Friday, January 18, 2008

The Power of Hope...who's got your back?

So, let's talk about change you can believe in. What does it say about America, if this is the image of your national leader. I don't know what it says to anyone else, but this would be a case of you had me at hello. When I look at my own family, my life, my professional pursuits, the balance of work and family life, and the sheer courage it takes to pursue change in our nation - I'd be willing to vote Obama, over and over again.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bob Johnson on Barack: We Care Why?

Bob Johnson is one of the African-American males for Hillary which should inspire us all to look behind the curtain at Oz. Why is it that so many bought and paid for old establishment
Black males are coming out in support of the Clinton Campaign - nothing more than the you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. They have been pouring money into their campaigns for years and it comes as no surprise that at any cost they will jump in her pocket as the liaison to the Black community. Couple that with the pandering in the Black church and Bill calling into Al Sharpton's show to do his insincere "oh I'm sorry" - and we have for first prize, "Racial Politics at its worst."

Clinton is courting Bob Johnson to make race an issue for Barack, plain and simple. This issue may lose her votes in the short term - but it is more likely to concern the average American voter, and distract them from Barack. The American people get scared with the issue of race, and if she can successfully make his candidacy about race, and not about change and America fulfilling its promise - she's won. As in her cry seen across the world - this is political strategy - not outrage about how she is perceived relative to MLK. The Democratic party has been as careless about the minority vote as the Republican party in many instances - and until the general election Clinton feels she just has to squash Obama so she can reach her destiny. Problem is, the same folks you meet climbing up the ladder, you will need when you handily fall off of it. She however, will only have the potential to win in the short term. The reality is that most intelligent people - of all races - see through her tactics and understand that she is not the solution - for America, Black People, Women, Youth or Anyone else for that matter.

Who cares about Bob Johnson. He is not representing African-Americans or the average Black voter, and he doesn't fit the characteristics of the average American voter either. The author of low-brow entertainment via Black Entertainment Television (BET) is a media mogul and a billionaire. Who in the heck cares what or who he promotes. He created BET with the rationale that Jerry Springer is allowed to do his show but BET is asked to be held to a higher standard. Umm, let's select yes for $1K. Jerry Springer, Bob Johnson, Hillary Clinton - they are not standard bearers.

Let's hold the campaign and the candidates to a higher standard. Bob Johnson represents no one and didn't care about the garbage he put on television as long as it made him rich. Birds of a feather assuredly flock together in this instance. This isn't the case of bad judgment, this isn't the case of defending a friend, like all other partnerships for the Clinton Campaign - this is negative campaigning, racial politics and pandering at its worst. The media is equally at fault for making this an issue at all - but well, Bob did make his fortune in cahoots with them as well. Wonder how this made front page news on an average Sunday afternoon - the old boys network, Clinton included.

Why not donate to Obama 08 and show your disgust for Clinton Campaign Tactics now.

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Veggie Tale's Lost

When I learned that Veggie Tale's were coming to network television, I was so very excited. Their videos, books, movies, CDs and music have been staples in our home since we began having children - and I love the premise of Veggie Tales as a whole. In fact, "God is Bigger than the Boogie Man" was the adopted theme song for my girlfriend who just finished her PhD.

I'm a Jesus girl and my whole household loves Christ, so this is no difficult sell for us. So, when I heard that God was being removed from the Saturday morning expression of the show, my concern was heightened. How do you get morality and Bible based lessons, with no conversation about God or where the morals are coming from? I know that value-based learning, character education and the like are important, but I think we miss the boat when we erase God from the lives of our children. With mixed feelings, I later decided that faced with Saturday morning with or without the potential showing of Veggie Tales - I'd take it in any form. My mistake.

For years Veggie Tales have been a part of my teaching at Children's Church and Nursery, and this past weekend we went to the latest show for the big screen. The Pirate's Who Don't do Anything - didn't do much for me either. As for our three children - they had varying levels of enjoyment, but we discussed it both at home and leaving the theatre - and they were completely aware that God was left out. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. The moral plays that have been introduced into theaters lately have been willing to push the envelope. The Golden Compass was one of the most recent examples of when morality goes wrong - as Atheist fare was presented as a work for children. I think we owe it to ourselves to more aggressively push for message movies that actually have a real message. We should vote with our dollars - it speaks volumes in any venue.

