Archive for the ‘Sarah Palin’ Category

One Thing Leads To Another Which Leads To Another

Friday, October 10th, 2008

One thing led to another which led to another.

It began with clicking and listening for the fourth time to yesterday’s clip here on the blog of Democratic strategist Donna Brazile saying, “I tell my friends, ‘You may vote against [Barack Obama], but don’t try putting me back at the back of the bus. I’m not going to the back of the bus.’ I’m not going to be afraid anymore!”

From there, it was sitting here and thinking about the column I was trying to write for  about the Republican’s dangerous strategy of othering Obama. The latest strategy involves Sarah Palin tying Obama to a 1960’s radical and her “He (Obama) is not like us” speeches, and from there John McCain painting Obama as ominously mysterious and unknown to the American people and not to be trusted. On at least one Palin campaign stop, a man in the audience yelled out “Kill Him.” Palin who is supposed to be a born-again Christian never bothered to look up from her speech and put a stop to such sentiments.

One thing led to another which led to another.

From there I clicked over to a blog by a sister blogger Aunt Jemima’s Revenge to read her fiery denunciations of the Republican latest strategy, reserving her fiercest comments for that goofball of a black conservative, James Harris, who stood up recently at a McCain rally and begged (yes, I said the Negro was begging) McCain to turn up the heat on his negative campaigning against Obama. Who is this nut?

All of which sent me on a hunt for old video clips of an event whose images I replay from time to time in my mind. Ask me why? I don’t know. It’s the image of 15 year old Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, walking up to racially segregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas on September 4, 1957, and being turned away by the Arkansas National Guard. Eckford arrived at Central High School alone. All nine black students were supposed to go together, but their meeting place was changed the previous night. The Eckford family had no phone, and so Daisy Bates intended to go to their place early the next day but never made it.  Elizabeth Eckford was traumatized for decades by that event and admits to having lasting scars from the geers and threats she endured that September morning. Who wouldn’t?

Yes, we’ve come a long way since that September 1957 morning in Little Rock, Ark. But there are days when I wake up and turn on the television and wonder if that’s true.

When good people keep silent and refuse to speak up against the evil brewing around them is how it gets started.

One thing leads to another which leads to another. Which is how mob violence gets started, you know? Which is how you look up and find yourself back at the back of the bus, you know?

Except this time there are those of us who won’t be turned away and won’t stand for being sent back to the back of the bus.

Say It Ain’t So, Sarah

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Who did you watch the highly anticipated Joe Biden-Sarah Palin VP debate with last night? Did you throw “a watch party”  like my spouse did? When I looked up from my computer on a Thursday night throngs of people were pouring into my house. There was food enough for everyone for my sister-in-law had been in the kitchen all evening cooking up delicious West Indian dishes. In came friends and family filled with laughter and anticipation. And with lots of low expectations for how Governor Sarah Palin was going to do in her one and only debate with Senator Joe Biden.
VP debateSomething is wrong with this picture, I kept thinking to myself. Don’t people usually gather in situations like this to root for the underdog? David vs. Goliath, Texas Western vs. University of Kentucky, The black citizens of Alabama vs. Governor George Wallace, Andy Dufresne vs. Warden Norton in Shawshank Redemption, Cinderella vs. her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. But it wasn’t Joe Biden, their party’s VP candidate, the folks in my house had come to watch last night. It was the other VP candidate, the gallingly lightweight Governor from Alaska, Sarah Palin, they were looking forward to watch. No one was on pins and needles to hear what Biden was gonna say. It was all about Palin. What misstep, mistake, or hokey thing would come out of Sarah Palin’s mouth?

To the glee of everyone in my house last night, Sarah Palin did not disappoint.

Although others around my television would disagree, I’m gonna say that the Governor of Alaska proved that she’s not a dumb woman. But it’s abundantly clear to anyone with half a brain that Sarah Palin is waaaaaay out of her league.

Here’s what others have posted on the blog this morning about Palin performance in last night’s debate:

Art Brodsky wrote over on HuffingtonPost:

In Sarahland, every question is an opportunity for the pageant contestant to look perky, to take her best shot and to exude confidence - even if nothing the contestant says has anything to do with the discussion at hand. In Sarahland, winks and nods and aphorisms are enough to carry a spunky person through the worst of times - like an hour and a half of being schooled by someone older, smarter and more polished and more informed.

