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Barack Obama; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and the rest of us

[A slightly different version of this post appears at Heidi Li’s Potpourri.]

I was asked today if I did not think I should be happy about President-elect Obama’s election because he will be our first black president. My questioner was somebody who clearly is happy about President-elect Obama’s presidency for precisely this reason. According to him Martin Luther King, Jr. would be similarly pleased. Furthermore, according to my questioner, it is insulting to Dr. King’s memory that I regard Dr. King as a teacher in my own quest to resist peer pressure, mobocracy, and authoritarianism in my own small, nascent efforts to seriously fight for the full civic and social standing of women in America and elsewhere.

In my conversation, I explained that I am extremely happy for those people of color, particularly black Americans, who feel more fully validated as Americans by living in a country led by a black person. (This post – just like the conversation – does not present an occasion to debate who counts as black or a person of color; such distinctions were out of order in the conversation.  They would have been insulting to my questioner, who is black and would rightly point out that in most of this country most people have no problem saying who counts as such, despite the complex ways that individuals come to be seen as black or brown or white or whatever. I mean that: please do not use this post as an occasion to debate what it means to be black.) I then explained that beyond this very great happiness, the color of Mr. Obama’s skin has nothing to do with whether the prospect of his presidency pleases me or dismays me.  That was all that time permitted in this brief interlude of discussion during the day. But I have thought further on the matter.

With regard to Martin Luther King, Jr. I would not presume to surmise how he would have reacted to Mr. Obama. Dr. King was sometimes critical of other black leaders and nothing in his writings suggests that all black people are superior to all white people. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a type of equality, a society in which the color of one’s skin was neither cause for shame or pride and where people, including his own children, were judged by the content of their character. As Dr. King so famously noted this dream is an American dream, not a black dream or a white dream.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

To the extent that  Barack Obama’s election represents the realization of  Dr. King’s dream, his election is an awesome, mighty event.

Yet Dr. King was, as we all are, a person of his time. So in this speech, given in 1963, he does not single out women as  group separate from men who need to be included in the new age of equality that he envisioned. He refers over and over to men, not to people, but that again was the language of his time. Confusing language, but the language of the time. King knew of hatred between black men and white men, between Jews and Gentiles, and between Protestants and Catholics, knew all too well how this hatred was so often used to justify inegalitarian treatment by one group toward the other. King rejected the hatred that drove such inegalitarianism.

I share with King a delight in the idea of a day when people will be judged by the content of their characters. I dream of a day that may come as more people come to realize that nobody yet has championed the cause of full civic and social standing for women in the face of hatred against them,  a day when people are judged by the content of the their character rather than the kind of genitalia they possess.

In 2008, I saw a man stand idly by en route to his winning the White House while his supporters called women who ran against him or on a ticket against him, “ho” and “c*nt”. He stood idly by while members of the press intimated that the adult daughter of one his opponents was prostituting herself by campaigning for her mother. That he stood by so idly had nothing to with the color of his skin. Plenty of white men in positions of political power or prestige also stood idly by while this went on. Some women of all colors stood idly by as well.

I have gone on to see the man who won the White House include in his inauguration another man, one who preaches hatred of gay people, the doctrine of wifely submission, and the comparison of the exercise of a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion to an act of Nazism. I have seen him refuse to disassociate himself from a speechwriter who, however stupidly, evidently had a great time pretending to cop a feel of the future Secretary of State – something he would not have done, I suspect, were she a man whose cardboard cutout just happened to be at the party he was attending.  Both the preacher and the speechwriter are men, white men, so skin color does not come into the hatred  and disrespect of women indicated by either man’s words or gestures.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was, as we all are, a person of his time. So I do not presume to know what he would make of a man who stood idly by while women who ran against him or his ticket were exposed to hate speech; or what he would make of the inclusion of a woman-bashing preacher in a Presidential inauguration; or the retention of a sophomorically sexist speechwriter on a President’s staff. But I find nothing in King’s life or writing that suggests I as a woman am in any way disrespecting him when I take him as a model of a person who staunchly refused to accept arbitrary inegalitarianism and saw it as an obstacle to liberty, particularly liberty as understood in the American tradition.  So far, I have not seen from Barack Obama a commitment to the elimination of the arbitrary inegalitarianism in the way men and women, boys and girls, are treated in America or indeed the world today. Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr. Barack Obama has not made the cornerstone of his life or his political career the elimination of arbitrary inegalitarianism of the sort that makes the legitimate pursuit of liberty impossible. So Barack Obama does not provide me with a model for how to fight the fights I think need fighting: the overcoming of hatred of women, the effort to have people see women as people deserving of their full and rightful place in American society and around the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. does.

