Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Re-imagining the Future With Obama:

Being Aware, Organized and Engaged by Dr. Maulana Karenga
DR. MAULANA KARENGA / Los Angeles Sentinel - It is not difficult to recognize or respect the remarkable moment in the history of this country that the election of Barack Obama represents, nor the profound and particular meaning it has for us as a people; or the significance it holds for all progressives who contributed to it; and the promise it can hold for the world, if we reimagine the future in life-affirming and life-enhancing ways and dare continue the struggle to bring it into being. It is our foremother Anna Julia Cooper who reminds us, however, to be careful about our tendency to assume a singular person's achievement represents advancement of our people instead of simply an opening that still must be widened so that all can enter. She says, "we too often mistake individuals' honor for race development". And likewise, "we often mistake foliage for fruit and overestimate or wrongly estimate brilliant results". Certainly, the Obama victory is a brilliant result, but the fruit of full freedom, equal justice, real equality and shared power for us as a people is still to be cultivated, consummated and harvested. And thus the struggle must and does continue. But there is, still and rightfully so, a need to celebrate this moment in history which brings to mind and heart a wide range of thoughts and feelings: i.e., a shared happiness with and for our people; reverent remembrance and respect for our ancestors whose work and struggle before us brought us to this place; a sense of relief and redirection for the country; anticipation of new possibilities for us and the world; and a deepened appreciation for the need to continue the struggle to forge the good future we all hope for and deserve.
Indeed, Obama himself has said the campaign was a chance for change, not change itself. Likewise, the election is a change of the guardian of state interests, but not the change the Obama campaign promised of a new way to relate to each other and the world. And if Obama is to be more than a new moral mask for the established order and a political muzzle for us to preempt and prevent needed social criticism, we must honor our social justice tradition, continue the unfinished struggle and challenge him to do likewise.
So yes, I share the happiness of our people in their sense of winning a long-coming and hard-fought victory and vindication, their celebration of making the long journey from enslavement to the highest office of leadership of the very society that enslaved us and of winning within a system that didn't favor us, and that, it was said, was not ready to receive us in such a position of prominence, prestige and power. And yet we did it.
I also remember with reverent respect the ancestors and elders, those who opened the way down which we still walk on this long and unfinished journey and taught us the way to walk with dignity, strength, and determination in the world: Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Martin Delaney, Marcus Garvey, Mary McLeod Bethune, Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin L. King, and others too numerous to name. And I pay hommage also to those who ran the political race before Obama, especially those who ran the presidential race-Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, all who taught possibility, widened the circle of inclusion and kept alive the hope and commitment to change eventually chanted by Obama advocates during the campaign and victory celebrations around the world.
And there is this palpable sense of relief and redirection for the country, a hopeful feeling that an Obama administration will rescue the country from the Bush night-and-day-mare of corporate corruption, violations of human and civil rights, economic collapse and the cheap peddling of vulgar flag pin- wearing patriotism framed and fermented in fear and hatred against peoples of the world.
In its place is the need to respect the right and insure the capacity of the people of New Orleans to return and rebuild their lives and future; and to address issues of adequate and affordable housing, universal health care, employment, education, rebuilding the economy, improving multicultural relations and the practice of peace as central to U.S. recovery, respect and positive reassertion in the world. But again, relief and redirection will come not from a single man surrounded by corporate colleagues, lobbyists of every kind and conservative congresspersons who will caution slowness, minimum motion forward and maintenance of a system of trade-offs and back- slapping set in place centuries ago. Only an aware, organized and engaged people can call for and compel the steps needed to turn hope into policy and promise into practice.
All over the world, there is this widespread anticipation of the proposal and pursuit of new possibilities, beyond the Bush years of imperial illusions and aggressiveness, unjust and unjustifiable wars, institutionalized torture and state terror against citizens and various peoples of the world, efforts to dominate and occupy rather than cooperate and the military-might-as-right claim to the resources of the world. And in place of this international banditry and bludgeoning are perceived possibilities of non- interventionist aid for the people of Darfur, Haiti, Congo, Africa as a whole, and the rest of the world, the end of occupation and a just peace and repair for Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, and framing of a future of common interests and cooperation. As a people who remain a key moral and social vanguard in this country, we must be in the front ranks of those who dare develop and put forth an agenda for ourselves and the country, to help frame the issues, to reimagine the future, and to inform and guide the work ahead to build a politics of social justice, just peace and a shared good in this country and the world. Dr. Ron Daniels, President, Institute of the Black World 21st Century, has called us to conference next week 2008 November 19-23 in New Orleans and we urge all to attend and participate in this historic dialog.
This State of the Black World Conference is the first national planning conference since Obama's election. It will engage African American leaders from around the country, representatives from African nations and other countries in the Diaspora in an intergenerational dialog to think thru issues in politics, culture, economics, community organizing and the academy, as we move beyond the election to turning ideas into action, hope into public policy, and the energy cultivated during the election to rebuilding and sustaining a movement for real, experienced and uplifting change. (To register visit: www.stateoftheblackworld.org)
Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor of Africana Studies, California State University-Long Beach, Chair of The Organization Us, Creator of Kwanzaa, and author of Kawaida and Questions of Life and Struggle: African American, Pan-African and Global Issues.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today, that new world is struggling to be born

