preference for John McCain over Obama? "Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience, and Senator Obama will bring a speech he gave in 2002," a derisive Clinton said yesterday to the retired military officers at the Westin in Dupont Circle."

Or, comparing Obama to Ken Star?

UPDATE: Here's a blog from The Huffington Post on the issue. In it, Paul Loeb reports that it was Clinton, not Obama, who reassured the Canadian government.

UPDATE #2: Clinton did not reassure the Canadian government, either.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Hope for Obama Has Not Dampened

It’s been several weeks since I last blogged. It’s not that I haven’t had any thoughts about some of the world’s current events; it’s that my physical condition (CFIDS) hit a down period. I’m not sure if I’m back on an upswing, let’s hope so, but I think I can find a way to keep blogging every so often. Or at least, more often than every 6 weeks. And yeah, I know I don’t have a (large) audience, but I wanna do my part to advance true democracy and the struggle for justice, and join brothers and sisters is racial solidarity. And before a European American or a Latino brother or sister denounce my obvious endorsement of black political solidarity; black solidarity doesn’t preclude aligning with progressives of other races to achieve equality (having just finished We Who Are Dark, by Tommie Shelby).

So, in the wake of 1- 4 March 4th for Senator Obama, let me restate and explain my support and answer to some questions I’ve seen raised.

First, get over this notion that African Americans are only voting for Obama because he’s black. Remember, initially, Hillary Clinton had an overwhelming majority of black support in the polls. Obama has black support not only because of his color and the tremendous good it could do for our community and country, but because he’s more progressive than Clinton; he rejected the occupation from the beginning – I’m not upset with his funding the war because the troops were going to be over there and they need the funding, though the waste of thievery of private companies is criminal; he runs a campaign based on the issues; he doesn’t triangulate his political policies; and most importantly, he doesn’t play ‘divide and conquer’ with the electorate. I’m personally rejecting Clinton primary campaign because I don’t like how she’s run this campaign. And I’ll add, Bill Clinton is not black, he’s white, and Toni Morrison’s point had nothing to do with ethnocultural identification.

Second, enough with the question of who has it worse – blacks or women? Not only is it clear that black men have it worse; not only does this question ignore black women; worst, it puts two groups who should be working together against one another. And for the purposes of this campaign, the question doesn’t have to be who has it worse; it can be who can make things better. In my opinion, the candidate who hasn’t been playing on divisions is better position to make things better for everyone. And let me respond those who argue if Obama were a woman, with his record, there’s no way he’d be a serious candidate. Assuming you mean black woman, of course he wouldn’t be where he is. If you mean white woman, well . . . Clinton’s considered a serious candidate and the only difference the two have in experience is age. And may I ask how do we imagine the campaign going if it were Barack Obama vs. Diane Rodham?

Now, I really don’t like the way Clinton’s been campaigning. I don’t like that she does attack Obama. And I don’t mean the whole ‘pointing out differences’ thing. I’m okay with that. What I don’t like is distorting and lying about your opponent’s record. Even Dan Abrams, who is constantly ranting about the alleged anti-Hillary traditional media bias, constantly gives her more demerits than the demerits he has to imagine to give Obama.

I really like the way Obama’s run his campaign. It really is from the bottom-up. It really is a campaign of the people. Moreover, point by point, Obama talks about policy specifics as much as Clinton. And that’s one thing I discredit about Clinton’s campaign. I mean, I understand you want voters to act on the basis of how you paint your opponent; but, how can you feel good about wins based on the distortion of your opponent? Obama is more than just “speeches.” I repeat I know that’s standard fare, but that’s what folks don’t like about standard politics. Clinton keeps saying ‘this is your campaign,’ but that’s not true. Her campaign is run top-down. I know some argue that you can’t be sure of what you’ll get from Obama. I respond that we do know that he’s opened and awakened latent progressive activists. We’ll be able to affect his policy as president. I know some are afraid that those who’re active now will go back to sleep after Nov 4 Election Day, but I don’t think we will. Most of those who’ve come alive have been waiting for such a moment as this. We’ve been waiting for a president who acknowledges our importance and promises to listen to our voice. We all realize the “urgency” of this moment and have no intentions of seeing it lost to us. I know not everyone can join a “movement” as some have to “work the night shift,” but I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

Now, let me make clear my concern with the campaign continuing on. I think Obama will do well and eventually lock up the nomination. And I’m sure even if the contest goes through June, the candidates themselves will be friends again. What I don’t like is what I see from the two groups of supporters. Admittedly, I especially detest the arrogant attitude and condescending comments coming from Clinton supporters to Obama supporters. We’re called Obamabots and deluded. And while there are those who argue Obama supporters are just as bad, I haven’t seen it. I have seen nasty comments from Obama supporters, but they’re mostly based on whatever idiotic comment some Clinton supporter has made, not on someone’s support for Clinton per se. And what’s gonna make it hard for Obama supporters to have to face a ticket with Clinton in November – by that I’m referring to those who’ll still vote and not sit out November – is that we’d have to vote for a person who’s called us deluded, suggested we’ve been fooled, who dismissed the black vote, who’s played blacks against whites, and blacks against (white) women. I’m not looking forward to that. I’d just hate a John McCain presidency even worse!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Clinton will get things done. The problem is that I’m also sure she’ll get things done by resorting to politics as usual, pissing off half the electorate, and leaving conservatives demanding “change” by 2012. Obama will get things done, but he’ll do it by changing the frames of public debate. With an Obama presidency, conservatives won’t be able to talk about the abuses of “liberalism.” Instead of a Democrat having to move to the right in 2012, the Republicans’ll have to move to the left because the debate will have changed.

And now for my last thought: If Clinton and her supporters have such a problem with Obama’s words and speeches, STOP STEALING THEM!!

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But Don't Jack My Genuis