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Archive for the ‘African Americans’ Category

Those people waiting for President Obama to make things easier for struggling Americans will be waiting awhile.  He did not run on that platform; his message was facilitating a climate in which those who want to strive can do just that.  Naturally, others will continue their struggle and wonder why.  They keep biting off more than you can chew; putting too much on your plate or digging deep holes.  In south Georgia, we say that the first thing you need to do when you find yourself in a hole is stop dig.  If you think about it, struggle people actually work hard for years and years in a desperate effort to stay above water or above the ground.

Can far-right conservatives inadvertently be good for our community?  Absolutely, we would then understand that the government is not designed to pull us from holes that we personally dug.  President Obama and the Blue Dog Democrats mean well but the far-left create a false sense of security.

The next important movement could come when we openly discuss encouraging people to turn inward before looking to the government for assistance and hope.  Let’s be honest: the jobs lost in the last five years are not coming back.  Companies and industries are functioning with more technology, leaner operations and fewer workers.  We simply don’t have enough jobs for the growing number of people in this nation and this world.  Since no kind person wants to see homeless people, hungry children or suffering senior citizens, we must discover a way to ethically cajole people to have children when and if they are prepared.

The dilemma is that people who are not wise fail to see this logic and accusations of genocide quickly follow.  If Michelle Obama made solving this dilemma her life’s work, she could be one of the ten most important Americans of all time.  Since we have the Peace Corps, we could call it the Cease Corps and the central mission will be breaking the cycle of American families struggling by addressing the root causes in a preemptive matter.

In my community, some people are proud that their family is strong enough to face tons of adversity.  Other families are proud that they function in a deliberate and calculating matter—avoiding adversity and living smoothly.

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Mobile homes are amazingly wonderful these days but in South Georgia we have tornados from hurricanes; you don’t want to be in a home that is mobile.  Why can the manufactured homes industry push for houses that arrive on trucks in sections or pods and are then assembled with stronger roofs and exteriors? Watchers of HGTV know that the Japanese are doing pre-fabs in aircraft hangers with a reduction in waste and cost.

My father use to question why someone would have a new Cadillac parked in front of a shack or next to an apartment.  Did he know that I would be approaching fifty without owning my first house—even a shack.  I have got to get me one of those shacks.  Actually, a modest bungalow or cottage that I build in part myself is my plan. The internet is full of webpages for companies doing interesting things with pre-fabs.

We must change our mindsets about homes and not let the housing industry drive us into the poor house like the auto industry and fashion world.  Conspicuous consumption or “keeping up with the Jones” is a dangerous thing.  The subdivision community that popped up in the late 60s and early 70s in the south emphasized ranch homes with formal dinner and living rooms—those rooms we could only enter on holidays.  Today, homes with great rooms better serve American families. 

I know people overseas who would never put T.V.s in their “bed” rooms because the bedroom was made for sleeping and dressing; they live in their living rooms.  In the Mc Mansions that helped created the housing crisis here, people have big bedrooms plus several living rooms, dens or studies.  Huh? I like the families that planned their housing size and cost with their real needs in mind.  For example, a couple with two high school aged children and one in junior high shouldn’t give each kid a room in the new house since every kid will likely be gone in a five years; maybe the oldest kid could have a room that will become a study or den. 

We hear shocking stories about ball players in the A.T.L. building super-sized homes without consideration for the upkeep cost after their playing days. But, regular families need to think about the expense of heating and cooling large homes in retirement also or after one spouse is gone.  Older couples should build houses with wheelchair accessibility in mind and think about stairs. If I actually had money and wanted a big house, I would design the structure with the idea that I could convert it into a duplex if I reach old age.  The house could generate some retirement income, I would not be alone from the security standpoint and I would be free to chill in a second home in some affordable Caribbean spot for months at a time.  I love it when a plan comes together.

I also love seeing people retire and move back to the South.  Folks often sell their northern homes (too cold up there), buy a small place in the hometown and pocket a nice chunk of money.  Of course, they are concerned with the racial climate rather than the climate climate.  It can get cold down here in other ways but many discover that the vibe is smooth than expected but the urban drama of crime and drugs is here also.

We know about planned communities in Florida and other retirement areas but what about smaller, affordable versions in southern towns.  I have always like those bungalows communities that grew when the troops returned from World War II but modern versions could be within walking distance of old downtowns and feature duck ponds with walking paths; retail spaces and eateries; and lofts, apartments and modest homes. 

We must emphasize the importance of building homes we can comfortably afford.  The formula charts in the real estate section of my local newspaper say a person with a gross income of $24,000 can afford an $81,000 home.  I don’t half trust these real estate and banking people because they are nothing like my man George Bailey in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life.  George and the old school guys lived in the community and wanted to see people actually own their homes; they looked forward to mortgage note burning parties.  Today, the industry is structured in a way that guys get their money at the beginning and if you go crazy trying to meet the monthly payment that is tough luck.  You made your bed and you must sleep in it.

It’s better to own a modest home than stress over a big house.  If you work overtime or two jobs to put your family in a large house, you missed precious family time and if you don’t raise your kids the streets will.  You can’t get that fishing time, nightly sit down dinners or school events back.  Those teens are in those big rooms in big houses watching big T.V.s teach them how to get into big trouble.  One thing about little houses is that people learn how to get along and those cool evenings of bonding on the front porch are priceless—think Mayberry.

