I'm going to make this short and sweet. So with the rising popularity of Republican election candidates, political media suggest that there's a high chance Obama will not have a second term. Many have complained that Obama just isn't getting the job done and a new president is the answer. None of the problems Obama has to tackle happened overnight, so they're not going to get fixed overnight. If we get a new president, he or she isn't going to magically fix everything in one term either. That's the real tea.
My latest videoblog.
Humans will go to extreme lengths to spread hate. Are humans more selfish/evil than they are selfless/good? What do you think?
My latest videoblog
(This was originally posted on 10-23-2009, but due to some recent events, I felt compelled to repost it.)
Since Barack Obama got elected, everyone’s been trying to decide whether American race relations have improved or not. Many feel that Barack’s election was a monumental sign that SOMETHING had changed. America was “ready” for a black president. Tremendously small, all-white counties who had a history of voting Republican voted for Barack Obama. On election night, when you watched the news coverage, it seemed like that historic moment brought everyone of every demographic together. SOMETHING had changed, right? Did America really wake up a new nation on November 5, 2008? Barack’s election was very symbolic and meaningful for me personally, as it was for many minorities. But in relation to it being a sign of improved race relations, I feel that it was a “glimmer” of what COULD be and not what IS.
As I was browsing the “Newsweek” magazine website, I came across a photo gallery titled “Segregation Nation”. The premise was in reflection of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, photographically depicting the improvements, if any, in civil rights and race relations. The gallery gave a bleak, but realistic picture. Under a “then and now” format, the gallery highlighted the fact that regardless of the comparison photos being 40-70 years apart, not a whole lot has changed. For example, there were comparison photos of a restaurant “sit in” in 1960, and a photo of a Nashville Cracker Barrel who settled out of court in 2005 with the NAACP for a discrimination suit. Also, photos of a Florida segregated public swimming pool in 1958, and the now famous story of a African-American summer camp that had their pool-club membership fees refunded after there were concerns of the “complexion and atmosphere” of the club changing as a result of their presence. The gallery also illustrated currently present segregation and racial injustices in the prison system, the justice system, public schools and even high school proms.
My assessment? There’s been significant legal change (the laws are on the books, at least) but not significant social change. Yes, there are more people now than back then who are staunch multiculturalists and, yes, I much rather be black in 2009 than in 1959, but socialized, institutionalized and systemized racism still very much exists. People just sweep those forms of racism under the rug because it’s easier to hide; it’s not overt. In 2009, the standard is “it’s okay to be racist or prejudicial, as long as it’s not blatant.” As long as it doesn’t look like the “old” racism- i.e. burning crosses, yelling slurs at people, and Jim Crow-esque symbols, it’s not racism. Racism was not the reason why those summer camp kids got their fees refunded. No one called them niggers. There was not a sign that said “no coloreds” on the outside of the pool. We didn’t say “nigger” or “colored”, we said “complexion and atmosphere”. “Complexion and atmosphere” aren’t racist terms, are they?
When you look at things like CNN’s “Latino in America”, or hear the stories of slain innocence like that of Sean Bell and Luis Ramirez, or hear of judges preventing interracial couples from getting married, or the atrociousness that was Louis Gates arrest, the signs are all around us. When I looked up the interracial marriage story on MSNBC.com, I found a slew of other current stories related to race relations; many of them reflecting prejudice and saddening inequalities. When debate ensues about these stories, they will more than likely be labeled as “overreactions”, like the events mentioned before them.
Sometimes the debates make it even clearer that racism is still a dominant force than the events themselves. Get people talking candidly about anything even mildly connected to racial politics (such as immigration or welfare), and the prejudice will slip in behind all the politically correct statements.
How much has really changed? Especially if the first black president is only GLIMMER of what COULD be and not what IS? Speaking of the president, nothing says race relations haven’t socially improved like the way Barack Obama has been treated. Before you roll your eyes, I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be criticized. I criticize him. Criticize away; we must hold our leaders accountable. This isn’t about democrat vs. republican either. This is about the blatant, spiteful disrespect and disregard for him that is ENGRAINED in racism. There’s no getting around it; it’s flat out racist. There is no other motive behind the antics and maltreatment. Just listen to the people who allegedly ONLY have a problem with his politics. If you listen carefully, some criticisms of Obama do not STOP at politics. After some get through explaining why they disagree with him, they almost always end it with a prejudicial remark. It never fails. The prejudice is always in there somewhere. It’s added like spice.
