Posted by: Khepera | Saturday, 8 November 2008

History: Witness & Herald

Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted to my blog, but if there ever was a week of events to pull folks out of the woodwork, this was one…  Injuries, illness, and crazy workloads notwithstanding, this is a week when many who thought they had lost their voices chose to speak up….& loudly.

Michelle & Barack Obama

Yes, I’m happy with this election — relieved and gratified.  However, I am neither giddy nor euphoric at this moment in history.  I recognize the significance, but I see it more as a call to action, to rally rather than a reason to party…

If one looks carefully, it is easy to see that there has been a major shift in the paradigm, but, perhaps not the one which seems most obvious.  This moment presents many more challenges than it does answers — different challenges, and, most critically, those challenges are directly connected with our capacity to engage differences, individually & collectively.  Some examples:

  • As any continental African will tell you — the people of India as well — this election will require of us an abrupt political maturation in ways most are not prepared for.  Gone are the days of cliche calls for “struggle,” to “fight the power,” to “rebel against the oppressor,” etc.  As African nations discovered in the 50’s-60’s, when you take control of your own land, you can no longer play the victim game, at least not the same way. Granted, Obama has only been elected president, and the *forces of oppression* in this world are collectively far greater than the resources of the White House can combat, alone.  Yet, we are going to have to shift our vision & chorus to one of embracing power, if we are to prepare ourselves to wield it effectively, individually &/or collectively;
  • I would humbly suggest that if any of us would seek to celebrate, to magnify this moment in a manner which truly honors our triumph, Obama’s victory & those ancestors who fought & died to make this possible, then I would suggest that instead of partying & running through the streets, we should all be about joining/starting discussion groups, planning committees, community focus & empowerment cadres so we can prepare ourselves, focus our vision & energies so that when the shift in policies occur, when Obama becomes president and begins to implement programs, we are properly positioned to help shape them with coherent input, and be primed to avail ourselves of the opportunities presented, without expecting others to wait for us to get up to speed.  Obama likes to quote Kennedy, and perhaps the most poignant and appropriate quote for this moment is “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
  • Another shift in mindset we need to implement immediately is to get away from viewing President Obama as a *savior*.  Only we can save ourselves, and if we sit on our collective asses expecting that some magic wand is going to wave and make everything all better, then a whole bunch of folks will need to get *unraptured* when reality sets in;
  • I have said/written for two years that anyone who wants to be president after this last fool needs to have their head examined.  I say this because anyone who is awake can see that the negative momentum in this country — and around the world — is so strong that simply maintaining the status quo would be a miracle beyond the imagination of most of us.  If it did nothing else, the recent economic/bank meltdown should make that clear.  Times are going to get much tougher before they get better, and this winter will be no joke for most of those in snow country;
  • For those who are expecting sweeping apocalyptic change, it would be wise to remember the lessons of two of the last three southern presidents we have had.  President Carter is a man of great character, as most discovered only after he left the Oval Office.  He arrived as a Washington outsider, and the bureaucracy of federal agencies were arrogant and recalcitrant when he arrived, claiming variously ‘Look, we’ve been here doing it this way for 20 years, and we’re gonna keep doing it that way.  You’re only gonna be here for 4 years, so there’s no point in changing anything.’  And that’s just what happened.  On the other hand, most folks don’t realize that the key reason Kennedy won the election & was able to get so much accomplished in terms of new policies, etc., was because of Lyndon Johnson.  President Johnson Served as a Congressman for 12 years, and Senator for 11, including being Senate Majority Leader for 6.  This meant that when Pres. Kennedy got to the White House and began instituting change, his bills were ratified in Congress largely because of Johnson’s clout & influence.  He knew where the bodies were buried, he new many secrets because he had run things there for so long.  For Pres. Obama, the next most critical step will be his choice of Cabinet & staff.  I have some ideas about this, but more on that later…;
  • Also, let us be honest and clear that most Blacks & whites outside of the deep South are in stubborn denial about the virulent nature & level of rage, anger & resentment among many whites in this country over the idea of having a Black President.  The Secret Service & Homeland Security need to REALLY be on their job, because this is not a trivial issue.  If you were paying attention, the number of attacks — and murders — of Democratic Party leaders and personnel during the campaign was waaaay beyond anything I had ever heard of before in my life.  One of my key concerns here is that if something should happen to Pres. Obama, this country would explode in upheaval, and it would not just be African Americans fighting in the streets.  Further, folks would not be burning, stoning, etc. their own neighborhoods.  You can believe the first targets would be banks and mortgage lenders, and maybe even real estate offices.  It would be sudden, viral and bitter.  I truly pray this does not occur for all the above reasons, and more.

There’s more, but I think that’s a good place to start, for now — something to chew & digest, absorb & act upon.  For certainly, it is as true as ever that “If not now, when?  If not us, then who?”


  1. Loved your blog comments, they are quite on point. Much food for thought.

  2. The document must be witnessed by two competent adults (18 or older). Black Economic Empowerment

  3. Well said, my dear brother. My sentiments exactly. Except, those of us in my age group are singing, dancing and, yes, celebrating. This is truly a call to “Step Up To the Plate” and commit to the political process. A great many of us still did not vote. My brother-in-law included. What did you mean by “murders” of democratic party leaders? I heard no such information.

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