Thursday, March 20, 2008

Political Craziness from Clinton Supporters

Life is busy. I haven't been posting regularly, because I have a life. Yet, today I got yet another crazy comment from a Clinton supporter. I usually post all comments, but in the last month I've had about 4 statements that have painted a clear picture in my mind about the types f folks supporting Hillary. Particularly, I'm attracting craziness from men of color who support her.

Today's entry wasn't foul mouthed and personally offensive, just misguided in his picture of my politics and of Obama. I posted it, and my response is both in the comments and below. I'm glad when someone comments, but I'm personally exhausted with the idealism that any president will be the cure all, and that someone we owe any more time to Billary and her devisive mess.

Here's What I had to say:

A dude for Clinton -

Like everyone, you certainly have the right and obligation to support whomever you think is the best for the job. I do, indeed, appreciate your comments and stopping by my blog. Although I support Barack, I'm not foolish enough to believe that any one person is the cure all and end all of making our nation better. I don't believe that someone has to agree with my, or Barack's opinions, which by the way - aren't consistent on many issues.

What I do know, is that anyone who uses racial politics to kill the Democratic party, will surely reap exactly what they sow. I have watched the Clinton Machine do what it does best, and the people who will lose will not be people who had hope in Obama, it will indeed be the entire nation as we endure politics as usual.

The belief that Clinton has experience and will not be learning on the job is equally ridiculous, to quote you my friend. She believes that failing health care, proximity to the office, and being Bill's wife have given her greater insight. Greater insight into the backward dealings of self serving politicians, maybe. She would do any and everything to ensure her candidacy, with no regard for the overall political challenge, which should be to adjust the leadership in Washington to shift past what has happened in the last 8 years. Clinton won't do that however, she'll keep moving the bar, changing the end game, and using the rhetorical of personal attack to become the victor. Problem is, she won't win anything, broaden the party or shift politics to anything that hasn't happened before.

Consensus building surely can't be what you believe will happen with Clinton. Or maybe, you are as naive as you'd like to paint anyone who doesn't agree w/Clinton to be.

I don't suggest that Hillary or her supporters should shut up - but I'm sick and tired of hearing that anyone who supports Obama does so because he is Black. The ignorance which makes and assumes this statement, is as troubling as the possibility that we'll have 4 more years of Clinton politics. I'm all for everyone having a voice - but the Democratic party, and the men who from time to time post nonsense about placing me or my views in a box, are tiring. Make a decision already. And when you do - invest your time in that, and stop insisting that anything unlike your view of the election is somehow wrong.

I respectfully disagree. But anyone reading my entire blog, would surely know that. But Clinton supporters, they aren't real good about history. They in fact, believe that we're lucky, should be greatly for all they have done, and surely we should be thankful we're Black, because we couldn't reach any point of prominence or beat them - unless our color was a factor. But, I believe the point is that I somehow have a crazy view. A wakeup call anyone?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro Foolishness

David Knowles has made my work easy. Although I have many thoughts about the election, I'm just sick of foolishness. Geraldine Ferraro has taken up the race card as she sites that if Obama wasn't Black he surely wouldn't be where he is today. Good thing she didn't get elected to lead our nation, we need more gender based politics like we need Hillary Clinton. But in essence, that's my point. Birds of a feather....

I mean let's be clear, Obama has an equal or better education than any other candidate. If you are a minority you know the reality of this equation - he has to be twice as qualified to even be on the same playing field. Vanessa Williams quipped this well known fact to Barbara Walters just recently, as she shared the lesson taught to her an every other Black child, including me. He has raised millions of dollars with the most effective fundraising campaign to hit politics in decades, and he has outraised all of his peers, including Senator Clinton. If you look at his strategic planning process, he has created a comprehensive strategy that win or lose, has out paced Clinton in popular vote, delegates and impact with voters. If he wasn't Black, he'd already be president.

