Friday, November 28, 2008
It was almost 5 Years ago to the day when your mom and I realized you were indeed on your way. It was November 29th 2003. It was around 1am in the morning. I was up late as always, but I can't recall what I was doing. I believe your mom was sleeping. However, something awoke her. I'm sure it had something to do with you moving around. She said she had to use the bathroom. So I helped her up and as she stood up she said I think I peed on myself. Well she then went to the bathroom to clean up. But she came out and said I don't think this is pee. After making a call to your grandmother and to the doctor she was able to determine that a portion of her water had broken.
So we packed up and drove to the hospital. Your mom did all the hard work I just tried to be supportive and not get on her nerves. But almost 22 hours later at about 10:50pm that night you were born. I remember when your head popped out, the doctor pulled you out, and your eyes were wide open and you looked right at me. In between tears I smiled, as the doctor wrapped you up and handed you to your mom. She quickly called me over to hold you as well.
It was hard to imagine that I had spent almost 9 months talking to you through a barrier of stomach that grew by the day. You used to kick whenever I talked to you. But then and there I was holding and talking to you in the flesh. I had overwhelming feelings of joy, happiness, nervousness and even fear. Yes me the self proclaimed fearless man was scared at that moment. The thought that your life was essentially in my hands had me scared to death. The thoughts of what kind of father I would be to you, and would I be able to do this job forever had me fearful. But I vowed to you even less than hours old that I would do any and everything to take care of you and be there for you.
Well it didn't take too long for me to get the hang of the parenting thing. However, there was trouble on the home front. I can and will explain to you the entire story as you get older and are curious as to what happen. But a long story short your mom and I ended up splitting up and eventually divorcing. I had to make some of the hardest decisions of my life during those rough times, but in the end I feel like I made the best decision when considering you. It was difficult to make such decisions and not want to be selfish. However, I had to take a look at a much bigger picture which went beyond just myself.
You may hear different variations of the story when you get older, but I have no problem being open and honest when you're able to handle it. You weren't old enough to remember your mom and I ever being together. Which in part I find a good thing most times. The way your life is now is how you have always known it to be. So you don't remember some of the back and forth and changes that took place back then. Regardless of what has taken place, just know it had nothing at all to do with you. And in many ways what took place forced me to be the man I needed to be. The man I needed to be for myself and for you.
When I think of you being five years old it is still hard to imagine. Time flies is all that I can say. I mean I can truly recall it all like it was yesterday. From your first words (which were da da don't let anyone tell you different), to your first steps, your first fall (I dropped you), and recently your first dentist trip (I took you, poor thing you shook like a leaf you were so scared). I've made sure that I have been there every step of the way. Not only financially, but also physically and emotionally there as an active father in your life. Besides a hand full of weekends out of town and when for whatever reason your mom had something else planned, I don't/didn't miss a weekend spending quality time with you. The same goes for calling and talking to you on a nightly basis.
Over these five years I've watched us begin a bond as father and son that is undeniable. I wouldn't give it up for anything or anyone in the world. It reminds me of how I was with my father when I was a kid. Unfortunately, that relationship slowly whithered away over the years due to some circumstances that I will reveal to you later as well. But I vow to you that I won't let anything get in between us remaining close and me being a constant in your life. In the next 5-10 years I'm sure you'll be experiencing many more firsts. Including, your first day of school (real school), first crush (Kim Possible doesn't count), first heart break (sad to say but it's going to come), first fight, etc. Just know that you will have me there for you and there to help guide you through each of those events and more.
I love you so much and I am so very proud of you. And even prouder to call myself your Dad. I wish you the happiest 5th birthday ever and so many more to come.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
As I've said in previous blogs, I travel across the country for a living. I have been to all of the lower 48 states, and one of the states that, to me, is very underrated is Wyoming. Very beautiful scenery. No, there's not much to do there, and of course there are very few black people there. (1.15% black as of 2005). In spite of that, I have found the people of Wyoming to be very engaging and hospitable. Well that all changed a couple of weeks ago. I don't want to disparage all the people of Wyoming because of one particular incident, but I must admit that it definitely put me on guard.