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We are at a seriously crossroads in America and heaven only knows what’s next. From the economy to the national debt to our schools to senseless crime, President Obama’s hair is going to be completely gray by next summer.  The situation in Afghanistan/Pakistan has me baffled because the ultimate goal is keeping nuclear and atomic weapons out of the hands of rogues.  One million dollars per year per service member is pricey but if left unchecked a few angry radicals could do the unthinkable.

At Black college in the 80s, we would listen to Sting’s “The Russians” in the dorm and hope the Russians loved their children too but these new cats actually look forward to better lives on the other side.   “How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy.”  Those toys in the wrong hands are nothing with which to play. 

I have friends who say that before September 11 they could not imagine their children not being safe at home on American soil.  Really?  Of course, those friends don’t look like me because we grew up on constant Klan watch—not to mention confederates with badges .  In a strange twist, we are not safe in the community today for thuggish reasons.  It is a sad state of affairs when young men from here are safer in the military overseas than in the neighborhood. 

This post seems gloomy but the sun isn’t shining today.  Okay, it’s shining somewhere other than normally sunny south Georgia.  Some say these conditions are baby-making weather; let’s hope “some” have some jobs and some money because expanding or starting a family during these dark economic days is scarier than the Taliban.

On the bright side, thank heaven for making me an American.  The poor here lives better than the average person around the developing world.  And what are they developing?  Oppenheimer’s toy and resentment.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYDEpeBl-hY

Sting–The Russians

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The film Carmen Jones, featuring Dorothy Danridge, Harry Belafonte, Brock Peters, Pearl Bailey and lovely Diahann Carroll, is one of favorite movies.  Seeing a romantic tragedy is rough when logical decision-making could have avoid all of the drama.  This adaptation of George Bizet’s opera is a must-see classic.  I can believe I can watch the whole movie online.

On a politics/public policy blog, dating and romance seem out of place.  But, my friends and I have determined that the root causes of many community concerns center on non-governmental matters.  Obviously, we know about moral decay, weak value systems and slack church participation—not cool.  But, today I want to rant about dating and marriage.

Many young women spend more time dreaming about being a bride on their big day (queen for a day) while not thinking about being a wife and then a mother in the long term.   Cohabitating with another adult can be difficult because people don’t want to compromise in the era of “I want it all and I want it now.”  Many guys have no idea what being a husband and then a father is because they have not been around health relationships.  The holiday season is a perfect time for the upright walking men in families to bond with the young men and plant that seed of positive living that doesn’t involve constantly dodging the authorities or having the government tell you to care for your children; not having children early is a good way to keep the “man” off your back. 

A kid says “I am going to have a baby” and my head drops. First of all, you are a baby yourself.  Next, you are going to have a person—an infant, a toddler, a teenager and eventually a young adult.  It’s a long involved, expensive and complicated process so my next question is “she got pregnant for/with what genius?”  Life is a series of phases and one can’t determine what type person someone will be during the late teens and early twenties phase—in my opinion. 

In the barber shop during my youth, the retire military guys would teach us that some of the nicest women in the world are right here in south Georgia but a fellow should consider seeing the world in the armed forces or the range of sisters on the college campus before making life-altering decisions.    

Old folks have always said that what you did to “court” or hook that person must continue “until death do you part” –none of that bait and switch stuff.  Carmen Jones says “bait your hook for fish you can fry.” Dating is just like a job search process and anyone can say anything during an interview but you need to check those references.  Dr. King said no lie lives forever so these people who want to “act” all nice and sweet will show their real colors in time.  Long courtships are essential.  Belafonte’s character in Carmen Jones would have been better off if he stuck with the sweet country girl.  

Regarding money, the pastors who require pre-marital counseling have it 100% right because a person could be styling and profiling during the courtship while running up astronomical credit card debt.  What’s in your wallet?  I will tell a sister in a minute that I have one child and her name is Sallie Mae so check that student loan also.   

My friends and I think that problems occur when people don’t seek the right information and ask the right questions.  The Destiny’s Child question comes up when I am playing tennis with the young brothers.  “If someone from Destiny’s Child step to you, what would you do—be faithful or put your sweetheart in the wind.”  When I was a young man, Anita Baker was the standard by which loveliness was measure.  Forget about video girls and supermodels; we are talking about the sweetest fruit from the African tree and Baker married a regular guy rather than some ball player or high profile dude. 

Beyonce is okay and Michelle’s faith is great but Kelley Rowland has Anita Baker type smoothness (she can’t sing like Anita.)  If you listen to the D.C. song “Cater To You” it outlines the many things a man and woman should do for each other to keep a relationship strong and if that stuff sounds like to much for you, stay single.  Relationships are hard work and some folks are lazy and inconsistent.  Like D.C. sings in this song “I know whatever I am not fulfilling, another woman is willing.”

Finally, stop talking about wanting what the Obamas have if you are no Michelle and he is no Barrack.  Newsflash: the Obamas mostly made the right moves in their personal, educational and professional histories then worked at that their relationship and family.  It was not easy but what worthwhile is.        

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqHVnBjRRLA&feature=fvw

Destiny’s Child–Cater To You

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Loyalty is a word with many different dimensions.  On Capitol Hill, a former supervisor gave our staff the following poem during an uncertain period.

Pledge of Loyalty
By: Sir Elbert Kim Hubbard

If you work for a man,
in heaven’s name,
work for him,
speak well of him,
and stand by the institution
that he represents.