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92 Responses

  1. Beautifully written, Heidi Li.

  2. I’ve said before, I’m happy that people are happy, but once Obama deliberately used sexism to his advantage, I no longer cared about the symbolic victory his election represents. On one level, I’m sorry that I no longer care, but nobody would think it was reasonable to ask African Americans to celebrate if a woman who used racism got elected. But of course, we’re supposed to put ourselves last and everybody else first, always.

  3. For me King’s Dream has not yet been realized. The dream has to be our own.

  4. That was wonderful. Thank you.

    No, Barack Obama does not believe in social justice. For that reason, he is never and could never be the heir to MLK, no matter how much he puts on that fake preacher accent and cadence.

    And indeed, I am judging him by the content of his character, and finding him sadly, sadly lacking.

  5. I can’t find one redeeming quality in Obama.

    Take Margaret Sanger for instance, she was in my opinion prejudiced and an advocate of negative eugenics; however I can still acknowledge her contributions towards womens rights.

    I don’t feel the same about Obama. He wears race like a suit. MLK was humble and served others. He spent days in jail for freedom and equality. Obama is self serving and wouldn’t dare interrupt his waffle breakfast..

  6. It’s Beautiful Heidi … let me offer you this site .. You can hear him & read at the same time .. btw, this site is the best for the best of the best .. .. lol , You’ll see… oh .. also .. click on the one under the youtube .. That one is the BEST .. !!! .. not the youtube … hope you all enjoy …

    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm

  7. Beautiful post, Heidi.

    Yes, friends, we are stuck with this fake ass Martin Luther King, Jr. And there’s nothing to be done but to fight through.

    Tonight I got the chance to see Barbara Jordan ’92 address at the Democratic National Convention. The question she asked, if it been asked this year, would have changed the outcome of this primary and this election. Change she asked. From what, to what?

    The 20th century will not end without our feeling the influence of women

    It was magical. There was even a point, when she began to speak about “Madame President” that the delegates began to chant, “We want Ann. We want Ann.” That Ann Richards left a mark on the Party. God, I’d love to have her back. Or Barbara Jordan herself.

    Where have all the great women gone? Where have gone those that stand by them? What’s next?

  8. afrocity – Just like Bush, he prefers rich people to poor people. He couldn’t care less about skin color. He just uses the AA community to get votes.

  9. Good night, everyone!

  10. Great post Heidi Li.

    Brava.

  11. “Change she asked. From what, to what?”

    And that’s the worst part of all this. From my perspective, Obama barely managed to eke out a win in a year when Democrats apparently couldn’t lose. From their perspective, he’s managed to “inspire” a new generation of young guys who think they saw that you can have utter contempt for the intelligence of the American people, run a breathtakingly cynical campaign, and still get their votes. That you can run a misogynistic campaign and walk away with 60%, that you can throw gays under the bus and they’ll still come running….we’re going to feel the effects of this mindset for a very long time.

  12. What a magnificant post, Heidi Li.

  13. Heidi Li, I must in all honesty say you RD and Madamab and the others here write beautifully. Had you live in the time of our founding fathers and mothers, and been so able; you would have surely made the the great documents is this nation; as full of wisdom, full of promise and full of high Ideals as they were truely perfect in their ability to express the true meanings of equality for all.

    I am unworthy to even praise the great thoughts here.

