Wednesday, 05 November 2008 06:00

On the Obama victory - A few words of introspective contemplation

A few words of introspective contemplation, expressed to the public. One of the biggest perks of working for yourself is the freedom from corporate politics, and the ability of being able to say what you want. I like being able to speak the truth, come hell or high water. As a matter of fact, it is one of my greatest strengths and simultaneously my Achilles' heel. I literally cannot stop. I presume I will never be able to get a job anywhere anyway after some of the stuff said on this blogJ. Well, here goes some more truth, as I sit back in utter elation at the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America.

Yesterday, as a country, we were on the precipice of self defeat. We were at the nadir of our great empire of finance, technology, culture and socio-political influence. As of approximately 11 pm last night, we as a country have overwhelmingly chose, for the first time that I can recall in my short lifetime, to actually marshal our substantial resources as a united people and collectively step back from that precipice. We have decided to look past the last great set of shackles that hamstrung this country to a system of petty, prejudicial name calling and fear mongering and move on to actually confront people and issues for what they are, and what they are not.

Just looking at the media portrayal of the President Elect, I see profound changes in the way my demographic is being portrayed through pop media. This man, this politician, this leader, this Black man, is being portrayed as a pensive thoughtful husband, father, and freedom fighter in comparison to how one would have observed historical portrayal of him (or anyone from his demographic) just a few years ago. I wish you to critically consider the following:

  • How many times has a political candidate, or a Black man, been portrayed in the near majority playing affectionately with their children in the popular media? Oh dear, family values are actually starting to mean more than Brittany Spears speeding tickets! Being a strong father figure, being a strong Black father figure, is now not only something to be admired nationally but is being strongly promulgated through the media. Just think of how many times you have seen this BEFORE Obama became popular.
  • How many times have you looked into a pop media rag or TV show and seen a Black man being judged as a man, in lieu of being judged as a Black man. Not once did Barack identify himself as a Black candidate, and for the most part, the media went along with it. He is a man, I am a man, we are all men, and we are not confined - defined - by our melanin content.

By recognizing the dangers and pitfalls of group associations and the prejudices which inevitably follow these associations, Obama's campaign has executed near flawlessly, and I must say they not only fully deserve the win that came last night, but they have opened American politics up to what is heretofore an unprecedented modus operandi - honesty. How about that? We have been shown that debating actual issues instead of negatively preying on misperceptions, prejudice and fears can not only win one the presidency, but do so by a wide margin. Just imagine the lessons to be applied in the next presidential election. Let all be on notice, as of now you will be forced to address the actual issues!!!

Let me attempt to put this into perspective. A few may get the wrong impression when they see me organize outings on my own yacht, events at swank NYC lounges, or reliably produce 200+% investment gains.

Consider, instead, the man who survives only through the time required and spent on his family and children/parents/wife. Let me tell you where this man comes from. My parents are from South Carolina. My paternal grandmother worked on the plantation that enslaved my family, up until 1972 as a cook. My great, great grandparents were slaves and so were their parents and their parents. Before that there were carpenters. My maternal great grandfather was half Cherokee Indian. This is so because his father ran off to hide among the Indians in an attempt to escape slavery, and bore children. As I traced my family history, I found that many were afraid to admit their ability to read and write due to the potential for retribution.

My father was extremely excited, but skeptical, at the prospect of having a President Elect Obama up until the minute it actually happened, because when he was my son's age he wasn't allowed to drink from the same water fountains as white people. He had friends who were beat for being "accused" at looking at white woman. His life was shaped by racism, his parents and grandparents' life was literally at the behest of racism, and my life was significantly affected by the racism which shaped my parents and their fore bearers' lives. I have been arrested for being Black man, shot by police officers, and incarcerated over the weekend for the privilege of receiving the bullet (by the age of 23) - all for doing nothing more than having this particular melanin content visible in my epidermis. This is despite going to a good private school, being college educated, hanging out in the "right places" and being a generally good person with strong parenting, and totally innocent in all instances. As a matter of fact, my children are the first generation in my family to not have to confront racism first hand, and to only hear of it from their elders. I share this with you, so those who are open minded can see how debilitating racism has been in this country, and how even the promise of eliminating it can propel us so far forward, so fast, that the positive benefits are nigh inconceivable. For those of you who think I am smart, or think I am capable... Well, there are hundreds of thousands of "me's" waiting for the opportunity to be all that they can be, or at least fail trying. There are hundreds of thousands of Obama's as well. Just imagine the potential if we could just judge people for who they are, and not by their name, color, religion, appearance, or nationality. Just imagine...

Unlocking the veritable hurricane force of progressive, creative energies to be found in what is probably the most diverse, and capable populace in any country on this planet by giving all - youth and elderly alike - hope and proof that they can do more than make a difference. They can excel based on their individual merits, and not just based on their ethnic affiliations (or alleged affiliation), skin color, economic status, or demographic classification. Trust me, to those who are both at the top of the socio-economic food chain and those at the bottom, it is an unassailably euphoric feeling to know that you have succeeded, or even failed, based on your own merits and abilities in lieu of that cookie cutter template that society may have pigeon-holed you in. I know of many very wealthy people born to wealth families who feel nigh helpless, because they are only seen as granddaddy's money, and not seen for themselves. Yes, the prejudicial knife cuts both ways.

So, although I will not allow myself to believe that one man will be the end all and save all, nor the panacea, the mere fact that his outperformance was actually rewarded with the success that it has been is a marked sea change in the America that I have grown up in, and that that my parents, grandparents (my grandma was so happy she forgot she had arthritis) and their great grandparents grew up in - and make no mistake about it, the man and his campaign staff and supporters truly outperformed. So, now, maybe we can do away with judging people by color, religion, ethnicity, nationality or stereotype in this country and start judging people by the their character, ethics, capabilities and substance. Who should really care if Obama is Muslim or not? What we should care about is whether he is a good and capable man. Oh yeah, that's right Muslims can't be good people. Lest we forget that Jews were in this stereotypic mire not too long ago, as were Catholics just before them. Enough, already!

Most people still have no idea the tidal wave of talent, capability, ingenuity, creativity, and progressiveness that is about to be unleashed as the shackles of racism and prejudice that was the order of the day since the 1400's are truly being broken down and the raw talent of this country starts to come to the forefront. I travel amongst many different circles, and I can tell you that much if not most of the extant powers that be would be absolutely flabbergasted and unfortunately frightened at the intellect, talent and (heretofore thoroughly and purposely dampened) drive that exists in this country's housing projects, rural poor communities, ethnic ghettos, and single parent, struggling households. The election of Obama portends, not if, but when, we are able to tap that pool of talent and set it free to prosper or fail on its own merits, this country will be turbocharged in its propulsion into the true global leadership position of the 21st century.

As our President Elect stated (and I loosely paraphrase) in his victory speech last night, the strength of our country lies not in the strength of our arms and guns, not in the depth and breadth of our financial markets, but in the vigor and life of our diverse peoples. I literally feel, for the first time in my life that we are not just a collection of 50 states in America, but a truly United States of America.

Anybody who has spent more than a couple of hours on this site should know without a doubt that I probably am capable of making a substantial amount of money for a significant cross section of our society. What is truly valuable though, much more so then doubling or tripling your net financial worth, is to be able to say that I can assist you in indentifying with, and empathizing with someone who not only comes from a different background than you do, but does not look like, act like, or behave the same as you. Now, that is truly an accomplishment worth being proud of.

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 November 2008 06:00