Remember,
an ounce of loyalty
is worth a pound of cleverness.

If you must grawl,
condemn and eternally find fault,
why?
resign your position!

And when you are in the outside,
damn to your heart’s contents!

But as long as you are a part of the institution,
do not condemn it.

For if you do,
the first high wind that comes along
will blow you away.

And probably,
you’ll never know why.

The essence of the poem hit home with me because I have always believed in being loyal to those who were beneficial to me—that includes staying basically “down with the team” long after working somewhere.  But, loyalty is a two-way street that requires commitment from bottom to top and top to bottom.  For example, Sarah Palin should remember that Senator John McCain “put her on” and Joe Lieberman should do the way with Al Gore.  

From the following list, how would you prioritize your loyalty?

Country

Faith

Race

State

Family

Political Party

College Football Team

  

While the last one might seem humorous, some folks would have it very high up on their list.  I saw Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rev. Al Sharpton and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the Meet the Press discussing their efforts to reform education in America.  While I wasn’t invited, my comments would have centered on loyalty in education.  It’s no secret that I feel Black students owe a debt of gratuity to those who broke down barriers and that they debt is paid by working hard, being focus, and capitalizing on educational opportunities.

 

At the same time, teachers who are loyal to the field should remove themselves if they realize they aren’t reaching the students; getting money for not doing the job could be considered stealing on some level.  Of course, weak teachers have bills and other financial obligations that sometimes keep them in the classroom—skating by.

 

Some teachers will tell you that half-raised kids with poor attention spans burnt them out with a quickness and that parents aren’t doing their parts.  The finger of blame can point some of everywhere but we must fix this broken system before we have a generation of Americans ill-prepared to function in the global economy.

 

If you let me tell it, I think the bells and whistles of video games, computers, and T.V. creates kids who only want to focus when things are flashy and visually stimulating.   Loyalty to local school system makes citizens reluctant to admit that “needs improvement” is an understatement.  If Secretary Duncan asked me to create a charter school as a model, you can best believe it would be the old school three Rs with a high-tech twist and little Johnny would understand that his loyalties must compelled performance and achievement.  Who am I fooling; the young cats in my community are unbelievably selfish.  If you asked them what they believe, they would likely say, “I believe you better get out of my face.”

 

 

Meet The Press

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/#33948109

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happy-holidays

I want to be the first to say Happy Holidays but how happy can the season be with the constant political bickering and endless campaigning.  Do you mean the 2010 elections and the 2012 presidential race have already started.  Give me a break…literally.  Barring something huge, my blogging for the rest of year will focus on what we can do as a community to mend ourselves with less government spending and involvement—the regular stuff is debated and discussed too much elsewhere on the web and T.V.  It’s covered. 

We are thinking about Obama and Congress every wake hour because the national agenda (jobs, security, job security) is very important but do we think about Sweet Jesus this much?  (I know I don’t and yes, momma, if lightning struck me down, I would bust hell wide open.) 

I just googled “hell wide open” and someone wrote that people should read Luke 6:37: And judge not and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not and ye shall not be condemned.  Wow, that is timely because my moderate friends did not ride Bush 41 or Bush 43 like Clinton was ridden and Obama needs a saddle on his back.  But, the hatred for Hillary Clinton when she was first lady was inexplicable.  Some of those same people realized last year that Hillary was always a quality person but they were too busy hating to see that in the 90s.  In contrast, my friends think Laura Bush is one of the most reasonable people on the right; heaven only knows what drama the last White House would have gotten the nation into without her private counsel.   

I am patiently waiting for President Obama to drop his “community heal thou self” effort.  People who know how to listen heard him say that from the second he stepped on the national stage.  That call can only come from the Obamas, Colin Powell, Dr. Condi Rice, Oprah, Bill Cosby, Spike Lee, and posthumously Arthur Ashe.  Wait a minute, most Black families had that message back in the day and many still do. If those discussions (which are nothing new) started to hit home, they become our own version of conservatism/moderation.  On a lighter note, my buddy told his son that no White man was going to fly all over the world in cold weather to bring him free gifts.  Dude said, “I bought you that stuff with the money I made at work.” 

During Thanksgiving, we broke folks are tempted to say, “why should I be thankful.” A quick ride to the other side of town can quickly put things into perspective or rewatching Roots, Saving Private Ryan, or Schindler’s List.  The new movie Precious might be one for that list also.  When you see people staving in the developing world or watch a person who can’t move below his chest, you should get it.  But, we spend some much money helping those who poison themselves with drugs or who’s health situation is a result of overeating.  I have been to some places in the world where they could not image having enough food to get sick from obesity. When I walk down the street there, people say, “Hello American” as if to say I know you are an American because you have a belly…. congratulations on having some much food.    

For the rest of the year, my blog post might seem more social commentary or community dreaming than political views and insight.  However, the new line of discussions is at the root of my concerns more than what the government can, will or should do.  What was J.F.K.’s most important quote again?

Happy Holidays

Keep it logical

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Election night this and early analysis that is fine but my opinion of Tuesday’s results are deliberate, measured, and after deep contemplation. (Okay, my dinosaur of a computer was having hard drive issues.)

And the winner is: President Barrack Obama.  (Somebody up there really loves him.)