    I do often wonder how different the Constitution would have been had Abigail Adams had a hand in its writing?

  14. Fuzzy,

    How did your dinner conversation go tonight?

  15. MLK’s oeuvre has been incredibly abused by Obots. The Dream was never about having a Black President (no matter what a fraudulent character that may be) but about equality for all in a larger sense. It was about the color of one’s skin (especially black) not being a hinderance to the achievement of the individual’s full potential or a roadblock to an opportunity.

    Unfortunately, Obama supporters have used us (Blacks) a club to bludgeon anyone who opposes him or who rightfully point at something fraudulent in who he is or what he does.

    It was very dispiriting for people like me to watch “Progressives” join the likes of Andrew Sullivan – that piece of human debris who forced The Bell Curve on the nation and called it his finest hour – to impugn the character of anyone who dared not support Obama.

  16. Heidi thank you for this post. I love it.

  17. I think Martin Luther King would have ended up under the bus.

  18. Well, John Lewis did.

  19. John Lewis was run over by the bus and then it backed up and ran over him again.

  20. MLK would definitely have been under the bus. Blacks always have some male leader, 60’s MLK, 70’s-80’s Jesse Jackson, 90’s Al Sharpton by some Farrakhan by others. They are usually from the black church, they usually tire of them and move on to the next thing. When I was a child Jesse Jackson walked on water esp. here in Chicago, now they talk about him as bad as they do Bush.

  21. Heidi, wonderful post. I learn so much from you, and all the other posters on this board. Thank you.

  22. NH, on December 30th, 2008 at 10:41 pm Said:

    I think Martin Luther King would have ended up under the bus.
    *************
    He was under the bus…All of the kewl people of the day considered him old (39) and out of it…”Black power”, CORE, SNCC, was were it was “at” in 1968.

  23. What tact in answering that persons question. That was graceful.
    Remember that Michelle Obama is behind Barry Obama and when she looks out at a crowd, she doesn’t seee Americans. She sees blacks and whites. Her racism is glaring.

  24. MABlue, the other day Obots were calling people homophobes because they don’t appreciate what a model citizen Sullivan is. Apparently, endorsing Obama is all it takes to receive a “get out of sucking at life free” card. Cheap grace for everyone, no sin that can’t be washed away, progressive heroes coined while you wait.

  25. Obama is simply another PENIS in long line of PENISES who have held this position.

    Obama has no comprehension of women’s rights as human rights — his fictional books were about his illusion of his biological father.

    Culturally Obama is a white guy — and he was raised in Hawaii where being of color was a huge advantage.

    He has sold himself to many different people — and there is no way he can meet everyone’s expectations.

    BUT he has never bothered to even try to sell himself to women — so there is his message to women — we don’t count. And he has refused to even try to appoint more women — he is a farce.

    When someone challenges me — I tell them that they voted for Obama based on the color of his skin — and that they are racists and I always add — sexist pigs. Because in truth Obama ran his whole campaign as a women hating sexist pig.

    He is just another penis.

    But he has no qualifications — and this is my biggest issue with his arrogance.

  26. No offense to King, but he left women out. He said all Men were equal. He didn’t include us. But that being said, he was a good man and the essence of his dream is something we all can take from.

  27. BostonBoomer-

    well I opened my mouth about Obama golfing and they just staired oh and the Rick Warren pick for the coronation is going over like a fart in church!

  28. Obama is simply another PENIS in long line of PENISES who have held this position.

    Obama has no comprehension of women’s rights as human rights — his fictional books were about his illusion of his biological father.

    Culturally Obama is a white guy — and he was raised in Hawaii where being of color was a huge advantage.

    He has sold himself to many different people — and there is no way he can meet everyone’s expectations.

    BUT he has never bothered to even try to sell himself to women — so there is his message to women — we don’t count. And he has refused to even try to appoint more women — he is a farce.

    When someone challenges me — I tell them that they voted for Obama based on the color of his skin — and that they are r@cists and I always add — sexist pigs. Because in truth Obama ran his whole campaign as a women hating sexist pig.

