The Political Okey-Doke
Aw…the sweet smell of politics.
Well, actually, lately it stinks. Between the lies, the race-baiting, the personal attacks, double talk, broken promises, ever changing polls and theatrics, politicians seem to have less and less time to deal with the real issues affecting Americans (and we are all too painfully aware of what they are).
What I don’t understand is how we let them get away with it…and that goes for both parties. Why is it that we don’t demand more of our candidates—more accountability, more respect and more sticking to the issues?
One of my favorite lines in the movie, “The American President” is when an angered Michael Douglas—portraying a bachelor president whose love life has become the target of the Senator campaigning against him for re-election—holds an impromptu press briefing.
“We have serious problems to solve.” he says, “and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”
It’s political okey-doke, plain and simple, and yet it makes up most of what we see in election season, particularly those as emotionally charged as this one.
The race to the White House should not be a popularity contest—who’s got the best-looking family or who looks most like me—it should be about who actually can do the job.
President Obama is a great man, hands down and First Lady Michelle is the bomb. And,—sorry to say for those of you who hate to hear it—but from all indications, Romney is an accomplished man as well. Neither deserves to be demonized.
For years, black people demonized Condoleeze Rice, who energized the GOP convention with her speech in which she reminded us that “the essence of America, what really unites us, is not nationality or ethnicity or religion. It is an idea. And what an idea it is. That you can come from humble circumstances and you can do great things, that it does not matter where you came from, it matters where you are going...
“On a personal note, a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham. The segregated city of the south where her parents cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they have convinced that even if she cannot have it hamburger at Woolworth’s, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state.”
Call her what you like, but know that Condoleezza Rice represents the best of us and to characterize her as anything less says more about who you are than who she is.
Another black woman took to the political stage this week. Ironically enough, she is a Mormon. But from listening to her it’s easy to see why as Condoleeza Rice put it, “one's status of birth is not a permanent condition”.
“Let me tell you about the America I know,” Sarasota Springs, Utah Mayor Mia Love told the GOP convention. “My parents immigrated to the U.S. with ten dollars in their pocket, believing that the America they had heard about really did exist. When times got tough they didn't look to Washington, they looked within.”
“So the America I came to know was centered in personal responsibility and filled with the American dream.
“The America I know is grounded in the determination found in patriots and pioneers, in small business owners with big ideas, in the farmers who work in the beauty of our landscape, in our heroic military and Olympians. It's in every child who looks at the seemingly impossible and says, ‘I can do that.’ That is the America I know!
The fact that she is a Mormon and married to a white man will, no doubt, make her a prime target for demonization for too many blacks who spend a great deal more time tearing things down than building them up. And that is why, my friends, when we look at our communities, there is so much work to be done.
As we go to press, it’s hard not to be revved up about the Democratic convention Charlotte with a list of speakers that includes Newark Mayor Cory Booker, First Lady Michelle Obama, President Obama, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who will be the first Latino keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention. And then there’s former President Bill Clinton.
(Heck, just give him four more years).
Keep the faith.