If the Democrats did well in the elections, the party base would push harder for more of the costly change “we can believe in” but can’t afford—financially or politically.   They would push for more traditional liberal candidates for the midterm elections next year and force actions matters that would embolden the far-right.  However, the governors races in New Jersey and Virginia confirmed that the alliance that put the president in office is big but frail, constructed of people who are new to the glacier pace of public policy and based in large part on Obama himself being one great guy (not the party but Obama—glacier-cool rock star.)  We are talking Rat Pack cool, Hemingway smooth, Sidney Poitier with a Havard Law degree.

The brain trust in Obama’s corner wants a reason to pull White House policies to the center but needed it done before the midterm election nightmare President Bill Clinton experienced—like a little nightmare during a cat nap. “We want to drive the good liberal agenda but we would lose the congress next year and the White House in 2012…to Palin.”

And the first runners-up are: Those Blue Dog Democrats. (Somebody up there really loves Obama and knows he needs them.)

As a result of the elections and the protest movement, the Blue Dogs get policies that makes better fiscal sense and they get to be the models for swing districts despite the far-left illusion that they are running America.  Democrats need to sit down and learn from Al Gore.  Clinton/Gore and the congressional Democrats broke their necks attempting to help regular folks but regular folks must turn into regular votes.  The key to the elections next year will be success from Obama White House policies and some long coattails.  They say young and minority voters don’t go to the polls for mid-term elections; those voters have never been asked by a young minority rock star.

Possible losers from Tuesday night: Michael Steele and the crew that fields GOP congressional candidates next year. 

If Steele followed the blueprint he outlined while running for chairman, he would be searching for cooler, less bitter conservatives (Red Dogs.)  But, Rush, Glenn and Fox News will pick some real firebrands who are perfect for the far-right but scary the daylights out of the moderates needed to win in certain areas.  If they listen to Newt and Steele, they would be much better off.

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Georgia Rep. Jim Marshall held a town hall meeting yesterday and solidified his place as as a front-runner for governor next year.  Oh yeah, Marshall is not running for governor but his ability to please moderates and conservatives was exceptional.  The only folks who might not like Marshall’s message are liberals, national Democrats and Obama supporters.  

I have been questioning about Marshall in the past year because he never supported Obama or Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign but after listening to him field questions for hours over the radio, I finally get him.  He is either an anachronism of the pre-1990s Democratic Party (Dixiecrats) or a bright star in the non-party American political future.  The good thing about Marshall is the fact that he represents non-Atlanta, Georgian views as well as anyone.  The bad thing about him is that he rarely works to quail the political vitriol aimed at our party and President Obama. 

Rep. Marshall did well in his fair opposition to health care reform and mentioned the bipartisan Healthy American Act that he could support.  When questioned about his vote for of the 2008 bailout, Marshall repeated his opinion that those actions were need to rescue the economy and if he could be defeat for doing what he thinks is right, defeat him and send him home.  I guess he has the same outlook about supporting Democrat initiatives in 2009 that expand the size of government or balloon the national debt.

The congressman waxed nostalgic about the good old days when most congressional districts could elect either a Democrat or Republican.  He then told the crowd that the current congressional maps create districts safe for Ds or Rs without going into details about the Voting Rights Act being the reason for redistricting.  Marshall is better suited for statewide office because the liberals’ section in the Democrat Party will want him gone over his major votes this congress; that district really is a conservative seat. 

If you read the signs, the GOP lack of opposition to Rep. Marshall could be indication that they don’t want him push into a bid for governor because he is one Democrat who might actually win (he couldn’t beat Isakson for Senate.)

Is Marshall a Dem, cloaked GOP or an undeclared Independent?  Old school R&B music fans can think of Marshall like Teena Marie—a hybrid.  Lady T didn’t look like us but everyone in the community loved the ways she “put it down” in her music.  Rep. Marshall has a D on his jersey but he evidently feels conservatism as much as anyone and too much for some Ds.  I hope Jim Marshall has Teena Marie in his Ipod or on his Blackberry because he should listened to “Out on a Limb” and “Square Biz” over and over during the coming months.  To be honest, Marshall brought that “square biz” on health care reform yesterday but some Dems wonder why he is not “out on a limb” with Rep. Barrow and Rep. Bishop in support of the White House…a Dem White House. 

We true Obama supporters are listening to Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire.”

 

Healthy American Act: Summary

http://wyden.senate.gov/issues/Legislation/Healthy_Americans_Act.cfm

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DO_THE_RIGHT_THING

Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing” drove compelling discussions about cultural and race in my circle of friends. In the book Lee wrote about making this movie and in interviews, he refused pointing the finger of blame at any one character for the riot that erupted in the plot. Film-making is an art and the viewers in this medium make their conclusions ultimately.

Danny Aiello’s character Sal owned a pizzeria in a transitioning neighborhood.  While people in the community grew up on Sal’s slices, it was clear that the Sal’s family “tolerated” the area out of business necessitate. 

When I think about the Blue Dog Democrats, I see a similar situation.  I was proud of most Blue Dogs for taking the town hall meeting heat this month and slowing the rush to pass a massive health care reform bill before August recess.  The protesters deserve some credit also but they need to understand that a member of congress who easily wins elections must defer to those ballot results first.