Yet, I lost an hour yesterday and I can't devote any more time to this mess. I live in a time when women can say and do anything with regard to gender, including deny its impact as we use race baiting without consequence. There is a sick tone of entitlement which implies Barack has resonated with people only because of the color of his skin. Let's ask Ohio about how in love they are with that small reality? He can't be smart, bold, provocative, engaging, qualified, organized, effective, or the best candidate. No, according to Geraldine Ferraro, he better be glad that he's gotten this far. More delegates, more states, more money and more popular vote - but she couldn't give him credit for that. Read David Knowles summary, and note, I agree with him on what this could imply for why Hillary has gotten this far. If proximity to Bill or intimacy with a former president makes you qualified, we'll get a woman voted in easily, and it wouldn't have to be Senator Clinton. But let's forget about dirty politics, race baiting is the only acceptable evil in 2008, and it isn't evil at all if you serve it from the mouth of a gender challenged woman. (Because Geraldine would have won if she'd been a man, right? Puhhhlease.)

According to David:

First, you could easily turn the hypothetical around and ask, If Geraldine Ferraro was a black woman, would she have been nominated as Mondale's VP? Her point that she wouldn't have been nominated if she was a man brings up the obvious retort, Would Hillary be where she is today if she wasn't Bill Clinton's wife? You see, these kinds of games are silly, divisive, and totally unproductive. While identity politics do draw voters toward certain candidates, the notion that the only reason "we're talking about" Obama is that he's black is ludicrous. By that same logic, an Obama supporter could counter that the only reason that Hillary got this far is that she's a woman. It's nonsense either way.

Note to Ferraro, if Barack Obama was not black, he wouldn't be Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton, likewise, is more than just a female candidate. Both people are talented at what they do. That's why they've made it this far. Please, Geraldine, get a grip.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Big Give Excitement...and the heart of philanthropy

I tuned into the premier of Oprah's Big Give, and as a development consultant by training, I had my many doubts. With all of my insight and non-profit baggage I thought I'd be immune to reality based "do good" programming. I didn't actually cry, but I came close.

Not because I was overwhelmed with what I saw, but out of sadness for what the format would do for the time consuming and intense nature of true philanthropy. One hour doesn't give you much insight into the reality when $50,000 checks are presented after one phone call. Don't get me wrong, the catalyst for communication and debate is healthy...and anything that spurs interest in giving has some innate good to it. The essential issue for me is what it says about non-profit agencies and the true work of development. If people think that it just takes 5 days and you can launch gifts of substantial amounts to any one and any thing - we're in trouble. If, however, people are prompted to do something with impact, purpose and sustainability let me sign up a few hundred of those right away.

The local television station here is conducting its own Big Give of sorts, and I'm thrilled about Big Give Indiana. I think that there is tremendous opportunity for $10K to be used by 2 groups to leverage resources to agencies. I'm not posting more about it because I'm thoughtfully considering which group of people I can mobilize to be competitive. I'll post more on that this month.

But....if I had my druthers, I'd ask for someone to host Big Give Michigan. I have yet to work with an agency that excites me as much as
Community Housing Network. Located in Troy, Michigan the agency is a diamond in the rough....heavy emphasis on the diamond.

Why are they great you ask? Well even though I no longer live in Michigan, if I had the chance to do a volunteer project and leverage resources for an agency, they would be at the top of my list. (15 years in the industry, and my list is pretty short.) I believe in non-profit effectiveness and making a difference in the lives of people .... and CHN has been doing both with incremental growth and success, with excellent leadership and a full understanding of impact. No, I'm not their publicist or an employee, but I have had the chance to work with the agency. Outside of our church donations, they receive the largest amount of support from my personal dollars in 2007. That says a lot right there - given private tuition for 3!

Community Housing Network has a team of diverse and committed staff members dedicated to doing their jobs really well with programs that work. When something doesn't work, they evaluate it and they change it - a key to success in any area.

Originally funded by larger grants and contracts, they have created a fundraising strategy that works to include everyday people. This transition is key to the growth of non-profit agencies who intend on lasting longer than any cyclical funding trends. They understand intentional progress over perfection.

Real lives are changed in their fight to end homelessness; as they provide quality affordable housing alternatives and opportunities for people to meet key needs for family stability. Their staff is reflective of the people they serve, and leadership actually cares about the office culture and the direction of staff growth. I have often said, if I must go back to work full time for someone other than myself, I should move back to Michigan. They are an agency I'd love to be affiliated with.

