Archive for the ‘Historical Events’ Category

Reflection on the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 16, 2013

Dr. King, Where For Art Thou Dream?

On January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, a boy was born.  His name was  Martin, and he grew up  a highly spiritual man and a brilliant and creative strategist.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was a gifted composer of voice orchestration; his speeches were an auditory overture.  The words he spoke waltzed with spirit and touched my heart.  His words relieved me from the stress of being Black in America; he made me feel proud, enthusiastic and optimistic.  Dr. King’s messages of peace united red, yellow, black and white, and all were equal in his sight.  He spoke of love for the rainbow of humanity.

It is now 2013 and this April 4th will be the 45th anniversary of the day that James Earl Ray shot and killed Dr. King the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Hotel I wonder if he would be pleased with how close to reality his dream has come.

I wonder what he would say about the deafening silence of the freedom bells from the mountains of New York, the elevating Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, the ice-covered Rockies of Colorado, the geometric curves in California, the Mountain of Stone in Georgia, the Mountain from which you see out in Tennessee or the hills where moles live in Jim Crow’s Mississippi.

I wonder if he would see his dream in the cracks of the derriere of our young boys and men as they do the two-step dance (take two steps and pull up my pants before they fall)?  Would he like the character of our little girls and young women who dress provocatively leaving nothing to the imagination or cover?  What would he say about the words we use to express terms of endearment to each other; words that in our past were negative, degrading and used to control our sense of worth, humanity and pride?

What would Dr. King say about those we idolize?  People we call celebrities that the poor make richer as they dream of having their plastic, superficial and shallow lives?  What would he say about the respect we give to our elders as we discard them and the lessons they have to teach us like recyclable aluminum cans?

Let us reflect on Dr. King and the impact his life had on our lives.  Let us re-dedicate ourselves to his dream and his legacy.  Let us teach our children not only his name but the richness of his legacy in practical terms that they can understand.  Let us educate them about hundreds of other selfless pioneers that were hosed with water, beaten and even killed so that they could sit anywhere on the bus and train;  dine at Red Lobster,  the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), Cracker Barrel and other restaurants and live in the neighborhood of their choice.  Remind them that those civil rights pioneers lived lives that reflected kindness, humanity, character and love for their fellow-man.

Dr. King fought for educational and economic independence for every American. Let us celebrate his life, not only on the day set aside by the government but on every day of our lives.  Let us move forward in 2013 and look to the mountain top.  Let us expect to go back to the way we were a proud, honest, compassionate and united people of integrity.  As we peak over the mountain top let us expect to see the Promised Land Dr. King spoke so eloquently of, and let us live our lives as an example for our children so they can see a land that is full of more promise than disappointment.   I am a dreamer and I believe that in spite of some nightmares along the way Dr. King’s Dream is just over the purple mountain majesty.

On Monday, January 21, 2013, the day America celebrates Dr. King’s birthday as a Federal holiday, I believe he will be smiling when President Obama takes the oath of office for his second term as the first African-American President of the United States of America.  Thank you Dr. King for your contribution to historical reality, we have come a long way since your “I Have a Dream” Speech but we’ve yet a long way to go.  Happy 84th Birthday Dr. King!

President Obama Deserves a Second Chance

October 6, 2012

The story of Barack Obama’s presidency is a historic one.  He is the first President of African American descent elected to the nations’ highest office.  His election four years ago was born out of America’s need for change from politics of the past with a promise of a better tomorrow.  Millions of Americans voted for him because they believed he was the best candidate for the job. Others needed to convince themselves that they had moved beyond the lessons of superiority their parents taught them and could vote for a black man to be their president.  Some of African American decent voted for him simply because he was black and some of each of these groups believed that the 2008 election might be their only opportunity to have the option to vote for a Black man in the White House.

Not only will historians write about  the way  America elected President Obama they must also address how America has treated him.  No other president in history has been so maligned.  No other president in history has been so disrespected and no other president in America has been so strategically and decisively targeted for failure.

This writer finds the idea of Mitt Romney as the Republican opponent to President Obama foretelling.  It speaks to the hatred of Republicans and others who would rather see anyone in the White House except a black man and his family; honesty and Integrity not required only White Skin.  The Republicans so despise the President that before he took the oath of office they methodically designed a plan to impede his ability be as effective as he had the passion and ability to be.   They have stuck to the game plan in spite of the economic pain and divisiveness it has cost Americans. They are blind to see how citizens in other countries view that hatred. How can we be liberators of women and others abroad countries when those countries have more respect for our leader than we do?  While citizens in other countries saw President Obama’s election as another beacon of light from our lady of equality, justice and equality, John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, John Sunu as other saw it as an American tragedy.