    He is just another penis.

    But he has no qualifications — and this is my biggest issue with his arrogance.

  29. Fuzzy,

    LOL! I’m glad they are starting to see the truth about the messiah.

  30. Northwest Rain,

    Personally I will feel one of my own has “made it” when it is a person of slave decent. I have nothing in common with Obama culturally.

  31. GO AHEAD, I dare ya… ask me anything:

    http://typicalpawhitewoman.blogspot.com/

  32. Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s books for him. There is more info on that coming out now.

  33. I got halfway through the comments but just had to say….thank you so much for this post, Heidi Li! Beautiful! I’m always inspired by you but this is wonderful! Sad and wonderful!

    What are we going to do? We’re left with a travesty….and I feel helpless. Thank you to all of you for being here! You help soothe my soul!

  34. Afrocity,

    I saw an interview with Obama a few days ago and I am not sure if it was an old one. But he said that most of all he would set an example to young people of someone who has struggled getting to be president.
    I had to wonder if he really has any idea what stuggling is. I don’t think being raised by your bank VP grandmother is exactly the kind of struggle so many others have endured.

  35. Ayers wrote Obama’s books? Do you have a link?

  36. goodnight!

    😉

  37. Wonderful post Heidi. You and I have spoken often on this. Your assertion is correct; Pampers is not the model for how to fight the fights. He’s the model of the very things we are fighting against.

  38. Certainly MLK would have been under the bus.

    In fact remember Obama “didn’t have the time” to attend the MLK memorial this summer.

    Also remember that Obama’s chuch is NOT part of the MLK civil rights movement — that church is a philosophical descendant of the Black power & Black panthers — groups that has broken away from the MLK movement BEFORE he died.

    So Obama is not the heir to the MLK movement — but more than likely most people don’t know this part of Black History

  39. ‘Ayers wrote Obama’s books? Do you have a link?’

    It was talked about sometime back on the blogs and I just saw a breaking story tonight as I was surfing the blogs. I think it was Hillbuzz or Alegre…dunno.
    Maybe countusout blog.

  40. Heidi Li;

    As a complementary piece to yours, here is Margaret Kimberley, from The Black Agenda Report (where else?)

    Obama is Not King

    There’s this:

    In 2009, the official celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday will take place on January 19th. Barack Obama will be inaugurated president of the United States on the following day. Obama’s election is seen by many as the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream of a just society providing equal rights to all of its citizens. Despite the frenzied and dishonest efforts to link the two men, it is clear that Obama’s elevation to power symbolizes not that King’s hopes have been realized, but that they have been dashed.

    It is right that King’s birth should be celebrated as a national holiday. Unfortunately the nature of that celebration does little to tell us what King’s actual achievements were or how they should be remembered. The man who is continually painted as a mere starry eyed dreamer was anything but. He did not want to end segregation solely for the purpose of elevating black people into high positions, as the Obama worshippers would have us believe. King never strayed from his goal of giving every American full citizenship rights, ending grinding poverty, and making the United States act as a force for justice in the world.

  41. Anyhow, Hill and Big Dawg are going to be the ones to drop the ball in times square. And Hill’s Bon Jovi Concert is January 15th in NYC. Tickets are still on sale. Paulie has details.

  42. They are renaming The Chicago Midway airport after Obama. What’s going on?

    http://hillbuzz.wordpress.com/

  43. Regency,

    We do have great women leaders like Hillary Clinton, Shilia Jackson Lee, C. Maloney, and others. But these days women don’t stand up for them. They let men villify and belittle them without calling them on the sexism. This is the biggest thing that enraged me this past election cycle. I am furious that NOW and others didn’t stand up for Hillary when the media and democratic leadership was ravaging her. They endorsed her and that was all. They did not call out the sexism within the democratic
    party and only marginally objected to Chris Mathews and the misogyny channel. Hell, they are generally marginalized by the party anyway, they could have at least stood up and faught. WTF!!!!!