Out of these troubled times, our objective: a new world order
can emerge, Today, that new world is struggling to be born,
a world quite different from the one we have known."
-- George H. W. Bush told the U.N. on September 11th 1990

our penalty was having George W. Bush as president for 8 years, when we could've made a difference by using our right to vote a long time ago. too many of our people have died in the past for us to wait for President Obama to show our strength at the polls. lets not let this happen again!! continue to stay aware of our suroundings and our countries policies ( laws and finance ) because they do effect all of us! that's when we will be free at last! Peace.

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is
that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
-- Plato

Friday, November 21, 2008

Leatha Patton

Words from Leatha. Thank You! Cheech

I went to your blog just minutes ago and, frankly, could not get past the first article because it was so preposterous that I could not believe what I was reading. The American people would rather have mediocrity because they are so very used to it, right? Am I actually reading that to speak in perfect, well structured sentences is incorrect or being a show off, and that we have succumbed to celebrating the past eight years of George W. Bushville as a hallmark? So I am to believe that now dumb is better, is that it?

Okay, and so...let's cite some of the problems that run roughshod over this country like scorched earth. I want to inject a sobering note and halt this train wreck. After enduring this country's longest, most grueling campaign (21 months), Barack Obama, because of his intellect, political shrewdness, a superior staff, and impeccable organizational skills (berated by his opponents, I might add), raised more money than any other campaign in this country's history, which enabled him to ascend to President-Elect, enabling him to become President of the United States of America on January 20, 2009. But let us not lose sight of the following facts: the country is on the brink of bankruptcy, in two (2) wars for which it currently spends $10 billion per month, is globally unpopular thanks to "W", homelessness abounds, health care is the pits, child hunger is approaching alarming rates, our jobs pay less, and other than our flailing automobile industry, we are at the mercy of products made any and everywhere. The list is long and I will stop there. And now, at last, at last, we have a Black man that we will soon address as Mr. President, and the complaint is that he's a show off and his speech is too grammatically correct? Huh? What?