I was coming inside a truck stop. As I was heading to the bathroom, I happened to walk past a trucker who looked at me somewhat menacingly. I wouldn't have thought much of it, except for the fact that the man was wearing a shirt that had a confederate flag on it and said "Dixie Trucker". Now I'm not from the south. I was born in Chicago, and I've split my life between there and L.A. So most of my exposure to southern culture has been on the road, from television, and my country ass cousins. But like most black people, the confederate flag represents the absolute worst of American culture. So the fact that this man was eyeballing me, and rockin this on his shirt, I was absolutely on guard. Yes, I could have just been misreading this experience. However, some of these are unmistakable.
Speaking of T-Shirts, there are almost no words to describe what this fool is wearing. (For those who can't read it, it says "Nigger Please! Its called a White House!). I mean, I understand that your candidate lost, but have some respect. Its unfortunate that nearly 150 years after slavery was abolished, there are still people with attitudes like this. I guess the last remaining segregated club has just been infiltrated. Can't call it.
I caught this little article the other day. Apparently after the election, while a large percentage of us were celebrating Barack's victory, someone got the bright idea to start an assassination pool. Yes, in Portland, Maine, a General Store had a sign outside that read "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." The saddest part about this is that it plays to Blacks biggest fears, someone will assassinate Obama. Yes its in the back of all of our minds, but I think its very ridiculous for white people to joke around, and take such a subject so lightly.
The last example is one that hit me very hard. Last week, I turned on Fox News, and across the screen it said something to the effect of "Al-Qaeda uses racial slur to describe Obama". Instantly I was pissed. I mean, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? They called Barack a nigga. Well if only it could have been so simple. Of course I just needed to know. I couldn't wait for Bill O'Reilly to eventually get to the story. So I hit the Internet. Damn, it was so much worse. Essentially, Al-Qaeda's second in command, Ayman Al Zawahiri called Barack a "House Nigger", and also said that he was a disgrace to Malcolm X. I was livid. I can't front, if I was in the military, I would have asked to be shipped to Iraq or Afghanistan just to fight these fools. I mean, how the hell can you not even be from this country, and have the audacity to go there? You're gonna call someone a "House Nigger" and essentially you're lower than dog shit on the evolutionary scale. Please. Don't worry, you'll pay for that one bruh.
My friend and I have been having a long running discussion: Were we really ready for a Black President? I want so badly to say that we were. Examples such as these, I do believe, expose that we truly were not. Yeah well, its here, and its real. And some people obviously need to wake up, and get their act together. Because going forward, everything has changed. And I think that's exactly what Barack wanted.
Monday, November 24, 2008
However, my blog entry "It's a One-derful Life" prompted another friend of mines to re-open their previously closed myspace account to prove a point. On her profile she listed 10 items about her as I did in the aforementioned blog. However, she proceeded to tell me that the "resume" as she called it, prompted her to receive 70 friend requests. All of these requests came within a matter of barely 24 hours, from men wanting to be her "One." Well without even asking her to participate she conducted my "social networking" experiment for me. So my response to her was that the 10 items was irrelevant. I feel that even without her putting her 10 items on there that just a picture and no words would have gotten at least half of those requests. Why? Because guys are thirsty.
I mean I know I'm from Chicago and perhaps thirstiness just exists here, but I doubt that's the case. I've come to realize that Chicago niggaz just take it to an extreme level. However, I'm sure that women from all over the world can attest to the fact that they've experienced many moments dealing with thirsty guys. We've attempted to come up with a list, let's go through it and see how far we get.
- The guy that buys you a drink at the club and thinks you drinking that drink is some sort of non-verbal contract obligating you to talk to him the rest of the night. So he follows you around the club all night.
- The guy that you actually decide to give your number to; however, he doesn't adhere to the 1-2 day buffer and calls you the same day.
- The guy that when he meets you and you won't give him your number decides to give you his number. But not just his number. He includes his work number, his e-mail address, his instant messenger, and just in case you can't reach him at any of those his momma's number.
- The guy that first tries to holla at you. Then when you shut him down moves on to your girl. But when she doesn't give him any love either he then makes an attempt at your other girl. Eventually he goes through the rest of your crew, but even though no one takes his bait it doesn't deter him from trying.
