Saturday, August 29, 2009

I imagine that the same thing is happening all over the country. Urban (read Black) radio stations are playing Michael Joseph Jackson all day long. Today is his birthday.

Even now, as I write this, tears threaten to spill over, tears that I have not shed since I found out about his passing. I still don't believe it. Perhaps it is easier because I never knew the man. His physical presence wasn't a part of my life. But, still I feel the loss and I struggle because a part of me can't really imagine a world without Michael.

I was disappointed in him at times. Debbie Rowe, really? The children who look like the post surgery Michael, but bear little to no resemblance to the boy Michael, the Thriller Michael, The Wiz Michael, our beloved Michael. The fact that he made poor choices about the people he surrounded himself with and the inappropriate activities with young children left me sorely disappointed as well. Let me say for the record that I do not believe that he ever molested any child. I do think that a grown man sleeping in the bed with a child who is not even related to him is highly inappropriate, but certainly not a crime.

When I was a child, I had the opportunity to meet Michael. I remember his bright, bright socks. Shiny and sparkly. And this very tall man folded himself down to look right in my face and shake my hand. I promise you, in that moment, with all the flashing lights, I felt like I was the only person in the room. I felt like he had eyes only for me. I felt like what I had to say was important to him. I believe in my heart that my child senses would have picked up on something not right about him if it was there, however, I recognize that that is also what I want to believe.

When he first passed, I couldn't even really be with the whole thing. I didn't watch the funeral, I didn't watch CNN, I just avoided it. But now, I am starting to allow myself to feel the loss of Michael Jackson. He was beloved. He will be missed.

Happy Birthday Michael. Happy, happy birthday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dear Readers.....

I started this blog in an effort to be a part of the blogosphere, a place where ordinary citizens can have a voice. Where we can have a hand in shaping rhetoric, or at the very least, contributing to our national discourse.

Now, I need you guys. Some of you, hell most of you, are people that I know and love, and some of you are strangers. I need all of you to send a quick comment about one or some of the posts. Just a quick comment about any of the things that I have said. It helps me to hear from people. It gives me a boost of energy and focus to keep on blogging!

Thanks! I appreciate you!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Race, Politics and Health Care, Part II

So how about those town hall meetings?

I happened to catch the town hall meeting in Pennsylvania. It was a very angry crowd that showed up. Angry and very patriotic. It wasn't just about health care for these Americans, it was about America itself. The very fabric of our culture, the fibers that make us who we are. The founding fathers were invoked, as well as a reminder about the nobility of the constitution. And we were warned in the town hall meeting, warned that if America continues on this eight month trajectory of socialism, that we will become just like Russia.

All of this was met with rousing applause from the good, decent solid Americans who believe that the state of health care in America is JUST FINE. There is nothing wrong with health care, just leave us alone, they shouted. According to one man, the biggest problem with our health care system is the illegals (his word, not mine) that come here who don't belong and we end up paying for them. The second biggest problem, according to him, is people who just won't pay for their own health care and we have to pay for their stupidity. He highlighted this little nugget by saying "In the words of the great George Bush, 'we help those who help themselves.' " This was also met with cheers and cheers from those decent Americans.

I point to my earlier post where I presented my case;

White Americans don't want Black and Brown people to get shit for free.

So now, here we are, and we get to hear it straight from the horse's mouth (or ass), as it were. There are people in these town hall meetings, predominately White and predominately conservative, who are screaming at their elected politicians and are ready to come to blows. And what are they screaming? That we need to get rid of the illegals, that people who don't want health care shouldn't bring the rest of us down (which sounds a lot like the "homeless people are homeless cause they want to be" argument) and that we are going to become socialist over night because of crooked politicians. Did I mention that they claim that there is nothing wrong with our health care system?

Okay, let's back up. Some conservatives say that the reason they don't want this bill is mainly because it will increase our national deficit. I agree with that line of thinking. Yes, I do. I think that the problem with our health care system is not that we don't have enough money, rather that we don't spend what we have wisely. However, that last part, the part about spending what we have wisely, is no where to be found in the republican talking points, at least not the ones that I have read. Rather, they argue about the deficit, when the only reason we have a deficit is because of the previous administration. A conservative, Republican administration. Nobody said anything about the funding for No Child Left Behind, which, "since [it's] enactment, Congress [has] increased federal funding of education, from $42.2 billion in 2001 to $54.4 billion in 2007. No Child Left Behind received a 40.4% increase from $17.4 billion in 2001 to $24.4 billion. The funding for reading quadrupled from $286 million in 2001 to $1.2 billion." Those same Republicans did not say a thing about the funding for the war in Iraq, which we are still funding, by the way. So, I seriously question the motives of these fiscally conservative Republicans who claim to be thinking about the debt we are passing on to our grandchildren. Funny, no one had a problem with debt when it was George Bush pushing through costly legislation. However NOW everyone is worried about their grandkids' pocket books.

Hmmm, I could make the argument that "Russia" was a paragon of standards based education and that the entire country had one standardized system of education, which, I could argue, didn't take into account the individual student and their talents and weaknesses. I could then stretch No Child Left Behind into a "scary and evil" piece of legislation aimed at taking away freedoms from Americans, starting with the most precious and vulnerable among us, our children. We as Americans should only support education that allows the teacher, the principal, the student and the parents to dictate what the student learns and what the student needs, not some evil "death panel" of politicians and bureaucrats who will stand in judgement of my child and deem him unworthy.

Actually no one made that argument. No Child Left Behind got passed merrily on, because imbedded within the legislation was the assurance that schools that didn't pass the tests would not get money. I promise you that White Americans heard that and felt good knowing that stupid, lazy, criminal minded inner city youth would finally be punished for not studying. And good old boy Bush would never sell his people up the river. So even if the legislation sought to fix public schools, nobody would get anything unless they earned it. More money for Johnny, less money for JohnTayQuanay.

And here is the bottom line, in my opinion. President Barack Obama received 52% of the vote. 52%. John McCain and Sarah Palin received 45% of the vote. That means that 45% of the people in our country thought that Sarah Palin would be fit for the vice-presidency of our country. That doesn't take into account the people who were on the fence until the last minute. So how many people really thought that Sarah Palin would make a good VP? My point is that we should never underestimate the conservative nature of the American people. We should never underestimate our core values. We have some ugly beliefs in this country. We are not a nation that believes in helping our fellow man, especially if our fellow man is Black or Brown and they don't work anyway. They are just looking for a hand out.

So, if you want ANY KIND of health care reform, call your senators, call your representatives. Write a letter, send an email. Get involved in as small or as large of a way as you possibly can. Do not think that somehow the President will just manage to pull a rabbit out of a hat. The only reason he won in the first place was because of the organized work and support of people who believed that he could make a difference. Unfortunately, the work is not over.