Thursday, January 29, 2009

Okay, Obama: Bin Laden, Chavez, Zawahari... And Now Ahmadinejad

For the past few months, some radical rascal or another: Bin Laden, Chavez, Zawahari... and now Ahmadinejad, has been publicly threatening or trying to provoke this newly installed leader of the free world, President Obama, with challenging words. But so far, the 44th President has remained cool, calm and collected. However, this most recent verbal affront by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toward Obama is getting close to stepping over the line.

Without calling President Barack Obama by name, Ahmadinejad called for an "apology" to Iran by our new American leader:
"Those who say they want to make change, this is the change they should make: they should apologize to the Iranian nation and try to make up for their dark background and the crimes they have committed against the Iranian nation," Ahmadinejad said.
Now come on! President Ahmadinejad never fronted President George Bush off like that in the international media. For the Iranian leader to attempt to reduce the stature of President Obama by raising that apology issue on the global stage should rankle the feathers of every American, whether they support or like Obama... or not.

In a big symbolic gesture by President Obama, it is reported that he, and his team, are in the process of reaching out via drafting a letter to the Iranian leadership, in an effort to open a channel for dialogue. But that letter shouldn't include an "apology". No way!

If this saber rattling continues, pretty soon President Barack Obama is going to have to come out and display his "South-Side-Chicago-hood-rat-side" to these international despots, and let them know 'he doesn't play it'! All of these men of color (Bin Laden, Chavez, Zawahari and Ahmadinejad) know what it is like to be a brother in the spotlight. So each of them need to back-off and show Obama some r-e-s-p-e-c-t... and give him time to scout out the lay of the land and form a strategy to move forward toward peace. This continual public "dissing campaign" of America's president is counter-productive and is not helpful.

Now, a year from now, if President Obama has demonstrated that he was not sincere about 'changing' America's position in the world, and restoring America's image across the globe... then, okay... these men of color can, and should, chide him or take him to task. But to front Obama off at this juncture in his presidential tenure is not the way to treat a brother!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Berryhill Salutes Obama: 44th President of the U.S.A.

President Barack H. Obama, Jr., being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America, ushers in a new and unprecedented era for this country. Duly elected as the first man of African-American descent to ascend to the most powerful office in the land, President Obama stands on the shoulders of many Black pioneers who died in the struggle in anticipation of a day such as this.

Growing up in the racially charged 70's, where the mantras of the day were: "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud"; "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", "Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothin'... Open the Door and I'll Get it Myself"... it is with deep pride that I, the great-great-great-graddaughter of slaves can see someone, who looks like me, actually in charge of the city where a 'free black man' named Benjamin Banneker, was instrumental in the construction of the city.

President Obama's success is essential! If he succeeds, all Americans, rather they identify as Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Green Party, can take pride in a unified nation. If Obama is allowed to fulfill his term in this office, there is a great possibility that he can help bridge the mistrust and misconceptions held by many in both the Black and white communities against each other.

And, African-Americans, while proud and unashamedly claiming ownership of Obama, Michelle, and his two beautiful daughters, must remember that he does not belong to the Black race only. He will be the president of all Americans, and in his quest to be successful, he knows he must govern accordingly. But he will need our help!

Help him by praying for him every day that he will surround himself with God-fearing advisors. Take time to find out the fax numbers and email addresses of your local Congressmen and Senators that you can show support of legislation that empowers your neighborhood, and let your voice be heard on policies that will not benefit you or your community. And lastly, we must carry ourselves as African Kings and Queens, committed to fulfilling the dream of Rev. Martin Luther King... and be steadfast in our goal of becoming self-reliant, disciplined and financially independent... just as our ancestors before us taught us.

This is a new day, and together, with our sleeves rolled up and head held high, we can make this country great again.

God Bless President Obama... and God Bless the U.S.A!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Obamas Open the Way For African Americans

by Princella Smith - Guest blogger; Washington, DC

Bill Cosby portrayed it: an upper middle-class, successfully educated African-American family. Dr. King dreamed of it, spoke of it, and gave his life for it. Slaves and then civil rights activists were jailed, beaten, and died for it: for the day when not only would a person of color be allowed into the White House but would run the White House.

It’s been a long time coming, but the American minority has officially reached the highest American ceiling, and that’s a testament to the maturity of this country.

I say this as someone who disagrees with Obama ideologically. I believe in the notion that less is more when it comes to government. I believe in individual responsibility and ownership. I believe that more funding to schools will not replace the need for school reform and teacher accountability. I believe that people should be allowed to invest in their own individual social security accounts and that any extra money in the account can be left to family members at death. I believe in a comprehensive energy plan that includes drilling for American resources while developing alternative forms of energy. My official trek into politics was jumpstarted by Republicans. I have held true to most of party’s ideals, BUT I AM American enough to see the patriotism in celebrating the history of this moment.

An Obama Presidency doesn’t mean that bigotry is over. For as long as there is diversity in America, there will be prejudice, racism, and ignorance. No longer do we have to wonder: “Is it really true that I can be anything I want to be?” My grandmother says that her first reaction to seeing “President-Elect Barack Obama” on the screen was to remember about 37 years ago when my father was 11 years old. She was waiting with him for my grandfather to arrive from work, and as my grandfather approached them, he had to stop, stoop over, and wipe the dirt from a white man’s shoes before he got into his car. My grandmother took her hand, and turned my then 11 year-old father’s head away so that he would not see his father have to wipe dirt from the white man’s shoes. “That’s what I thought about when I saw ‘President-Elect Barack Obama’ on my television screen,” she said.