- The guy that you've barely known a week or 2; however, he already wants you to be his woman. But wait he's not just satisfied with you just being his girl. Within that same week or 2, he wants you to meet his momma, be his wife, and go half on a baby with him.
- The guy that calls you and when you don't answer he leaves you a voice mail. But before you can even check the voice mail he's calling you again. But when you don't answer the next time he's sends you a text message. My brother commonly refers to these individuals as Serial Dialers.
- The guy that will admittedly do anything to get you to sleep with him. Including but not limited to offering to buy you any and everything you want as if money will all of a sudden make you want to be with him.
- The guy that sees you walking down the street as he's driving and tries to get your attention by yelling from the car. When you ignore his disrespectful attempt, he continues to drive along side you trying different lines on you hoping you change your mind.
- The guy that you openly treat like s**t, yet he takes your s**t and whatever else you do to him just no matter how bad it is. He doesn't care because he just wants to be with you no matter what.
Alright that's all we could come up with. But feel free to add to the list in your comments I'm sure we've left plenty things out. But the bottom line is that although there are some thirsty women out there, they don't close to match the numbers of thirsty men. I guess some of these guys didn't get the memo that women out number men in most places. You would think that would deter them from being so thirsty; however, it doesn't and it won't.
So to those thirsty men out there. Please stop being so damn thirsty! Ya'll make it harder for us regular guys to even get a chance because of how thirsty the last guy that tried was. So calm your thirsty asses down, for starters here's a glass of water on me. LoL.
Friday, November 21, 2008
C-Recks - "The One"
The above song lyrics come from a song I wrote and produced entitled "The One" which appears on my upcoming album Ripped from the Headlines (Shameless plug I know). Well I have had this conversation with people in the past. But I still question, is there really a such thing as The One? I mean is there really that one soul mate that God created for each and every one of us somewhere out there in the world? Are they searching just like you and waiting for that opportunity for your paths to cross?
Now I say that; however, I'm not the type that will just settle for any old relationship. Nor am I the type that yearns to be loved so much that I will accept the first or next person the comes along trying to give me their love. Truth be told if I just wanted any old relationship I could have had that by now. But maybe I'm too specific in what I want. Some may call it high standards I just say I'm waiting on "The One."
I mean there's someone for everyone right? At least that's what the advertisements for the Internet dating sites want us to believe. LoL. I recently saw an on-line article stating that world's heaviest man (700 lbs) just got married. Now I'm in no way trying to talk about him or hate on him. But if this man can find someone to love all 700 pounds of him, then there's got to be someone for my buck and some change frame. LoL. If nothing else, I think this guy getting married illustrates one of the greatest things about real love. It shows the fact that it's truly unconditional. When I love again I want someone that will accept me as I am. Flaws and all. Not someone that says "well I really like this about you, but you can stand to change this or that." As the saying goes if you can't accept me at my worst you don't deserve my best." Well who knows when that time will come when my One comes along. But I found some words I wanted to express to her now. Please continue to read on while Ruben Studdard helps co-sign on the previous point.
Dear "The One, "
4. I have a passion for music. I have been into music since a young boy. I really got deep into it when I started to write and perform. I would love to eventually turn my passion into a career. But at the same time I'm rational and know that the odds of that happening are slim to none. So, I still work my regular 9-5. However, being that this is my passion I will always be doing it regardless of whether a career ever begins. So accept that some nights I may be in the studio doing what you may even consider nothing or even a waste of time. But please don't ever say that. I'm just doing what I love. Don't worry I promise that I will never let it take away from the time we spend together. Besides I'm a little talented I even wrote and produced the song above [The One] about you before I even met you.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This is C-Recks I'll begin with the first 3:
1. Don't laugh but I watch the TV show America's Next Top Model (ANTM) every Wednesday with my best friend. In fact, tonight is the season finale. My brother once told me that there are usually 2 reasons men watch this show. One is because they're watching it with a female or they're watching it to see the girls on the show. My response is that it's probably both. When the show first came out over 11 seasons ago I used to watch it with my ex, so I guess I kinda been hooked since then. I've never watched just by myself on my own, such as during the time after my ex and I split. But when I met my best friend she asked me to watch it with her and well I haven't missed an episode since. LoL.