Long servicing Blue Dogs are starting to look like “I don’t need this juggling stuff in my life.” If the Blue Dogs helped conservatives with issues during the Bush years, some of those conservatives in their districts should reciprocate on some level now.  Federal retirement could be looming for some members of congress and political observers should remember that the total number of years for retirement includes time in congress, the federal bureaucracy and military.  As the possible full retirement year approaches, members (like school teachers) might decide to ride the wave without rocking the boat or tell it like it is. 

Like retirees in barbershops, these public servants can finally speak their minds with secondary consideration for pensions.  I had to smile pleasingly when I saw a few normally tactful Blue Dog show some bite when protesters questions did not give them the same respect conservatives received while supporting Bush/Cheney debatable policies.   While voting the party line on the far-left and far-right is easy, Blue Dog Democrats and the few moderate Republicans must analysis every vote to make decisions that best serve their diverse districts or states. 

Like Sal in “Do The Right Thing,” they must also decide when enough is enough and if closing shop would be better than continued conflict and aggravation—getting out before a riot jumps off.  On the bright side, Sal could have moved his business to a suburban mall and moderates on both sides of the aisle could move to better situations in the executive branch, private sector or academia—President Obama’s White House seems to like Republicans more than Blue Dogs.  While I am not the best person on faith matters, this situation makes me think of Luke 9:25:  

For what is a man profited if he gains the whole word, and loses or forfeits himself?

Discussions about using the reconciliation process in congress to pass health care reform makes me think about those brave Democrats who voted for Bill Clinton’s Budget Reconciliation Act in the early 90s and were defeated by smirking Republicans in the mid-term elections.  History has proven that Clinton was right but many Democrats in safe districts conveniently voted against that important legislation to save their seats. 

“I am voting the wishes of my districts.”  But what should a member do when his/her district has formulated opinions based on deliberate misinformation efforts.  Like Georgia native and eulogizer of Malcolm X, Ossie Davis’s character said in the Spike Lee’s film, always try and do the right thing.

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I am confused on some level about the fairness or lack there of involving southern congressional politics.  First, the biggest indicators of public sentiment are elections and when members get 68% or better of the vote, that is saying something about what the people in that district want.  A very vocal minority in an area should not be misconstrued as a better indicator that the election.  Of course, some would say that the winner beat a weak opponent but the fact that more suitable opposition did not set up again tells you something.

When the conservatives took over the White House and Congress in the 1990s, the Democrats responded by accepting the public sentiment and accepting a subset of their party that was near the center.  Georgia always had Democrat congressmen who were conservative called Dixiecrats.  So Democrats learned to understand that Blue Dogs worked with the Bush White House because a sizable part of their constituency wanted that cooperation and dialog.   The fruits of that labor include agreements on veteran, defense and agriculture issues. 

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, why are some from the Right attacking the same Blue Dogs who were respectful to President Bush and his policies that even other Republicans now question?  I can understand  “getting at” the city liberals but why disrespectful fuss at those who have been kind to your cause in the past.  After the “interesting” Gore v. Bush election, most southern Democrats accepted the results without the ugliness we see now.

Another thing: please put a members actions in it’s proper perspective.  I personally appreciate members on both sides of the aisle who listen to both sides of the issues.  If a member is from a district with a balance mix of political views, his votes should be equally mixed.  I would not expect Rep. Kingston, Rep. Linder or Rep. Westmoreland to make many liberal votes nor would I expect Rep. Lewis or Rep. Johnson to make conservative votes.  For the Blue Dogs in the Georgia delegation, the situation is complicated because they have both rural and urban areas; Democrat and Republican; and conservatives, liberals and moderates. 

If you have a hypothetical government program and half of your congressional district wants to fund it at $100 million and the other half wants it funded at $300 million, do you compromise at $200 million?  Those type decisions trouble House Blue Dogs and their staffers daily.  If you think about it, southern senators often have similar concerns because they represent the whole diverse state.  While Georgia has conservative senators, liberal-to-moderate metro Atlanta has more people than the whole state of Alabama.  It’s a balancing act. 

What about the Blue Dogs who appeased the Right during the Bush years but are reluctant to lift a finger to help the Obama White House.  What would you do as a member of congress if you realized that part of your support base was flat wrong?  Would this situation be similar to the southern members of congress who courageously voted for the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s when the possible backlash was apparent?

They should think about Texas Rep. J.J. Pickle and the other six southerners who voted for the Civil Rights Act because it was the right thing to do.  For all the glamour of the Kennedy brothers, where were they when people could not drink from a public water fountain, ride a bus or order a slice of pie at the lunch counter in Woolworth’s?  They were trying to avoid alienating the whole South.  LBJ was the arm twister who got it done after the unfortunate loss of JFK.  JFK, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and President Obama are maybe too nice to deal with the far-right and/or rogue Democrats.  I am beginning to think that Michele Obama and Hillary Clinton have that certain LBJ toughness to get things done—talk about some women who don’t play.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/19/AR2005061900885.html

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On the tennis court this morning, I faced the old “go left, go right” decision several times.  If I chose the wrong direction, my opponent could hit the ball in the opposite area and I would be burnt like toast.   A deeper consideration of that situation states that a player can accelerate in the current direction but changing direction is almost impossible.  In the 70s, we called that “the wrong foot” or “caught you leaning.” 

Politics mirrors sports at times and a person’s temperament on the field, court, or even playing chess tells you about his nature in business and elsewhere.  My opinion on “what’s next” in American politics was incorrect.  If I thought center, the South when right and I “got caught” leaning. 

