Dr. King Reflecting on the Journey

Dr. King Reflecting on the Journey
"Infamous, this day in Memphis, city of my demise."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Change We Can Believe In or More of The Same?

Following is a very clever and well-written poem. I contacted the blog link and complimented the poet, adding the hope that he will use his tremendous talent to write something more hopeful and not continue the partisanism that has gotten our nation into the state it's in today. The fact that this is being passed around indicates to me that some of us didn't get President Obama's message January 20, 2009, when he said, "On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."

It may not be "childish" to 'dis' the opposing party, but it is definitely counter-productive. Obviously, this was not what President Obama had in mind when he sat down with the leading conservative Republicans at George Will's house or when he hosted a bi-partisan party for John McCain or appointed Republicans to his cabinet. He seems to be intent on healing the party rifts that have dominated the last two administrations. However, if the people who elected him and support his administration continue to 'bash' people because of their political affiliations, there won't be any change in the way this country is governed.

I listen to news programs that repeatedly talk about the number of Republicans who are supporting President Obama and are trying to work with him. I'm sure there are some who still aren't, but in respect for those who are, shouldn't Democrats and the Independents who he's asked to help him with the changes he is trying to affect cease and desist with the venom and rancor?

Perhaps I'm too idealistic, but what I saw yesterday on the Washington Mall was not a sea of people, but a sea of hope. Was that hope just for a single day? Now that we have a black President, do we go back to business as usual as if getting a black man elected is the end of the story? President Obama doesn't think so. He made it very clear at the Inauguration Balls he attended last night that this is just the beginning.

So, how do we begin? My hope was that the hope I saw in the eyes of those witnessing the swearing in of a new President yesterday would continue and flourish. My hope was that the American people heard the President's message and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to bring prosperity back to our nation. He's not going to wave a magic wand and end all of our troubles; he's going to roll up his sleeves and we need to be prepared to roll up ours. However, the needed sacrifices aren't just in the area of hard work. We also need to sacrifice our old attitudes.

I had to remind my mother who still retains the attitudes expressed in the following poem that Republicans haven't been alone in practicing 'dirty politics.' Look at the smear campaigns during the Democratic primaries, as well as the concerted efforts to destroy Sarah Palin, going as far as attacking her teenage daughter. Not that the Republicans didn't do the same. But the point is when does it stop?

President Obama is asking Americans to work together? Can we? Before you repeat the mantra, "Yes, we can!" be aware that by saying that you are taking an oath as sacred and as solemn as the one the President took yesterday to rise above this kind of partisan bias and make an effort to do what the President proclaimed yesterday. "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

The poem below ends with the mantra, "YES, WE CAN!" Can what? Yes, we can do a lot of things, including continuing the bickering on Capitol Hill, the racial prejudice on Main Street, and the financial corruption on Wall Street. We can do all of that and a whole lot more of "the same old" things we've been doing. The issue not what we can do, but what we will do to bring about change.

So, read the poem and laugh if you find it humorous and admire the poetic flair of the poet. Then, if you're a Democrat, find a Republican and do what President and First Lady Obama did to former President and First Lady Laura Bush as they prepared to board a helicopter to make their final departure from the nation's capitol: HUGGED THEM! Let this be the new mantra of those Democrats who pledge to help the President create a "post-partisan" America:


Twas the Night Before Inauguration
By John Cobarruvias
T'was the night before inauguration and what to my dismay
The market was tanking, I lost my 401K!
The stocks were hung, in downfall they stuck
While Bush did nothing, a truly lame duck
The republicans were nestled, their heads in the sand
With visions of defeat of the republican brand.
And Cheney with his gun, his heart a pace
Looking for someone, to shoot in the face.
When out on the house floor, there came such a clatter
I sprang to the internets to find what's the matter.
Away to my screen I ran with a flash
Hoping the market, didn't crash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Showed me someone I needed to know.
When what to my eyes, I paused, with a comma
But a vision of hope, It was Barack Obama!
With excitement and conviction in each of his steps
I wondered what he and his elves, would do next.
More rapid than eagles his appointments they came
And he whistled and shouted, and called them by name.
Now Emanuel! Now, Dashle! Now Richardson and Biden!
On, Clinton, On Napolitano, and Gates, no sense in hiding!
To fix the economy, our reputation and more.
And to stop the killing of this unnecessary war.
As Obama stood still, the republicans they trembled
Remembering 8 years of a disaster they had assembled.
They've broken our banks, and doubled our debt.
They scared us to death with weapons of threats.
They squandered a surplus, They started a war.
They shredded our constitution, littered on the floor.
They attack our unions, our immigrants and those who are gay.
They claim to be Christians, yet on the sick they prey.
We may never recover from this hole they dug.
But we will climb to the top with a American tug.
The republican party have destroyed all that matters
They deserve nothing more but to hold the damn ladder.
But his voice did change, along with a smile.
Thinking of the bills that soon would be filed.
Protect those who are old and young alike
Restore our honor and our military might.
Protect our planet, and clean our air.
While creating a surplus we can leave to our heirs
Fix our economy, and health care for all.
And honor those who fought, and those who fall.
Obama sprang to his feet, to his team he gave a shout.
The challenges seem impossible, hard work needed no doubt
But I heard him exclaim ere he talked and ran.
Hey! It's not just a slogan,

Thursday, January 8, 2009


© gjc, 1/08/09


O.K., so he said “no” before he said “yes” ala John Kerry, hitting a decisively sour note; but in the end President-Elect Obama made the right decision about Roland Burris. Regardless of what he may or may not have actually done, Illinois’ governor still has the power (and the right) to appoint someone to take over Obama’s Senate seat.

In a shrewd move, Rod Blagojevich appointed someone capable, qualified, and black to the seat vacated by our President-Elect after his election. Majority Leader Harry Reid looked pretty ineffectual trying to keep out the only African-American in the Senate, then having to capitulate after Burris got the nod from Obama.

Senator Reid may not work for Obama, but he apparently follows his soon-to-be President’s lead, and he should in this case. Same thing with the stimulus package. The President-Elect is right to want the passage of his stimulus package to be swift and big enough to actually make a difference.

Few people want the trillion dollar debt that Obama is predicting that he says we’ll have well into the future; but even fewer want to be unemployed and homeless. The stimulus package is absolutely necessary, just as were the bail-outs, however distasteful and mismanaged they may have been.

Obama’s cabinet picks, although they included only a handful of women and minorities, were wise ones. I totally support the selection of Leon Panetta as head of the CIA. Panetta has a long and distinguished public service career and is not a product of the Bush-Cheney intelligence gathering fiasco that was used to justify the Iraq War.

Going into his Inauguration Week, our future President looks pretty good. He’s made smart, thought-driven decisions on a number of issues and refused to get involved in foreign policy- making before he has the power to follow-through on those decisions. He’ll have plenty of time to deal with the Middle East once he’s sworn in next week, and I’m sure he will use more diplomacy than the present administration; I sure hope he does.

Our President Elect has also shown his ability to inspire Americans and give the nation back its passion for democracy. That’s why I sent my speech on sacrifice to his transition website, hoping he’ll include parts of it in some future speech. (I’ve included it at the end of this column.)

I look forward to watching the inauguration of our first black President and hope that all goes well next Tuesday and throughout Obama’s term, whether it is a four-year or eight-year term. The hope he has inspired in the American people is very much needed right now given the state of our economy and the economic hardships being suffered by so many American people.

God willing, that hope will turn into tangible results and our economy, international reputation, and trust in our leaders will be restored.

Godspeed, President Obama!

Someone Should Make This Speech and Inspire the Nation to Rally to the Cause of Saving Our Economy the Only Way We Can: Through Sacrifice, Patience, and Unity