Perhaps, just maybe, do you think this is why we are in such dire straights? Have we grown so accustomed to being in the ditch that deepens day by day that we can no longer see the sun and are are losing sight on what prosperity is all about? Do the American people want to continue to have parking lots (like in Santa Barbara) opened from late night to early morning so that the homeless can sleep in their cars? Do we want the rich to continue to prey on the American people? That act of Grand Theft (the $700 Billion Bailout at the expense of the taxpayers) was superb and, secondly, those in "high places" have dumbed us down, with the assistance of the news (faux) media, to the point that we actually believe the subprime lending scam is the fault of the American people. Not to elaborate at length, but just briefly, for the enlightenment of those unaware that this scam includes the following: hidden fees, padded fees, exorbitant ARMS (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) vicious and deliberate, repackaged loans, and the list goes on. Thousands of them were ominously calculated, written so that the victim (mortgagers) were destined for failure so that they could be repackaged and sold again. And now Wall Street, one of the prime orchestrators of this fiasco as they directing it from on high, together with all the other criminals, are attempting to blame the homeowners. Meanwhile, taxpayers are now stuck with bailing out the criminals, especially Wall Street. Furthermore, do the American people know that GMAC, the financial services group of GM, was also in on this? GM, whose CEO, separately, as did the other two, all in their corporate jets, flew to Washington a few days ago, hat in hand, begging for government dollars. As one of the senators said the other day to all the CEOs of the Big Three (Ford, GM, Chrysler), and he was not laughing: It is like showing up at a soup kitchen in top hat and a tuxedo. Please read the book "Plunder: Investigating our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal" by Danny Schechter which reveals this fact among countless others. Folks, the term he used constantly was complicit meaning criminal. However, I dare say, the American people are literally numb with ignorance because they do not read, get all their news from NBC, CNN, MSNBC, etc., much to lazy to simply get involved and do their homework so that we discontinue our descent down this slippery slope. And now, and now, we want to judge being articulate as being a show off.

Now I am going to address my neck of the woods, the Black folks. Although I am proud of the fact that Obama won, cast my vote for him and even made donations, I do not want us to lose sight on the prize that should continuously remain part of our agenda so that we ultimately become a self-sustaining and independent people within this nation. Perhaps this feat achieved by Barack Obama can be the inspirational catalyst to move us a little closer to that goal because, for a start, an example of what a full sentence, grammatically correct with the verb, noun, adjective, etc., in place, is exactly what we need. Let us for once allow the majority society to backpedal, if they dare. For once, let us as a people not be derailed with no one steering the train or afloat with no one at the helm. I contend that we are people with strengths mostly unrealized and untapped. If the majority of the American people are clamoring for mediocrity, let them. It's time we are fully alert. Let's begin to also awaken that substantial number of us who are unfocused and willing to languish in a state of false euphoria while every other group is charting their course of action. We need to join them by also laying out an agenda of our demands. Obama received 95% of our vote, people. Did you know that the Jewish, Hispanic and Asian communities have already presented their demands to Obama even thought the Inauguration has yet to take place? Trust me, this is true. They listened carefully and they intend to have The Change We Can Believe In. And so, the singing, the tears, the applause, the chants and the voting, all of it is now over. I repeat, the election is over. We gave Obama 95% of our vote and cannot afford to simply be content that a Black man will sit in the Oval Office. Proof of this mindset is in the e-mails that I continuously receive that never utter one word about what comes next as if now we have arrived. I even received a calendar and thought it nice until I turned to view the last two pages. On every other page, Martin appeared, but now he was gone with only a picture of Obama remaining. To add insult, the last page read "Free at last, etc. Big, big mistake. I do not want us to be lulled asleep while each and every other ethnic group moves on and, as usual, leaves us behind with nothing but a good feeling.

As I have stated before to others, this ascension to the presidency is historical for Barack Obama's posterity (as the 44th president of the U.S.), inevitably impacting his family and his children, but remain mostly symbolic for the rest of us as an aspiration of future generations. Yes, the Obamas will live in the White House that our ancestors had a decisive hand in building. If not all, a lot of it. (They are now stating that even the immigrants were in on the construction of the White House!) I contend it is not called the White House without emphasis on who was to forever live there. I am sure some do not wish to hear this, but this accomplishment can be an inspirational stepping stone only if we use it as such. Listen up, everybody. We have not arrived, but are just a little closer to the prize by allowing this historical junctiure to become the corner stone for many future generations by continuously promoting excellence, hard work to move us from destabilization toward stabilization of our communities by STOPPING THE KILLING, the DRUGS, promoting higher education, quiet streets that are clean and orderly, and the list goes on.

Yes, beginning January 20th there will be a Black family in the White House. However, do not forget we will still live in our same houses, sleep in the same beds, go to the same jobs if we have a job at all, and life will go on as usual. Let us not lose sight on what is achievable, but only if we accept what has occurred as a giant step toward the bigger and brighter picture.