When the conservative movement swept the nation, the Blue Dogs emerged as a moderate division of the Democrat Party, a home for those who felt the Right was too far right.  I naturally assumed that a similar moderate subdivision of the Republican Party would materialize after the election results of the last few years.  At this point, the situation is the opposite.  If you listen to conservative friends, you will learn that the commitment the Right has to their core principles is unwavering and inflexible.  If the general public wants to vote differently, those voters must be collectively mistaken about the best interests of our nation.

As I have written in the past, the GOP has a short bench of rising stars who could challenge the Democrats on issues, budget and logic; Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin comes to mind.  Unfortunately, others are more appealing to their base. We likely will not see a fresh crop of positive GOP candidates against the Blue Dogs in the South next year.  As General Colin Powell recently pointed out on Larry King, there are legitimate concerns with the speed and spending of the Democrats.  However, the GOP is opting for red meat candidates from the far right rather than those who could appeal to the center—great idea for the primary season but the general election is a different matter.  Of course, it is their party and they will live with the results of their strategies.    

The alarming part to me is that the leader of “what’s next” from the Right will not be Gingrich with his intellect or Romney with his command of the business world and financial markets.  You and I both know who is the next leader of the Right and what she will need to do and say to win; put on your seatbelt and prepare for a bumpy ride. 

I personally like Michael Steele and hope that our community will have an opportunity to better connect politically with our obvious conservative nature in the South.  However, going from a Blue Dog moderate to the far right is seriously wrong foot.  We will see how this situation plays itself out but don’t asked me because I often lean wrong. 

Bottomline: Will we see smoother GOP candidates or will others prevail?  If the GOP wants to push all moderates and centrists out, I am sure the Blue Dogs will take them. To finish the tennis parallel relative to politics, I tend to hang in the middle and go short distances left or right.  If you drift far left or far right, the other guy can pass you with ease.

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Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn made a lot of sense on NBC’s Meet the Press this weekend.  I have always considered him the standard for southern moderates who must balance the interests of vastly different groups inside the same political area. 

Regarding President Obama’s position on Iran, Senator Nunn said:

FMR. SEN. SAM NUNN (D-GA):  Well, he said that the regime has been unjust and he has condemned the repression, and he has basically expressed over and over again, including long before the election in the Cairo speech, that the people had the right to be heard and their voice should be heard.  And certainly, I don’t think there’s any mistake whatsoever in the Middle East or anywhere else that President Obama is basically supporting the right of the people to vote and to make their influence known and not to be repressed.

You know, Winston Churchill said a long time ago that no matter how beautiful the strategy, occasionally you have to look at the result.  The result here is that we are not the story.  We have been the great Satan over there for the last 30 years.  We’re not the story.  Freedom, liberty is the story, the repression of the regime is the story.  So I think we’re positioned about right. 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31463249/ns/meet_the_press/page/2/

I am feeling that Churchill quote about looking at the results because at the end of the day it is all about results.  The U.S. foreign policy cowboy mentality of telling most of the world what to do as if they are children was wrong and cloaking our corporate greed in foreign policy based on exploitation was also wrong.  Nunn has Obama’s ear and we are lucky for that because Nunn is going to call it like he see it with patience and deliberation.

Party politics was no big thing to Sam Nunn because his dedication was to the people of Georgia first.  The Black community in Georgia should look for the next Sam Nunn type.  Of course, we need to do it like we do it with our own version of conservatism that grows from churches and stable Black homes and businesses because the GOP establishment really doesn’t have a clue about the average Black person. 

Improving Black America starts with real talk about the decisions we make—what you put on your proverbial plate.   After years of having a sizeable Congressional Black Caucus avoid saying publicly that really needs to be said, our community should look into some conservative and moderate options that would get at what ails us.  It is about results and getting the results we voted for last November will require electing some Republicans who will fairly debate policy and spending with the White House. 

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I keeping hearing the hook from rap anthem “Self Destruction” when I think about Obama’s concerns for our community.  With elements of Kennedy’s “Ask not what this country can do for you” classic speech, President Obama and his lovely family will outline the formula for better living for those who care about themselves and how we carry ourselves.  However, that same rap hook applies to the self-destruction of the GOP.  

The GOP is working hard to marginalize themselves and doing a fine job.  Alienate Blacks with attacks on Obama, Steele and Powell…check…alienate Hispanics and women with attacks on Sotomayor….check…alienate centrists by pushing Specter away and preparing to attack McCain and the few remaining moderate GOP senators if they voted for Sotomajor’s confirmation….check and checkmate.  You just guaranteed defeat in the midterm elections.  

If the GOP purifies their rank and file, those voters pushed away will natural hang in the center or join the Blue Dog division of the Democrats.  The Blue Dog selection of the Democrat team could therefore grow large enough to counterbalance the far-left urban ultra-liberals and give President Obama the opportunity to be more corn-fed Kansas populist than Chicago rural liberal.  We must remember that Obama created his statewide appeal in Illinois by connecting with the country folks down state. 

While the GOP is counting on the big spending from the White House helping them during the mid-term elections, America might actually like Obama and the Democrats more as the White House slides toward the center.  Cover the children’s eyes because the sight of a dying elephant could traumatize them for life.     

Michael Steele has some elephant-sized EKG paddles in his hands but I don’t think he can get pass those who are in denial about what when wrong in the past or those who don’t want new congressional candidates to be more Sen. Isakson smooth and less Fox News bitter. They could pick up three House seats in Georgia just by reading this blog. 

