President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk from the Marine One helicopter to the White House as they return from the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela to Washington, December 11
America’s history is written in blood and sacrifice. We have two holidays—Memorial Day and Veterans Day—which commemorate the sacrifices made by our military. But, we have only two national martyrs whom we acknowledge with holidays: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Both of our great martyrs died trying to expiate the sins of slavery and racism. Without their work, the America in which we live would be unrecognizable. In fact, there might very well be no America, as it would have split along the fissures caused by one of its two original sins, that of slavery.
Which is why it’s quite curious that Chris Hayes, on his show last night, brought up the memories of Dr. King and Rosa Parks when speaking of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
I’ve been listening to Urban Talk radio of late during my drive in to work and on lunch break (Joe Madison in the morning and Rev Al at lunch).
Joe Madison has been blasting the Republicans and the media this week. It has been a thing of beauty to listen to. The callers to his show know the game as well and if these Republicans think that they are going to try and take this President down based on these bogus so-called “scandals” they are in for a rude awakening. The Republicans will feel their wrath like never before so let them keep overreaching…..
I’d like to say a word or two about a topic that he did touch on this morning (just as I arrived at work and couldn’t hear the end) was the WH’s response to these so-called scandals. I’m also seeing a lot of this in my twitter timeline. There seems to be this notion that the WH isn’t getting out in front of these issues as fast as some would like.
So John King is apoplectic that people are questioning if he’s a racist or not, too bad, he signed up for it when he went on national t.v. and said the Boston bombing suspects were black….I mean dark skinned. Let me tell you what I didn’t sign up for, I didn’t sign up to be followed around a department store, I didn’t sign up to have women clutch their purses as they walk in my direction, I didn’t sign up to hear the sound of car doors being locked as I crossed the goddamn street with bags of groceries in both arms, I didn’t sign up to walk in a bank to get some money out of my account and have the teller walk in a back room with my I.D. and have me wait for twenty fucking minutes just to get money out of my account, I didn’t sign up to have some white guy ask me I if was from this country just because I knew who Leon Panetta was, I didn’t sign up to have a realtor question me about my credit score and whether or not I’ve ever been arrested before I could finish saying hello, I didn’t sign up to have a waiter tell me the food in the restaurant I was in was expensive before he gave my wife and I the fucking menu. I’m not telling you these things because I’m looking for sympathy, I’m just telling you about the shit that the average black man has to put up with, so when John King gets upset at getting called out for an error he made, he should get on his goddamn knees and pray to his god that he doesn’t have to go through the same bullshit that the average black guy walking down the street does. Am I angry, hell yes, have I given up hope about the idea that a person should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, hell no.
I would love to share my experience of the last two weeks of the campaign, when I went to Reno, Nevada as a member of the Vote Corps. The VC is another great idea of OFA: a group of people willing to move to a swing state for the last two or three weeks of the campaign, and commit to working on the campaign for at least 40 hours a week through the election. That meant that the young staffers and field organizers, who mostly appeared to be somewhere in their 20’s, essentially had a group of full time staffers who were mostly retired, bringing with them many years of experience in getting things done. Because it was Nevada, a lot of the volunteers were Californians. I’m a New Yorker, but I’ve spent the last year roaming the west in an RV, and Nevada was the closest swing state at the time.
I did what everyone else has been doing: canvassed, did data entry, took photos at a few GOTV events, bought healthy snacks, and, for the last four days, kept moving the army of volunteers at our staging location in and out, collecting the data they brought back from their canvasses, and preparing the lists to be brought around again. My shortest day — 10 hours — was my first. For the rest of the time I probably averaged 12 hours a day, still considerably shorter than our field organizers’ days. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing.
I don’t like knocking on people’s doors. I’m old enough to have been brought up when it was important to be ladylike, and though I’m a very strong woman with strong opinions, I’m still too ladylike as far as I’m concerned. I also don’t like it when people call or knock on my door to try to convince me of something. So interrupting someone’s day, especially day after day, makes me uncomfortable.
But I had some great experiences. The first place I was sent is the largest and oldest mobile home park in the country. The area is divided into a fairly coherent grid, but the homes tended to be stuck haphazardly all over the place. There were lots of fences, behind which were LOTS of dogs, many of them pit bulls. Clearly, that’s the security system in Sun Valley. There were yards full of a wild profusion of things — bags of clothes, couches, boxes of dishes, old cans, hardware, even sea shells at one house. Despite the utter wildness of the place, or perhaps because of it, I liked it and kept asking to go back……