Tag Archives: America The Beautiful

It’s Not About Race – 2012 Presidential Election Editorial


The election was not about race.

On November 5, 2008 – the day after the 56th presidential election in which Barack Hussein Obama was elected the first African American (or black or, for the nit-picky, biracial) Commander-In-Chief of the United States of America, I walked into my place of employment expecting the usual syrupy, “Good morning, darling,” from the nice grandmotherly receptionist. Instead, she barely looked up as I passed her desk. She did not speak to me. I shrugged it off, thinking she may be having a bad morning. Little did I know at the time that her “bad morning” would continue with me and select others for the remainder of the work week.

I walked to my desk expecting to be greeted with the usual office chatter, but there was none. Only the humming of office equipment and distant chimes of incoming calls could be heard. When I made it to my desk, I asked a co-worker what was wrong. He looked behind him at our other co-workers who pretended not to hear my question, their attentions firmly set upon their computer monitors. He then rolled his chair close to me and whispered so softly I could barely hear him, “What do you think?” It took a second for it to register. I then chuckled at his insinuation and shook my head no. He nodded yes and slowly rolled back to his cubicle. I turned around and began preparing for my day. He is being paranoid, I thought. The atmosphere in this place is reminiscent of a funeral. The heaviness in the air couldn’t only be the reaction to the election. Obama was President-elect; he hadn’t even taken the Oath of Office yet. Besides, the election was not about race. It was about being progressive, righting the wrongs of old policies and mindsets so America could regain and retain its position as the leader in an ever-changing world.

Later that morning, a female supervisor to whom I did not report asked me to join her in her office. Another lady from her team followed us. She made sure the office door was shut then offered us a seat. She looked at us, beaming.

“I am so happy about last night,” she said, finally. I noticed she, too, was whispering.

I returned her smile but said nothing. My co-worker, however, expressed similar sentiments.

“We can’t show it, though,” the supervisor continued, “because they are mad as hell. We have to stay neutral, OK?” “They” were the Caucasian majority in the office.

I remained silent. The co-worker next to me offered her opinion which matched the supervisor’s. We left her office a few minutes later, smiles erased, pretending we were discussing other matters.

I walked back to my desk, somewhat ashamed. That was the type of attitude the election was supposed to end, the old “Us” versus “Them”. How could she automatically assume another group was enraged over an election that was decided by the popular vote? An election by popular vote meant “they” had voted for Obama, too. The supervisor’s statements, to me, reeked of reverse racism. We needed to get beyond those attitudes.

The election was not about race.

I noticed I had voice mail when I returned to my desk. A client was having an on-going issue with receiving his daily reports. It was a programming issue that I, as level one support, could not resolve. I facilitated a conference call with the client and the level 2 support – the man who actually developed the program. Together we accessed the client’s computer via remote. The client and the level 2 associate had met and were on friendly terms. The client and I were also friendly but had never met. The conversation turned to the election.

“What do you think about last night?” the client asked Level 2.

It was apparent to me that Level 2 did not want to discuss the election given the time he took to craft his response. “I think the decision was made and we have to live with it,” he said.

The client’s level of perception, however, was limited because he continued. “I don’t have to live with anything. I did not and would not vote for him. I’m so pissed right now.”

Level 2 laughed nervously, “Well, now, I think we should give him a chance…”

“I’m not giving him anything,” the client interrupted then paused for a beat. “You know, they say his role model is Abraham Lincoln. What do Lincoln, Kennedy and Obama have in common?”

I am not at all embarrassed to say that Level 2, being an older gentleman (I know because we had met on several occasions), was way sharper than me. While I seriously pondered the question, he attempted to steer the conversation back to the programming issue the client was having.

The client was having none of it. “Come on, what do they have in common?”

Level 2 sighed. “I don’t know. What do they have in common?”

“Nothing… yet,” the client said and laughed as if it were the funniest thing he’d heard in a long, long time.

Level 2 chose not to respond. Instead of attempting, he forcefully steered the conversation back to the reporting issue. He told the client he would need to do some research and would call him with a resolution in a few minutes. The call ended. I hung up the phone, disappointed as my opinion of the client was lowered.

My desk phone rang about ten minutes later.

“Hey, we got off the phone before I could tell you how much I appreciate you getting the programmer involved in resolving this mess with the reports,” the client said.

“No problem, that’s my job. Hopefully, this time we’ll get it resolved instead of patched,” I replied, my tone dry on purpose hoping the call would end quickly.

“No, no. I really want you to know that I appreciate you and all that you do. You have been excellent and I truly enjoy working with you,” he said.

“Thank you. You’re too kind.”

“No, I’m not just being kind, I mean it. I like you and I like working with you.”

“Well, thank you again. I appreciate that.” I then asked, “Has the programmer contacted you yet?”

“Ah, um, yeah and everything is resolved now, don’t worry about that. I just wanted you know that I think you are an asset to your company and that I appreciate all that you do for me. I’ll let you get back to work. I’m sure you have other clients you need to check on. Talk to you later.”