The difference today is that African Americans, now more than ever, must follow through on King’s dream. Before Obama’s election, to many, those words were empty because there had been no evidence that America would take a step as huge as electing a person of color to the most powerful position in the entire world, but they did.

And so, my dear African-American brothers and sisters: for each one of you who live in poverty; for each one of you who are surrounded on a vast island of depraved neighborhoods and less than adequate school systems; for each one of you who look for miles but cannot see an example of an educated successful African-American couple with a stable family, just turn on your television, pick up a book, read a magazine, check a newspaper or click on the internet, and realize that THERE IS AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT with an African-American wife... occupying the White House.

You don’t have to pattern your life after President-elect and Michelle Obama’s, but Obama’s election is an example of what you can have in life if you work hard, discover your personal abilities, and capitalize on them. Men... pull your pants up, tuck your shirts in, and walk upright. Exercise restraint and sexual responsibility. Do not support entertainment that degrades you, your culture, or black women. Cease use of the “N” word. Saying that it “empowers” you is ignorant and shows your lack of knowledge on the origin of the word’s usage.

No doubt, you will face discrimination in your lives. When people say the phrase: “Well now, they have no excuses”, I want to ask them: “So, you thought this entire time that when minorities—particularly African-Americans—have expressed frustration with discrimination that it was just whining??” Clearly, those people just don’t get it. However, Obama’s election should always serve as a testament to ALL Americans that no matter how much discrimination presents itself as a hurdle in the race of life, you can still get to the finish line in America. We live in a great country.

So, aim. Make your own waves, and aim at the highest goals. Surely one of them, you will achieve.

Princella Smith is a political activist. During the day, she is the Chief Advocate at American Solutions, a non-partisan political organization founded by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Majority Leader Declares: "I Don't Work For Barack Obama"

Has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) officially declared his independence, as he noted for the record that he does not "work" for President-elect Barack Obama.
“I don't believe in the executive power trumping everything... I believe in our Constitution, three separate but equal branches of government.”

“If Obama steps over the bounds, I will tell him. I do not work for Barack Obama. I work with him,” Reid said in a recent interview with The Hill.
Now exactly what kind of signal is Senator Reid sending to the American voters, other Congressional representatives and to leaders around the globe?

While it is true that Barack Obama, in accepting the position as President of the United States, officially works for, and is "an-employee-of" the American people... the Senate Majority Leader's statements somewhat lessens the authority of the office, and reduces the authority of the office holder. And while his statements are an "unspoken reality" on Capitol Hill and among lawmakers in general... would he have ever made such comments about Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, William Clinton or even George W.?

Reid may have set a new precedence here, as these words telegraph to a wavering populace that his Majority Senate position is 'par' to that of Barack Obama's. Even if Senator Reid's position is that he-is-as powerful and is equal or on the same level as soon-to-be President Obama, to publicly declare it on the national and international stage is a first in American politics.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reid, Rush, Burris and Obama... Who Wins This One?

Seems as if Congressman Bobby Rush, and his coalition of respected African American Chicago clergy, have significantly raised the stakes in the head-to-head matchup with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The pastors, outraged at the audacity of Reid to use his position as presider over the U.S. Senate to wield power in an effort to determine who can and cannot sit in the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, will not allow what appears a blantant throw-back to the Civil Rights struggles of the 60s.

Approximately 60-powerful Black ministers joined Rush in backing Senator-elect Roland Burris' appointment to the seat, in spite of threats by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bar him from entering the Senate chambers. Without a doubt this brouhaha places the subject of "race" front and center in American politics... again, as an all-White Senate refuses to allow Burris––who would be the only Black person representing that august body––to serve.

Rush, a Chicago Democrat, called the U.S. Senate "the last bastion of plantation politics."

"We are just faced with a hard-headed room of people in the Senate who want to keep an African-American out of the Senate," Rush said at a public send-off for Burris at a local Chicago church recently.

President-elect Obama, who is at opposite position with the Black congressman, Black faith leaders and community, as he is in agreement with Senator Reid that Burris should not be allowed to take his former seat. Obama agrees that Burris is a qualified individual for the job, but because of the cloud currently shadowing Governor Rod Blagojevich, he appears to have sided with Reid on this fiasco. Obama, while campaigning as a post-racial candidate, many in the Black community feels he owes his ascension to the highest office in the land to the overwhelming support and turn-out of African Americans, including Burris, Rush and the ministers across the country.

Obama may find himself having to accept defeat on this one, and begin signaling immediately to Senator Reid, Congressman Rush and the Black community that Burris' appointment, while not ideal, is legal... consequently, he must be seated.

The President-elect can't afford to get mired in the Black versus White "race" ditch at this juncture, as he has too many other culture wars to mediate coming out of the gate: Jews versus the Islams in Gaza, Unions versus Wall Street, gays versus the Christian right... just to name a few.