Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From MLK to Today...

I have been focused on some personal challenges that very nearly overshadowed the significance of today. Today Barack Obama officially takes his place is the 44th President of the United States. CNN commissioned filmmaker Antoine Fuqua to do a short film called "From MLK to Today" to mark the occasion. Many of the images he chose for the film were from the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the very same images that provided me the inspiration and motivation to get off my ass and register to vote @ 19 years old and to never take for granted my right to do so. I don't know if many in my community even thought much about it before this year. I really did not truly appreciate it until I watched that footage and took it in. I saw young men and women, more kids than anything else huddling together to find some refuge against a water cannon. I saw a man in sheer terror as he was mauled by a Police Dog. I watched a man take a rifle butt to the face and stagger as the blood began to pour over his lip. When I watched this footage, I was ashamed of myself. I knew that as a Black Male, an African-American, I was spitting in their face. They faced dogs, hoses, billy clubs, axe handles, shotguns... put simply, they faced death for nothing more than respect. They wanted the United States to make good on it's promise of All Men Are Created Equal. They stood up and were ready to die for something that many of us wouldn't do if we went to the Supervisor of Elections and the line was too long. They were warriors through and through, battling with nothing more than Faith. Faith that their sacrifice would be worth it. And it was. They went in knowing that they could not fight back. Martin Luther King was inspired by the works of Gandhi, and he knew that peaceful and non-violent defiance would contrast against the wanton brutality of the 'authorities' in those situations. Those images inspired their generation the same way they inspired me. I am grateful for them, for they did what I know I could not do. I admine Martin, but I emulate Malcom (X). They took the beatings so I wouldn't have to... hopefully the law enforcement around the country can get the memo. But their sacrifices were the foundation for what we see today. If they had not made their choices, we would not have the choices we have. We would never had the chance to make history in the way they made history. Their would not have been a choice of Barack Obama.
During the election I didn't think that Obama had a legitimate shot of winning because of the way politics are played in this day and age. Year after year I watched the GOP play the "Scare The White Voters" game they've played for decades (remember Willie Horton?) and I was dubious of McCain's claim to doing the contrary. But after the Democratic Convention, something changed. People began to tune out the negativity and the real message of Obama took root.  A message of Hope, an opportunity to embody the True American Spirit. The campaign of John McCain's attempt to co-opt Obama's slogan was the sign of his desperation. His look-out-behind-you-it's-the-Boogeyman tactics wore on the People. He never offered any real hope. Negative incentives can only last so long. The one beacon of all oppressed people is Hope. That's the only way to subjugate a people is to take away their hope, but nothing good ever truly dies, and Hope is always good. Barack's ascension could not have come at a better time. We the People stood up and said "We will look at the content of this man's character and decide if he represents me." We made a statement about who we see when we say "American". We made history. We have taken a step into Destiny by fulfilling a 45-year-Old Dream of A Visionary, a Southern Baptist Preacher and a Prophet, one of the most transitional men of the 20th century, a martyr... A father. We made it real. America is more than a tagline, we are not yet sold to the Corporations. We the People means something, and the man that came along and ran for President of the United States in 2008, Mr. Barack Hussein (that's right... Hussein!!!) Obama, we get him... and he gets us. He wasn't just the right Black man... he was the right Man for the Job. He's a Black President, but he's OUR president. Just like Regan, Bush, Clinton, Bush... but he's making us a part of the process again. And if he fails, it's not just his failure... it's just as much ours. If the United States was a football team, we just got our quarterback. But that's only one position. We're his team. And I don't plan on letting the Man down.

-ere'bodee's favorite mega, blogninja

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just a Generally Shitty Day

In the past few years I've read a number of inspirational books... Malcom Gladwell's "Blink", Tony Robbins' book (a couple of those), Russell Simmons' "Do You", and to be honest I'm just ashamed of myself when I have a bad day. I've taken on a lot of what those guys have to say, and I know that we make concious decisions to have good and bad moods. You can dwell on something, or you can move forward, move on. I take it personal when I let things go for too long, but dammit sometimes there are things that just affect you more than others. I guess that speaks to the investment you have in certain things. When I say things like I just said, I know it's an excuse, and that makes me feel worse. It's the most circular process to be trapped in, and I hate to admit it even more. 

Another thing that bothers me is that I hate to give haters the satisfaction of seeing me 'sweat'. Man, there are those out there who just live for you to have a bad day, but damn it I'm just not keeping it real if I don't admit that some days it's hard to keep the smile on your face, especially when something or someone that means everything to you isn't going the way you'd like it to go. But that's Pride, one of my least-favorite Deadly Sins. One of the hardest to beat. 

A few years ago I developed a theory: when it comes to the 7 Deadly Sins, if you let any of them infiltrate something you're trying to get done, you will inevitably fail. For those who don't know them, they are Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth (laziness), Envy, Wrath, and Pride. Once upon a time I had a crew of very talented individuals and we made music together. We had a lot of potential, but we were taken down by at least 4 of the 7 deadly sins. Envy, Lust, Wrath, and Pride. The first three were easy enough to identify... Envy (people feeling like other members were getting more 'shine' than them, people looking at other people's mates and wanting what they had), Lust (members who spent more time chasing 'hoes' than making music, and even going to far as to sleep with other group members' women like the Temptations or some shit), Wrath (fistfights... nuff said), but Pride was the worst, because we never saw it as a problem until it turned into one of the other sins. I always thought that Wrath was my problem, but there's no wrath without Pride.

Overall I just generally feel shitty, and I'm just going to say it here. If it gives a hater a moment of celebration, whatever. Sometimes you just fall... but the Good Ones never stay down for long.

-ere'bodee's favorite mega, blogninja