Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Colors like that

Isn't it funny how one photo can start you to remembering unrelated experiences.

It happened maybe 15 years ago. I had finished my workout at Rex Wellness Center, and was changing into my swimsuit to go sit in the hot tub. It was a Saturday. I don't workout there anymore, since I moved 15 miles away from Rex. Maybe they still have Saturday Morning Family swim time. That was the reason for the kids in the ladies locker room.

The little girl and her mother were changing into their swim wear. The mother's suit was a floral with beige background; the little girl wore pink. She must have been about five, the friendly, easy-to-be-with age. I was doing the quick change half under my clothes, so as not to offend the mothers with my nakedness. The little girl smiled, and told her mother while pointing to me, "That's a pretty color."

My suit was a plain tank suit, easy to throw in the wash and have ready for my next workout. It was solid green, bright emerald green. The woman reacted as if I had touched the girl, and said, "We don't wear colors like that."

I was stunned. The things that raced through my head that I didn't say. "What are you trying to teach your child? You pale-faced heifer!" If you know me, you know I didn't say anything. My expression said, "You silly fool." It didn't surprise me that people still had thoughts like that in 1990-something. It did surprise me that they would say that to a child in my presence.

The photo speaks volumes. Laura Bush in her drab brown, and Michelle, my beautiful First Lady in red.

Michelle in whatever color she wants to wear, dazzling, bright, and confident.

michelle jewel by tojo1104.

michelle3 by tojo1104.

81348798CS035_Obama_Holds_F by tojo1104.

Yes, we wear colors like that!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Playing the Dozens with Al-Qaida

That old dude al-Zawahri apparently wasn't paying attention during the Presidential campaign. What does he think the response to calling President-elect Obama a "House Negro" will be. Does he really think he'll launch a missile and say, "Yo Momma?"

Doesn't he know our President's reputation for being the unflappable, No-Drama-Obama? The Original Mr. Cool, himself.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

who will be the messenger of this land

who will be the messenger of this land
count its veins
speak through the veins
translate the language of water
navigate the heels of lineage
who will carry this land in parcels
paper, linen, burlap
who will weep when it bleeds
and hardens
forgets to birth itself

who will be the messenger of this land
wrapping its stories carefully
in patois of creole, irish,
gullah, twe, tuscarora
stripping its trees for tea
and pleasure
who will help this land to
remember its birthdays, baptisms
weddings, funerals, its rituals
denials, disappointments,
and sacrifices

who will be the messengers
of this land
harvesting its truths
bearing unleavened bread
burying mutilated crops beneath
its breasts

who will remember
to unbury the unborn seeds
that arrived
in captivity
shackled, folded,
bent, layered in its

we are their messengers
with singing hoes
and dancing plows
with fingers that snap
beans, arms that
raise corn, feet that
cover the dew falling from
okra, beans, tomatoes

we are these messengers
whose ears alone choose
which spices
whose eyes alone name
basil, nutmeg, fennel, ginger,
cardamom, sassafras
whose tongues alone carry
hemlock, blood root, valerian,
damiana, st. john's wort
these roots that contain
its pleasures its languages its secrets

we are the messengers
new messengers
arriving as mutations of ourselves
we are these messengers
blue breath
red hands
singing a tree into dance

by Jaki Shelton Green published in breath of the song
used by permission
© 2005 Carolina Wren Press
Durham, NC

Jaki Shelton Green, Poet Laureate of the Piedmont

Friday, November 14, 2008

You had to have been there

William Ayers was interviewed by Chris Cuomo on Good Morning America this morning. Based on Chris' line of questioning and Ayers' responses, it became clear that there is a disconnect of about 30 years. Somewhere between 1970 and 2000, young people became apathetic. I commented often over those years about how college students were not politically active in anything the way we were in the 60's. I am truly thankful and impressed at how this current generation, "Generation-O" has taken the world by a storm and helped to elect our new President.

In the 60's we were in an undeclared war in Viet Nam. We were demonstrating against that war, fighting for voting rights across the South, and rising up against the failure of the cities in the North. Getting arrested was a badge of honor when your cell-mates where national leaders, and other students who took on the same cause. The closest I came to getting arrested was in Madison, New Jersey when I demonstrated against the local barber who refused to cut the hair of an African college student. I couldn't get arrested, but I was caught up in the emotion and the rhetoric of that time, shouting, "By any means necessary."