Back in 1929 Financial Crash it was said that some Wall Street Stockbrokers and Bankers JUMPED from their office windows and committed suicide when confronted with the news of their firms and clients financial ruin . . . Many people were said to almost feel a little sorry for them . . . . . .

In 2008 the attitude has changed somewhat:


I never cease to be amazed at how individuals feel intimidated and insecure!!

How can one who speaks a language in the form and art in which it was meant to be spoken be critized?

I'd say that is a terrible thing for those who are "threatened" by President-Elect Barack Obama's correct and appropriate use of the English language in its proper grammatical form to feel the need to express this publicly, allowing the public to see their weakness.

Journalists have strived for years to master this language in its written form and have failed dismally. News reporters have not even come close to mastering this art form of a language….so…critics….learn from the master who will soon become OUR president.

What's up London!!!! Cheech..

Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy
Stunning Break with Last Eight Years

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has
broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his
controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS' "Sixty
Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick,
which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually
every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public
pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight
years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of
Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a President
who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in
agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk
of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in
his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate,
subject predicate - we get it, stop showing off."

The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has
already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah
Palin of Alaska.

"Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that
ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really
do there, I think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans are
needing also," she said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Tommie Williams has agreed to promote support for the Steppers' Party
and I would appreciate it if you would keep him posted as things
develop. His e-mail address is Tlwstepper@aol.com and his cell phone is
(773) 457-2078.

Thanks for everything.

Lacy ........ Details below

Fundraiser for Lacy L. Thomas

Fundraiser for Lacy L. Thomas

Here is the information for the party on Thursday, November 20, 2008 -
Bar Louie on Taylor
1321 W. Taylor
500pm -800pm
After Work Cocktail Reception
$25.00 ticket donation
Cash Bar - Hors d'oeuvres Served
Thanks for all your help. If people want to write checks, they can make
them out to Lacy L.Thomas

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kenyada--"Inauguration Ball 2009":

Thanks for posting my essay. I've been overwhelmed by the positive response to this piece that I first posted on the Internet about one week before the election. Somehow I knew Obama would win, mainly because he was standing on the shoulders of these giants. A longer version of the essay is included in my new book, Reflections in the Dark Room, available in January. Thanks again and Best Wishes.


Kenyada, please keep us posted when your new book "Reflections in the Dark Room", becomes available. Thanks so much for sharing Patrice.......

Friday, November 14, 2008

Eugene Allen, 89, a retired White House butler

Eugene Allen, 89, a retired White House butler, tries on his old tuxedo for a photo. Allen, who served eight presidents during a period when America's racial history was being rewritten, is marveling at the election of Barack Obama.

Now retired, he started when blacks were in the kitchen.

By Wil Haygood

Reporting from Washington -- For more than three decades, Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land.

He trekked home every night to his wife, Helene, who kept him out of her kitchen.

At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the Oval Office. Helene didn't care; she just beamed with pride.

President Truman called him Gene. President Ford liked to talk golf with him. He saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six days a week.

"I never missed a day of work," Allen said.

He was there while racial history was made: Brown vs. Board of Education, the Little Rock school crisis, the 1963 March on Washington, the cities burning, the civil rights bills, the assassinations.

When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn't even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia. "We had never had anything," Allen, 89, recalled of black America at the time. "I was always hoping things would get better."

In its long history, the White House -- note the name -- has had a complex and vexing relationship with black Americans.

"The history is not so uneven at the lower level, in the kitchen," said Ted Sorensen, who served as counselor to President Kennedy. "In the kitchen, the folks h ave always been black. Even the folks at the door -- black."

Before Gene Allen landed his White House job, he worked as a waiter at a resort in Hot Springs, Va., and then at a country club in Washington.

He and wife Helene, 86, were sitting in the living room of their Washington home. Her voice was musical, in a Lena Horne kind of way. She called him "Honey." They met at a birthday party in 1942. He was too shy to ask for her number, so she tracked his down. They married a year later.

In 1952, a lady told him of a job opening in the White House. "I wasn't even looking for a job," he said. "I was happy where I was working, but she told me to go on over there and meet with a guy by the name of Alonzo Fields."