Leave it to TheBlackSnob to not mince words:

She had two strategies:

1) Never answer the question.

2) Say “Maverick” and “Alaska” as much as possible

Other than that, she proved she could have been in the senate because Gov. Sarah Palin could filibuster her as** off. I also appreciated that she couldn’t say what she would cut from the McCain-Palin plan because she’d only been at this for five weeks and that she agreed with Vice President Dick Cheney that the office of the vice presidency exists in a no-man’s-land between the Senate and the Executive Branch.

True to form, immediately after the debate was over Republican pundits and spinmasters went into full throttle, intent upon putting a positive spin on Palin’s “hockey mom” performance, calling it “outstanding,” “tremendous,” and “brilliant.”

“Sarah Palin was sensational tonight,” roared conservative ogre Pat Buchanan in post-debate comment on the MSNBC cable network. “She regained that magic she had at the convention.”

Say what?

Let me repeat what I wrote the other day when it was the Southern Baptist wing of the Republican machinery which was spinning shibboleths in order to rationalize the McCain-Palin ticket and trying to use the Bible to make a theological distinction between secular and religious roles for women.

Power comes from lying. Lying big, and gettin’ the whole world to play along with you. Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain’t true, you rule and you win.

Finally, I guess we had it coming folks. The risk we took in fighting for the rights of women and blacks is that we were apt to get a Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court and a Sarah Palin on a Vice Presidential ticket.

It makes you wonder as a black woman whether it was worth it all.

Of course, it was. But it makes you shake your head and say, Dang, Dang, Dang.

I’m A Community Organizer, and I Bet You Are Too

Monday, September 8th, 2008

I join progressive bloggers today in honoring the great work that community organizers do and in saying that, contra Sarah Palin, community organizers are changemakers and have made critical contributions to American organizer

What are some things community organizers do?

Anyone who has volunteered to help register voters is a community organizer.

Anyone who has volunteered to pick up people and transport them to the voting poll, to a cleaner and better hospital than the one they usually go to, to a cleaner and better supermarket because the one in their neighborhood is a rip off.

Anyone who has tried to organize a group for a cause is a community organizer.

Anyone who has spoken out about injustice, whether writing into a campaign, talked to their friends, or made a phone call is a community organizer.

Says sister progressive blogger, Sojourner’s Place:

Whether it be HIV/AIDS or Apartheid in South Africa or genocide in Darfur or Voting Rights, community organizers have played an integral part and had significant impact these issues and instigated change. To discount the significance and importance of Community Organizers, is to discount the significance and importance of what it means and is to be American.

For it is the Community Organizer who accepts the challenge and ofttimes thankless and dangerous position to go up against the status quo. It is the Community Organizer whose very life is dedicated to leaving the pile higher that it was found regardless of the cost. Yet, it is the Community Organizer who finds him or herself in the throes of ridicule, obstacles, and obstructions.

Community organizers, says, Prof BW DO in fact have responsibilities:

Community organizers are sometimes unpaid and more often underpaid for the work they do. Their hours are long as they have to accommodate constituents, emergencies, and changes in strategies and venues. They develop some of the strongest coalition building skills of anyone involved in civic work because they have to work closely with ideologues, establishment, rich, poor, the hurt, the angry, the apathetic, and the uncaring to accomplish their goals… More than that, many community organizers have been the first and strongest defense against the assault on the rights of marginalized people.

Come to think about, I too AM a community organizer.

I’m working with folks on my street to do something about the house across the way that some overzealous builder started building last year but went bankrupt and abandoned six months into the project and has now become an eye-sore street and a danger to kids in the neighborhood who like climbing its inside rafters to get a view of the city as the house sits on a hill.

I recently signed on to help register to vote the under-served residents who live around my church and to see to it that the members of my church know where to go in their neighborhoods and how to make certain ahead of time that they haven’t been dropped, because of some inconsistency, from the voting records.

After living in this neighborhood for over ten years I only recently spotted a nice neighborhood park that I’d like to take daily walks in (rather than driving 10 miles across town to walk around the university track), But I think the city should cut back some of the hedges, bushes, and growth surrounding the park to make it more safe for women to walk alone. I think I’ll see if there are others in the community who think the same and are willing to help start a petition to take downtown.   Fannie Lou

Here’s to the memory of the hundreds of community organizers, especially the women talk about a lot on this blog, whose fire breathing work on behalf of justice made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.