Most of us settled down into mainstream quiet lives and nobody considers us terrorists for all the involvement we had. I never owned a gun, won't have one in the house, but there are people I associated with in the 60's who probably caused my name to be put on a list with others who might by Palin standards be called "terrorists."

The guilt by association in light of all the social activism of 30-40 years ago makes no sense at all. Ayers described his association with Barack Obama in much the same way that Obama explained it himself. I have personally hosted gatherings in my house for political candidates who knew me only by way of a card that I returned in the mail saying I would volunteer. Nobody investigated my background. I have served on boards with people with whom I had no other connection than that board. I could probably meet most of them on the street and neither of us would even remember the other. The few that I even know the names are people who have been in the news since that time. Just being in the same place together is no indication of having the same philosopy, or even of sharing thoughts about anything other than the event at hand.

I'm glad that the majority of voters rejected the notion that Obama was "pallin' around with terrorists." I just hope we don't have to continue this conversation now that Ayers has rereleased his memoir.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm trying to stay away

I just can't help myself. I still click on all those links. Photos of Sasha and Malia, and Bridges around the world, Newspapers around the world.

I can't seem to get enough of our(my) new President-elect. Maybe I wasn't paying as much attention when we had the last changing of the guard, but it seems that Obama is getting more coverage during this transition. And I'm still excited. Just the thought of Michelle and my little girls moving into the White House. I'm getting goose bumps again just writing about it.

And we will be in Washington for the swearing-in and parade. I got on the list with our Congressman's office. But even if we don't get tickets, we'll be there in the crowd, cheering for our (my) new President!!

And dozens of people every day are still clicking on the blog I did on Obama love. I guess I'm not the only one. (If the video doesn't show, it means they're at it again)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thoughts on a New Morning

I've talked to all my siblings over the last 12 hours, and the sentiment is the same. "I never thought I would live to see this day." And we think on what our parents would have thought if they were here.

My mind goes back to the first Presidential election I was aware of. I was seven years old in 1952, when my mother couldn't vote. She had left school early in the county where she taught English to get back to Petersburg before the polls closed. The polling place for our neighborhood was the corner store where Mother had to wait in line almost an hour before they told her she couldn’t vote because she didn’t have her receipt for paying the poll tax. I remember my late brother Ronald saying, "But Mother you were going to vote for Eisenhower."

Those barriers in the voting process were lifted through the Voting Rights Act back in the 1960's. Still so many of us did not participate in the voting process because of lack of faith in a country that continued to turn her back on so many of us.

This time was different. It was not just a matter of having a black man running for president. This time we have a community organizer who recognizes the power of the grass roots organization to get everyone involved in the process. I have participated in campaigns for other candidates in past years. In the past I stuffed envelopes, made calls, made contributions, stood in the rain holding a sign at the polls. Never have I been so engaged as this time. Never have I given so much of my time and money...you would think I was tithing when I got those emails from David Plouffe. THIS TIME, I knew would be different.

The tears will be coming all day today, tears of joy, tears of remembrance of where we've come from, tears of hope for this new day. Last night I hooted and howled when each successive projected state was announced, I cried when the Obama family took the stage in Grant Park, and I shivered with joy when Barack referred to Michelle as the next First Lady of the United States of America.

I pray for our new President, for his wisdom and strength. And I pray for his protection, that Jesus will build a fence all around him, fight his battles, let no enemy rise up against him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Step away from the computer!!

I have to admit, I'm on overload with this presidential election. I shut off the TV to get away from the constant barrage of negative ads, National, State, and local. I want to argue back at least half the time.

The advertising on the internet doesn't usually catch my eye. I learned to tuned out those blinking girls in the classmates.com ads long ago. But suddenly this one caught my eye. I think it's the red that does it. I can't cancel my "free" membership because of it either.

Let's talk about handouts and welfare. They say "the rich are different." They don't think of $700 billion to Wall Street as a handout. How many corporations have been bailed out in recent memory?

I like Wanda Sykes' explanation of it. Let's put AIG on Food Stamps!!