BENEATH THE SPIN ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
WE CAN'T BLAME A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ON THE WHITE MAN,
BECAUSE KNOWLEDGE IS FREE
A lady told me that I contradicted myself in last week's article. She said I indicated that if we learned to think more efficiently, we could resolve our own problems, and we wouldn't need the government. She then pointed out that efficient thinking requires education, and education requires government assistance. I asked her to think about what she had saidthat education requires government. I then suggested that she's laboring under an erroneous assumptionknowledge is free, so we're capable of educating ourselves. All we have to do is want it. I went on to tell her that it would be nice if government would educate us, but at best, our current system is a taxpayer subsidized babysitting service, and at worst, a tool used to indoctrinate Black youth into thinking that they're useless.
But as I listened to my words coming from her mouth, I didn't like their sound. I came off sounding like one of those Larry Elder-type turncoats who make a living by calling Black people whiners for expecting the services they deserve from our government. So I want to clarify any misimpression that I might have left in that regard right now. The fact is, our government should help to educate our children, and Black people, or any other citizen for that matter--have a right to get everything they can get from this government. The government is a pie that we all contribute to, and the political process is about is getting as much of that pie as we can manage to obtain. Therefore, if Black people tend to whine (the rich also whine, but they call it lobbying), it's only because we've traditionally found ourselves pushed to the side while everybody else eats the filling from the pie, and we're left with crumbs. So last week's article was about becoming bakers, and making our own pie, instead of depending on others to negotiate how many crumbs we're allowed to have.
So the difference between my position and Larry Elder's is, where Larry says that Black people should be ashamed of asking for what they rightfully deserve, I say, tell 'em to go to hell--we have enough potential in the community to tell them to keep their crumbs. There's a big difference between our two points of view--one will have you looking down at your feet, while the other allows you to look out over the horizon.
We're much too vibrant and creative as a people to have to live the way we're living, and we don't have the time to wait for the government's help. We've gotten caught up in a lifestyle where we're simply existing from day to day instead of engaging the tremendous talents that would allow us to rise to the very top of this society. Our problem is not about what the White man is doing, or not doing for usour biggest problem is about our mindset, and how we think of ourselves.
I've previously discussed how whenever scientists measure intelligence in man, or any other species, the very first thing they look for is creativity, and Black people are clearly among the most creative people on this planet. The very same creative eloquence that Martin used to ignite a yearning for justice among men all over the world, and Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, and a host of others used to develop a Black musical tradition that went from playing washboards and beating on trash cans on the side of the road, to creating the most complex and universally embraced form of music in the world, can very easily be focused to not only resolve our problems, but resolve the problems of all mankind. We've got to recognize our creativity as a cultural treasure that can be used to cure cancer, help man to explore the universe, and resolve world disputes. We've got to recognize that we are the people of the futurea people that God has groomed to know pain and suffering, in order to make us uniquely qualified to relieve pain and suffering. That is our destiny, and we must embrace it.
We're currently using our creativity to mask the pain that we've suffered in this societyand after what we've been through, we were due a few years of partying, rest, and relaxation. But now it's time to suck it up, to slow down and contemplate who we are as a people, and assume our rightful place in the world community. And the first step in doing that is to redefine our cultural mores.
We've got to replace being cool, with being knowledgeableand the only way we're going to do that is by changing the values for which we reward our children. What children want more than anything else is to get the approval of their parents, so we've got to teach them early in life that what impresses us most is what they know, not how closely they can mimic adult behavior. Instead of waking little Johnny up to show Uncle Willie how well he can "break it down", we need to wake him up to show his uncle how well he can do an algebra problemand Uncle Willie should always have a dollar or two to give him once he gets that problem right. That way Little Johnny learns early in life that knowledge is the key to success.