Fields was a maitre d', and he immediately liked Allen.

Allen was offered a job as a "pantry man." He washed dishes, stocked cabinets and shined silverware. He started at $2,400 a year.

There was, in time, a promotion to butler. "Shook t he hand of all the presidents I ever worked for," he said.

"I was there, honey," Helene said. "In the back maybe. But I shook their hands too." She was referring to White House holiday parties, Easter egg hunts.

They have one son, Charles, who works as an investigator with the State Department.

"President Ford's birthday and my birthday were on the same day," he said. "He'd have a birthday party at the White House. Everybody would be there. And Mrs. Ford would say, 'It's Gene's birthday too!' "

And so they'd sing a little ditty to the butler. And the butler, who wore a tuxedo to work every day, would blush.

"Jack Kennedy was very nice," he went on. "And so was Mrs. Kennedy."

He was in the White House kitchen the day Kennedy was slain. He got an invitation to the funeral. But he volunteered for other duty: "Somebody had to be at the White House to serve everyone after they came from the funeral."

The whole family of President Carter made Helene chuckle: "They were country. And I'm talking Lillian and Rosalynn both." It came out as the highest compliment.

First Lady Nancy Reagan came looking for him in the kitchen one day. She wanted to remind him about the upcoming state dinner for German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. She told him he would not be working that night.

"She said, 'You and Helene are coming to the state dinner as guests of President Reagan and myself.' I'm telling you! I believe I'm the only butler to get invited to a state dinner."

Husbands and wives don't sit together at these events, and Helene was nervous about trying to make small tal k with world leaders. "And my son said, 'Momma, just talk about your high school. They won't know the difference.'

"The senators were all talking about the colleges and universities that they went to," she said. "I was doing as much talking as they were.

"Had champagne that night," she said, looking over at her husband.

He just grinned: He was the man who stacked the champagne at the White House.

Colin L. Powell would become the highest ranking black of any White House to that point when he was named Reagan's national security advisor in 1987. Condoleezza Rice would have that position under President George W. Bush.

Gene Allen was promoted to maitre d' in 1980. He left the White House in 1986, after 34 years. President Reagan wrote him a sweet note. Nancy Reagan hugged him tight.

Interviewed at their home last week, Gene and Helene speculated about what it would mean if a black man were elected president.

"Just imagine," she said.

"It'd be really something," he said.

"We're pretty much past the going-out stage," she said. "But you never know. If he gets in there, it'd sure be nice to go over there again."

They talked about praying to help Barack Obama get to the White House. They'd go vote together. She'd lean on her cane with one hand, and him with the other, while walking down to the precinct. And she'd get supper going afterward. They went over their election day plans more than once.

"Imagine," she said.

"That's right," he said.

On Monday, Helene had a doctor's appointment. Gene woke and nudged her once, then again. He shuffled around to her side of the bed. He nudged Helene again.

He was all alone.

"I woke up and my wife didn't," he said later.

Some friends and family members rushed over. He wanted to make c offee. They had to shoo the butler out of the kitchen.

The lady he married 65 years ago will be buried today.

The butler cast his vote for Obama on Tuesday. He so missed telling his Helene about the black man bound for the Oval Office.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Inauguration Ball 2009

Guests began arriving early. There are no place cards and
no name tags. Everyone knows everyone else here. Now, there's a grand
foursome - Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz sharing laughs with Martin and Coretta
Scott King. Looks like Hosea Williams refused the limo again, keeping it
real. And my goodness; is that Rosa Parks out there on the dance floor
with A. Phillip Randolph? Seated at a nearby table, Frederick Douglass has a captive audience in W.E.B. DuBois and Fannie Lou Hamer, and Medgar Evers has just joined them.

