I’m still digesting Obama’s speech on race and the comments that have come in its aftermath. I am filled by so many strong, sometimes conflicting emotions that I am not yet able to put it all on paper coherently.
Having said that, it is such an important issue and it would be a shame if we all didn’t take this opportunity to thrash out the issue of race. I think this article by Roger Cohen is fantastic.
More and more, I am confounded by the human race. We are all so similar and yet find it so hard to see the world through each others’ eyes. I wonder why that is. I don’t know. I have a lot of ideas and theories, but the truth is, I don’t really know.
What I do know is that Barack took the more difficult path in trying to help his complicated world see things from different perspectives. It was a very honest, courageous speech. If nothing else, it will hopefully lead to a little more honest dialogue. I hope it does a little more. I hope it helps us all at least try to imagine being in another’s shoes. I respect the fact that Obama behaved like a human being with a heart rather than a politician bent on getting elected.
On days like this, I hate politics. The world and all our issues are so much simpler than many politicians make them seem. The solutions to our issues are simpler than they would have us believe.
I’ve found lately that my opinion of people changes drastically when I find out a little more about them. It happened with Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and now, Thabo Mbeki.
Mark Gevisser’s The Dream Deferred is a fantastic book. It’s a pretty in depth look into Thabo Mbeki’s soul. More than just following the life of South Africa’s president, Gevisser tries to see and understand who he is as a person. Although I’ve only read a small part of the book, I am engrossed.
There is something about being a black man. It is as though at birth your identity is stolen and you have one of two choices, spend your life seeking it, or claim another. There is such an assault on us by the media and public perception. There’s an incredible pressure to conform to an identity created by mass media. So much so, that trying to figure out and then just being who you are will at the very least get you marked out as a non-conformist at best.
In reading Mandela and Obama’s autobiographies, I was stuck by the recurring theme of the search for identity. Mark Gevisser’s perception of the same struggle in Mbeki really has really impressed me. I am a little jealous of him. I would have loved to have spent that much time researching, distilling and then putting one of my fathers’ lives onto paper. It might have helped me on my pilgrimage. Maybe one day.
Already, I have a new found respect, as well as compassion and maybe even a little affection for President Mbeki.
Posted in books, identity, life, people, Reviews
Tagged Barack Obama, biography, black, books, identity, man, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki
A few years ago, I remember inviting my cousin David over to watch a soccer match at my place. I was a bit surprised by his response. He told me that he had quit sport because his heart couldn’t handle it. The disappointment was just too much.
At first I thought he was joking, but true to his word, David just doesn’t watch any sport, at all. Because he is wholehearted in everything he does, his decision is his chosen form of self preservation. And though it might be a little extreme, there are times I think he’s onto something.
I stayed up until 2 in the morning following how things were going in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. There have been so many twists and turns to this race, I was hoping that Obama would just win the thing outright and give my frayed nerves a rest. As I’m sure you all know by now, it didn’t happen.
Although I don’t like how she did it, you’ve got to give it to Hillary. Her ability to roll up her sleeves and just street fight is amazing. She isn’t shy to get in there and get nasty if need be. I guess that’s her appeal – she’ll do what it takes to get the job done. You have to be impressed by her.
On the other hand, Barack Hussein Obama has come a long way. The fact that he leads in the pledged delegates count is incredible given the obstacles and set backs he has faced. And he can still pull it off. Having read Dreams from My Father, I don’t think long drawn out fights are new to him.
Truth is, most of my disappointment is about me, not Obama. It’s just another thing that I want that I have to wait for. I think that’s what’s really getting to me. This is another emotional rollercoaster for me. Worse still, I have no influence over it. All I can do is wait and hope. I’ve been doing more of both lately than I would prefer.
Oh well. At least Arsenal beat AC Milan in the Champions League last night. Like Barack, they’re one step closer to the title.
Posted in Hope, life, Politics
Tagged AC Milan, Arsenal, Barack Obama, democratic, election, Hillary Clinton, Hope, Ohio, race, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont
I don’t know about you, but I love politics, and even more than that, I love watching elections. The best elections are close ones and they don’t come much closer than this year’s Democratic race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Baratunde Thurston has been involved in Obama’s campaign for a while now and I got this video off his website. It made me a little sad and a little jealous.
Zimbabwe has its very flawed presidential elections later on this month with Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai taking on Robert Mugabe. You won’t find many people wearing opposition nominees’ t-shirts or openly campaigning for them. There’s a sad lack of tolerance for different political views and very little respect for people’s right to choose their leaders. It’s such a pity. Things could, and should be so different.
Still, I look forward to the day that I can be involved in an election back home and not worry about who hears me supporting the candidate of my choice. One day…
Leeroy emailed me the link to this video. Thanks Leeroy.
What makes a movement? What stirs people to risk disappointment and get behind Barack Obama’s? If anyone has any answers, please let me know because I’m stumped.
What I do know is that hope is vital. I come from a part of the world where all some people have is the hope for a better tomorrow, and that hopes keeps nations ticking. Having read Dreams From My Father, I also believe in the integrity of the man Barack Obama.
With that in mind, even though it means very little, I too endorse him as my selected candidate for President of the United States.
God speed Barack Obama.
I know I’m in danger of being carried away, but I can’t help it. When I get hooked, I usually get hooked good and proper!
I’m currently reading Dreams from my Father and it has had a huge impact on me. I read it because I wanted to make sure that Barack Obama was authentic because he was making such a big impact on me. The more I read, the more I want to be like the man and the more inspired I get.
I found these videos on youtube. If they don’t move you, you’re made of sterner stuff than I am. Enjoy.