I've said this to people before, and I've been told, "Why set Little Johnny up for disappointment? His school is not going to prepare him to go to collegeand even if it does, where am I going to get the money to pay for it?" But that's the least of our problems. Our major focus should be to get our young people to fall in love with the pursuit of knowledge. Once we've done that, nothing can stop them from obtaining it. The opportunity to go to a top university is a wonderful thing, but it's not everything. Knowledge is free, and there's just as much knowledge in the corner library as there is at Harvard University. It was my experience in college that I did most of my learning at home anyway. When I went to school, all they did was told me what books to read, and what chapters, and thereafter I was tested to see what I'd learned. But in any event, it's the knowledge that's important, the degree is secondary. Granted, a degree is necessary to get a jobunless you have the knowledge to create one. But that said, I'm sure that if we make a commitment to come together as a community to promote excellence, we'll find a way to get our young scholars educated. I'm convinced that we have enough churches, civic organizations, and rich entertainers who are in need of Black dollars to remain rich, to get our young people educateddegrees and all.
Our community will also benefit in a less obvious way from this endeavor. Knowledge is contagious. Those parents who don't have the education to help their kids with their homework, can allow their kids to educate them. Helping our children with their homework is not only an excellent way to bond, but an excellent way to help re-educate ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to go all the way from elementary school through college all over again, or, for the very first time. And with the right mindset, it can be fun. I've learned to look at algebra problems are actually puzzles, and my kids and I use to have a ball spending hours trying figuring them out.
Try figuring this out with your kid: There's 3000 miles between Los Angeles and New York. Train A left L.A. going to N.Y. at 8 a.m. traveling 65 mph. Train B left N.Y. coming to L.A. at 10:45 traveling 85 mph. Where will they meet, and at what time?
I want to interact with you, so when you figure it out, I'd like to hear from you so I can discuss your experience in a future article. Let's stop talking, and start doing. Who knows, your child may be an engineer or mathematician, just waiting to be inspired. Wouldn't that be something? It would sure make my life worthwhile.
Eric L. Wattree
Friday, December 28, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN * ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
It never ceases to amaze me how Democrats can allow conservative Republicans--a group whose only reason for being is to undermine the poor--to co-opt the love of God as a political issue. I once read a bumper sticker that said, "The Christian Right is neither Christian, nor Right." I remember thinking at the time, what a profoundly concise statement of fact--Shakespeare couldn't have said it any better. It's unbelievable what these thugs have done--they not only stole Christmas, they stole the Messiah himself. So instead of caving in to the conservative theft of Christianity, every Democrat in
Ok, I know--that sounds like a ridiculously partisan statement, and admittedly, I'm far from a Biblical scholar. In fact, I'm not even truly what most people would call a Christian--that is, unless they examined my heart. But I can read, and all the supernatural stuff notwithstanding, I am a great admirer of Jesus as a progressive, a teacher, and philosopher. So I stand by my position--Jesus Christ was a liberal, and I challenge any Biblical scholar in the world to prove me wrong.
The people who promote these sort of issues are mean-spirited personalities who have become expert at hiding their bigoted proclivities within the Christian community. They pretend to be Christians so they can hide their prejudice, and penchant for demonizing others within a protective cocoon of spirituality. Claiming to be Christians allow them to say, "Oh, it's not me who hates Blacks, liberals, gays, Democrats, and everybody from
So I guess that just about says it all, Brother Bush. You may be able to live in comfort after vetoing child healthcare in the shadow of Christmas, but let's see if you can die in comfort, in the shadow of our Lord.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
PELOSI BRIEFED ON TORTURE IN 2002?
NO WONDER IMPEACHMENT IS OFF THE TABLE
On Sunday, December 9, 2007, the Washington Post reported that in September 2002 four members of congress were briefed on “enhanced interrogation techniques” (sweet talk for methods of torture) by the CIA. According to the report, the CIA provided a second briefing the following month, and 28 additional briefings over the following five years. Among the congressional delegation that was briefed was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). Other members of congress briefed by the CIA were Jane Harman (D-Calif), who replaced Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV(D-W. Va.), Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).