Marian Anderson was asked to sing tonight, but she only agreed to do it if
accompanied by Marvin Gaye, John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.
Look, there's Harriet Tubman. No one knows how she arrived, but there she
is. And my guess is that, when the time comes, no one will see her leave.
There's Jackie Robinson swiftly making his way through
the hall as the crowd parts like the Red Sea to the unmistakable sound of
applause. "Run, Jackie, run!"Along the way he is embraced by Jessie Owens.
Three beautiful young women arrive with their escorts - Schwerner, Goodman and
Chaney. Ms. Viola Liuzzo flew in from Michigan, exclaiming, "I could not
miss this." Richard Pryor promised to be on his best behavior.
"But I can't make any guarantees for Redd Foxx and Moms Mabley," he
chuckled. Joe Louis just faked a quick jab to the chin of Jack Johnson, who smiled broadly while slipping it. We saw Billy Eckstine and Nat King Cole greet Luther
Vandross. James Brown and Josh Gibson stopped at Walter Payton's table
to say hello.
I spotted Congressman Adam Clayton Powell of Harlem having
a lively political discussion with Eldredge Cleaver. Pearl Harbor WWII
hero Dorie Miller shared a few thoughts with Crispus Attucks,
a hero of the Revolutionary War. And there is Madam C.J. Walker talking
with Marcus Garvey about exporting goods to Africa.
General Benjamin O. Davis flew into Washington safely with
an escort from the 99th Fighter Squadron - better known as The Tuskegee
Airmen. At the table on the left are three formidable women - Shirley
Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, and Barbara Jordan - gathered for a little
girl-talk... about world politics. As usual, all the science nerds seem to have gathered off in a corner, talking shop.
There's Granville T. Woods and Lewis Latimer needling each other about whose inventions are better. Someone jokingly asked Benjamin Banneker if he had needed directions to Washington. And George Washington Carver was overheard asking, "What, no peanuts?"

Dueling bands? Anytime Duke Ellington and Count Basie get
together, you know the place will be jumping. Tonight is special, of course,
so we have Miles, Dizzy, and Satchmo sitting in on trumpet, with Coltrane,
Cannonball, and Bird on sax. Everyone's attention is directed to the
dance floor where Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is tap dancing. Right beside
him is Sammy Davis Jr., doing his Bojangles routine. And behind his back, Gregory
Hines is imitating them both. Applause and laughter abound! The Hollywood
contingent has just arrived from the Coast. Led by filmmaker Oscar Micheau,
Paul Robeson, and Hattie McDaniel, they find their way to their
tables. Dorothy Dandridge, looking exquisite in gold lamé, is seen
signaling to her husband, Harold Nicholas, who is standing on the floor with brother
Fayard watching Gregory Hines dance. "Hold me back," quips
Harold, "before I show that youngster how it's done." Much laughter!

Then a sudden hush comes over the room.
The guests of honor have arrived.
The President and Mrs. Obama looked out across the enormous
ballroom at all the historic faces. Very many smiles, precious few dry eyes.
Someone shouted out, "You did it! You did it!"
And President Obama replied,
"No sir, you did it; you all - each and every one of you - did it.
Your guidance and encouragement; your hard work and perseverance. .."
Obama paused, perhaps holding back a tear.
"I look at your faces - your beautiful faces - and I
am reminded that The White House was built by faces that looked just like yours.
On October 3, 1792, the cornerstone of the White House was laid, and the
foundations and main residence of The White House were built mostly by both
enslaved and free African Americans and paid Europeans. In fact, most of
the other construction work was performed by immigrants, many of whom
had not yet become citizens. Much of the brick and plaster work was
performed by Irish and Italian immigrants. The sandstone walls were built by
Scottish immigrants. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that The White House is,
ultimately, The People's House, with each President serving as its steward. Since 1792
The People have trimmed its hedges, mowed its
lawn, stood guard at the gate, cooked meals in the kitchen, and scrubbed its
toilet bowls. But 216 years later, The People are taking it back!
"Today, Michelle and I usher in a new era. But while
we and our family look toward the future with so much hope, we know that we must
also acknowledge fully this milestone in our journey. We want to thank each
and every one of you for all you have done to make this day possible. I
stand here before you, humbled and in awe of your accomplishments and
sacrifice, and I will dedicate my Presidency, in your honor, to the principles of
peace, liberty and freedom.