3. If you don't know by now or if I haven't mentioned it enough. I'm a rapper/producer. I've performed many times live on stage. I know it's natural for most people to have the nervous jitters and what not before getting on stage or out in front of a crowd or audience. However, I have never felt nervous before I hit the stage. Not even a little bit. People always ask me before a performance "Are you Nervous?" When I reply "No" you can tell they think I'm lying, but it's the truth never once.
OK, this is Dre. Here's my contribution to complete the 7.
4. When it comes to microwaves, I have this unnatural, and compelling need to stop the microwave on a number that either ends in 5 or 0. All the time, without fail. It started when I was younger. My brother and I used to challenge each other to stop the microwave on a particular time. And I guess its not out of my system. Weird, I know.
5. I can, and do, use my toes to pick up things. And, unfortunately, I am good at it too. So this added feature has only made me even more lazy. Ridiculous, I know.
6. I have never had a cup of coffee from Starbucks. Seriously. I have had their double shots that they sell in convenience stores, but I have never actually had a cup of coffee from there. I did one time have an Iced tea. That's the closest I've come.
7. This one is always the hardest for me to admit. OK, here goes. I love the song "Dancing Queen" by ABBA. I can't even begin to explain why. I don't even know when it all began. But yes, I can listen to that song at any time. Now for those who may think that I'm suspect, let me say that I absolutely hate the songs "Its raining men" and "I will survive". So the Dancing Queen is just a fluke I assure you.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Treating dogs like kids
Pick it Up Pick it Up
I recently overheard a co-worker saying something to another employee about a doggy day care. Apparently one of the amenities of this Doggy Hotel is that they have a streaming web cam available so that you can view your dog on-line at any time. Sounds like a great idea right? Well I went on the site link above to investigate how much such a service would cost. How about the fees are $35 a day or $460 a month. Now as a parent I can only compare this to the cost of day care for children. Which can average from $600 a month or more depending on the facility. I don't know about anyone else but I haven't even heard of a kid's daycare having such a service. I'm sure that many parents would love to be able to view what goes on in their day care facilitiy while their at work. But again that's one of my problems with dogs, some people treat them equal to or better than humans. Some of these doggy hotels even offer traditional spa services such as aroma therapeutic massages and pawdicures. Can a dog really get that stressed out that they need a massage? You have to be kidding me!
Finally, speaking of Dogs getting treated better than humans... You should have known it was coming when I started talking about the subject of dogs. But we all know the story about Michael Vick and his sentencing to 23 months in Federal prison for his role in the dog fighting conspiracy. I'm not trying to say that what Vick and his co-conspirators did was right. It was definitely illegal and absolutely immoral. And as much as I don't like dogs I definitely wouldn't want to see any animal abused or neglected. However, the problem I have with the Michael Vick situation is that to me it seems that the dogs have been somehow humanized. I mean how many cases have we seen and heard of where a terrible crime has been committed, but the offender(s) are sentenced to little or no time? Take for instance the case of a man that was convicted of only 60 days of jail time in Vermont back in 2006. Believe it or not the man was found guilty of having sexual contact with a 6 year old girl over the course of 4 years. I know that different states have different laws, but 60 damn Days? WTF? You mean to tell me that dog fighting is a worse crime than sexually assaulting a child? That's just a damn shame. It's just a dog!!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I'll be perfectly honest, going into Tuesday's election, I was mentally prepared that if Barack Obama lost the election, there may be some civil unrest in the streets. Protest for sure, slight rioting potentially. Thankfully, that scenario was unrealized. However when I turned on the television to watch the 10 o'clock news, reports rolled in from West Hollywood about protests relating to the, then, possible passage of Prop. 8. Instinctually, I knew that this couldn't be good. I mean, every city has their gay section of town: Chicago has Boystown, San Francisco has, well, San Francisco, and Los Angeles has West Hollywood. So there was no shortage of people in this section of town to draw out for the protest.
Let me give you a little background information on Proposition 8. California voted in 2000 to pass Proposition 22, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. In the summer of 2008, the California courts declared that Proposition unconstitutional, clearing the way for 18,000 same sex couples to get married. Another Proposition was put on the November ballot, Proposition 8, which made an ammendment to the California constitution making it to where only marriages between one man and one woman would be recognized by the state.