I have seen and heard several examples of this in my personal life and in media. To point out some examples known to the public: the purposeful television banning in schools of his harmless speech on education, the never ending claims that he is a terrorist, a communist, the anti-Christ, or a mix of all three; the claims that his birth certificate shows that he is not a U.S. citizen and cannot be president, Rep. Joe Wilson calling him a liar during what should have been a formal address, and the list goes on and on. All were to send the message to Obama that he does not belong. He is not American. He doesn’t belong to the American people, he doesn’t belong on the soil and he is not the face of the “free world”. He is a sinister alien. Again, this is not about democrat vs. republican, because many of the democratic leaders of the past have not seen the disrespect that Obama has. This is racism. And what people say behind closed doors is even worse (boy, have I seen it).
For every ounce of progress we see racially, there is an ounce to counteract it. Yes, there’s a black man in office, but he’s accused of being satanic and not a citizen. Yes, there are laws against hate crimes, but all too often justice is not served (i.e. the Luis Ramirez trial- his murderers were cleared of significant charges and will only serve a small portion of time). Is THAT progress? While it INFURIATES me that Obama has had to deal with some of this CRAP, at the same time, any potentially racist thing that happens toward him gets media attention. This could result in people learning what racism REALLY looks like and that isn’t a fragment of the minority population’s mind after all.
Please check out the “associated links” tab under “Race Relations NOW-My Take” for information on the “Segregation Nation” photo gallery, the summer camp pool story, “Latino in America”, Luis Ramirez, Sean Bell, the interracial marriage story, and other relevant news reports.
Rolling Stone gives in an inside look into our country’s history with off-shore drilling and details the events that possibly lead up to the Gulf spill. To say the least, it’s an interesting read. I highly suggest reading it and drawing your own conclusions about our government’s role in this disaster. Please check the “Associated Links” tab under this date/post to find the link to the full article.
I am absolutely SICK and TIRED of asking my friends or people my age what they think about a particular current issue in politics and them having no freakin' idea what I’m talkin’ about. How do you figure young people, that you can afford to NOT pay attention? Vast amounts of people OUR age and of OUR generation are in Iraq and Afghanistan, losing their lives in a war-you CANNOT afford to NOT pay attention! We are in the middle of an economic recession. Companies everywhere are dissolving, Mass layoffs are happening everyday, people are losing their homes, experienced MIT graduates can’t even find work (don’t believe me? Click the “links” tab on the left and check out the photos), and all of this as OUR generation is graduating from college- you CANNOT afford to be politically ignorant! Obama’s stimulus package may make this recession deathly worse-Do you even know why I said that?
The government isn’t sure if we will have social security income when we retire. Do you even know what social security income is? You CANNOT afford to be politically ignorant! Will you be able to afford healthcare when your mom’s and pop’s healthcare plan drops you? Do you even know how to attain healthcare? You CANNOT afford to be politically ignorant! ESPECIALLY IF YOU FREAKIN’ VOTED! You should be paying attention!
If you are a racial minority, a woman, homosexual, or poor- YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO BE POLITICALLY IGNORANT! Legislation has long oppressed and discriminated against you!
Specifically to young (18-30yrs old) people who voted for Obama:
WE CANNOT AFFORD TO NOT PAY ATTENTION. We got him in office; we are responsible for him. It is our responsibility to pay attention to every decision he makes. I am SICK AND TIRED of coming across young people, especially fellow African-Americans, who stopped paying attention after November 4, 2008 or January 20, 2009. We must analyze, weigh and critique all of the administration’s choices and decide if we agree or disagree; either confirming or disproving that we chose the right person for president. If you don’t pay attention, how will you know for yourself if you supported and voted for the right man? When we are puzzled, confused or angry we must ask questions and demand answers. If we don’t pay attention, how will we know what questions to ask? Or if there is even anything to question? We must learn from his triumphs and failures as president, so that when the time comes to vote again we will make a better or even better choice. Some accused Bush supporters of blindly following and supporting his administration. If you don’t pay attention, won’t you be guilty of the same thing?
Well, President Obama has been in office for almost year. It’s amazing how fast a year can go by. Pretty soon there will be “year in review” assessments done by all the major political news analysts and networks, and unfortunately, the reviews may poor. NBC’S “Saturday Night Live” has already done their comedic assessment of Obama’s progress, and it was definitely poor. Funny, but sadly and disappointingly accurate (Click the “Associated Links” tab on the left for the link to the video). In the “SNL” skit, the Obama character goes down a checklist of his unachieved goals.