If it ever appears that I'm forgetting that, I know I can count on you to remind me."
Then he pointed to me near the stage..."Kenyada, isn't it time for you to wake up for work?
Isn't it time for all of us to wake up and get to work?"
Suddenly I awake and sit up in bed with a knowing smile. My wife stirs and sleepily asks if I'm OK. "I've never been better," I replied, "Never better. It's gonna be a good day."

by Kenyada

http://www.dailykos .com/story/ 2008/10/29/ 1643/9807/ 819/645987

Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama-Inspired Black Voters Warm to Politics

This is why Senator Obama will be elected by a landslide victory. The pollsters are polling most likely voters and he is still ahead. There are a lot of newly registered voters and first time voters and those who have not voted on a regular basis that will go to the polls tomorrow. The media is aware of that but they are taking advantage of it to make more money. This election has been over for some time now. However, WE STILL MUST GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

Tommie L. Williams, Comptroller

Published: November 1, 2008
Growing up in St. Louis in the 1950s and ’60s, Deddrick Battle came to believe that the political process was not for people like him — a struggling black man whose vote, he was convinced, surely would not count for much of anything. The thought became ingrained as an adult, almost like common sense.

Armento Meredith, 43, right, a first-time voter, waited hours in Atlanta to vote on Thursday. “It’s time for a change,” he said.
Percy Matthews, 25, of Chicago, has voted just once in his life, but said he wasn’t certain for whom. This election is different.
But a month ago, at age 55, Mr. Battle registered to vote for the first time. Senator Barack Obama was the reason.

“This is huge,” Mr. Battle, a janitor, said after his overnight shift cleaning a movie theater. “This is bigger than life itself. When I was coming up, I always thought they put in who they wanted to put in. I didn’t think my vote mattered. But I don’t think that anymore.”

Across the country, black men and women like Mr. Battle who have long been disaffected, apolitical, discouraged or just plain bored with politics say they have snapped to attention this year, according to dozens of interviews conducted in the last several days in six states. They are people like Percy Matthews of the South Side of Chicago, a 25-year-old who did vote once but whose experience was so forgettable that he cannot recall with certainty whom he cast a ballot for or even what year it was. Now an enthusiastic Democrat, he says the old days are gone.

And Shandell Wilcox, 29, who registered to vote in Jacksonville, Fla., when she was 18, then proceeded to ignore every election other than the current one. She voted for the first time on Wednesday.

Over and again, first-time and relatively new voters like Mr. Matthews and Ms. Wilcox, far past the legal voting age, said they were inspired by the singularity of the 2008 election and the power of Mr. Obama’s magnetism. Many also said they were loath to miss out on their part in writing what could be a new chapter of American history — the chance to vote for a black president.

Mr. Battle, for one, remembers growing up in the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis and how intimidated the adults were about voting, and that left an impression on him. The older women he knew were afraid to walk to the polls, he said, for fear of being attacked. “I didn’t think it was for black people, period,” he said of politics before the Civil Rights era. “We didn’t have any rights, really. We were just coming into voting and everything.”

Fast-forwarding to the present, he continued: “I never thought that I’d see this day. I never thought I’d see the day where an African-American was standing at the podium getting ready to be president.”

The swelling ranks of the newly enthusiastic are also the result of extensive nationwide voter registration drives and new early voting procedures in many states that have made the process easier and more accessible.

David A. Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, said the states with the largest increases in early voting had been those where the black population was proportionally the highest. In Georgia, for instance, blacks represented a quarter of all voters in the 2004 presidential election. So far this year in early voting alone, they make up 35 percent of all voters.

“I am fully expecting record black turnout,” Mr. Bositis said. “It’s not just a question of Obama as the first black nominee; it’s also that African-Americans have suffered substantially under the Bush years and African-Americans have been the single most anti-Iraq-war group in the population.”

“Obama is like the icing on the cake,” he added, “but it’s not just a question of Obama.”

One early voter in Georgia was Armento Meredith, 43, who waited in line for two hours Thursday at the Fulton County Government Building in downtown Atlanta to vote for the first time. “It’s time for a change,” said Mr. Meredith, a telephone operator. “I want to see something different.”

The result is likely to be a level of black participation in the electoral process that is higher than ever before. If sustained, some of those interviewed said, it might also translate into a reinvigorated sprit of democracy in some communities where it has been long dormant.

