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

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