Friday, August 29, 2008

I Wish My Daddy Was Alive

Last night, sprawled across my solid wood king-sized bed, I watched history. My youngest sons and daughters joined me. I longed for my daddy.

Senator Barack Obama electrified the audience with what even Pat Buchanan had to admit was the "best and most important political convention speech h had ever heard going back 48 years." Democratic Nominee Obama came out strong and definitely ready to lead. He turned the page of history, he represents what my father and his generation longed for, fought for, and some died for. It was also poignant that this history speech was 45 years to the day that Dr. King marched on Washington and gave his I Have a Dream speech. Senator Obama is the culmination of that dream, and it doesn't end with him.

I truly felt the tide turning and the country on the cusp of real change. It was like my girlfriend told me when 2007 turned to 2008, the word was overturn. Like Obama said, "eight is enough" of fear-mongering, illegal wars, rich over the poor, and big business strangling opportunity. I felt his speech and so did my daughters. I wanted to call my daddy and talk to him about this moment, he would've loved to see this happen.

In the end, I realized that my father and all the ancestors prayed that one day this would happen. They had faith that a new generation would rise up to take the reigns and talk to people about their stories. It is time for the Joshua Generation to carry us forward, and not alone, we must take up the charge and stand ready to do our part. Obama gave a charge to parents to do their part. Yes, the educational system in the inner city and rural areas is not the best, but what about the parent taking the TV out-of-the-bedroom and sitting down with their child to read a book? What about the father being the dad and leading his family? There is much that rests in the hands of families to do to make things better along with a partnership with a progressive government that will tax businesses that take jobs away, that will cut taxes for those in the middle class so they can begin to move forward in life. It is time and a collective populace can change America, it happened with the Baby Boomer generation, now it is time for the Millennium generation to do it!

I wish my daddy was alive to witness that history, but his spirit speaks to me and I can hear him say, "Hey, Taye', that was something wasn't it?" "Yeah, daddy, it was."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finally America!

Finally in America! Senator Barack Obama, the son of black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, has been officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States! Finally, America!

The convention, moments ago, after many states went through the ritual of the procedural vote, reached a climax when New Mexico yielded to Illinois and Illinois yielded to New York. This all happened while Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made her way to the delegation. She spoke and called on the "faith in the party" that they suspend the procedural role call and proclaim "Barack Obama as our candidate and he will be our President!" She moved that Senator Obama be made the candidate through acclamation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accepted this move and called for a second, many came from the floor. The verbal vote was matched with over 2/3rds of the delegation casting their votes for Senator Obama. Finally, America!

It was a historic moment. I wish I was there. There were tears in the eyes of the many people who made this significant event. Finally, in 2008, in America, a black man has been officially nominated as the candidate of a major political party! It has all come to this moment! Hope and the dream that Dr. King spoke about is within reach. A man has been judged by the content of his character and not the color of his skin and he has been deemed the best candidate to lead this country out of the mess left to us by the last eight years.

My father is not alive to see this, nor is my cousin-pops. These two men along with the great cloud of witnesses of the many lives lost in the Middle Passage, the many men hung from trees, the many women raped for the purpose of trade, the many lives shattered, and the many families scattered, finally, America, the great cloud of witnesses is standing up to cheer! First Nation ancestors, Latino ancestors, African ancestors, and yes, some of our European ancestors are cheering from the heavens that this country has made a move to live up to our creed and our hope!

It is a moment I am proud to have witnessed in my Missouri home. It is a moment that will forever be part of the history I share with my children and future grandchildren. Finally, America, there is hope!

Now It Is Time For The Real Work

Now the real work begins.

I was all set last night to be upset with Senator Hillary Clinton. I, like others, was a bit peeved with her unwillingness to step out of the campaign when it was clear that Senator Barack Obama won. I, like others, was a bit upset by her willingness to incite racism and divide our party. I, like others, was downright mad at her silence about the media attacks on Mrs. Michelle Obama. And I, like others, was bracing for Hillary and her supporters to try to run a coup at the convention.

I was pleasantly mistaken. Hillary Clinton took the stage late last evening, it was after 9pm when I looked at my bedroom clock. She thanked her supporters and came out early to say "Obama is my candidate and he must be our President." She was the Hillary I liked back during her run for the U.S. senate as the candidate from New York. She is a brilliant politician and is to be applauded for coming further than any woman has ever coming in reaching for the highest office in the land.

