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i really want to believe.

as a six year old who attended mandatory high mass on every day except sunday, i need to let you know i tried. i REALLY tried to hear god. i listened and listened. trust me -the nuns, as much as i frustrated them- would have given me an “A” for effort. i just never heard anything. i still haven’t. which leads me to the democratic national convention.

the dems put on a great show. they pulled at the heartstrings, and were careful to mention all the necessary topics and keep hushed about the sensitive issues. michelle obama’s speech was masterful. bill clinton kicked serious ass with his math and logic. joe biden’s sharp tongue called out the lies sputtered in the republican national convention just last week. and then barack obama took the stage to accept the democratic nominee for president for the 2012 election.

yes, i am cynical. the obama presidency has disappointed me in many ways and in others was a fresh minty breeze. because i wasn’t in the room when the disappointing things went down, i can’t say if the president actually did put up a fight for the right thing. i have a sneaking suspicion that with all the republican roadblocks, he had to sacrifice some legislation to get other legislation passed. seriously, what the man has been through these past four years. i can’t believe his skin isn’t grey too. the GOP has done everything in its power to keep obama from succeeding. me? i think it’s the elephant in the room. racism. but that’s for another post.

the minty fresh stuff was really great: the repeal of DADT, obamacare, support of same sex union, the lily ledbetter act among others. and michelle brought back fabulous to the the world of FLOTUS. honestly, i think she’s the best FLOTUS ever. she’s beautiful, she tackles important issues, she’s poised, she shops at target as well as with designers, she insists her children clean their rooms. i like shelly-o a big lot.

the gist of this post is that i want to believe what i heard, because i do want the world to be a better place. unfortunately, i live in a country that influences the rest of the planet like no other, so what goes on here sets the tone for much of the third rock from the sun. i want to believe in the democrats just like i wanted to believe in god.

the god thing didn’t quite work out, because, as i said, i didn’t hear anything. but the democrats have another chance. they’re the best choice we’ve got, so i’ll vote for another four years. i do, however, hope to dog that the republicans back off and allow some real work to get accomplished. the world needs some good energy or it’s going to implode long before its due date. if the republicans win, we will know the mayans were right, just not exactly on schedule. or perhaps the mayans meant the beginning of the end in 2012.

hoping that’s not the case. and that what i heard will become action.

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Who knows of Tommie Smith and John Carlos?

unless you were living and watching the 1968 summer olympics, you probably have no idea who either of these men are. for me, watching them on the medal stand –for the 200 meter dash, with black gloved hands raised in the black power salute– was a true learning experience. i realized i lived in a seriously and dangerously racist society. after their imbroglio of the olympics, the story of tommie smith and john carlos was rarely mentioned. (to learn more about these two brave men, read this terrific article from GOOD magazine.)

[below, the medal stand for the men’s 200 meter dash. l2r: peter norman (australia) silver medalist, tommie smith (usa) gold medalist, john carlos (usa) bronze medalist.]

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it’s 2012 now, and one would hope racism would have ebbed by now; unfortunately it’s resurging and rearing its ugly head even more dangerously. with the presidential election coming up, i am seeing and hearing (i live near atlanta, ga) things that make me want to sit in a corner and just CRY. people i know are saying very racist and scary things on facebook. they don’t say them out loud or in conversation as there is an unwritten rule in the south: no one talks about religion or politics. it’s considered “impolite.” on facebook or unsaid, the racist undercurrent is like tinnitus: you can still hear the shrill sound that doesn’t end.

in 2008 i had such optimism about the future. i watched the inauguration of President Obama and the parade following, sobbing through hours of televised coverage. i was crying because i was so happy that FINALLY something happened in the united states with which i could connect, of which i could be proud. the country had elected a black president, and he and his family were smart, beautiful and likable. hope.

my biggest question about racism (then & now) is WHY?? why is racism still so prevalent? why is a black president so threatening to so many people? why do people think the color of one’s skin is equal to one’s worth? we should have learned by now. we should have left this nasty business behind long ago. for those still clinging to this outrageousness, i ask you to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself WTF?¬†give yourself an opportunity to stop hating. please stop hating.

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