Among the “techniques” that the legislators were briefed on was the infamous form of torture known as “waterboarding”—a method of torture that simulates drowning. In waterboarding, the victim is strapped to a board with his feet above his head. A clothe is placed over his mouth and nose, then water is poured over his face. This causes the victim to have the sensation of drowning, and is intensely horrifying.
According to the report, “Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has its roots in some of history's worst totalitarian nations, from Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition to North Korea and Iraq. In the United States, the technique was first used five decades ago as a training tool to give U.S. troops a realistic sense of what they could expect if captured by the Soviet Union or the armies of Southeast Asia. The U.S. military has officially regarded the tactic as torture since the Spanish-American War.”
In spite of the fact that waterboarding has been clearly recognized as torture the world over, witnesses to the congressional briefings reported that at least two of the legislators asked if more severe measures could be taken. Pelosi refused to respond to her reaction to the briefing, but the only clear objection to the methods being used came from Rep. Jane Harman. Ms. Harman, who replaced Rep. Pelosi in the briefings in January 2003, filed a classified letter protesting the interrogation program. She was unable to protest publicly because the program was classified. "When you serve on [the] intelligence committee you sign a second oath -- one of secrecy," she said. "I was briefed, but the information was closely held to just the Gang of Four. I was not free to disclose anything."
This report goes a long way towards explaining Pelosi’s insistence that “impeachment is off the table.” In my article DEMOCRATS FIGHT OFF REPUBLICAN VOTE TO IMPEACH CHENEY, I ask the following questions:
“If Pelosi is willing to be dragged through the mud for bucking the will of the American people to protect Bush and Cheney, whose agenda is she conforming to? One might say she's afraid of a possible backlash as a result of pursuing impeachment. But shouldn't she be even more afraid of angering her constituents? So if she doesn't fear the wrath of her constituents, the most liberal constituency in the country, whose wrath does she fear more?”
Now we can answer that question decisively—she was afraid that if she pursued Bush and Cheney’s impeachment, her quiet acquiescence to a blatant war crime would be revealed. Her actions, or lack thereof, renders her just short of a co-conspirator—if not a co-conspirator, in fact.
This is yet another example of how the politicians, on both sides of the isle, are betraying the American people. It is clear that Bush and Cheney must be impeached to vindicate the American people before the world. As I’ve pointed out previously, Bush and Cheney must be impeached in order to restore the dignity and respect that the United States once enjoyed in the world community. By allowing these two to get away scot-free with all of the death, destruction, and mayhem that they've unleashed on the world, we're, in effect, ratifying their behavior. We'd be telling the world that we approve of what they've done in our name--and if we do that, America is through as a purveyor of justice and democracy in this world.
If the United States is ever to regain its former stature in the world, it behooves the American to distance themselves from these monsters. We must impeach, arrest, and thereafter, offer them up to the world community for war crimes. And once that’s done, we should extend our most sincere apology to the people of this planet for all of the destruction we've allowed the Bush administration to commit in our name. That is the one and only way that the United States will ever again be safe from terrorism, and the only way it will ever regain its former stature in the world community.
But now, it seems, we have two other tasks—we must get rid of Pelosi, and find out how in the hell the fourth estate allowed this story die in just one day.
Eric L. Wattree
Friday, December 07, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
A NEW NORM HAS BEEN SET IN THIS COUNTRY . . .