Now the real work begins. On Monday night, Mrs. Obama put to rest any questions of her patriotism or values. She had all the women crying because we all understand the challenges of balancing work and family, whether we work outside the home or in. We all understand the love of a husband and wife and the undying commitment of a mother to her children. Mrs. Obama raised the bar for first ladies with her speech and kept-it-real. She is poised, professional, and personable. I could relate to her, her tall, slender frame and bobbed hairstyle. She is what I looked like back in my corporate life. I have two daughters and my youngest and Sasha could be twin-spirits. In all her precociousness, she introduced America to something black people have always known, we are just people with real love, real children, real hopes, and real dreams.

Now it is time to get down to business. Senator Obama is the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States. He must be elected and we the people must do whatever we can to make sure that happens. I have volunteered for the campaign because I, like other Americans, am more than ready for a change. In the words of Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, "wake up America." It is past time to end the Republican and big business stronghold on this country. My home state of Missouri, as reported in the St. Louis American, has an unemployment rate of 6.4%. There are 192,892 of my fellow Show-Me state citizens currently out-of-work. That number is probably higher if the report were to include those who stopped looking or those who are in part-time work, not by choice. These numbers are the highest than at any time since 1984. It is time for change in America.

Missouri is a battleground state. We have a Republican governor. Enough said. St. Louis is gripped by unemployment, foreclosures, lack of adequate healthcare for the poor, and schools in bad shape. Our major employers are either laying off or being bought out. This midwestern city is a microcosm of America. The Show-Me State is showing that we can't take another eight years of the same.

Now is the time for the real work to begin. It is not about a single issue or a single person, it is about the 300+ million people in America, the vast majority that are living paycheck-to-paycheck while the top 2% are insulated from hardship because of their extreme wealth. It is time for every citizen to be registered to vote and then exercise that right. It is time to become involved and be the change. The Republican Party along with the neo-cons have tried to label us "unpatriotic" or "not showing sufficient love for our country" if we question the unjust war or call out the blatant racism and classism exhibited during Hurricane Katrina. No, it is time to not be silent anymore and get down to the real work of making this country great again. It is possible, one person, one vote, one door at a time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thoughts on Obama/Biden and America's Future

Saturday, August 23rd, Senator Barack Obama announced he had chosen Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. This announcement was made in Springfield, IL midst scorching heat and an excited crowd. I'm sure some of the Hillary supporters were holding out hope he would pick her so the feminists would be happy. There was speculation that he would someone else around his age. In the end, he made a strategic choice.

I mulled over this for the weekend and decided not to jump on the bandwagon of trying to "scoop" the news. The text messages went out around 4am and I received my email at 6:48am, by then, Huffington Post had already reported the news. My decision was to think about it dispassionately and look at it from a longer term view. Of course, I had to hold back while McCain jumped on the choice with his negative advertisements and the CNN pundents were all over this juicy tidbit of potential network ratings.

At the local coffee shop, the square was crowded with the usual weekend latte drinkers. There was also a large group of the West County Obama office volunteer preparing to canvass. I asked a couple of them what they thought of the news. A baby-boomer gentleman told me "it was a smart choice" and another woman, while trying to hide her disappointment that a woman wasn't chosen said, "it's good, I'm happy."

I thought Senator Obama made a careful, thoughtful, strategic choice. Many would say that Joe Biden didn't deserve to be picked given his negative comment about Senator Obama during the primaries. I shook that off to the early competition, Hillary said much worse when it came down to the two of them racing for the nomination. Senator Biden brings something to the ticket that the rest of us already know - the middle class white vote that hasn't been voting with their wallet in years. He is from Philadelphia working class Catholic stock. He has a story to tell with his young wife and daughter being killed in 1972. He has gone through the human struggle with life differently than originally imagined, he had to redefine himself. He has experience, a good thing and a bad thing, even experienced politicians can adopt a message of change. Clearly he did that with his outspoken opposition to President Bush and the Iraq War even though he originally voted for it. I like the idea of someone changing their course for the better of the country.

The real race has begun. The Democrats have captured the attention of an electorate much exhausted from the constant spoon-feeding of fear over the last eight years. We are exhausted from being afraid of the terrorists, the gas prices, the high food prices, the job losses, the next door neighbor, the lady in the head scarf, the man in the turban, the kid with the big baggy pants, the girl with the nose-ring, the old man with the cane, the old lady at the bus stop, just tired of being afraid. I understood this more as I read the comments and blogs about Rick Warren's Saddleback Church and the veiled-attempt to be non-partisan. His stage with Senator Obama and Senator McCain was actually a way to subtly introduce that old fear. Even the church I attend has now started a class on the Biblical way to vote. All of that is code for republican because they have scared the rest of us into believing that if we don't vote their way or for a single issue, we can't possibly be Christians. I say enough!