Click.

That’s when I conceded the election was more about race that I wanted to admit. And that racism is so embedded in American society it will take a lot more than an election to erase it. To put it bluntly, it ain’t going away anytime soon.

Yes, there are white people who are mad as hell because a black family has occupied the White House for the past four years. Anybody would be better than Obama, they think, so they’re voting for Romney despite not having a clear understanding of how he will turn the economy around. As his running mate, Paul Ryan, stated, the math would take too long.

Yes, there are black people who don’t give a damn about the current administration. An inordinate number of black people are so used to hard times that the economy is not and probably will never be a major concern for them because they’ve never been a part of it. All they care about is the president is black and they’re voting for four more years. Of whatever. As long as the black man stays in office.

And, yes, there are people who are concerned about America – its present and its future – and, if they vote, will do so based upon that concern and not by a candidate’s posturing. They, unfortunately, are the minority.

I, too, am a minority, not because I am a black woman but because I reject the labels Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal. I am tired of both parties automatically assuming they either do or don’t have my vote. I am tired of millionaire politicians souring our political process into sparring matches rather than honestly discussing plausible resolutions to our issues. I am tired of off-hand remarks garnering more attention than the topic being debated. I am tired of pundits rating the candidates’ debate performances rather than their platforms. I don’t think the outfits the candidates’ spouses wear deserve news coverage.

#Winning (at any and all costs) has become so valued in American society that we have come to expect and accept deception and lies as a normal part of the political process. No one wins when nearly half the population is struggling. No one wins when lines in food pantries are made up of people who work full time jobs but don’t make enough money to adequately feed their families. No one wins when companies lay off workers, cutting off paychecks and benefits to thousands, while executives still pocket hefty bonuses.

If you were unable or unwilling to take advantage of early voting, please vote this Tuesday, November 6. Don’t vote according to your emotions but according to your common sense. Don’t vote according to your political affiliation or race or sexual orientation, but according to the privilege of being an American citizen and wanting the best leadership for our country. Re-elect President Obama or show him the door. Whoever is elected won’t #win anything; but will inherit an awesome and tremendous responsibility and burden. The past twelve years have not been easy and the next four won’t be either. Don’t make it worse by being indifferent. This election really isn’t about race, although most have turned it into just that – a racial tug-of-war. This election, as all elections, is about America. Let’s stop being a house divided because a house divided cannot stand. If we continue this path of denial and apathy, outside forces will not bring down America. We will.


Daily Inspiration, June 12, 2012

“The heavens are Yours and Yours also the earth; You founded the world and all that is in it.” Psalm 89:11

I’ve traveled by train through America’s rural heartland and marveled at how the landscape changes from green to amber fields. I watched farmers tend to crops and waved back at their smiling children as they ran alongside the tracks, excited by a daily occurrence that had not yet become tiresome and commonplace.

I’ve traveled by plane across America. I am always struck by the beauty of the heavens as we slice through the blue sky and fluffy clouds. I am further amazed by the sun’s brilliant red, yellow and orange hues whenever we ascend higher to avoid turbulence. This is a peaceful world, and I respect its majesty.

I’ve traveled by ship across the deep blue waters of the Caribbean. I enjoyed the dolphins and flying fish vying for my attention. When we docked, I found shade under towering fruit and spice trees and enjoyed the hospitality of locals who were kind and tolerant to tourists unaccustomed to such sights as white sandy beaches and lush green forests.

Finally, I have traveled by car. Admittedly, I have been less than thrilled by the traffic, exhaust and congestion. But I have been touched by lovers stealing kisses at a red light, a young man ensuring an older woman safely crosses an intersection and friends and families laughing with one another in the cars next to me.

Yes, there is a lot of wrong going on the world, but there is also a lot of right. I guess it’s all in the way you choose to view it.

The State of the Union Address and Republican Response – Doing What’s Right or Hollywood Hype?

At least no one shouted, “You lie!” this time.

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address tonight in full campaign mode, highlighting his accomplishments (the death of Osama bin Laden, creation of jobs, the success of the auto industry) and future goals for America including:

• Tax reform for businesses that outsource jobs and tax breaks for businesses that create jobs in America (which seemed to be met with bipartisan approval)
• The appointment of a trade department to regulate and investigate foreign piracy and taxation (not so much bipartisan approval. Even I, a supporter of the president, feel this may be a waste of taxpayer money)
• Immigration reform (there were camera shots of John McCain who appeared somewhat bemused)
• Unemployment reform (change it from an unemployment program to a re-employment program, met with bipartisan approval)
• Equal pay for women (met with approval from the female members of Congress and the Senate. Camera shot of Laurene Powell Jobs, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ widow)
• Clean energy
• Banking reform
• Agriculture Reform
• Health care reform (strictly partisan approval)
• Unit to investigate reckless lenders (Again, not so sure I agree with this one – waste of taxpayer money. Received, in my opinion, a deserved lukewarm response)
• Revoking tax breaks for wealthy Americans (also met with lukewarm response. What can one expect from an auditorium mostly filled with millionaires?)
• Congress and Senate reform (stepped on some toes with that one)
• Foreign policy