I’ve spoken with many Obama supporters, and it seems that half are disappointed and the other half is still optimistic that Obama will have a successful and fruitful 1st term. Some have expressed feeling let down; one supporter said: “At the time of the election, it seemed like there was so much promise for America in terms of changing the archaic and rigid political system and improving the state of our societal systems. Now, it just feels like same script, different cast. It’s disappointing because we came in on such a high and had so much hope.”
A still hopeful supporter said: “We have to be realistic with our expectations. Obama himself made it clear on inauguration day that America’s issues weren’t going to be solved overnight. I think it’s unrealistic to expect systems and that crashed (like the economy), and issues that developed (like the war and health care) over a span of years, will be solved and rectified in one year.”
As for me, I am currently somewhere in between those two supporters. Yes, it is disappointing that out of all the major issues needing to addressed, a billion-dollar deficit increasing stimulus plan is the most that’s happened. But, no, I haven’t lost hope, because LOGICALLY speaking, our issues took years to build up and it make take years to resolve them. I’m going to wait until the end of his term before I assess whether I’ve lost my “change” spirit completely.
It’s been hard for me to make a complete evaluation now, because I can’t tell if the lack of major progress is due to Obama sucking or the circumstances themselves being unbearable. Is Obama a poor president, or is he between a rock and hard place with no real options?
I still don’t regret my vote and probably won’t, because honestly, I don’t know if McCain would have done a better job considering the circumstances. Basically, all of the republicans and democrats than ran for 2008 office get my respect, because regardless of who got in office, they would’ve been handed a big plate of doo-doo to handle.
President Obama held a media conference today at the White House addressing multiple issues; mainly health care and the political unrest in Iran. For those of you who don't know, the citizens of Tehran (the capital of Iran) have been actively and adamantly protesting the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declaring that the election was fixed. Since the election, protesters have been violently attacked by police and little has been done within Tehran to protect the peaceful protesters. Protesters have been using social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to document the upheaval, as there has been a government-enforced filter of journalistic documentation. The Tehran government has also attempted to clog internet network access. The Iranians have made it more than clear that their choice for president was Mir Hossein Mousavi. They have been calling on "western government" as some have called it online, to intervene and assist them; particularly regards to the unjust violence. A major casualty was Neda Soltan, a young protester who was shot and killed in the street, dying in a pool of her own blood. Videos of her being murdered have been circulating on the internet. Some have called the mass video circulation disrespectful, but some hope that the circulation will bring attention to the cause and will ultimately result in a U.S. or a United Nations intervention. There are videos on YouTube link capturing Neda’s death. View it at your own discretion; it is very graphic. Click the “links” tab on the left for the link.
Over the last few days, President Obama has taken the stance that the U.S. government will not intervene in the protest. Today, his position seemed to change some, stating that he was "appalled and outraged" by the violence and implied that the Tehran government may suffer consequences if they continue with "the threats, the beatings and imprisonments". When asked by reporters what those consequences may be, Obama declined to detail them. When asked why any actions haven’t been taken yet, Obama said that “We don't know yet how this thing is going to play out…It is not too late for the Iranian government to recognize that there is a peaceful path that will lead to stability and legitimacy and prosperity for the Iranian people. We hope they take it”.
Do I think that we should intervene? I am honestly on the fence. Perhaps I missed it, but Obama did not clearly explain today why we SHOULDN’T get involved. If he feels somehow that intervening will cause a foreign affairs issue or harm to the U.S., I would like to know. Another question to be raised is “if the U.S. DOES intervene, HOW will we do it? What will be the repercussions, if any?” Many have insisted that he intervene, but few have actually proposed how he (or we) can. I have also heard the argument that it’s an internal issue we have nothing to do with. “We wouldn’t want another country interfering with our election.” “Haven’t we interfered with the affairs of other countries enough?”
To address the “Haven’t we interfered with the affairs of other countries enough?” question, I find it interesting when we DO choose to “interfere”. If you look at our history, we have “interfered” often, even when we are not wanted by the local citizens. Yet the Iranians are crying for our help and we have denied them. Are we making the right choice? Is Obama doing the right thing? I sure hope so.
My personal commentary on politics, race, gender, religion, social class, news media and several other things related to our society and culture.