The House Minority Leader John Boehner recently said what…I can’t believe it…no he didn’t…he told the truth.    

Boehner: ‘Digging Ourselves Out of a Deep Hole’ – George’s Bottom Line

“We’re digging ourselves out of a deep hole,” he admitted.  “We took it in the shorts with Bush-Cheney, the Iraq War, and by sacrificing fiscal responsibility to hold power.”  Boehner also acknowledged that the GOP hasn’t done a good enough to job shaking the “party of no” label. 

Rep. Boehner outlined his positive strategy turning things around but I think he needs some fresh face with encouraging vibes.  Michael Steele should consider the following a personal gift from me: in Georgia, getting Austin Scott,  Deborah Honeycutt into the correct congressional races would be your best spot at picking up seats by pulling voters from Blue Dogs.

As the Republicans taught the Democrats in the 90s, voters are reluctant to vote out incumbents from the party controlling the power in Washington.  The GOP can’t win any congressional races in Georgia without producing Obama and dare I say Palin like popular, fresh candidates.

We know that traditionally Organized Labor and the Trial Lawyers controlled the Democrats with money and the Faith community and big business did the same for the Republicans.  Obama got most of his money from the people so after all this bailout stuff he should do what the people want if he wants a second term.  (And I am not sure he actually does.  Maybe he wants to change the whole game with sweeping reforms without concern for reelection..walking away on top of the game like Jim Brown.  Is that the secret deal he cut with Hillary?)

What would happen if the faith community created a third party?  Who would be left in the GOP?  Hear me: embrace some less bitter GOP candidates now or suffer the consequences.

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My sister just got back from business in South Africa and is heading back next week.  While looking at her African safari pictures, I see that her truck was near a Gnu or wildebeest.  I can not stand the sight of those things because I was chased by a goat coming from midget football practice.  I was coming from practice; not the goat but I am a Worth County and Albany State Ram…talk about your irony.  Also, I am not a midget and as a moderate Democrat I should refrain from using un-P.C. terms like that one. Forget P.C. unless you are talking about Panama City Beach; Little League was called midget football in my day.

So, I don’t like Gnus (if that is the plural) because that goat chased me and wildebeest look like those pictures of the devil from church while we were growing up.  You see the devil on his throne of evil looking like those ugly things the big cats of Africa chase.  One night I when to sleep and woke to hear on one of the smart people TV channels that the largest migration in history is the annual movement of wildebeests.  There is no away I am stepping foot on an African safari and I am careful at Wild Adventures in Valdosta and Chehaw Park in Albany.

The hypocritical part is that I like snakes, another biblical icon of the devil.  Tom from Thomasville use to worked with me in Rep. Bishop’s office and I remember him from his time as a campus leader at Fort Valley State.  In college, we could listen to stories Tom got from old wise people all night long.  When we would ask what’s up in the Valley, Tom would say that a little boy ran on the porch to tell his grandmother that there was a snake behind the barn in the high grass.  The grandmother told the boy that there was no problem if the snake was behind the barn and the boy was there on the porch.  Grandmother said, “Don’t be concerned with the snake in the grass, you need to be worried about your own Black ___.” 

When you think about it, the boy might have been right because the snake behind the barn today could be in the house tonight.  People function under the mindset to trust and fear certain things and groups.  Candidate for Governor Eric Johnson wrote a detailed essay a few years ago about the history of the relationship between Blacks and the two major political parties.  Yes, the GOP was started to stop the expansion of slavery because slaves would do jobs without pay in new territories that new immigrants from Europe wanted to be paid to do and the Democrats (or Dixiecrats) fought for most of the last century to keep the Black restrictive laws in place.

At the end of the day, political parties change for the better, for the worst, and then back again—the same can be said about individuals, groups and races.  What’s Gnu is that our fears and concerns of the past might have been unfounded or no longer relevant (the defense mechanism of the wildebeest must be being ugly and running scared in large groups.)  I should leave this along before I write that the same can be said about the extreme elements of both ends of the political range.

But, when you thing about it the Gnu GOP just wants survival in the jungle just like the cool snakes on the Democrat Team.  I hope President Obama’s African and American DNA helps him sort out what’s what.

History of GOP according to State Sen. Eric Johnson http://www.pickensgop.org/gagop_history.html

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Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, a member of the Senate subcommittee on Africa, is visiting the troubled Dafur region of Sudan.  I am still surprised that Isakson is one of the most conservative members of the Senate yet serves with a cool listening ear and compassion mindset rather than the vibe of some of his colleagues.  And people wonder which leader the GOP should model the next generation of policy makers after.

I hope he comes back with the idea of getting more peanut-based food paste from Georgia and dry pasta to help than staving region in the short-term while get a market opportunity for our farmers and producers.  In the long-term, exporting farming techniques and equipment developed at Fort Valley State and U.G.A. to that suffering part of the world could assist in our antiterrorism efforts—bread rather than bullets.  But, we still have the bullets—don’t sleep on the eagle with the olive branch in one talon and the arrows in the other.