This week is the Democrats chance to get their message out, I for one will be listening and participating. There has been an army of volunteers getting the word out, I imagine this to intensify with the convention and the upcoming election. In my homestate of Missouri, we have a solid Democrat running for governor. I am beginning to breathe with hope for my son's future. My son is a freshman in high school. The next four years are critical for him and for America. We have sold off our infrastructure in the name of shareholders and in the process have forgotten about the citizens. Obama has a bold plan to get the country working again, beginning with shoring up our buildings, roads, bridges. He plans to penalize the big businesses that don't pay taxes and send jobs overseas in the name of profit. I hope he comes down on Wal-Mart that promises cities a boost to the local economy but in the end, siphons out much needed tax money because they lobby for tax-abatements. Our teachers need to be properly compensated and no-child-left-behind needs to go into the shredder. There is much to do that is not just for the urban-core but the rural base that will enhance the country.

The ruling class of this country has had it easy the past eight years. Just as John McCain didn't know how many houses he owns and President Bush didn't know the price of gas, the rich don't know the plight of the average American. They try to make Barack and Michelle Obama out to be "elitists" because they are Princeton and Harvard educated when the American dream is that working class parents, like Michelle Robinson Obama's, can save and send their daughter to the best schools. She studied hard and "stayed out of trouble" so she could get her education. That promise is illusive for many hard working, middle class families right now. The hope is that Obama/Biden can begin to restore that hope in the American dream for all Americans and not the wealthiest few.

I believe people will put aside their fears and vote for the "black guy with the funny name" because it is 2008, it is time for a change, it is time for hope, it is time to embrace the future. I for one, will be watching, walking, and working to make this happen.

Friday, August 22, 2008


It is like dark tanicles that reach up from the ground and grip your heart. It feels like a heat rushing up from the stomach that smothers logic. The pulse races and the breathes are hard to come. The ball of fire in the chest cavity threatens to engulf you and torch all possibility of life. It is fear.

Someone told me that bully's use fear to systematically destroy their victims and control their every action. The constant accusations and never-ending verbal jabs are enough to break down the strongest will. It is fear.

People become gripped by it, by the unseen what-ifs. Husbands and wives become gripped by it over everything from money to sex to kids, under the constant shadow of the what-ifs. Kids become gripped by it when school starts and they are the new kids on the block. Fear can have a devastating impact on a person, a community, a nation.

One of the things I've observed as a member of humanity and as a citizen watching my country turn into a bunch of scaredy cats is that the power of fear is real. It is unrelenting and refuses to loosen its grip. Normal, thinking, brilliant people are like puppets on the string once fear has take over their lives.

In the last decade, I've observed it more, been a recipient of it more. The country became afraid after 9/11, particularly my white fellow citizens. Fear caused us collectively to give up our civil rights and succumbed to airport searches and being suspicious of everyone not wearing an American flag lapel pin. I've talked with women afraid of their husbands because of physical, psychological, or emotional abuse. It has them jumpy and agitated, afraid of losing everything and being out-on-the-street. I've talked to homeowners afraid of losing their home with the adjustable mortgage rates and the sub prime lending crisis. I've talked to professional moms afraid they are not spending enough time with their kids but are afraid to stop working because of the corporate punishment leveled against women who step off the career path. I've seen white men afraid of black men and use the media as a weapon to incite fear through public perception.

All of this fear makes a person, a community, a nation exhausted. I think one of the things most refreshing about Senator Barack Obama's campaign is that it is a breath of fresh air. It is like the much needed water hose that puts out the raging fire in heart. Change. It isn't easy, doesn't come overnight, but is so necessary for a full life. He brings hope to a nation gripped by fear-mongering through the neo-cons, religious right, abortion activists, anti-gay activists, xenophobic activists, racial stereotyping and all the other things that plague the evening news.

So what if the country turns brown by 2042? That is nothing to be afraid of. So what if people want to exercise their freedom and not worship as the neo-cons or right-wing evangelicals do. So what if people want to just live life without it being controlled by power, money, and greed.

One thing I remember about the start of 2008 was that it would be a year of overturn. I'm seeing it, perhaps that is part of the latest CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC attacks on Senator Barack Obama. People want to breathe again and put the fire out.

False Evidence Appearing Real. Just like a bully will back down when the victim turns around around and stares them in the face and says, "what now," so fear will back down when we as individuals, as a community,and as a nation turn around, look them in the eye, and say, "what now." It will back down.

