Monday, December 01, 2008

But Mike, Where Is The Logistical Plan Of Operation?

But Mike, Where Is The Logistical Plan Of Operation?

This was the question that I asked of my lifelong friend Mike in response to his response to my response to his original question “So what do you think about the most recent presidential elections?”.
Mike and I go back to the days of junior high school – some 28 years ago. Whereas I typically debate people who don’t know me and thus are less likely to understand the perspective that I am coming from I know that my friend Mike can relate to me because we developed our outlook on the world as best friends in school. Throughout 8th and 9th grades I used to steal – errr borrow self-help books from my father’s stash of books in our basement. These books were taken out in an extended borrowing plan as they would never get returned.
Mike and I used to read these books in order to gain understanding about the world and to develop a positive mental attitude about it. Most importantly these books taught us a basic FRAMEWORK for approaching problems and rationalizing our way through them. When I moved to Atlanta after college and faces the tremendous challenges in attempting to make full use of my education and skills to get out of the rut of joblessness I continued this tradition of listening to self-help tapes that provided structure thinking. The Atlanta Fulton County library used to allow people to borrow audio cassettes on various subjects. I used to dub these tapes and brainwash myself on these subjects. These were my “mix tapes”.
Thus when I talked with Mike about what the election of Barack Obama meant to Black Americans he knew exactly what I was talking about. I knew his rationale as well. When my father responded to the debate between my brothers, cousins and I – he told of the folly of worrying so much about the control of man-made systems while not having your place secured in heaven. I have to admit that my father’s line of reasoning has a disarming effect on me. I am not quite ready to passively yield the battles that are happening here on Earth – especially since so many fellow Christians are in on the fight for our future just as well.
I responded to Mike’s question about the election, saying that I am happy that America has shown that it has the open mindedness to vote for a Black man as their leader. This shows the great progress that this nation has made. I told him that I did not vote for Barack Obama. As a conservative I am more inclined to vote for a conservative candidate. John McCain did nothing for me. Ultimately the Republicans made a mistake running an old candidate against a young candidate with market appeal.
I did not register a vote as president, instead choosing “None of the above”. I told Mike that while I do not hate Barack Obama – I could not stomach the “Verizon Wireless” crowd that has amassed around him. It is unlikely that one candidate could ever build a consensus of all Americans when there are so many divergent views within. In truth, if and when this does appear to happen you’d better be cautious because there is something amiss when Michael Moore and various corporate CEOs can agree on one candidate.
Mike responded that Barack Obama has a strong positive influence on many people and that his words and accomplishments have gotten many people exited and willing to bring forth CHANGE in this nation. He stated that Obama is an intelligent man and he has brought intelligent people into his cabinet thus far. All of these moves are positive and that he will unite our country as a result. He then mentioned that seeing Obama working his way up to the presidency has had a positive influence on him personally. He is now motivated in his own life to attempt some things that he thought were not possible previously. In listening to him I did not doubt his sincerity nor did he have any particular ideological or partisan prejudice in anything that he said.
In response I asked him to think back to when he was first married. From my experience marriage is not a light switch where things are radically different the day before as they are the day after. Instead the marriage ceremony is but a recognition of the general state of attainment that a man and a woman have attained in their relationship. It is true that as a couple they can forge ahead and build stronger bonds – such as buying a house together, having and raising children and committing to themselves in general for their mutual benefit. I asked him – “What is now true about Black America and the opportunity that is before us that WAS NOT true on November 3, 2008?”.
His next round of responses was another iteration of what he had said previously – motivation, positive occurrence, change.
I told my friend Mike about my current demographic research that I am conducting regarding the political arraignment of the Black community. Where we live in highest concentrations – the machine that Barack Obama is a part of ALREADY has dominant control over. What about this ONE MAN is going to change the effective results on the ground that have been shown by the MACHINE that he is a part of? Our community got into political activism to solve critical problems within our community. We wanted justice and to be able to live in our communities without the threat of intimidation from certain individuals who meant us harm. We sought quality education for our children. We sought jobs and economic development that could employ us as well as providing us with the opportunity to sell our goods and services and profit accordingly. Today Black America has appointed those who have been popularly chosen to lead us in the political space into office. Today these key points that we originally advocated for have never been more threatened despite having this array of control by the people, the party and the ideology that the majority of us favor. I asked my friend Mike – how is it that Barack Obama’s ascendency to the presidency is going to change these facts? The truth is that the Black community needs to reassess its own commitment to these key principles and begin to operate in a manner which acknowledges the difference between being “the odd man out, displaced and marginalized” over to the consciousness of “OWNERSHIP, where our collective actions ultimately determine the outcomes that are had within our own communities”.

Mike then chimed in – “This is exactly what I am talking about. While I agree with 95% of your concerns I think that Barack Obama is going to lead the nation as well as motivate Black people that if we work together in a more positive fashion that these changes that were longed for will come to be”.
At this point our conversation was interrupted because I needed to go as my family was departing for a holiday trip.
I plan to call my friend Mike back next week to finish our conversation. I do not want to make it appear in any way that I am being negative or contrarian for the sake of being contrary. There are some Black partisan operatives who rejected critical reforms presented by President Bush in the educational and social services arena. When Barack Obama chose to adopt both “No Child Left Behind” and “Faith Based Initiative” – coupled with the gratuitous slams against the way “Bush had implemented them” – these operatives were given a “out” by which they were able to justify their previous opposition to these key programs to which the Black community stood to benefit the greatest from as many of our communities are among those in need of the most help.

The fact remains that I cannot accept the fundamental fusing of the “Black Development agenda” with the “American political domain”. This is a fundamentally flawed strategy. We are but 13% of the population and by definition Barack Obama nor any other politician – Black or White will be able to develop an agenda that distinctly addresses the issues within the Black community. Only the BLACK COMMUNITY can do this.

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