The idea that Republicans use President Obama’s failure to create jobs as a reason why he should not be re-elected is strabismic dismissing the fact (not fiction) that they are the argument that Americans are not working in record numbers. President Obama presented a jobs bill that was a blueprint of constructing a highway of jobs all across the USA; Republicans put road blocks refusing even to give the plan a permit for construction.  They now have signs on the election highway cautioning Americans that the President took jobs off a cliff and that the only way to survive the highway of unemployment is to take detour Mitt Romney.

The President has kept many of the promises he made to the American people.  He passed the health care reform bill.  He helped Ford, GM and Chrysler (and their mutually dependent suppliers) comes out of the ditch that the previous Republican Administrations drove them into.  The money he loaned the auto manufacturers from America’s bank (The United States Treasury) was paid back with interest to the American people.  His administration implemented laws that protect consumers from exorbitant bank fees on credit cards and other accounts.  He killed Osama Ben Laden and other terrorists who George W. Bush promised to take out but could not.  He helped children brought to this country by parents with illegal status have their dream of becoming an American citizen realized. He helped to prevent the rates of student’s loans from doubling.    He reversed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” which revered men and women in the military to lie about their sexual orientation. President and Mrs. Obama along with Mrs. Jill Biden have worked to change benefits for military families and to show them how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.

President Obama does deserve the opportunity to finish the work he started to turn America around.  Middle class Americas owe it to themselves and their children to give our President a second chance. We must tell the new extreme Republican Party born by tea drinking right wingers that we have had enough and we will not be *Mitted around.  Let us loose our hands, those of our Congress and our President this November 6, 2012.

Note: defines the word Mitt as arrest.

Mitt Romney and Abraham Lincoln A Contrast in Historically Profound Words

September 19, 2012

It was November 19, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania when President Abraham Lincoln spoke to the nation and with passion and conviction delivered one of the country’s most memorable speeches, The Gettysburg Address.   The speech was one of perspective, reflection and encouragement.  It was a speech of appreciation for the brave men who had served and sacrificed.  It was a speech of promise intended to unite a nation still in its infancy.  It was s speech that spoke of Lady America bursting with the promise of freedom and a dream of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

It was in May 17, 2012 in Boca Raton Florida at the regal estate of private equity Manager Marc Leder where Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney also spoke some infamous words.  The words he spoke will be written on the black and white pages of American and World History books and discussed in internet blogs and on Facebook and Twitter for years to come.  His words were spoken with comfort and passion they were divisive, egotistical, and reflective of an arrogant and insensitive man.  With each word he spoke he teased America revealing pieces of himself until at the night’s end the Real Mitt Romney stood naked and yelled to America, “Here I am this is what I really think of you!”

He showed the core of America, its middle class that he believes that Lincoln was wrong.  He believes that we are not created equal and that there will be no more births of freedom, or government assistance to provide nutrition, housing, medical care, unemployment assistance or education to us. He shouted loudly to seniors that he does not care of their life-long hard work to cushion the sunset of their lives.   His words imply that unlike Lincoln he devalues the sacrifice of those that fought and died for equality for us all. His failure to even acknowledge them during his speech at the RNC supports that premise.

He told us we lack motivation, perseverance and are therefore of little value to his political aspirations or of consequence to his plans for America.  For those that were unsure of what he looked like all there should be no more doubt.

During the $50,000 per plate fundraising event attended by Romney’s financial peers one of those attending asked Romney the following question:  “For the last three years, all everybody’s been told is, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.” How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?”

Romney answered in a voice and tone that was missing in his speech at the Republican Convention and in most speeches he has given.  He said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like. I mean, when you ask those people…we do all these polls—I find it amazing—we poll all these people, see where you stand on the polls, but 45 percent of the people will go with a Republican, and 48 or 4…”.

This writer has never believed that Mitt Romney cared about me, my family or the rest of Middle Class America.  I believed that he is only running for president because it is the one thing in this country that he cannot buy.  I challenge you to look at the naked Mitt Romney, really listen to his words and tell him on November 6, 2012 that the American Presidency is not for sale and that the government of the people by the people and for the people will prevail.