Time to catch a breath, smell the flowers, and enjoy this is the only one we have!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hillary Clinton At It Again

I was watching CNN yesterday and they did a brief campaign plane interview with Senator Barack Obama. He is taking his family to visit his elderly grandmother. They really need a vacation after the overly long campaign season and the negative campaigning of both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator John McCain. Yet, I wonder, if Senator and Mrs. Obama will really be able to just relax given that Hillary Clinton and her "supporters" are planning a coup of the Democratic National Convention.

My respect and admiration of the Clintons waned a long time ago. Former President Bill Clinton has not become the elderly statesman that my favorit president, Former President Jimmy Carter, has become. Clinton engaged in race-baiting and the most Rovian-like negative campaigning against Senator Barack Obama that there are many angry feelings still remaining. His office in Harlem doesn't absolve him, neither does the tendency of black people to just shake off the many injustices at the hands of white people and just go on. Not this time. The people are speaking up and want a real candidate who will do real things for real people...not the establishment, not the white women feminists, not the entitlement of scorned wife.

I couldn't sum it up any better than my friends over at Jack and Jill Politics. This post from Rikyrah was worth bringing to my latte queen readers. Be on the lookout for more of the media circus trying to drum up ratings during the fall season. Things may be quiet during the Olympics (which for the first time in my adult life, I am boycotting watching) but expect back-2-school and the Democratic Convention to turn up the heat. I have high hopes that the party will do the right thing and just acknowledge what millions and millions of ordinary people, like the expert older guy at the cheese counter at my Whole Foods Market, that Senator Barack Obama is the best candidate for this time in America.

Hillpatine’s Latest Maneuverings7 Aug 2008 Author: rikyrah
So, I’m watching Good Morning America, waiting for the Michelle Obama interview, and I’m subject to listening about the latest shenanigans of Camp Hillpatine. The reporter states, ‘ Even now, Senator Clinton doesn’t believe Senator Obama can win.’
To which I replied to the tv, Who gives a rat’s ass what Senator Clinton thinks? SHE LOST.
This really is the bottom line.
She had every advantage known to any modern politicial Presidential Candidate, including Dubya…
She lost to the first term ‘nobody’ from the middle of the country who only gave ‘ one good speech’.
So compelling a candidate was she that she lost the nomination to ‘that guy’.
That’s what her opinion about Obama’s chances should mean - SQUAT.
Do you really think that if the situation were reversed, they’d even be commenting about what Obama thinks? No, because they would have run him out of town after the Wisconsin Primary.
The ‘Entitlement’ Syndrome of Hillpatine and her supporters truly knows no bounds.
There have been so many articles since I saw the first one last night and knew that I wanted to write about this.It began for me last night catching these two articles:Clinton still not over it
And Sen. Hillary Clinton Not Ruling Out Having Name Put Up for Vote in Denver
Then, this morning:Have the Clintons Gotten Over It?
First Thoughts:More Clinton DramaChuck Todd asks the million dollar question:
But we’ve asked this question a million times and we ask it again: Would the Clintons have been as deferential (or be expected to be as deferential) to Obama if the roles were reversed?
To answer Todd’s question, it’s a simple sentence: Begins with HELL and ends with NO.
See, our friend craig hickman isn’t too far off, is he? He’s only been saying this for weeks.We have from Political Radar: The Note: Obama vs. Clinton: The Battle Continues
ABC News’ Rick Klein writes in Thursday’s Note: Sen. Barack Obama is set to leave for his much-deserved vacation with one very big loose end that doesn’t want to be tied — and that’s not counting the veepstakes.
It’s the drama that won’t go away, the storyline that’s too delicious to recede, the symbol of a party’s divisions the very mention of which brings smiles to the faces of editors and producers: Obama vs. Clinton. (Welcome back.)
To former President Bill Clinton’s missing praise (to say nothing of what he is saying), we add this: A steadfast refusal by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to rule out allowing her delegates to vent in the peculiar fashion of voting for her on the convention floor, instead of the candidate she’s campaigning for.
“I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views were respected,” Clinton, D-N.Y., told a gathering of supporters last week, ABC News reported Wednesday. “We do not want any Democrat either in the hall or in the stadium or at home walking away saying, well, you know, I’m just not satisfied, I’m not happy.”
“It’s as old as, you know, Greek drama,” Clinton said. (We couldn’t agree more.)
I don’t care if they’re happy. They lost, and this is complete and utter BS. Period. Never have I seen a bunch of folks who don’t understand that they got outsmarted, outwitted, outmaneuvered, outorganized. They thought they were ‘ the #*$&’ and wound up being informed, ‘eh, you’re not all that much’.
And, of course, your companions in the media are enjoying this. Anything and everything to undermine Obama is ok with them.
Then, we get this: from, Obama reiterate unity
and Clinton, Obama Seek to Defuse Talk of Contested Floor Vote
With rumors flying about whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will seek to include her name in a roll call vote of delegates at the Democratic convention, the Clinton and Obama campaign teams issued a rare joint statement on Wednesday night confirming that they are “working together” to come up with a suitable solution.
“At the Democratic Convention, we will ensure that the voices of everyone who participated in this historic process are respected and our party will be fully unified heading into the November election,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement on behalf of the two camps.
I understand the Obama Camp, and why they have to go along with this charade. Doesn’t mean that the rest of us who see what’s up with the Camp Hillpatine foolishness can’t speak up and out.
Let’s say it right now: Don’t want to hear one more word about her so-called 18 million votes. I also don’t believe Obama should raise a frigging PENNY more for her, considering nearly all of that debt was obtained post-WISCONSIN - the night when it became mathematically impossible for her to catch Obama in Pledged Delegates, and thus the only way she could ‘ win’ would be by THIEVERY. So, if she wanted to push forth, then she should do like Romney - EAT THE DEBT. Or, she should make an appeal to those 18 million voters - send her a $1.25 a piece, and she’d be debt free. But, the debt she incurred during the time of it being a lost cause, should never be Barack Obama’s concern. Nor the concern of any of his donors, ‘ little fish’ or ‘big fish’.
Our calming friend, Al Giordano, over at The Field, has his own take on this: Greek Drama Week Begins.
I’m not nervous about Camp Hillpatine…I’m PISSED. My last Black nerve has been continuously plucked by this bunch of overweening egos who thought they were ENTITLED to the Presidency of the United States.
But, a little thing known as democracy got in their way.
The Democrats can let this foolishness in Denver proceed if they dare. But, it’s past time that this crowd was shown the door, told to go somewhere, sit down, and STFU.

