An Obama/Edwards ticket?

No disrespect to my friends who support John Edwards. I believe he is a excellent Presidential candidate. But imagine this. What about a Obama/Edwards ticket? What if John Edwards ran with Obama as his Vice President? A white Southern man who serves beside a black President from Chicago. We could have this soon. It could amplify the already powerful potential for healing that a black President will bring. It would say, YES! We are equal. North and South. Black and White. Because I believe equality is a kind of give and take. Whites have taken way to much from Blacks. Its time we gave back. Please give back with humility Mr. Edwards.

Its not only time for a black President but for white men to serve him. (Myself included.) The 21st Century American South can do this and not be ashamed. We can be proud that we work together for the same causes. Social and economic equality for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability!

Apologies aren't enough

Wonderful and inspiring article/interview with John Hope Franklin in this weeks Indy: John Hope Franklin: Apologies aren’t enough.

But one has to wonder how far apologies will go in righting past wrongs. Is it the scab that, left unbothered, will heal wounds, or is it merely a quick-fix Band-Aid, slapped on to make the ugliness of injury just go away?

Franklin, who knows what it is to grow up in a world where one’s rights and equalities are constantly being questioned, refuses to let go. He thinks it’s not just time for somebody to apologize, but to do something about it.

“No one knows the price that I’ve paid for what I’ve gotten out of this world and this life,” he says. “My efforts represented sacrifices untold, indescribable. They don’t know what my mother went through to see that I had opportunities, and even the fundamentals such as food and clothing and so forth. They don’t know what my grandfather, on my father’s side, paid in terms of taxes so that white young men could go to the University of Oklahoma, where my own father could not go.

“And I don’t see any reason why I should get over that kind of exploitation of my immediate family—my father, my grandfather, my mother, and so forth. I see no reason I should get over it. I see every reason why there should be compensation, apologies, particularly in the hypocrisy it’s represented, in their saying on the one hand that all men are created equal, and on the other hand, them saying if they’re created equal, some are more equal than others.”

The General Assembly belongs to the people, not the powerful

HKonJ: Big March in Raleigh Tomorrow
Historic Thousands on Jones Street, aka HKonJ, is tomorrow. Check out this video of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President of the North Carolina State NAACP.

From the HKonJ website:

HKonJ: The People’s General Assembly

In order to make substantial and progressive change in North Carolina public policy, we need a movement and not a moment.

HKonJ is a call by the North Carolina NAACP to the progressive and civil rights community to come together to support 14-point public policy strategy that will begin to shift North Carolina political action in a way that will more clearly match our rhetoric with reality.

February 12, 2007 is the 98th birthday of the NAACP, in commemoration of a time when progressive whites and blacks came together to fight racial injustice and social inequality. Today, our challenges revolve around the issues of education, health, labor rights, economic empowerment, civic engagement, and criminal justice.

The goals of HKonJ are to:

* Gather 50-100 people from 100 counties in Raleigh before the General Assembly to embrace a 14-point agenda that we demand the legislature to act upon. We will insert the 14-point agenda in every political debate and discussion until they become a reality.

* Remind North Carolina that the General Assembly belongs to the people, not the powerful; to everyday folk, not just those with the money and the influence.

* Create a statewide network of the progressive and civil rights community which we will build in order to promote a progressive agenda and civil rights in North Carolina .

HKonJ will not be a moment, but a movement. This event will bring hardworking, everyday people together and on March 28, 2007 the Second Annual People of Color Legislative Day where we bring hundreds of people together to lobby the General Assembly will be held.

Robert E. Lee Statue, Racism, and Caribou Coffee

Every weekday morning I get coffee at Caribou on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Its near the bus stop I get off at. I’ve been going there for several months and enjoy the coffee.

About one month ago I overhead one of the guys working there talk about writing for The Carolina Review, a conservative student publication at UNC – Chapel Hill. The night before Hardball with Chris Matthews show at Memorial Hall he mentioned writing some critical articles about Sen. Edwards. Coffee Guy said a buddy was going to give him tickets.

Sure enough when we were watching Hardball that night the same Coffee Guy was sitting on the stage with all those students behind Sen. Edwards. He was starring into the camera shaking his head at Edwards responses. I half expecting him to hold up two fingers behind Edwards head like bunny ears. It was a very John 3:13 moment. (If you look about 16 seconds into the YouTube video you can see him. Goto the above Hardball video link.)

So last week I got to talking with the Coffee Guy about stuff. He mentioned his sister lived in Richmond, VA. I told him I grew up there. I mention a bunch of things like I went to VCU. But never did I engage him in a political discussion. I just wanted coffee. I decided to live in peace with a fellow Chapel Hillian. I wasn’t going to hold this man’s political views against him. No problem right?

Well this morning the Coffee Guy said his sister has seen a NAACP protest at the Lee Monument in Richmond. He exclaimed it was a shame. I blurted out, “I completely disagree. I think they should tear down those statues.” The Coffee Guy was surprised and said he was “sorry I felt that way”.

“So should they leave the statue of Authur Ashe up?” he asked. Instead of answering that I asked him to take the race component of the statues out of the conversation for a moment. “Consider the death of all the white people’s husbands, brothers, sisters, daughters, etc. during the Civil War. Those statues are glorifying war and death. That’s wrong.”, I said.

He proceed to question me about it. I told him that I really didn’t want to go there because it might make me not want to come back to Caribou. He thought maybe we could debate it another time when he wasn’t working. I just smiled and walked out.

One of the strongest forms of protest modern Americans can do is deciding where not to spend money. I wonder if the Coffee Guy’s boss values his free speech over the money I spend there every week?

This occurrence has convinced me to join the NAACP. My efforts to appose racism are strengthened.

Fight the Power of Blue Elvis

A few mornings ago when I was pre-coffee the first song I heard was Elvis’s Blue Christmas. It was the studio version with the psychedelic background vocals. They sounded like fairies that enjoyed just a bit too much of their own dust. I liked the melody so much I immediately started writing this blog post in my head.

While thinking about how much I liked the tune I noticed something. A strong dose of cognitive dissonance. My conscious mind presented thoughts of disgust with the racist whiteness that Elvis has come to embody for some. Cracker was the first word that came to my mind. But somehow I still love the voice of Elvis.

“Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant shit to me / Straight up racist that sucker was simple and plain / Motherfuck him and John Wayne / Cause I’m black and I’m proud. / I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped / Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.”
Fight the Power, Public Enemy

Ya gota take the icons of race seriously. In this context it doesn’t really matter what kind of person Elvis was or for that matter Chuck D. What is relevant many years on is the lasting images that pop icons leave behind. To be truthful the icons themselves don’t contribute every part of their image. Many fans actions help to create what their idols stand for. We all have to be peace and place our adoration with care.

Elvis unplugged doing Blue Christmas


Full video for Public Enemy’s Fight the Power