The protest of election night didn't bother me at all. I mean, I understood. Here were people who poured their hearts and efforts into defeating a Proposition that they felt was a threat to their way of life. The protest was relatively peaceful, only 7 people arrested, so again it didn't bother me at all. The next morning as I awoke to read news about Obama's landslide victory, I stumbled across an article updating Proposition 8. At that point, it was still too close to call. However, with the NO on Prop. 8 side losing, Gay Rights groups were already preparing to challenge in the courts. I can't remember the exact quote, but the person they interviewed said something to this effect: "The people didn't have the legal right to pass the ban without the approval of the California legislature". My exact words were "What the Hell"? I mean, that makes absolutely no sense at all. How come the people don't have the legal right? A proposition was put forth on the ballot. The people came out in droves and voted to pass Prop 8. Which aspect of this process was illegal in this man's mind? The fact that it didn't have the backing of the California legislature was completely irrelevant. As a matter of fact, that proves that Politics is completely out of wack. The people who we vote and our representatives are supposed to do our will, not have their own personal agendas. So in this case, the people spoke for themselves instead of using a middle man/woman.
Since then, there have been many more protests across California. At some of these rallies, there have been signs and chants. One sign that I saw read "Blacks, Hispanics, if someone violates your civil rights, we don't want to hear it". This sign too made me say "What the Hell"? I understand that Gays are upset that 7 out of 10 blacks voted in favor of Prop. 8., and along with Hispanics, were instrumental in the passage of Prop. 8. But this sign exposed another problem that I have with the Gay Rights agenda. Too often, I've heard individuals compare the plight of Gays to that of Blacks. This in my opinion is Bullshit! The theory of are people born gay or make a choice has not been settled. (No matter what some people would have you to believe). I was absolutely born black. There was no choice made on my part. The science has definitely been settled on that on. Also, other than Michael Jackson, I can't think of too many people who were black, and are now something else. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who once lived a homosexual lifestyle, and now no longer do. So to make a correlation between the two is absolutely insulting to me and my ancestors.
I also heard a gentleman say that before, blacks and whites were banned from marrying. While I admit that this is the closest thing to a reasoned arguement that I have heard, I again have to respectfully disagree with them. Indeed, interracial marriage was illegal at one time. However, when those laws were overturned, the actual definition of marriage remained the same. A black man could marry a white woman, and a white man could marry a black woman. The essential components of what would constitute a marriage remained the same. So just as their earlier arguement didn't hold water, neither does this one.
The last thing that bothers me is how many of these protests are aimed at churches. The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) were intricately involved in the passage of Prop. 8. The members of the church gave money and time to the cause. They even coordinated with members in Black churches to pass Prop. 8. For that, they have been targeted by Gay Rights groups. To this issue, I say, "What would you expect for churches to do"? I mean, churches follow their respective bibles. I'm no biblical scholar, but the bible is the final word on particular issues for some people. Why would you expect the church to stand for something that they don't believe in? And you can't take that personally. I mean, I lean more Libertarian in my political beliefs. I'm not exactly the staunchest supporter of drug laws we have on the books. If Marijuana legalization was on the ballot, I would probably vote in favor of that proposition. Would I expect the church to come out in favor of it, of course not. I'm realistic. The church is going to follow what it says within it bible, and I don't believe Jesus is in favor of me grabbing a sack of Northern Lights to smoke on the weekends. Yes, if smoking weed is my thing, that's what I'm gonna do. But I would never expect that the church should necessarily sanction my behavior.
In an act that was truly despicable, an extreme Gay Rights group called Bash Back protested a church in Lansing, Michigan. They picketed outside the church chanting slogans such as "Jesus was a Homo". A few of their members blended in with regular churchgoers. During the services, those Bash Back members pulled a fire alarm, and stormed the church stage confronting members of the church and its leadership. Some members put up a banner that read "ITS OK TO BE GAY! BASH BACK!". I hope that, no matter what side of the argument you fall on, this kind of action offends. First off, Jesus was no homo. That's just ridiculous. (And blasphemous might add). Second, when you go into a person's house of worship, you treat it with the utmost respect. Whatever you feel should stay outside those church doors. If you disagree with them, don't bring that into the church. To me, this kind of protest is the most extreme.