At a time when our children are facing so much, I personally would prefer a big screen VEGGIE TALE'S Movie stick to the original script. By original script, I mean clarity of purpose, good entertainment, amazing music and something worth watching. This one doesn't offer the true values based teaching we've come to love and appreciate, and it can't compete with Finding Nemo, Toy Story, The Incredible's or Polar Express for offering both entertainment for adults and children. Three vegetables being transported to an earlier time when they discover their inner hero - it just can't compete. While I don't begrudge the money I spent, I won't be providing any ringing endorsements. When I was growing up in church they wanted to burn all of our music - until a Sunday School teacher asked, "And replace it with what?" So, when I want to reinforce the values we hold true - we have to skip Hollywood Million Dollar marketing investments for Golden Compass and others. The question is, replace it with what.

I look to The Prince of Egypt, a family favorite of ours - or a host of Veggie Tale CDs of yesterday, and I know that we can accomplish the task of teaching values and morals in a different way. I thought the movie was just too light and lacked the engagement for multiple age groups and levels. Not following a Bible based story is fine, but skipping a basis for where the values come from - well, Hollywood surely doesn't need any more of that. In this new year, I hope that we are able to get back to the basics. I hope that the writers and producers of Veggie Tales will do the same.

Politics of Race

Prior to this presidential election, I didn't have some strong feeling one way or another about Hillary Clinton. As a wife and mother, I at times felt bad for her, and at times admired her professional decision to pursue a career she loves. When Barack put his hat in the race, I didn't give him a signing endorsement. Being a conservative about many matters, I don't agree with many of his liberal Democratic views. In any event, I didn't want the issue to be one of race, when it came to determine who I would support. My issues are broader than race, my support not determined any more by my ethnicity as it would be by my gender. Early on my comments to other voters was simple, don't vote FOR or AGAINST Barack because he's African-American. Evaluate the candidates. But I'm starting to really wonder what has the sorry Clinton Camp done this time.

Bob Johnson who founded BET can't advise most people with an ounce of sense about anything related to race. While he may be a billionaire, he did so at the expense of Blacks, with his BET sanctioned buffoonery with lack of intelligent programming for decades. Anyone who would follow his support for Clinton is plain nuts.

So, as I had intended to get back to my mommy rants this day - I just can't . I have to wonder out loud who it is that believes this political piranha, Who wants this slippery master of negative campaigns to represent them? I surely don't. She has played the race card, pandered at any Black church that will have her, and rode the crazy idea of Clinton as the first Black president to an all time low. As Bill became her New Hampshire attack dog, I was heartened to see Barack focus on business as usual. While she was busy talking about what role a president has, she evidently allowed and/or authored the comments that have angered so many. On the eve of celebrating Marting Luther King Day, I have to wonder - how many of us are really embracing our responsibility to go beyond the media reports. The Democratic play book is broken if anyone believes that this slippery, deceptive, ill advised and insulting performance of the Clinton's won't have a backlash in the election.

If she gets the nomination, it assures the Republican's an easier win - as the Black vote they don't solicit, becomes theirs by default. The problem with an African-American candidate of the caliber, demeanor, focus, education and promise of Obama - is that he has attracted many people to the political debate for the first time. The debate, mind you, not the voting booth. For those of us who may not be on the immediate Democratic radar screen - recognize that our votes go both ways. And, we the under represented and often times taken for granted - are doing our research on McCain and others too. Hillary is not untouchable. Her foul cries may have others wondering in November, what happened to the destined White House. The women I'm talking to, sipping Starbucks with, chatting at church and scheduling playdates with - we're going to vote for CHANGE one way or another. Think about it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Brittney's breakdown and Clinton's Cry for Help

I don't study politics but I do study people - and this week has been quite a doozey. We get irritated about the Brittney coverage when quite frankly, the media has finally made me sympathetic toward her. I don't know any woman who wants the details of her life, career, marriage failure, parenting, clothing misses, etc. blasted in living color - 24 hours a day, without reprieve. And while I don't care for her music or her popularity, I feel bad for her because she is way too overexposed during the worst time in her public life. Clinton has the same issue. The only difference - I don't feel bad for her at all. No sympathy whatsoever.