“In the black community, I see a great many people coming out who were apathetic since ’84,” said Bob Law, 63, an activist in New York City and former radio host who worked on the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s campaign for the presidency in 1984, the first time a black candidate was a serious national contender. But in the years since, he said, blacks’ enthusiasm had waned.

“People didn’t vote before because they really didn’t think their vote was going to make a difference,” Mr. Law said. “Whenever black voters felt like there was a reason to vote, like it might mean something, they’ve turned out.”

That is exactly how Mr. Battle, the janitor in St. Louis, feels. In the past, he said, “I felt like Democrat or Republican, it didn’t matter who won.”

“But my guy Obama?” he continued. “I think it’s going to be a change if he wins. He’s speaking my language.”

For some black men and women, the sense of pride is overwhelming, as is the feeling that they are participating in what could become a touchstone moment, something that children and grandchildren will want to hear about.

“I’d feel bad forever if I didn’t get out this time,” said Ms. Wilcox of Jacksonville, a cafeteria worker. “I’d feel like I didn’t do my part to put him in the office. How would I explain that to my little girl? ‘Oh, I had something better to do?’ And sure, it’s partially because he’s African-American. But he also says there will be change, and I believe him.”

Timothy Hairston, 47, a bartender in Brooklyn who has never voted before, shared that point of view. “I wanted to be a part of a historical moment,” Mr. Hairston said, “to say that I was involved in history in the making, that I was an active participant as opposed to someone on the sidelines rooting for change but not involved in the process of making change.”

He added of Mr. Obama: “I think it’s a testament to his campaign that he can inspire. At the end of the day, no matter what party you vote for, I think every once in a while there are inspirational moments that call for people to wake up from their deep sleep and become alive and get involved. And I think Barack at the very least is an inspirational figure.”

For some, coming back to political life was a slow process that unfolded over months. Others said they were struck by something in Mr. Obama’s life or what he stands for and that conversion was immediate.

Ms. Wilcox saw some of her own biography reflected in Mr. Obama’s. They were both born to single mothers and raised mostly by their grandparents in modest settings. She said she felt validated, motivated and inspired all at once when she first heard Mr. Obama’s life story during the primary season. “I began to think that we had a lot of life features in common,” she said. “It gave me hope.”

Bianca Williams, 20, a hair stylist in Brooklyn, said the campaign had changed her life. After seeing Mr. Obama in the first debate, Ms. Williams decided to go back to community college part-time. “After seeing his success, I started thinking maybe I could help my community like he did,” she said. “If he could do it then I could do it. It woke me up, careerwise. It just gave me the willpower to go on.”

That is true for Mr. Matthews, who works in a Chicago coffee shop. Not too long ago, he said, he lied to his mother about having voted in an election so she would stop nagging him to get out and vote. What a difference this year has made: he said he watched the party conventions and three of the four presidential and vice-presidential debates. He followed coverage of the candidates in the local papers. He voted in the primary, and he cannot wait to vote on Tuesday.

“As I’m talking now,” he said, “I’m getting goose bumps.”

For Darnell Harris of Cleveland, an 18-year-old private in the Marines, the legal voting age could not come fast enough. “I’m excited that the first time I get to vote, it’s for Barack,” he said. And echoing many others, he said that race is only part of the reason. “Obama cares about everybody, whether they’re white, black, Chinese, whatever. He’s not just for one little group.”

For some new voters, family and peer pressure certainly played a role.

“Most of my life I didn’t want to get involved with anything political,” said Damien Henderson, a 26-year-old merchant seaman. “But everywhere I go lately, people are talking about Barack Obama. I could be standing in line at a grocery, and somebody’s going to ask me what I think about Barack Obama.”

Mr. Henderson said he started paying attention and fell for Mr. Obama’s charisma. He voted on Monday for the first time, for Mr. Obama.

How did it feel to cast that first vote?

“It actually felt really good,” he said.

Reporting was contributed by Robbie Brown, Catrin Einhorn, Malcolm Gay, Christopher Maag and Karen Zraick.

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