Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Go Ahead Obama, Take Me For Granted

No one can give you power, you have to take it!!! (Jock Ewing, fictional character on Dallas)

If you let them do this to me and get away with it, then you’re giving them the eternal right to do the same damn thing to anyone of you!! (fictionalized real-life character Bufford Pusser in Walking Tall)

I’m old enough to command a certain amount of respect, and I’m young enough to take the rest! (my older brother Gerald… a real-life character of fictional proportions)

Every news channel has begun to re-examine the theme: Does Obama take Black people for granted? It’s a long way away from, is Obama Black enough to represent African Americans, but it has the same divisive quality when you repeat it enough. On that issue, one hundred-fifty years ago, octoroons (look it up) were still considered Black enough for use as slaves, and Obama is four times blacker than they were (I hate myself for saying blacker, but I had to make a point). But back to the real issue, that being Obama taking Black people for granted. Where Obama is, and what he has to do to be successful for where he is going, 1) it is impossible for him to take Black people for granted, but 2) to whatever extent he can, I believe he should be able to.

As my quotes above show, I understand a little about power and respect (I’m still working on the money thing). I could have used Frederick Douglas’ “Power concedes nothing…” quote, because it is definitely the best, but I was in a mass media state of mind. I know that life in general is a struggle to be accepted, respected, protected and empowered. I generally don’t take anyone or anything for granted, and I don’t like folks taking me for granted. But there are exceptions. When my daughter says “Da?!?!” at 2:30 in the morning, she expects me to come. She doesn’t know if the monitor is on in our room, she doesn’t know if I’m sleeping, she doesn’t know what my day was like the day before or what my schedule is the next day. She knows I need to be there because of our relationship. Our lives are intertwined in a way that, regardless of how we may feel about each other at any given time in our lives, we are one. To get her to feel it before she can understand it, I play the You Tube clip of the song “We Are One” from Lion King II for her a few times a week. From now until the day one of us leaves the earth, if I am the father I should be, she should be able to take me for granted in the same way she does now. Having said that, let me get back to my points…

1) It is impossible for Obama to take Black people for granted. The top candidate for president, universally accepted, in the last three elections was Colin Powell. There were very few people who didn’t love and respect him, but his wife knew that a few of the ones who didn’t would try to kill him the first chance they got; so she killed his presidential run before it got started by saying, “no, you ain’t runnin’. Obama undoubtedly had that conversation with his wife before he started this run. They both understand that he can die at any time for no other reason than he is a Black man running for president. He cannot escape the fact. There is nothing in his personality that shows that he is so self/power obsessed that he would risk leaving his daughters fatherless unless he believed in a cause greater than himself. Obama is Black everyday, and he proves it by his willingness to die representing his people everyday. No greater love hath a man that he should lay down his life for his brother… look that up too if you need to.

2) Obama should be able to take Black people for granted. In the same way that he is willing to sacrifice some or all of his life for da brovas and sistas, they should be able to do the same for him. Black people will never be a homogenous group with one set of values and thoughts, and they never should be. But as the radical brothers used to tell us youngbloods back in college, more important than unity is mobility. We can’t always agree on an issue, but we can recognized its significance beyond our philosophical differences and mobilize to do what is best for the greater good. Obama being president is for the greater good. If its not, the alternative would be…. What? I’m not saying that he should completely ignore us. But like I said before, he can’t ignore us, he is actively Black all day, everyday (unlike some other folks who are passively Black). Some folks make the comparison that Bill Clinton actively sought the Black vote. But Clinton could reach out to Black people and still be seen as pro-White. Obama reaching out to Black people will be depicted by many as being anti-White. For those who don’t think that’s true, it may sound crazy and/or offensive, but it was just as crazy and offensive for Obama giving his wife dap to be seen as a terrorist fist bump.. LOL LOL LOL LOL… anyway…

Barack Obama is running for president of the United States, not president of the inner city, selected suburbs, and a few rural pockets. He is running for George Bush’s job, not Rev. Al Sharpton’s. It does not make sense for him to apply for a job that effects 300 million people by focusing on the issues that effect 35 million of them. Do I want him to address police brutality, redistricting, redlining, gang violence, lack of grocery stores and fresh food, and other issues that directly effect me and many other folks I love? Absolutely! But if he addresses jobs lost overseas, a living wage, cutting tax breaks for the rich, equal access to quality education, higher standards for landlords, and other issues that effect 285 million Americans, including me and those folks I love, I would love that too. And if talking about the first set of issues prevents him from getting elected so that he can’t get anything done at all, then Barack he needs to let Rev. Al do his job, and focus on his own. When a general is trying to conquer new territories, he doesn’t need civilians sticking notes in his pocket telling him who shot at them, what he needs to do to protect them and who he should get first. He needs to focus on winning the new land. After that, everyone can assist the general in making the resources of the new land benefit the inhabitants of the old land… get it?

I would not be making this argument if Obama was not qualified to be president. No one wants the first Black president to be an unqualified screw-up that sets Black folks back 100 years. To be able to put together a team of leaders with the skill and vision to develop, implement and maintain a system that changes society is the function of a president, and his successful campaign against all odds has proven Obama has that ability. I believe McCain has those skills as well, just not to the same extent. I also believe that there are at least 500 people in this country who would be more qualified than both of them to be president… but those folks aren’t running. I believe that Obama will be a fair president, which will piss off people of all races because many want to get their share of “fair” off the top, with the rest of “fair” being distributed equally to everyone else. But I also believe the majority of us, from all races and ethnicities, understand what fair is, and will support him being fair… even when we have to give up something for the greater good of the many. I hope Obama does take me being there for him for granted right now, like I will take him being there for me for granted later on, because ultimately we both know this thing is bigger than both of us.

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