I don't write this to "Bash" homosexuals. Honestly, I have members of my family who are gay. I Love them dearly. I even understand why those in the homosexual community want the right to marry. That's not my beef. My beef is that despite their desire for "rights", they still have to go about this in a responsible manner. Marching and protesting is cool. I just wish that some of the rhetoric that is used is less offensive the the members of my community. Just because people are not in favor of gay marriage doesn't mean that those very same individuals hate gays. You can support traditional marriage, and still want gays to be treated fairly. I just hope that we eventually can have an honest, and well reasoned debate on the issue. Everyone's point of view is valid on this issue.
I hope that those who chose to read this were not offended. This was not written as an attack, but rather to address an issue from a mature and rational position.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This lovely sign was inspired by the abundant number of individuals that would make their coffee or eat their lunch and leave a damn mess. I don't drink coffee. If I do it's a rare occasion or a very restless couple of nights. Also, I go home for lunch. So there is no chance that I'm the guilty culprit. However, other people think that their mothers work here as well. Therefore, they aren't even considerate enough to clean up after themselves when they make a mess. The sign has slightly deferred some from leaving a mess behind. But then again there are those people that you just wonder to yourself how do they live at home. Like you just know they live nasty as hell.
Well these signs can get pretty redundant. I would think that someone would be able to notice that the picture of the man means it's the men's bathroom. Also, the picture of the one in the skirt would mean it's the ladies restroom. Likewise, the one with both the man and woman would be a unisex or co-ed bathroom. Well tell this to the old guy that inspired these signs. The old guy no longer works with us. However, he took it upon himself to bypass the unoccupied men's and unisex restrooms to go into and use the ladies room. Well I don't know why he did this I'd say he must have been an old pervert but who knows. All I know is the women were up in arms about this and stated he even left the toilet seat up. Therefore, the manager was prompted to post these signs on the restrooms just as a reminder. I couldn't get the picture of the men's bathroom but the sign was blue since blue is for boys according to my son. LoL.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"Grandaddy. I need some help with my homework". Jesse, a cute little girl of 9 snuggles up to her grandfather.
OK baby, what do you need help with.
"You know that President that just died? Well we need to do a report on him. Our teacher told us to interview someone who was alive when he was President. So I figured I would interview you".
You mean President Obama baby?
"I guess" the little girl shrugs.
OK, well what do you want to know?
"I don't know. Tell me about when you voted for him and stuff like that".
OK. Well, it's actually a very funny story. See, I was in Chicago on that Saturday before the election. I was absolutely determined to get back to Los Angeles to vote. I mean, this was going to be historic, and I didn't want to be sitting on the sidelines for this moment in history. So I left Chicago on Saturday evening. I was supposed to go bowling with my brother Cory and my nephew Cory, but they wouldn't let us. Some snake league was bowling. In hind sight, its probably best that I didn't get the chance. You'll understand why later.
Anyway. I left Chicago that evening, and back in the day I actually drove cars. Not how you guys have flying cars now, I actually had to steer and drive myself. So I drove all the way to Denver, Colorado. I made it there on Sunday evening. From there, I had to drive to Salt Lake City, Utah. I didn't make it to Salt Lake City until Monday afternoon. I would have caught a flight from Salt Lake to Los Angeles, but your grandfather isn't the flying type. So I bought a ticket to ride the bus. Well, the company the ran the buses back then was called Greyhound, and let me tell you that they were the absolute worst. I got on the bus, and the bus was supposed to leave at 6:30 p.m. Well, at 7 p.m., the bus was still sitting in Salt Lake. And as a matter of fact, the driver put me off the bus so that they could put on some other passengers.
I was so upset. It really was beginning to look like I wasn't gonna be able to make it home in time to vote. But I got a bright idea. I called someone from my job, and I figured out that if I took the bus to San Francisco, I could pickup a car and drive myself to Los Angeles. So I went for it. I made it to San Francisco around 2:30 p.m. that Tuesday afternoon. Greyhound was supposed to get me there earlier, but again, they were the absolute worst company back then. Probably the reason they are no longer operating this many years late.