A NORM THAT SAYS THE AVERAGE CITIZEN DOESN'T COUNT
During the Reagan administration the American people made the mistake of becoming more enamored with an individual than they were the laws of this land. As a result, America failed to act decisively to curb Reagan's criminal behavior in office. Now, over twenty-five years later, that failure has come back to haunt us. America now finds itself on the brink of disaster and badly in need of a moral compass, but what we're left with is a status quo that was set with criminal intent, and a new norm that says the average citizen is unimportant. The ultimate irony of this is, the primary architect of America's downward spiral is now revered as a hero.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
AND IT’S NOT JUST THE OTHER GUY’S FAULT
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is for some people to see the faults of other’s than it is to see their own? I was listening to one of my neighbors talking to my wife one day. She was gossiping about another neighbor. She said, "Girl, she is the nosiest woman I’ve ever seen. I was watching her out my bedroom window the other day. The gas man pulled up, and she was peeping through her drapes trying to see whose house he was going to." It was all I could do to keep from laughing in her face. Here she was, peeping at another woman peeping, then calling the woman she was peeping at nosy–and she completely missed the hypocrisy in that. But that’s the way people are, and not just older people. I first became aware of this flaw in human nature when I was in the kindergarten, believe it or not. We had just finished eating and it was nap-time. I wasn’t sleepy, so I was spending the time eyeballing the room, when suddenly I heard Katrina Millsap saying, "Miss Kikuchi, Eric’s got his eyes open." Katrina was a beautiful child, but even then I recognized that a career in brain surgery was definitely not in her future.
I referred to this blind spot as a flaw, but as I’ve gotten older, I now realize that it’s not a flaw at all—actually, it’s an example of God’s compassion, and his grace. While it’s necessary for us to recognize our flaws in order for humanity to improve as a species, in order for us to both gain that knowledge, and at the same time, maintain our sense of self-esteem, God had the good sense to allow us to recognize human flaws, but only as reflected through others. That’s yet another example of the genius of God’s design. If we saw our own shortcomings with the clarity that we see the shortcomings of others, we’d be so self-conscious and depressed that we wouldn’t be able to hold our heads up. That’s why I taught my kids to always remember, before you point your finger at others, you should smell it first. Well, the fact is, I just sniffed my own finger, and I don’t like what I smell.
Every week I sit up in the comfort of my den and point my finger at Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Democrats in general. I accuse them of sitting back and allowing Bush and Cheney to drag this country through the mud with impunity. In spite of the fact that I wrote an article entitled "Don’t Preach Me a Sermon, Live Me One", every week, just like a preacher, I come to this page with a sermon about how cowardly our representatives are, and how they’re selling the people out by putting their political careers ahead of what’s in the best interest of the people. That’s been very easy for me to do, because I don’t have anything to lose. But now I’m faced with a situation where I do have something to lose, and the ramifications of actually having to live the sermon that I’m so quick to preach.
The fact is, I’m not one of those people who’s been afforded the luxury of just kicking back and making a comfortable living through my intellectual productivity. I’m, literally, a man of the people. I have a 9 to 5 just like you—if you’re one of the lucky ones. When I’m not sitting on my high horse, I work for a government agency--an agency that the people of this country are intimately dependant upon. Yet, in spite of all my holier than thou pontification, I’ve sat back and watched that agency cut your throats on a daily basis—and needlessly, just so a handful of bureaucrats can save a dollar, look good on paper, and pad their bonuses that measure into multiple thousands of dollars. As I pontificate, I’m watching millions suffer for the benefit of a few. But I do have a defense. There’s a difference between my not speaking out and congress not speaking out—because in this case, we’re not talking about Pelosi’s job, we’re talking about mine.
I’d been very successful in keeping this hypocrisy in that comfortable blind spot that our minds reserve for such matters. Then, a couple of things happened, that for some reason, shock me out of my comfort zone. First, a gentleman called me who was very distressed over the hardship he’d sustained as a result of our reckless failure to follow through on a service that should have been routine. Then on that very same day, a citizen was distressed enough to take the time to come up to the agency and request to speak with a specific supervisor. Thereafter, the supervisor was paged to the window, by name. But this particular supervisor just happened to be in a discussion with a friend at the time. I noticed that while she was being repeatedly paged, she was laughing and talking, and didn’t even look up. They continued to page her for 15 minutes, until finally another supervisor responded. But by that time it was too late. The person got tired of waiting and left.
It was clear to me why the supervisor didn’t respond, I had discussed it with her manager the day before. She knew that the shortcuts she was taking to save money, and the way she was running her unit was causing the public a severe hardship, so she’d made it a point to avoid speaking to the public at all costs. She’d made it a personal policy to avoid taking ownership for her purposeful irresponsibility.