    They could have held a press conference, organized a march, sent out press releases, publically boycotted and protested MSNBC, called out the dems on their gender bias, insisted that Florida and Michigan get revotes or count, stood up to the democratic party and insist that Hillary’s campaign was just as if not more historical and important as Obama’s. But no, they caved to the race baiters and the democratic elite. It was sickening!!!!!

  44. Midway should just become The Crash of 2009. Everyone will know the name “Obama” is implied.

    BTW, great post, HeidiLi – thank you.

  45. Thank you to those who expressed their enjoyment of this post. We will realize and expand upon Dr. King’s dream – not immediately but through working together, learning from one another.

  46. thanks heidi li. mlk is a personal hero for a number of personal reasons. it bothers me when people link him and obama. i’m on the planning committee for an upcoming mlk event and actually dreading it a little, because i know the event will be populated by bots who will make and exploit that fictional link. well meaning people, to be sure, but still….

  47. Obama couldn’t lift MLK’s jockstraps with a forklift. MLK is my personal hero. Obama? Please.

  48. KendallJ, on December 30th, 2008 at 11:45 pm Said:

    When 51 Percent (the organization I have founded) gets into gear, it will, as part of its educational mission organize teach-ins, and those can be very powerful. They will be a chance to teach about the women you name and the forces that have worked against them. I know I won’t be able to do it right away, but I look forward to when 51 Percent can host a teach-in on the Mall here in D.C. – public education at its most public.

    Now, planting feet back on ground: it seems clear we will get the website launched by January 15th at the outside, and I hope it will be an immediate resource for people who want to move forward with regard to women’s issues. As some of you know, 51 Percent will be sponsoring a Misogyny Museum – examples of images and artifacts that illustrate the misogyny and sexism that permeates the society. Right now we don’t have the budget to invest in the objects themselves, but if you have photos or examples (items for sales, historical pictures) and care to send them to HLFblogger at gmail dot com, it would be a huge help.

    I got the idea from the excellent Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia hosted at Ferris State University. More about all of this at http://tdg.typepad.com/heidi_lis_potpourri/2008/12/on-becoming-a-garbage-collector.html
    and more general information is at
    http://tdg.typepad.com/heidi_lis_potpourri/51-percent.html

  49. Heidi- this is a very beautifully-written post. I particularly was impressed by the rhythm, truth, and significance of the last few paragraphs. I think you are saying that obama is lacking some major qualities that King had, namely bravery, an ability to identify and act where injustice reared its ugly head, and the ability to see beyond self. One of the most maddening things about obama is his history of standing “idly by” as you say. He never rises to the plate, he never takes a chance, he never acts beyond his self-interest. He is the antithesis of King, isn’t he?

  50. Heidi Li, thank you.
    So many people miss the point that Dr. King’s dream was about holding America accountable, demanding that it live up to it’s own creed. Only then could people be judged by the content of their own character. Putting a black man in charge of maintaining the status quo is tokenism.

  51. MaBlue – funny, my husband showed me that piece from The Black Agenda. He has dedicated hours of his time over this holiday to building the website for 51 Percent (he’s not a professional in the area but knows a great deal about tech and even more about serious loyalty and devotion) and I asked him to take a look at this post on Potpourri and he found the link to The Black Agenda there (it is on the sites to see list). He enjoyed the site and I’m glad to have a chance to thank you for inspiring me to add it at Potpourri.

  52. Heidi Li:

    One good thing about BAR is that no matter how you disagree with them on a given issue, you have to recognize that these guys and gals have been right on Obama and his worshippers from day one.

  53. Regency

    I was in NYC to hear Barbara Jordan give Carter’s keynote address in 76′ and I still get chills thinking about it. She was an orator of a calibre that is not often seen, and certainly wasn’t seen this year.

    I have never thought of Obama as a black man, and still don’t. I can’t say that I am color blind, but it has never been a reason for how I judged someone.