Flashbacks of A Nightmare, An Eleven Year Reflection of September 11, 2001

September 10, 2012

Like most Americans, I was devastated by the images of the mutilation of a dream, as I watched the symbols of America come tumbling down.  Like most Americans, I cried that day.  I wanted the reality of that day to be a nightmare from which I would awaken.  Instead, the reality became more vivid with each movement of the clock that signaled the passing of seconds, minutes and hours on that day.

In my dreams, the nightmare was often in replay like it was on CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX.  In my head, I heard the voices of more than three thousand people praying for their God and calling for their loved ones.  The screams of their excruciating pain and the anticipation of death just moments away plays in high definition in my mind.  I cover my ears and yet I cannot silence their screams; eleven years later it still echoes in my ears.

As long as I live, I will remember where I was on September 11, 2001, the day that hatred and greed gave birth to a new America.  It was the day that the freedom and calm we took forever was replaced with the reality that our our freedom and security are at risk.

It was a beautiful Tuesday morning and I had debated with myself if I was going to work that day. The suburban area in which I lived was about thirty miles south of Washington, D.C. and is has traffic second only to the traffic in Los Angeles, California.  Interstate 95 was the most expedient route to my office but it is also one of the busiest corridors for travel between the South and the Northeast part of the United States.

As always I turned my radio between my two most favorite stations in the Washington, DC area; Howard University’s music Station WHUR and local talk radio station WTOP.   I heard the announcer on WTOP say that there was a report that a plane had hit Tower of the World Trade Center.  I thought to myself “what a horrible accident, some inexperienced pilot really lost his bearings and hit the tower”.  I imagined only that he had knocked down the antenna, never considering that it was a commercial jet that had hit the top floors with dozens of passengers onboard.

After hearing the news of the first plane, I turned from WTOP TO WHUR and heard that a second plane had hit the second tower.  I then realized thenthat the plane crashes were not accidental and this day was going to be an extraordinary one.

As I approached the sign that said Seminary Road Exit ¾ miles, I saw black transforming the sky several exits ahead.  It appeared to be billowing close to the exit I would take near the Pentagon.  I was an exit that would take me to Route 110 through Rosslyn, Virginia to Clarendon where my office was located on Wilson Blvd.    I called my office and told them I would not be coming to work, and my manager suggested that I just go home “something terrible was going on and the office would likely be closing” he said.   I pressed my foot to the petal hard to drive myself home as fast I could; I just wanted to get home;  I wanted to see my son.   I thought to myself “If I am going to die,  I want to die at home”.

I drove down 395 so fast that I do not recall passing the usual landmarks, I remember turning off at my exit only because the warning light for low fuel caught my attention with its ding.  As I stopped at the traffic signals after exiting near Potomac Mills where I lived, I looked over at the cars on each side of me.  I wondered if the drivers in those cars knew that our we were under attack. I wondered if they knew that people were trapped in the burning planes and buildings in New York and in Washington, DC.   I wanted to tell them, I wanted to get out of my car and hug them and I wanted to tell them to hurry home to their loved ones.

I had stopped buying gas from Shell during Apartheid but on this day  I stopped to a Shell Gas station to purchase gas and as I pumped my gas, a white man who was refueling his car in the island next to me and I at a simultaneous moment said” How could this happen?”  We both just wanted to get home.  We wished each other safe travel and got in our cars and drove away.  I felt a tremendous bond to that stranger, a person who on any other day would likely never have spoken to me or me to him.

I arrived in front of my home, got out of my car and expelled a sigh of relief as I turned the key to open my front door.  I turned on the television and watched in disbelief the horror that continued to unfold during my commute home.  I heard reports of a third plane that went down in a field in Pennsylvania with dozens of passengers onboard.  I called my mother, my sisters and brother, other family members and friends to ask if they were okay.

I prepared myself for the worst. I prayed for those in the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon and in the field in Pennsylvania.  I prayed for America.  I have tried to imagine what those in the planes and in the building at the Pentagon must have gone through before they died. Some called loved ones to say goodbye and others comforted each other as they took their last breaths.  They did not think of color, ethnicity, social status, religion or political persuasion in those moments;  they were all people with a horrible common fate.   I pray that on this eleventh anniversary of their deaths, we remember their sacrifice.  I hope that we have learned that life is short and fragile and that freedom has not been free.  I hope that we do not wait until we are faced with a similar fate to realize that hate is not a respecter of persons or countries, we should focus our vision and our minds and see our fellow Americans and other world citizens as human….. is that not more than enough to unite us all?