At some point, I thought I'd rant about the Big Give being too idealistic and simplistic. That isn't quite fair unless you look at the power of possibilities when a show focusing on something other than the lowest human denominators attracts such a wide viewing audience. I decided (for all of my 15 regular visitors) that I would devote my energy to what the Big Give can do. It has the ability to launch a conversation and action on behalf of groups and people who are deserving of a hand up. If you are wondering what you could do

If you want to launch a team driven exercise for raising additional dollars for a deserving group, let me sign up. If there was seed money, a time crunch and a t.v. camera - I'd be championing what I know for sure - really good people still do really good work, most often without the media or big corporate donations ever coming close to the power of individual support. (One $25 donation at a time.)

Financial contributions can be made in several ways:

  • Mail a check made payable to Community Housing Network to:
    570 Kirts Blvd., Suite 231, Troy, MI 48084.
  • Make a credit card donation by telephone by calling 248-928-0111. Ask for the Accounting Department. CHN accepts VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards.
  • Visit the CHN website.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Connections in a Life...a tribute to Derek Owens

You are looking at the next African-American presidential candidate that will get me as hyped as I am about Barack, one of only 3 people who can elicit sheer joy from me at the prospect of the future. He is my legacy, and he has his roots firmly planted in Toledo, Ohio.

Toledo, Ohio is a biggish small town. Especially when it comes to the University of Toledo alumni, sorors of AKA and frat brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha. So, when there is tragedy in the midst it touches us in a myriad of ways. "Derek Owens, 36, and another officer approached men Friday night and chased them when they started to run away, police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho said in Cleveland , Oh. A police officer who was shot investigating a group of men drinking beer inside an abandoned garage died hours later at a hospital, authorities said Saturday." The statement seems pretty cut and dry, and the article covering the news was even drier as I read it. If you pick up any midWest article, anywhere - you can read about a cop, soldier or African-American man who has died in the last 24 hours. This time, it was Derek Owens. What about the rest of the story?

I didn't know Derek personally - but we have fewer than 3 degrees of separation. I could go through the linkages, but it doesn't truly cover my point. This husband, father of 2, police officer, Alpha man - died trying to do his job. His wife, one of my sorority sisters, has had her life forever changed by the course of events in a few unforeseen moments. "Owens caught up with one of the men, who turned around and shot Owens in the stomach just beneath his bulletproof vest, Stacho said. Owens returned fire and the suspect then exchanged shots with Owens' partner, but no one else appeared to be injured, Stacho said." Well, no one but his family, friends, children, legacy - they all got injured. All of those close to the situation are having a hard time shaking it - the older we get the more visible it becomes. Life is not promised, and it is very, very short.

Yesterday my husband posted about the new Will.I.Am video which inspires a self-reflection about the fact that we are the ones - beyond our excitement and the energy surrounding Barack, this is our time. There are thousands upon thousands of us 30 something - 40 something (the generation of NOW), and we are collectively realizing our power and the potential to change the world. We aren't all running for public office, most of us are graduating, working, being and staying married, waiting for marriage (as in delaying procreation for a real revelation), volunteering, giving back to neighborhoods, actively involved in some church & ministry, and just doing the work of every day life. We are the ones who are changing this society one person at a time - and when you lose a foot soldier you just have to remind yourself that we're in this fight - but we won't all see the victory. I imagine Martin and John knew this, they certainly taught it.

Bringing this full circle, my Pastor said today that many of us fail to realize when we are deep in the midst of mess, Jesus is right with us. I can only imagine the many feelings that take over a newly widowed woman under 40 - when 48 hours ago her life was completely different. She was planning her future with the love of her life, and in a split second it all changed. Think about 9-11, and the moment when life changed for so many. I am humbly reminded in these instances that tomorrow is not promised.

Who knows what will happen with Barack, or any of us for that matter. But we are the ones, and the time is now. What are you doing? Who will remember you? What will your life matter? I dare say that our impact is bigger than anything that we can see today. What will be your legacy?

The optimism in Will.I.Am's video speaks to something bigger in each of us - not about the invincibility of Barack. a soldier. a politician. a man. a Black man. a father. a husband. Derek Owens is an example of that something bigger. People living their lives, taking responsibility for their family, making a difference in their community. We are those people. I am saddened to learn of his death, but I guess the bigger tragedy will be if we don't learn from his life.