So I left San Francisco at 3 p.m. Well unlike today, we had a such thing as traffic back in my day. And San Francisco was notorious for having some of the worst traffic in the country. I can't deny, I was weaving in and out of the car pool lanes trying to pass up some people. Eventually I made some headway, and I was flying. I mean, going so fast that I could have given these flying cars of today a run for their money. I had to drive 344 miles, and I needed to get to my polling place by 8 p.m. It was hectic for sure. I pulled up to my polling place at 7:58 p.m. (Pacific Time) I ran inside. Out of breath, I asked the lady for a ballot. She said "you barely made it". I told her that after all that I had been through, I was happy that I made it at all. She handed me my ballot, and I went to do my civic duty. I finished voting, got my stub and my "I voted sticker" and I went back out to the car.
As soon as I got back in the car, they made the announcement that Barack Obama would be our 44th President. I was ecstatic. I mean, after traveling all that great distance, I had cast the ballot that sealed the deal for Barack Obama.
"No you didn't Grandaddy. You just voted, that's all"
Hey, I'm telling the story not you. Were you there in 2008?
With a big grin on her face, Jesse shakes her head no.
Alright then. Anyway. The most important thing that I want you to take from this story is this; too often our people, back then, believed that their vote was insignificant. And unfortunately, that's exactly what certain segment of our population wanted them to believe. But President Obama reminded people that it was not only a privilege to vote in this country, but a responsibility. And plenty of our ancestors died for us to have just this very privilege. That's why I tried to move Heaven and Earth to get myself home in time to vote. I mean, I knew one day that you and you brothers and sisters would need to hear this story. And most importantly, you one day would tell your own children and grandchildren. Your Grandaddy voted for the first Black President of the United States. I know that it doesn't seem like much now considering that we've had other Black Presidents, including Barack's daughter Malia, but you need to know that on November 4th, 2008, the world did change. President Obama did make it to where we as black people understood that we were important in this country. And yes, we could make a change.
So when you do your report, you make sure you let your class know that though I never thought I'd ever see a black President, I give glory to God that I was absolutely wrong.
"I will grandaddy, I will!!"
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
"Hopin my true Mutha**ckas know, this be the realest s**t I ever wrote"
2Pac - Against All Odds
I know that not everyone is going to be feeling me on this one. Honestly, I just want to express the internal struggle that I have going on. I want to officially coin the phrase "Black Guilt". That's what I have going on inside. See the truth about it is that I'm the classic Independent voter. I voted for Al Gore in 2000, and I actually voted for George W. in 2004. (With no hesitation either). Coming into this 2008 election cycle, I really had no particular candidate that I felt a great affinity for. This is where I first experienced the phenomenon of "Black Guilt". See, early on, many people in this nation who looked just like me had made the choice as to who they would be casting their ballot for in this election. As they would say on Seinfeld, not that there's anything thing wrong with that. The difference is that at that time I was approaching 30 years old, and I just felt that I had to make more than a knee-jerk selection as to whom I believed would be best suited to run this country. So I started my due diligence, and began the process of discovering exactly who Barack Obama was.
The first aspects of what I discovered about him were simply rooted in the fact that Barack began his foray into politics in my own backyard, the south side of Chicago. I first heard of Barack back during his 2004 senatorial run. The first picture I actually saw of him was as I was driving north on the Bishop Ford freeway. As I was crossing the bridge just north of Dalton Avenue, I looked to my right and saw the name Obama. Now it got my attention because, of course, it looked way too similar to the name Osama. (Especially at 70 miles per hour).
What also caught my attention is that this man Obama is pictured with the Reverend James Meeks. Reverend Meeks had recently made his foray into politics at that time, and I found it interesting that Obama was pictured with him as a means for endorsement. However that wasn't the only billboard in the hood. I began seeing other billboards for Obama, one of which had him pictured with Jesse Jackson Jr., another rising star in south side politics. Immediately, I was more intrigued by Mr. Obama.
Then I saw him speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Ma. I can't front, I was blown away, especially considering that I was pretty down on Democrats at that point and time. The way that he spoke, and inspired people, I figured that we would be seeing him again four years later running for President. I didn't believe that he would actually secure the nomination, but I thought that he'd be a great Vice-President. Probably for Hillary Clinton. Due to that, I didn't think that I'd be voting for that ticket. By far I am no fan of Ms. Clinton.