Contra Sarah Palin, community organizers are changemakers.

Think about, Miriam, Deborah, Mary Magdalene, Priscilla and Lydia. I bet you’ve done some organizing, agitating, disseminating information, marching, and speaking truth to power in your lifetime.

I bet you can can come up with something you’ve done (or are currently doing) that’s said to the powers that be ”Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” If you haven’t, just hold on: these hard economic times we’re living in are gonna make prophets and community organizers out of all of us before it’s over.

Anybody wanna give a shout out to some community organizer that you know of or to some comunity project you’re working on and the many volunteers who work with you on the project?

A Woman’s Right to Choose…Differently from Palin

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

“Now you see why I chose her?” John McCain asked the wildly cheering audience after Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech before the RNC on Wednesday night. Sure do, John.

Sarah Palin showed last night that she was chosen to energize the working class and Evangelical base of the Republican Party. And if the crowd at the Xcel Energy Center Complex in St. Paul is any indication, she delivered. It will take another couple of days to find out exactly how Palin went over with the base Republican consituency across the country. Women and men from the conservative right usally don’t like punchy, tough talking women. (Think Hillary Clinton.) No matter how pretty they are. But that was before John McCain became the Republican nominee and needed to pull a rabbit out the hat in order to get his base behind him. What we’ve seen over the past week since Palin was introduced into the race is despite McCain’s claim to be a reformer, the Republican party reverting back to the strategy that worked to get his predecessor, George W. Bush elected in 2000 and 2004. Inflame the Religious Right. And nothing puts a fire under that  group and imbues them with a sense of call like a perceived threat against the traditional family.

In comes Governor Sarah Palin.

Party Convention

Here’s my point: I’m an ex-Pentecostal with, let’s say, charismatic predilections, a minister, a bible scholar, a writer who writes about religion and spirituality, a Christian who goes to church almost every Sunday (which means even when I’m not preaching), a pastor’s wife and a mother, someone who teaches bible study and vacation bible school classes, when her schedule (and mood) allows – heck I’ll let everyone in on a little secret, I even tithe to my local church (yeah, yeah, I know; don’t go there). Despite my impeccable credentials, it’s pretty clear to me that I’m not who pundits, politicians, and media prophets have in mind when they talk about “Evangelicals.”

“With Palin on the Ticket, Evangelicals are Energized.”

“Sarah Palin brings hope to Evangelical Voters.”

“Evangelicals Rally Behind Palin After Pregnancy News.”

“Has Palin’s Light Dimmed Among Evangelicals?”

That’s Evangelical with a capital “E.”

What’s an Evangelical you ask? Even Evangelicals don’t agree on what an evangelical is. Besides, it doesn’t matter what an Evangelical thinks an Evangelical is. What matters is what politicians and pundits and media prophets say an Evangelical is. Evangelicals are Evangelicals not because of what they believe, but because of the stance they take on controversial issues. No issue matters more to them than unborn fetuses and traditional marriage.  Sure, Evangelicals, according to  pollster, tend also to be pro-death penalty, pro-preemptive war, anti-immigration, pro-home schooling, anti-Palestinian rights, pro-Republican party, anti-Democratic party, pro-literal reading of the Bible, anti-higher taxes, and so on. But nothing strikes horror and disgust in the heart of a true Evangelical like notion of a woman’s right to a legal and safe abortion. There’s no one they care about like they care about unborn fetuses. No one they despise more than those who are pro-choice. A woman’s right to choose is to Evangelicals what the Communist threat was to America during the Cold War.  Evangelicals are Christians who think it is their religious duty to thrust their notion of values and God down the throats of everyone else. Jesus’ “Great Commission” was not about making disciples, but making it increasingly difficult for women to have safe, legal abortions. If it means electing an ex-beauty queen from Alaska name Sarah Palin with a compromised family life as Vice President of the United States, then ‘Thy will be done.”

christian flag

Tonight Sarah Palin proved that she is a smart, ambitious, attractive, accomplished woman. She is no shrinking violet. Her classmates called her “baraccuda” for a reason. Too bad she spent most of her speech fending off attacks and taking swipes at Barack Obama instead of talking about what important insights she brings to the Republican ticket as a woman, a mom, and a governor on matters of reviving our economy, fighting global poverty and disease, ending the war in Iraq and addressing climate change.