I decided at that point that the situation was unconscionable, and something had to be done. I could no longer hide behind the fact that I was repeatedly referring these issues up the chain of command. But what should I do? What’s more important, my livelihood, or my self-respect? That’s a hell of a dilemma. In theory, my course was clear, but the consequences of reality are much more biting than the ethical abstractions that I discuss in my columns. But if I relegate my punditry to the realm of simple abstractions that are impractical in the real world, what’s the sense of even writing? So I was caught. The very same logic that I’ve always been so wedded to had come back to bite me. The bottom line was--either I should act on the courage of my convictions, or I should shut up.
In the end, however, there were two things that ultimately determined my course of action. First, everything I do is documented and archived for my grandchildren. When my grandchildren get old enough to want to know who I was as a person, I don’t want them to have to depend on anecdot al accounts, I want them to have a written record of who I was, so they’ll know what I stood for–and I want the record of this incident to show that character counts. I want them to know that I consider character as one of the most important things in life—in fact, so important that I’m willing to fall on my sword to get that message across. When they’re reading this account, I want them to know that while riches, honors, and positions can be given, and/or conferred upon you by man, no man, or institution, can confer or take away, your wisdom, knowledge, and integrity. So seek to enhance those qualities, and protect them dearly. Because in the final analysis, that--and only that--is the measure of a human being. If you keep that in mind, you'll never be intimidated by any man.
The second thing that has determined my approach to this matter, is my firm belief that everything that happens, happens for a reason. When I was growing up I fell victim to all of the corrupting influences that this society has hoisted upon our community. As a result, I was less than an ideal student. Due to the influence of drugs, a troubled home-life, and the many other distractions in the Black community, I only got snippets of an early education, but I’ve learned to trust those snippets, because they’ve served me well. Thus, I see it as more than a coincident that I just happened to be wide awake the day that they taught civic responsibility. The odds against my not only showing up at school, but being fully alert, the day my civics teacher quoted Edward R. Murrow as saying "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves", were tremendous. That coincident alone was enough to convince me that these people just weren’t meant to get away with what they’re doing to this community.
So I emailed the head of the agency (a Black man, I’m ashamed to admit) and described to him what took place with his supervisor, and suggested some changes that needed to be made. He got back with me, and we set up a meeting in his office. He invited the area manager, and we discussed, basically, what I’ve pointed out in this article. The area manager indicated that I should have gone through the chain of command. I responded by pointing out that the problem is in the policies that’s being put into place at the top, so the chain of command wasn’t the solution. In fact, the chain of command is part the problem, because it’s giving the those at the top layers of the bureaucracy others to hide behind. What’s been happening is the agency would cut corners irresponsibly, and do everything it could get away with to save money, then when all hell starts breaking loose as a direct result, they’d go into damage control mode and act like they’re shocked at what was going on. They would then pretend to address the issue by replacing the manager, who was simply following instructions. Then when things cooled they'd put that same manager back in place, or in many cases even promote him.
We’ve had six (6) managers in the past year and a half as a result of that kind of scapegoating. That not only avoids truly addressing the problem, but makes things worse, because everybody is on a continuous learning curve. It also breeds inefficiency, because as soon as a manager puts his policies into place and begin to get a feel for the unit, he’s replaced. In addition, it lowers employee morale, because the employees are constantly having to adapt to new people, and new ways of doing things. The only way that things are going to change is to remove plausible deniability from the people at the top. They need to be held accountable for their actions. So I pointed out during the meeting that if they didn’t address the issue that I was going to take the matter to Congressman Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee—and I meant it (reference my article on never trying to fight half a fight–once you commit, go for broke).
That meeting took place two weeks ago. The head of the agency requested that he be given a couple of weeks to address the issue, but I think he’s just pressing for time (he’s due to retire at the end of the year). Since the meeting a lot of pressure has been put on me—I was sent home for a week without pay, I’m no longer allowed to address public complaints, (which was my job for the past eight years), and I’ve been relegated to doing menial assignments. They’re also saying I’m not a "team player." But the fact is, I’m the ultimate team player—they’re just on the wrong team.