I was listening to NPR today when one of the Mocha Mom's being featured indicated that she didn't want support of Obama to be seen as hate for Clinton. I admired her comment, but I reflected on my own position and decided - I must have room for growth. I have come to believe that the redeeming qualities of Clinton are long gone. She's lost any past or future support - and if by some chance Barack doesn't get the nomination - I'm a swing vote to any Republican with the exception of the man who brought his mistress into the mayor's mansion. That, I just won't do.

Here are the most recent confirmations that Clinton does not deserve support of this female voter, or any of those educated, articulate, passionate, politically astute women I know. Although the reasons to not vote for Clinton are endless - let's start here.

1. The tears don't move me. Her campaign chair told her she wasn't getting enough compassion points, and she turned it up a notch. They told her if she really cried she'd be seen as soft, so she stopped just short of an ugly cry. PLEASE. Anyone who believes that stunt deserves her as president, but I pray she'll never get the chance.

2. A change candidate she is not. They said he's for change, we're for experience. And because she's so honest, I really want to believe her. Judge her on experience I decide. When she was first lady, her first duty was as a wife, and she surely should not get credit for Bill's work. That's what we women fought for right - we're our own people . We have our education, our experience, our own stance in the world. So please Hillary, stop taking credit for Bill's stuff. Unless, you want to have a honest dialog about the indiscretions of his term, the lies, the inability to keep home and state separate. Hillary is Washington establishment if she is anything, and if health care is any indication - this is experience I don't need.

3. Flip flopper accusations. After getting her own fairy tale checked, she has started to announce herself as the candidate that can create change. Thou needeth an original boneth in thou bodyeth. First you say change is what you say when you have no experience - then you say I'm the woman for change. Make up your mind. Or not. No make it up.

4. Dirty Politics. Again. If anyone believes that she didn't personally author the attacks on Barack's name, religion, drug use, etc. - you must be smoking. Not inhaling of course, just smoking. I'm not naive enough to believe that dirty politics don't exist - or that there isn't a place for a hard edge - I want someone who can make tough decisions. I don't however, need a candidate who is into politics as usual. 2 terms of Bush and Clinton, that is enough of both of those families. I'm ready for something new.

5. Washington Insider as the only experience. I happen to believe that the Harvard experience, the Chicago experience, the community organizing experience, the middle class family experience, the husband and father experience, the lost a public office experience, the won a public office experience, the Attorney as a profession experience, the racism in America experience, the immigration experience, etc. - counts. I need a decision maker, not an experience touter.

6. It takes a Village. Well, not exactly. I'm all for a good quote and an African proverb is no exception. There are plenty of people in my life that I can thank for getting on the straight and narrow. But, when it comes straight down to it, my family raised me. And when it comes to family values - Clinton's need a village. The rest of us will do well to focus on where it starts - the family unit. Relying on other people to step in , step up, step to it - it is nice in theory but it isn't reality. Public education works when parents are involved, and a community organizer understands that. I digress.

7. The Minority Card. It is frowned on when we talk about the racial background of Barack, but perfectly fine to tout the historic nature of being a woman in this presidential contest. I'm just not drinking this kool aid. When its convenient clinton's camp wants to pull out the code words "electibility, viability, potential to compete, ready from day one, fit for the real contest" and the list continues. The same small minds that wouldn't vote for Barack because of his name or his heritage aren't rushing dear Senator to put a woman in there either. Hello - going negative might do something, but guarantee you a 2nd tier vote - better check your polls. You aren't doing so well as the second choice, either.

I don't have some unclear love of Barack - I think he is a man with promise, but a man. I'm married to a pretty great one, they have their limitations. Barack has positions I'm TOTALLY against, but as far as raising the bar for this election process, he's impressed me. I used to give $25 every time I had a warm and fuzzy feeling, but I'm running out of money. I'm getting that feeling so often that I have to space out my contributions. I think he has something greater than experience - he has the confidence of the people he'll have to lead. (Well some of us...there is still more work to be done.)

Yet, with the oversaturation of last minute Clinton crap, I had to write something. I couldn't sit down at the computer without a column, video post, clip or quote - attacking the man that will once again prove that we're tired of politics as usual. Brittney and Clinton have a lot in common.