Fast forward to late January 2008. As the Democratic primary election approached in California, my then state of residence, I had a decision to make. I am a registered independent, and due to that, I can select which party's primary I want to vote in. I didn't really have anyone to support, so I decided to vote for Barack over Hillary on February 5th, 2008. When I cast that ballot, I actually felt pretty good. It was nice to cast a ballot for someone who looked like me. Due to it being just a primary, the actual issues were not as relevant for me.
That all changed on the actual candidates were the 2008 Presidential General Election were set. Now I had to actually study what these candidates believed in. Let me say this as gently as I can. I did not like what I saw in Barack Obama at all. Yes, the concept of having a black President was great. I also liked the concept of what having a black President could mean to the young black children of America. I mean, Lord knows that with so many negative influences within music and movies, the kids could use a positive influence in their lives.
Here's where the black guilt kicks in. Despite Barack's policies, am I strong enough to withstand the tidal wave of sentiment for Barack, and be one of the few black people in America to not vote for him? When I'm 65, what do I say to my grandchildren when they ask "So how did it feel to vote for the first black President of the country"? The story is not going to be very exciting when I tell them that I couldn't vote for him due to his radical stance on abortion, or his wanting to immediately get us out of Iraq, or his (somewhat) socialistic views on taxation. I mean, I know how I would feel if when I talk to my Grandfather about the Civil Rights days, and he were to tell me "You know, I wasn't really down with Dr. King like that. Too radical in my opinion". I'd be appalled!
So despite not agreeing with Barack philosophically, I'm taking a stand. I will officially announce that I am voting for Barack Obama for President. However I do so with this caveat, other than celebrating the fact that I helped to elect the first black President, I will derive no pleasure from this task. I will pray, probably each and every day, that this man operates in wisdom, and has the testicular fortitude to withstand the many trials that he is sure to face. More than anything, I hope that we as black people wake up. Yes, we're about to have a President who better understands the circumstances that we face on a daily basis. But please people, don't look at this as an opportunity to shove aside personal responsibility, and start looking for the "Brotha Man Hookup" left and right. And to Barack, don't pander to our community by being a constant source of handouts.
I spent some time with my nephew this weekend, and it amazes me that, even at only 4 years old, he is aware of who Barack Obama is. I couldn't help but smile. And probably more than any other person, even Barack himself, my nephew convinced me that Barack is exactly who I need to vote for. So if he ever says to me "Favorite Uncle, I want to be the President", I truly can respond to him "Yes you can"!
What I found the most appealing about Barack Obama's personal character is the amount of class and poise he's shown himself to have. He's been able withstand some things I doubt most people could have endured. Let alone most black people. To have someone sit right next to you and basically call you a terrorist to your face in front of millions of people. Well let's just say he had more restraint than I would have had. My campaign would have officially ended at that moment. Or what about when he was called "That one over there" by John McCain? Well I would have personally shown him in front of the cameras that "I aint the one."
However, recognizing that this is greater than him he was able to maintain and demonstrate a quality that few people have. Throughout this race, Barack Obama has truly shown himself to be a class act. We all know his story and that it's one that many young black men in our country share. Growing up poor with no father on the scene. But he's defied the odds that were placed against him and didn't let them become an excuse for him to not become all he's destined to be. Now those are the type of personal qualities that I want for my presidential candidate.
So once all the ballots are casted and all the votes are counted, regardless of the outcome I am proud. Proud to be American. Proud to be African American. Proud to be a citizen of this great Democratic nation where we have a choice in how we want our country ran and who we want to run it. I'm proud that I had an opportunity to participate in the political process and make an informed decision. I'm proud to be living during this time to witness history in the making. I'm proud to cast my ballot tomorrow with hope of electing the first ever black President of the United States of America.
Now just like any other proud feeling, you want to maintain it. Therefore, I say we as a people should continue to exercise our political rights. Let's take this feeling to our homes and communities and start to make a real change. This election is only the tip of the iceberg as to what we need to do to change. Let's teach our children that they can be anything they want to be in life and that nothing can stop them if they truly work hard to achieve it.
So if you are at all feeling like I am then in unison you can Say It Loud!! "I'm Black and I'm Proud!!!"