    I truly saw this year as a chance for America to move beyond racism. All that was needed was for people, all people to judge the candidates by their records and by their stated positions. It was a missed opportunity, and the majority of people refused to do that. It doesn’t make the country or the world any better to elect the first black president, or the first woman president, or the youngest or oldest president ever. You can only say you have passed a particular milestone when something new or unusual happens in the normal course of events. It doesn’t count if you set out to break a record, and that is what happened this year.

    For some reason people came to beleive that just the color of someone’s skin was going to change the way everyone related to everyone else. So, do you think elderly white people encountering young black men on a dark, lonely street will be any less nervous? Do you think that a couple of black women traveling on vacation to the south will be any less apprehensive?

    The election was run by thugs with a power agenda firmly behind everything that was done. Voting was predicated on skin color and pressure tactics. Governing the country and setting our place in the world seems to be headed for a braille administration, feeling the way.

    I certainly don’t want to say that Obama is the most corrupt or ill-advised choice to ever make it to the white house, we have had some doozies in our national past. However, I can say that with the tremendous amount ot information, immediate and archival, that was at people’s disposal, this has to be the worst excuse for an informed electorate that this country has ever had. We simply have to good excuse for what has happened.

  54. This hasn’t been a very good day:

    My mom’s urinary tract infections turns out to be a MRSA infection. Which I think is pretty bad news…….

  55. Heidi, that was a fabulous post. I hate the way Obama usurps the courage and accomplishments to the great ones as his own. It’s beyond fake.

    katiebird, I’m sorry your mom is doing poorly. My heart goes out to you both.

  56. MRSA is becoming relatively common, unfortunately, particularly in the recently hospitalized. They usually start you on a series of high-power antibiotics,as the infection is, by definition, resistant to most common antibiotics. It can be successfully treated, however.

  57. Thanks lililam — I know you’re right and that is some comfort. But, it can take a long time to beat the infection. And she’s got a gigantic kidney stone that they won’t treat until the infection is gone. The last time this happened the infection spread to her bloodstream and infected one of her artificial knees. It took two replacement knees to get that cleared up. And she’s 84 and frail…..

  58. Katiebird, sorry to hear that. Have they been able to do a culture yet to confirm?

  59. Thank You Heidi for putting all of our thoughts into the words that cry out to be heard by everyone. Splendid!

  60. Prolix, No they just found out this afternoon and her infectious diseases specialist was out of the office. I’m hoping we can make arrangements for more tests (and good drugs) tomorrow.

  61. Katiebird, let’s hope for better news tomorrow. Good thoughts coming your way from me.

  62. Hang in there KB. There’s nothing so hard as taking care of your ill parent. I hope your mother responds well to treatment. Remember, take care of yourself too.

    Good night all.

  63. Thanks Prolix. Very much!

  64. Heidi, Thank you — sleep tight and we’ll see you tomorrow.

  65. Katiebird,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Just keep her out of the hospital if possible. It’s the worst place to be if you’re sick. I hope they can start her on some super antibiotics tomorrow. Please take care of yourself while you’re caring for your mom. And keep us posted if you have time.

  66. Hi BB — We’re pretty sure she got the infection when she was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think my dad would let her go back in.

    My New York sister and her family are in town (as of an hour or so ago) so we’ll have a little more help this time. ♥

  67. Bless you and your mom, katiebird.
    I hope the outlook is brighter tomorrow.

  68. Interesting factoid: the only African-American man on our faculty was also the only Hillary supporter on our faculty. (Well, rumor has it. Although the very snarky emails he has been sending out about The One since the election seem to confirm the rumor.) I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking during the primary and general election season, when the “if you don’t vote for The One you must be a raaaaa-cist” emails were flying back and forth over the faculty listserv.

  69. Oh, Katiebird, good luck to your mom. My mother and sister have both battled MRSA this year and it’s nothing to mess around with. They did eventually get better, though — and my mom was pretty frail to begin with (she’s only in her 60s, but she’s a veteran of some serious cancer treatments that made her sicker than the original disease did). There is a lot the docs can do if they diagnose it properly.