Of course, the Republican senators and congressmen spent the majority of the time with stern countenances as President Obama relayed his vision. Speaker of the House John Boehner set the Republican tone earlier by calling the president’s speech “pathetic” so that was no surprise. What’s surprising is that neither party is willing to work with the other to better the conditions and circumstances of the everyday American citizen. Actually, it’s shameful. The president stated he does not want to return to the same policies that placed America in this recession. I argue no one – Democrat or Republican, Tea Party or Libertarian – wants that. Hopefully, they will prove it by stopping childish name-calling and finger-pointing and getting to the business of fixing this country. Note: I found it strange that as ABC went to a commercial break, it was announced that the State of the Union Address and Republican Response were being brought to us by The Descendants, which is a current theatrical release starring George Clooney. Well, ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Which begs the question: Did I just view a big Hollywood production?

Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana delivered the Republican response. The response went pretty much as expected: The President is wrong. His polices are wrong. His ideals are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Republicans are right. The only way to cure what ails America is vote in a Republican president and Senate. He advised America’s problems are mathematical, but didn’t provide an actual formula or solution. To really get the viewer’s riled, we were enlightened to the fact that the Obama administration works to divide Americans by courting favor to certain groups. We were also enlightened that the current administration feels we are too incompetent to self-govern. Woo-Wee, them there’s fightin’ words!

Hmmm, this may really be one great big Hollywood production, after all.

September 11, 2001

I was home. I had the day off from work to assist my mother who was convalescing from foot surgery. I was puttering around her house when I noticed the usually chipper banter between Matt Lauer and Katie Couric on the Today morning show had turned very serious. I looked at the television screen to see thick, black smoke billowing from one of the Twin Towers. I, like many others around the country and perhaps around the world, sat frozen as the horrible sequence of events played out on live television.

Although the scenes of that day are forever emblazoned in my memory, I had begun to forget how I felt that day. The confusion, fear, anger that dissolved into incredible sadness and then hope. I had forgotten how, for one moment, our country was united in its shock, grief and then resolve. I had forgotten how I felt as I watched for the first time a plane fly the day commercial services re-instituted services. I was reminded of those feelings, however, as I watched this morning’s 9/11 memorial services. I found my heart still heavy for those who experienced such an incredible loss. It was evident the weight of their losses will forever burden their hearts. Having a heart is our common denominator. Our hearts betray our words and guide our actions. Our hearts are where our truths lie.

That is why it is unconscionable to me that hearts so identifiable with love can also harbor extreme hate. A hate so permeating that it decides the last day one will see their loved ones; decides the day of their last, “I love you”, their last hug, and their last kiss.

May God continue to bless the souls of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2011. May He also bless their families and friends. I pray that we allow Him to guide us in our actions to prevent this type of loss from ever happening again, not just on American soil but throughout the world. This wasn’t just a crime against America. This was a crime against humanity.

May 28 – 31, 2010

Thank you for your bravery and sacrifice.

Happy Memorial Day.  While many celebrated today with picnics and cookouts, pool parties and beach holidays, I hope a moment was taken observe the true intent of this day – honoring our brave servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have picnics & cookouts and pool parties & beach holidays.  Let a veteran know his or her hard work was and is appreciated.

May you now find peace.

We lost a television icon on May 28.  Gary Coleman, who portrayed the character Arnold Jackson on the hit sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, passed away from head injuries sustained in fall at his home in Utah.  Although he grew to dislike the character and catchphrase that him famous – “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis?” – I hope he understood the hours of joy he and the cast of Diff’rent Strokes provided me and countless other children of the ’80s who sang along to the theme song, swooned over  Arnold’s older brother Willis and thought of Arnold as the little brother they either had or wished they had.  Farewell, dear fellow.

Rest, Easy Rider

We also lost Dennis Hopper on May 29, 2010 after a valiant fight with cancer.  I am too young to remember his hit Easy Rider, and only saw a few of his films, Blue Velvet being the standout for me.  Goodnight to a great writer and actor.

A member of the Temptations lost his battle with cancer on May 30, 2010.  Ali-Ollie Woodson was not a founding member of the Hall of Fame quintet, but was lead singer in the ’80s and ’90s.  I remember humming along to “Treat Her Like a Lady”  while it played on the radio and loving the conviction in his voice and velvety delivery.  Thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

A beautiful, soulful voice.

As the extended weekend draws to a close, I am reminded more than ever how fleeting life is.  Remember to tell those closest to you how much you love them and don’t assume they already know.  Take time from your busy days to smell the roses, appreciate a clear blue sky and have one good belly laugh.

May you continue to be showered with God’s blessings and mercies.