Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama in Prime Time

Tonight Americans will have the opportunity to see Barack Obama make his case to the country through a prime time television special. There are several media outlets describing his air-time as excessive and suggests that Obama is flaunting--in other words being "uppity." All of these comments are absolutely ridiculous. We all know what usually comes after "uppity" among certain groups in this country. I believe these people are upset over this self-made Black man!

Some of my fellow Americans are upset that Obama has managed to organize a campaign better than the GOP. The truth is that John McCain's sloppy campaign is finally facing the reality of how defeat may feel if he is not able to change voters' minds about his ability to lead the country. Although John McCain still has a chance to win this election, the Obama campaign's ability to buy air-time shows a reflection of impecable marketing, fundraising, and organizational skills.

The McCain campaign simply was not ready for someone like Barack Obama.

Everytime a Black person approaches the brink of success, someone is always there to tarnish their image by labeling him or her as "uppity" and suggest that he/she is out of place. Barack Obama is proving to the American people that our potential and "place" in America is wherever you want it to be, provided you have the courage, strength, skill, and right message.

The significance of the Obama Campaign's ability to buy 30 minutes of television is huge. Americans have witnessed numerous years of air-time devoted to reiterating the status quo and portraying stereotypical images of minorities. But for once, a prominent minority will have 30 minutes to show the American audience an amazing example of a Black person with a positive message. If the American audience tunes in to the networks as expected, millions will see Obama challenge every inferior image of Black people that has dominated the American networks since the invention of television.

Flavor Flav eat your heart out!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hudson Family

Please pray for Jennifer Hudson and her family as they grieve.

"And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Michelle Obama and the First Lady Appeal

CNN's Campbell Brown committed on the reports that the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothes, hair and make-up for Sarah Palin on the campaign trail. I pretty much agree with everything that Brown brings to the forefront--especially the double standards.

However, can you image how different the story would be if Michelle Obama spent similar amounts of money while campaigning for Barack Obama? Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and others could not get enough of it. Michelle Obama not only has the pressure of being a woman in politics, but also a Black woman with the potential of being First Lady. She has to be modest in spending to not only be "considerate" of donors but also avoid the "golddigger" stereotype and show off the "white first lady look." Yes, I said it.

Unfortunately, the image of the First Lady is extremely important to many Americans. Women like former First Lady Jackie Kennedy played the part extremely well and challenged succeeding First Ladies to up the ante. Yet, even Mrs. Kennedy was not excluded from criticism as she wore clothing from International designers. But, Michelle Obama's problems with having to appeal to the American people extends far beyond the issues that Palin and Kennedy experienced with scrutiny from men and women about hair and clothing.

Another layer of issues for Mrs. Obama is having to wade through the historical problems black women experience with appearance. Can you image if pictures surfaced on the web and on news networks with Mrs. Obama wearing cornrows or having braids while on vacation? Don Imus would have a party. So, Michelle Obama must wear the Pearls, keep the mane tamed with the edges straight, and spend within reason.

Whew...and we have not touched on other components of presentation.


Obama/Biden '08

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

America's State of Mind

As a counselor with a National EAP company, I have the unfortunate opportunity to witness the struggles of everyday Americans. The purpose of the Employee Assistance Program provided by many employers is to assist employees on striking a balance between work and life-related issues. The bulk of the work with EAP companies centers around providing short-term counseling for a wide-range of issues--including work problems, substance abuse, stress, marital and family concerns. In addition to the counseling offered, we work with other national companies to help employees with legal issues, financial matters, childcare referrals, and eldercare resources. Needless to say, we hear it all.

With this current financial crisis, our calls from clients are becoming more severe. Most of the clients we serve are college educated homeowners with families. It is safe for me to say that most of their upbringing did not prepare them for these times. Many of our clients have a church and attend more often than not.

Despite all that, these American families are in disarray at this very moment. The workplace has become a war zone in buildings where employees once thrived and contributed daily. However, these same buildings now evoke fear in the heart of every employee, including the veterans. The pressure of performing well at all times has become a bit too much. The pressure of wondering if you will be asked to pack your belongings and not return is daunting. The pressure of worrying about the grant or loan needed to keep the organization/business operating drives employees amuck. All these things leave my clients more distracted, annoyed, paranoid, and anxious. And God forbid someone gets sick.

Even more---they bring these emotions home. Undoubtedly, their spouses (if they have a spouse) shuffle home the same way. Do they open the bills they never have the money to pay? Do they turn on the television to hear both Barack Obama and John McCain exchange words? Do they pay attention to their kids, especially the one that has been falling behind in math class?

Probably not.

Most of my clients are overwhelmed and afraid. They have family members they consider to be "ungratful." They have spouses that cheat, hide money, gamble with the rent/mortgage payment, go straight to happy hour after work, or simply leave the house and never return.

Increasingly, I receive requests for counseling from Black folk. And not just the city folk, but those who live in the rural parts of Georgia. These are the same families that would have never sought counseling 10-15 years ago. Now they do not ask for counseling, but just want someone to talk to about their "nerves." I am happy that these overwhelmed heroines are in a place where they feel comfortable seeking help.

Black men are not far behind.

I am reminded of my pastor's favorite saying: God is neither dumb, deaf, nor blind.

What do Christians do when they are stuck between a rock and hard place (e.g., pharoah's army and the Red Sea)? Pray. Have faith. The battle is not yours...

Encourage those around you to seek help if they need it.

Please share the resources on my page with anyone you know that may be going through a difficult time with the economy. As I have time, I will add more resources.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Barack Obama: Another American Story

No matter the outcome of this 2008 Election season, the story of Barack Obama will go down in history. The promise that Obama brings to Americans will have a lasting impact on generations to come--including yours. We have all witnessed the rise of an educated self-made man of color. Throughout all of the negative campaigning and rigorous screenings, Barack Obama defies all the odds set before him at birth.

So the question is: What will you tell your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren about Barack Obama?

How much of your discussion will focus on his roots: mixed ancestry, working class background, single parent/grandparents upbringing, absent father.

As much as I want to make sure that the history books get his story "right", most of my story about Obama will focus on the process to which he became the man that we love and admire at this very moment. I will be anxious to talk about his intelligence, determination, optimism, candor, down-to-earth personality, strategy, competitive spirit, bottom up perspective, faith, and commitment to family. I cannot wait to talk about his demeanor during uncertain times, like the infamous metaphor of the swan gliding across the pond.

It will be important for me mention how he confronted the issue of race head-on with an amazing speech that pressured all Americans to consider their contradictions. My story would be incomplete without the details of how he faced his opponent--an American war hero who was completely out of touch. I will be sure to mention how far too often the McCain campaign got it "wrong." I would include the arguments about Ayers, Acorn, Taxes, Joe the Plummer, the "suspension" of McCain's Campaign, and McCain's choosing Sarah Palin.

This story will go down in history much like David & Goliath.

The children and grandchildren will be fascinated, but most importantly, they will live to tell their children and the legacy will continue.

We should consider ourselves privileged to be alive in these moments.

I hope you, too, will vote Obama/Biden on Nov. 4, 2008.