Isakson should be briefing Agriculture Secretary Sanford Bishop about the opportunities for southern agriculture to help heal the world while creating jobs here but the Obama White House passed on Georgia.  (For those who thing the current president won’t be criticized by moderates or African American would not condemn African genocide and support of terrorism.)   

http://www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2009/05/27/isakson0527.html

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While speaking at the Georgia GOP State Convention recently, RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s statements included:  

The chairman said he had inherited leadership of a party that was “stuck in a 1980s philosophy, using a 1990s strategy to win campaigns.”

The Republican demand for orthodoxy and purity, Steele said, risks making the party irrelevant to “the changing heartbeat of this nation.”

“We can no longer be afraid that to open up, to invite someone in, diminishes us. I don’t know how that works,” Steele said. “If you are true to your convictions, to your core, why are you so afraid to share that?” 

Before he when to Savannah, Steele should have swung by southwest Georgia so we could sit on the porch, sip some sweet tea, eat a few locally produced Nether’s Pork Skins (made by a guy from my church) and I could have hooked a brother up with what’s what. 

I would have explained to Steele that the South dominates his party now and those southerners are accustom to have things their way most of the time.  If we are talking about 10 political points, they want their ranks in line on 9 points and the missing point can’t be the pro-life issue.  The faith aspect makes abortion non-negotiable. 

The GOP doesn’t need to let anyone “in;” that is not necessary.  Steele needs to help them understand that elections are won with coalitions i.e. Reagan Democrats.  Those coalitions are built on situations and circumstances of mutual benefit. 

The GOP took power in Washington in the 90s because large numbers of faith-oriented, patriotic heartland Americans (Rs and Ds) supported them on faith issues, strong defense and what seemed like their commitment to fiscal restraint.  The Democrats seem sincerely committed to addressing the kitchen table issues that current families are handling—Rs and Ds.   

I would have told brother Steele that he could win some contested races in the congress next year if the grassroots of his party understood that sometimes non-Republicans support GOP candidates who are experts or advocates for the major issue in those voters’ lives.  It is that simple.

For example, Georgia farmers agree with most of the Georgia congressional delegation on agriculture issues and USDA programs.  In southwest Georgia, Republican farmers reluctantly vote for Rep. Sanford Bishop while southeast Georgia Democrat farmers support Republican Jack Kingston.  It is all about the wallet in Georgia on agriculture, military bases, veterans, and transportation spending.

While the Democrats welcome “outside” support, Georgia GOPers are don’t understand that outsiders are there for different yet important reasons.  Could the allied forces have won World War II without Stalin and the Russians? 

I would have told Steele that my friends and I were cheering for him when he ran for the Senate in Maryland and that he will always have a home in the community if his party decides he should be elsewhere.  That’s how we roll.  Finally, I would have said that like private schools and churches, some of the grassroots people in his party join with the understand that most of the people there were….well, you know.  Hey, is that the reason I when to a Black college?  That Kumbaya Obama stuff is a sweet concept but in the meantime, you get in where you fit in down here and some of his party members join….you know..and they know too.

If moderate and centrist Democrats can coexist in a big party with the San Fran crew, then Steele’s party can do likewise or send the centrists right over.  We can call them the Red Dogs.

“Red Rover, Red Rover, send Condi, Colin and Maine’s senators over.”

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It’s nice to have friends from across the political and social spectrums because discussions and debates bear fruit and we mutually grow.  Some people have a hard time putting their minds around the idea that what you knew as “this” has changed to “that” and what you thought about your group has changed also.

In politics, some Republican officials and operatives don’t seem to realize that their divisive techniques of the past has turned off the sensible center and changes are needed are they will become an anachronism.  If your numbers are falling at an alarming rate, don’t stand around waiting for the masses to come back around or for the other guys to fail.  In the South, we prefer conservative and moderate politics to liberal politics but the extreme elements on the right are abrasive and unjustifiably arrogant.  Pelsoi, Reid and congressional Democrats have similar traits on the left but not to the offensive level.  

In the middle of all the drama, we have President Obama and his wide-eyed collection or hodgepodge of supporters who simply wanted public officials to confer and arrive at logical conclusions to move the nation forward.   There are Republicans who swear that all Democrats are ultra liberals yet the Georgia congressional Republicans work with their Democrat colleagues.  If the Democrats of Georgia allowed the Blue Dogs to consider and support President Bush’s policies then the Republicans of Georgia should do the same with Obama initiatives. 

From childhood playgrounds to the halls of Congress, southerners have a long history of being friends with people who are different when it is convenient then getting amnesia when it is convenient.  The D.C. axiom goes “we have no permanent friends or permanent enemies; just permanent interests.” 

The interests of my community are better served if we diverse our political portfolio while certain stock is low.  Mark my word: that stock won’t stay low. To my Republican friends, I will caution you one last time to make a comfortable place for moderate thought inside your party as the Democrats did with the Blue Dogs or you will have a party of extremists who the public in general find off-putting.

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Thunderstorms are immiment, but I’m still headed to the beautiful city of Savannah for the Georgia Republican Convention.                                  

I’ve got my mini digital tape recorder, my note pad and plenty of business cards in an effort to meet and greet each of the Gubernatorial candidates, the Honorable J.C. Watts, Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, and Herman Cain. I’m expecting to hear and see a different tone that exudes diversity and open mindedness with an emphasis on re-energizing their core values. Let’s see what happens. Stay tuned for further updates throughout the weekend.

If you’re my Facebook friend, you can get the information much quicker.

Oh, and I intend to count the number of ‘people of color’ in attendance.

Peace.

Helen

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