“America has withstood many attacks in the past, external and internal. We fought two wars on this continent. The first was for our independence and the second war was for our union. Both times, America was victorious. We have survived a Great Depression that swept through our nation and impoverished our coffers, but not our spirits because Americans know how to fight. We fought to bring this nation into existence and to preserve its unity. We have fought to bring our nation back from the brink of economic ruin into an age of prosperity. How did we do it? We did it by making sacrifices. We sacrificed our sons and daughters in wars here and abroad fighting for the only thing worth fighting for – our freedom. We sacrificed our comfort and our physical health to do the back-breaking labor needed to bring us out of one depression. No one has asked us to make any sacrifices for some time now. However, now with our economy in such dire straits, sacrifices will have to be made. Some estimate it may take as many as ten years for us to recoup from the losses on Wall Street. What sacrifices are we willing to make to bring back the prosperity we once enjoyed? Without sacrificing our tax dollars, we will lose even more than has already been lost. Greater minds than mine can detail those losses for you and explain why we need to sacrifice so much of our resources to right this wrong to our capitalistic system. Many of you are angry because when you make bad decisions, no one bails you out and when those of you who own small businesses watch those businesses fail, no one covers those losses. You are right to be angry. Those who caused this crisis are responsible. However, they are responsible for more than just individual failures or the loss of one business. They are responsible for bringing our economy to its knees. Are we willing to make the sacrifice needed to bring it up on its feet again? A great President once said that we should not ask what our country can do for us, but what we can do for America. I’m asking you what are you willing to sacrifice for America? Is America worth a trillion dollars to you? Is our economy worth the sacrifice of your tax dollars to ensure the future of capitalism? Are you willing to pay, not to just bail-out Wall Street and the Big Three Auto Companies, but to re-build Main Street? I ask, you America, is our nation worth the sacrifice? And if your answer is ‘yes,’ will you join me in making that sacrifice and giving whatever resources we need to give and demanding the reforms and regulations necessary to make sure that our economy regains its strength? Join the millions of Americans throughout the history of this nation who’ve marched through the ages, soldiers in the freedom army, fighters for the cause of liberty, warriors for peace and prosperity. Join me, America. Join me in this effort and make whatever sacrifice we have to make for America. She’s worth it!”

Friday, January 2, 2009

Joe of "Morning Joe" Embarassed by "Stunningly Superficial" Views on Foreign Policy

Bush-apologist Joe Scarborough finally got his come-uppance from foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski, on his show "Morning Joe," which I confess to watching every day - not because of Joe, but because of the variety and quality of the guests who provide a much more balanced "sound byte" view of current political events the rest of MSNBC's "news" programming. Like Blago, Joe is a poster child for narcissistic personality disorder, taking every disagreement (let alone, criticism!) as a personal attack and denouncing Jimmy Carter while extolling the dubious accomplishments of the most unpopular President in recent history.

I read with glee The Huffington Post. "posters" who skewered "Joe Blowhard" and posited informed and insightful opinions about the situation between Israel and Hamas. I agree with almost all comments made, especially that ZB's comment was that Joe's views are "stunningly superficial," not the host himself; Mika Brzezinski is highly underrated (you should have seen her stand up to Joe and Tucker Carlson when they ganged up on her!), that ZB should be on more 'serious' news shows like "Meet the Press "; and that shows like "'Morning Joe" tend to "oversimplify exceedingly complex issues," as stated by Philosopher.

The problem is that shows that try to deal with the complex issues that constitute politics generally and foreign policy specifically do not get high ratings usually. One of my favorites is PBS' "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer" and the entire PBS Friday lineup that is probably the best "news" on television. But who's watching it beside those of us who want more than quick "sound bytes" that are easily digested?

Also noted by ThePhilosopher, shows like "Morning Joe" often present two opposing sides shouting above each other in so-called discussions about important issues. To use another metaphor, the American public wants their news presented like "Monday Night Football" with two teams with opposite views that they root for based on where they're from (party affiliation) and the color of their uniforms (classification as "liberal" or "conservative").

However, I will still watch "Morning Joe" every day because it wakes me up and I get to hear some of my favorite pundits who include in addition to ZB, #1: Jonathan Capehart; Pat Buchanan(yes, I did say PAT BUCHANAN because he's honest and doesn't usually take himself too seriously, unlike "Joe"); Mike Barnicle; Carlos Watson; Dylan Ratigan; Harold Ford, Jr.; Tina Brown; Eugene Robinson ; Rev. Eugene Rivers; Jessie Jackson, Jr.; and the occasional lucid and engaging politician and/or celebrity.

They all provide a nice counterpoint to Joe's huffing and puffing and spouting conservative rhetoric trying to sound scholarly when he only reads books with one point of view.The show is my wake-up call and a reminder that Friday night is coming and I'll get to watch 'Bill Moyers Journal'!