America is indeed under siege, but our greatest enemy can’t be defeated by the valor of our troops. This most insidious enemy that American faces can only be defeated through millions of acts of courage by millions of ordinary citizens–because America’s greatest enemy is within.
So stay tuned for further developments. The head of my agency thinks he’s going to get away clean by going into retirement. That may or may not be true. But while he may get away with his bonuses and his tidy little retirement, I can guarantee you one thing—if he doesn’t fix this situation before he leaves, he won’t get away without everyone in this community knowing how he cut their throats. And mark my word, when the citizens he was trusted to serve find out what they’ve endured for no good reason, they’re gonna be mad as hell.
Eric L. Wattree
ewattree.blogspot.com Sphere: Related Content
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
THE AMERICAN IDEAWhen our founding fathers established this nation, they embarked upon one of the most noble experiments in the history of mankind. But when they compromised the basic values of their highfalutin rhetoric to allow slavery and the inequality of women to exist, they also compromised the very foundation upon which this nation was built.
As a direct result of their shortsightedness, our founding fathers set a precedent for hypocrisy that's been passed down through the years to become a festering malignancy, and currently threatens this nation's viability. People like George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove have seized upon that initial hypocrisy for their very existence, and now clearly represent a rot in the body politic that can be traced directly back to the founding father's.
If it were not for this nation's tradition of embracing its written creed with a wink, 97,000 Black voters wouldn't have been disenfranchised in Florida during the 2000 election. Had that not occurred, George W. Bush would never have been appointed president, and our constitution wouldn't currently be under attack.
So while our forefathers indeed left us the blueprint for the most grand social experiment in the history of mankind, it is now up to us to perfect it.
Eric L. Wattree, Sr.ewattree.blogspot.com Sphere: Related Content
Sunday, November 04, 2007
|BENEATH THE SPIN ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.|
WHICH WAY WILL WE TURN--
TOWARDS MARTIN'S DREAM, OR INTO A NIGHTMARE?
I just have to scratch my head when I see how we're squandering away the rights that people fought so hard to provide us. Some of us are floatin' around here acting like Martin's dream was about nothing more than the right to chase White girls--that seems to be one of the few things that some of us appreciate about the sacrifices that were made for us. What's really sad, however, is that one could make a very strong argument that we were better off under Jim Crow. At least then we stuck together, we had to--we were herded together like cattle. But in spite of that, we seemed to have had stronger family units, more entrepreneurs in the community, and a dream of someday doing better. But now, many of us have become lost in hedonism--if it's not sexy, entertaining, or make us feel good, we're not interested in it. I expect National Geographic to show up any day now to document how forty year old "men" are walking around wearing baseball caps turned sideways, the fathers of kids they've never met. It's amazing-- we got a little taste of freedom and went stone nuts!
Many of our more successful Black people have issues as well. Let's look at some of our Black businessmen and politicians, for example. People have died to make their way of life possible. Past generations have faced vicious dogs, Billy clubs, fire hoses, and even the noose to place these people in the positions they're in today. A generation of Black people have faced all manner of hardship in the hope that if we could just get the right to vote, we could come together and vote Black politicians in office who could then help to make all of our lives a little better. But they never even dreamed that someday we'd have the opportunity to vote for a Black man to be president of the United States--and with widespread White support. Can you imagine what these people would say if they could see our Black businessmen, pundits, and Black politicians running up to the front of the crowd, waving White folks off (even White Southerners!) Saying, "No, no--he's not ready yet;" "He's too young;" or "He doesn't have enough experience?" Can you imagine them telling Martin, who gave his life at 39, that Senator Obama is too young to be president at 46; or telling Martin we need to vote for Hillary--who was a Republican and working for Barry Goldwater when Martin was marching on Washington? While I'm sorry Martin is gone, I'm glad he never got to see what some of us have become--it would be kinda fun to hear what Malcolm would have to say, however.