  70. I make no apologies for claiming that Obama is a fraud–especially in comparison to MLK, who endured tremendous adversity for his convictions. When have we ever seen a glimpse of that from Obama? That’s my argument to others about him: show me one example of political courage that this man has shown (and NO, you cannot use the faux war speech or the save-my-a*s Wright/race speech). It’s a major disservice to MLK (and Lincoln, FDR, & JFK for that matter) to place him in such august company. He has earned NOTHING yet. Quite to the contrary: at every opportunity to step forward and show real leadership and vision, he has not done so. Worse, he has used the most despicable tactics to advance himself, and steal their legacies for his own self-aggrandizement.

    Tonight I had dinner with two conservative Catholics from Chicago. Obama would be happy to know that these lifelong Republicans think he’s swell for “moving to the Center Right to create “change,” and they are quite pleased with the Warren pick. How’s that Fauxgressives?

  71. One last thought before bed: can you imagine MLK Jr. playing golf in the midst of crisis? George Bush cannot interrupt his vacation to deal with the outbreak of violence in the Middle East, and Obama hasn’t said a word because he’s too busy playing lousy golf. This is what our leaders have come to?

    I can tell you this: Hillary Rodham Clinton would have been front and center. Instead, she has to wait for this man-child to finish playing president-elect goes to Hawaii.

    {shaking my head in dismay…}

  72. KB, so sorry to hear about your Mom. You and I have a shared commonality on that one with being the care givers. I believe they have been having some better results with MRSA-based infections. It sounds like they caught this one early and that helps.

  73. I have never considered Obama an African-American in the sense we normally use the word. I say that because from his history he has never experienced what A.A.’s in this nation have endured. He was born into an educated family, attended private schools and from what I’ve read has never suffered any privations. If he wants to mention his mother received food-stamps, so did I in college when I qualified.

    PEBO glided his way to the top. That’s why I could never understand why or how so many AA’s identified with him. He clearly did not identify with them, except when it was expedient. It seems it would almost exclusively be based on skin-color. However, as I’ve stated to a few AA friends, remember he’s half white too.

    I could never link Obama with King, except for the fact that he has ridden King’s coattails and used his legacy.

  74. Okay, I stole this from Deadenders:

    Top 10 Reasons Barry Plays With His Balls

    December 31, 2008 by deadenders

    Why barry is playing with his balls instead of working on the situation in Gaza.

    10. Larry Sinclair showed him just how fun it can be

    9. Rev. Wright taught him how important it is to score low

    8. He checking to see if his really say Top Flight or Top Fraud

    7. It’s a Cinderella story and he can’t find the damn gopher in his pants

    6. He saw Jessie Jackson in the foursome behind him. (snip)

    5. Hamas sent him a special pair of brass balls

    4. If he scores a hole in one he gets a new birth certificate

    3. If he scores below par he gets a 4 year pass from the media

    2. There’s a crack pipe at the 19th hole

    1. He’s just so happy Hillary loaned him one

  75. Heidi,

    Thanks for the info. 51 % sounds great! I’ll do what I can to help. Education is a big peice of the puzzle. Young women today have very little knowledge of women’s history. I manage less experienced attorneys at the HIV Law Project here in New York. I am around well educated people all the time and you would be shocked at how few of them even know who Alice Paul was. My sister, who works at middlebury college in Vermont tell’s me that women’s studies funding is completely dried up and that most colleges don’t offer women’s studies programing anymore.

    I want to college at a state school during the 1980’s and we had a very active and well attended women’s studies department, I should inquire to see if my college still offers women’s studies. We need to educate people about herstory. We need to sensitize people to the horrible things that are done to women and girls just because they are female.

    I think that another peice of the puzzle is public shame. MLK shamed America for its racism. He humanized black people and shamed whites for their bigotry. Women need to do the same. We need to teach people about misogyny and sexism, and then we need to shame them for engaging in it until it becomes socially unacceptable.

  76. KB

    MRSA can be beaten, it just seems to take forever. My mother works as a property clerk in the County jail and contracted it. It took several months and aggressive antibiotic treatment before she was able to go back to work. I’ll say my prayers for your mom.