Too much press. Troubled home life. Anticipated comeback received with dismal feedback. Visible breakdown. Support from played out people. And my favorite - media personalities coming to the rescue. (Since when does Clinton entertain Fox interviews and ongoing access?) Here's what I know for sure - I'm sick enough of Clinton I'd vote for Brittney right about now. She'd surely throw a good party. Lucky for us, we don't have to. We've got Hope and Change, Angry Edwards, My Main Man Mitt, and even the Huck. Let's elect any one of them - but give clinton's cry the rest it deserves.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Barack Obama WINS IOWA!

He won.

He won convincingly.

He won with the support of diverse groups - women, youth, first time caucus goers, independents.

He won one contest, that will provide a launching pad for more contests.

He still needs each one of us. He still needs money. He still needs voters. He can't win on hope alone.

He is the candidate of change.

This isn't about Oprah. It isn't about race. It isn't about anything other than the first opportunity for people throughout this nation to make a clear statement about what type of leadership they want. Make your step toward change today.

Get Reminded About Your Destiny

The end of the year was filled with lots of entertaining for our household - probably more consecutive visits than we have had in our entire lives. And with all of the food, fellowship and fun always comes a few other lessons intended and otherwise.

For example, don't do your laundry with 13 people in your house. I thought I was simply being on top of my home chores when in reality I was dooming my 8 year old to a cold bath. Opps.

Then of course, the match game. I had failed to pay attention to matching towels and wash cloths as my husband had been putting away laundry for weeks. Hello - I know I own several sets of matching and guest towels, but when you have company is not the best time to find them!!!! Lesson learned. I type this post after consecutive loads of white towels to ensure that those items disappear to matching heaven, in the closet that we don't frequent.

But... the most simple of lessons came from the mouth of an 8 year old guest. She commented about my pantry when she had visited about 8 months ago - a childlike chuckle over the rows and columns that I had. I heartily admitted with our last minute shopping and hosting more people than we could count on our hands....that order was out the window. Not true, not true.

Yesterday, as my husband did the dishes and gave me a compliment that made my heart melt (about our home and my hospitality - although our house is indeed a work in progress), I started looking through my cabinets. The order that was there a bit ago wasn't tossed out, it was just a tad bit flustered. With a 1 hour investment, I have a pantry, seasoning cabinet, pasta station and spice shelf representative of the home I desire to have. That's a lot in 1 hour. the truth is, it was still in order from what I had originally established, even if it hadn't received the love and attention necessary in recent weeks. The foundation was firmly in tact.

1. I throw out the things I would not use again.
2. I discarded whatever was half opened and was paste its shelf life.
3. I turned the staples facing the front, in size order. (priorities, priorities)
4. I returned things to the place that they belonged.
5. I made an assessment of what I had, what I needed, and what I used most often. 1 hour.

I can draw parallels with just about anything, but this spoke to me about order in our lives and our destiny. When you have a firm foundation, you can be rocked without losing your core. A storm may come but you don't have to succumb to it. From time to time we just have to get reminded about our destiny. Some folks may think I've really invested too much in the rows and columns of my cabinets. I was simply reminded that a gentle nudge can put you closer to your destiny. I like what I like, and order can be comforting.

I have always wanted to entertain. I have always wanted to be prepared for anything that would come up. I have always wanted to live in a home that was warm, not for other people, but to be able to include others without being turned on my ear. We are getting closer to that nowadays - but its because we are getting closer to our destiny. When we think about our priorities and what we want to accomplish, more things line up than scream "Change me, Change me." And with the soft encouragement of a few 8 year olds (including my child saying that she valued the cleanliness of her room because it gave her peace), I was reminded about my own destiny.

It is 2008 and there is no time to be wasted. Destiny is as much about where you are, as where you aspire to be. We are in a pretty good place - warts and all - and our future is bright, because our foundation is indeed in order.

Do you need to be reminded about your destiny? Do you understand your purpose? Where are you headed, and how will you get there? Let this serve as your gentle is 2008. What are you doing to ensure that your foundation is in order and the best is yet to come? However you get there and whatever you need to do, know that I can't wait to celebrate with you.

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and I will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what shall I answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, "Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."

—Habakkuk 2:1-3, King James Bible