It is extremely important that we recognize that we are at a crossroad. For once--and quite possibly, only this once--Black people have the power to determine the direction that this country will go. If every Black person, just this once, would pull together, we could elect a Black man PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES--that's OF AMERICA, people. Now, think about this: WE HAVE BLACK PEOPLE CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THAT! Are they crazy!!? We simply cannot let this opportunity slip through our fingers--we can be fools about something else later, but not this! We have the opportunity at our command to not only save Black people, but to save All of America--and wouldn't that be ironic?
Just take a minute to think about what having Obama as president would mean--what it would mean to the self-esteem of your children, what it would mean to your own self-esteem. Think about what that would mean to the self-esteem of every Black person on the face of this Earth. If Obama is elected president, the very next morning, your child would be able to say, for the very first time, that I can be whatever I want to be--and he or she would be able to say it with conviction. Attitudes towards Black people would immediately begin to change--especially if Obama becomes the kind of president that I'm sure he will be. After all, how can you love and embrace your leader, and hate his people? How can you respect your leader, and not develop a respect for the people from which he's come? It would be a new beginning for America, because the American ideal would no longer be an experiment--it would have finally lived up to its promise.
So what's wrong with these Black businessmen, clergymen, and politicians who say they can't support Senator Obama!!!? I don't care what their alleged reason, if they turn their backs on Obama, they're not just turning their backs on a man, they're turning their backs on Black people as a whole--they're turning their backs on our children, and on the pain and suffering in our history. They're also turning their backs on our future--on Black souls yet unborn. So if they turn their backs on Obama, we should also turn our backs on them.
What do we need with leaders, preachers, and businessmen who don't have sense enough to know what's in the best interest of Black people, and who hasn't learned the importance of sticking together? How can they lead, when they haven't learned to follow? How can they show us the way, when they're headed in the wrong direction? But I guarantee you, our ancestors would recognize these people. These are the offspring of the very same people who said we couldn't run away from the fields, because, "Who gon be left to pick Mr. Charlie's cotton? He's been good to us. If we leave, he'd be ruined!" That's their mentality. They have more loyalty to Hillary's ambition than they do to their own history--they've been raised that way. But here's the biggest irony of them all--if Hillary wasn't his wife, I'd be willing to bet everything I own, that even Bill would be supporting Obama.
Let us not forget that some of these very same people who say he lacks experience--in spite of the fact that Senator Obama has more experience in elective office than Hillary or any of the other front runners--asked for our vote when they didn't have ANY experience at all the first time they ran for office. Now all of a sudden they want to become deliberative. Well, maybe we should become deliberate the next time they want our vote. And maybe we should tell some of these businessmen who claim that Obama's not ready, that we're not sure that their new businesses are ready to compete with Wal-Mart.
If someone wanted to come into the community and gerrymander some of these districts to bring in more White voters, these very same Black politicians, who are so casually turning their backs on Obama, would be going to court and having a fit--and the reason they'd be having a fit is because they depend on the support of Black voters to keep them in office. That shows you what hypocrites they are. How can they depend on Black voters to support them, then turn their backs on Senator Obama? But these people are so self-serving that they don't even see the hypocrisy in that.
Finally, I want to make it clear that I don't ordinarily advocate that Black people vote exclusively along racial lines. One should vote for the best qualified candidate. But Senator Obama is, in fact, the best qualified candidate, by any indicator. Therefore, I'm certain that the importance for Black people to rally around Obama won't be lost on the White citizens of this country. Surely they'll understand the symbolic importance of this election to Black people, and the nation as a whole. I'm sure they'll fully understand that when we walk into that voting booth in the coming election, we'll be walking in there with Martin, and all this nation's founding documents, to be co-signed and ratified; and when we walk out, we'll be leaving all of our shackles behind. I'm sure the White citizens of this country will understand that--in fact, they seem to understand it better than some of us.
Eric L. Wattree, Sr.