I know that as a woman of faith I’m supposed to feel comfortable around the theology of the Religious Right. But I’m not. I hear all that talk about family values, and I get scared.  Whose family and whose values? I wonder.

I’ve certainly been bothered sitting her this past week watching the party most closely associated with Evangelicals and the Religious Right change its platform, switch values, and give itself a complete moral make-over in less than a week. Anything to win. I’ve sat and listened to pundits and politicians who otherwise would probably never work for a woman or elect a woman rally the troops to accept Sarah Palin, quick to label any questions about Sarah Palin qualifications for the Vice Presidency as misogynist and sexist.

Who would imagine that the same men who drafted the Southern Baptist 2000 Baptist Faith & Message would this week praise McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for VP?

“The only restrictions we find in Scripture are, that for whatever reason women are not to be in charge of a marriage and women are not to be in charge of a church,” explained Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “That has nothing to do with governor, or senator or the House of Representatives, or president, or vice president.”

What a bunch of hypocrites.

Women can head countries, but they can’t head churches?

I repeat: John McCain is a fox. Beside proving how much contempt he has for women by choosing as a running mate whose credentials and personal life cause a dilemma for every modern woman who thinks women deserve a chance to lead this country, he then proves the contempt he has for the Religious Right (who have consistently in the past rejected his bid for the presidency) by choosing someone whose personal life makes a mockery of issues the Right has built its platform on upon (e.g., abstinence and traditional wives).

While I’m at it, I am offended that while Palin’s family is supposed to be off limit to criticism she gets to parade them before the public and score points as a Mom, a mom who doesn’t believe in abortion, the proof being a special needs infant and an unwed, pregnant teen daughter standing there with the Baby Daddy at her side.

Back off Obama.

This is a woman’s issue. This one hits too close to home.Women’s reproductive rights is at stake with Sarah Palin on the ticket. McCain has renewed the anti-abortionists’ dreams that they will have a say in filling the three Supreme Court slots likely to come open in the next four years with conservative judges.

That Sarah Palin’s 17 year old pregnant and unmarried is no business of mine . But that Sarah Palin opposes abortion and the teaching of sex-education in schools, and has a 17 year old daughter who is pregnant, is very much my business. And the business of every woman who cares not only about the unborn, but the born too. You don’t get to profess to be opposed to abortion and then cut a line item in your state budget that would provide transitional housing for teen mothers in need of a place to live.  Where do unwed teens who don’t get to live in the Governor’s mansion or the White House go to live?

Have you noticed?: Black teens, like most teens, carry their babies to term, and they are blasted by conservative pundits  as immoral “welfare queens” for getting pregnant before marriage . Bristol Palin chooses, with her mother’s support, to go ahead with her pregnancy, and she is good Christian girl who deserves to be left alone.

Did I mention those conservatives who use the example of Jesus being born out wedlock to whitewash Palin’s 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy? I love you Mary, but someone give me a break.

Evangelicals have made birth control, abortion, sex education in public schools, and homosexuality, into public issues and if those of us who consider ourselves evangelicals with a little “e” don’t speak up and remind folks that the Religious Right does not have a corner on Christianity, women like Sarah Palin will be in the Executive Office rolling back the clock on every legal achievement women have fought for and achieved in the last 40 years.

Life Choosing

I, and other Christians, too care about the sanctity of life. Life from conception to the grave. We also believe that fetuses should have a chance to grow and thrive under the best economic, emotional, and physical circumstances their parents can provide. We care about the others issues Jesus had in mind too when he declared, “I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). We care about mothers (and fathers too) and the stress and hardship women and families facing an unplanned pregnancy sometimes endure. We care also about poverty, HIV/AIDS, health care and insurance hassles, equal pay, immigration, war, child care, and families losing their homes – the kind of issues that when compounded with an unplanned pregnancy can be soul breaking to women without resources and support.

And just in case, folks hadn’t noticed, there’s a law  already on the books that protects a woman’s right to determine the number and spacing of her children, by providing her the right to have access to a safe and legal abortion should circumstances force her to have to make such an unfortunate decision. It became law in January, 1973.

“And you call yourself a Christian.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that one. For not towing the line. For not believing what others believe. For not being Right. Content simply to try to live right, that is in a manner Jesus would recognize. To do justice, show mercy, and to walk humbly before God