  77. Jadzia,

    What was he thinking? I’d gather “what a bunch of flippin’ clueless idjits.” You gotta love people who lecture others without an iota of understanding of the topic lectured on or the audience they are lecturing to. My favorite was the moron Obot I conversed with online who insisted “we are all racist”. I told her to speak for herself.

  78. Fredster,

    I didn’t consider his skin color at all. If I had, then people could call me a racist(determining how you vote based on skin color is racism). I wonder which part of “measured by the content of their charecter and not the color of their skin” is particularly difficult to comprehend and why anyone would think Obama is the culmination of MLK’s dream when every other word was first African American? I’m happy for those that are deluded enough to believe that in the big scheme of things this was transformational. They can get back to me though when there isn’t a disproportionate number of minorities dying, being incarcerated or any other number of true measurements in regards to the population as a whole.

  79. Sigh. I’m in moderation.

  80. CWaltz-did you have any links in your post? That got me in trouble last night.

  81. KB-so sorry to hear that.

  82. Great post Heidi.Obama is not the one black people have been waiting for.

  83. I have an issue with the youtube video posted by rolling_thunder, because when it comes to women’s issues, I would also consider myself more of a ‘separationist” than an ‘integrationist’. I see nothing wrong with Michelle Obama’s voice of dissent.
    What is wrong is her husband’s Machiavellian use of all social issues as a tool to further his own ambitions. Pampers uses the AA community in the same way he uses the Fundiegelical community: to get more votes to support his corporatist agenda.

  84. in moderation….why?

  85. MLK said he wanted people to be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. So how would he feel about so many people (at least the ones who admitted it) voting for obama simply because they wanted a black man to be president? And forget character, the minute you brought it up, you were labeled a racist. I guess we’ll never know.

    I also wanted to see a woman or a black man or woman be elected president someday, I just wish people had voted for the candidate who was more qualified, which in this case would have been the woman.

  86. Absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t agree more.

  87. MLK was a serial philanderer. Think he had any respect for women? Wake up.

  88. Oh, Heidi – you’ve outdone yourself – this is terrific! Thank you!

    Let me get this straight, before any company will put someone on their payroll they want all the paperwork filled out correctly, references done and proof of residence, citizenship, etc.

    But we’re going to put him on our payroll without getting the paperwork?

    I say he can’t start with this company until he hands in
    all the paperwork! 👿

  89. KendallJ, on December 31st, 2008 at 2:38 am Said:

    I could not agree more with everything you say.

  90. We may not presume to speak for Dr. King, buy we know the content of his character by his words and deeds and it is hard to believe that he would have kept silent if Rosa Parks, or his wife, or any other woman was being treated the way the Obama campaign treated Senator Clinton and Governor Palin.

    It may be a cultural thing since Dr. King was raised in a very different environment while Barry Soertoro spent a part of his youth living and attending schools that separated women ideologically and religiously.

    Studies are always telling us that a child”s environment helps determine his personality and we know that the mother of the man called Barack Obama deliberately abandoned her country to take up residency in countries where women were second class citizens at best. And the only Kenyan Mr. Obama seems to keep in touch with is his politically powerful cousin Odinga while he ignores his aunt living in New York City.

    I’m sure Dr. King would agree that you have to be carefully taught
    “Before it’s too late. Before you are six or seven or eight to hate all the people your relatives hate.” Circumstantial evidence indicates that the man called Barry Soertoro and Barack Obama was “carefully taught”, as was his wife.

  91. I think we should not make the mistake of idolizing anyone. MLK was unfaithful to his wife. He admitted that to his own inner circle when they were discussing the FBI surveilance launched by J. Edgar Hoover. No one likes to mention this unpleasant fact about MLK but it does make you wonder if any powerful MAN can ever be faithful to his spouse. So please, while there is much to ponder and learn from MLK’s writings and his work, lets not turn him into a saint anymore than the Obamabots have turned their guy into a Messiah.

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