Monday, August 4, 2008

God Does Hear

The other day I woke up and wondered if God was listening to His daughters.

When I turn on the television, I see images of girls scantily clad to appeal to men. I see more and more nudity on network television. I listened to the news reports from around the world report on the rapes of women as an act of war. I read the internet reports about the subprime mortgage crisis that in one community specifically targeted minority women. I thought about the waitresses, the retail clerks, the dental hygienist, the teacher, the secretary, the day care operator, the seamstress, the barista. I thought about the women suffering from AIDS or oppressed by religious dogma. And I wondered if God was listening to His daughters.

On the surface it may seem as if God has turned a deaf ear to the many women in marriages that struggle, in prisons for crimes of the men in their lives, the women that watched their sons die on the streets, or the women who hold their baby with ballooning stomachs due to starvation. It is easy to think He isn't listening. In America we are suffering from a recession and moms who are in the Catch-22 of needing to work but can't find good, affordable daycare. In Haiti my sisters are suffering from starvation, HIV/AIDS crisis, and oppressive governmental regime instituted by the United States many years ago. In Mexico and the border states my sisters are suffering from the stigma of being "illegal" but needing the come here and work the farms and clean the toilets to feed their families. In Darfar, in Bosnia, in China, in Iraq, in Uganda, in Kenya, everywhere I turn, my sisters are suffering and to the naked eye, God is not listening.

To the eye, those things we see, it appears as if God has given all the power to men, white men especially. Wars have been waged because of power hungry men. The United States is in recession because of wealth hungry men. The women who suffer daily from mental, physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse suffer at the hands of controlling, power starved men. To the eye, it appears as if God has placed the power in the hands of men. The thing is, He hasn't, this is only temporary.

I wondered if God was listening to the millions and millions of prayers that surely reach Him. The silent tears that are uttered, the sighs, the tired bodies that fall into bed to sleep. Surely He has His eyes on His daughters. Then I remembered Hagar.

Hagar was property, much like most of the ancestors of African Americans. Hagar was an Egyptian, she was African. She was used to fulfill the wants and needs of someone else. Her own wants and needs weren't important, she had been bought and sold. Hagar was Sarai's handmaiden, a Biblical reference to slavery.

In Genesis 16 we encounter Hagar's story. Sarai was barren, a curse in some cultures. She told her husband, Abram, to go and sleep with her servant. Sarai basically handed over Hagar to be raped so that she could become pregnant and the child would be Sarai's. "So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant." Well, Hagar realized that even though she was a servant, a slave, she had something over Sarai, she could conceive. Sarai accused the servant of treating her with "contempt." The subsequent events were that Hagar ran away to escape Sarai's treatment. She was pregnant, penniless, and husbandless.

While she was alone, probably scared, an angel of the Lord ministered to her and told her to do the unthinkable, to return to her mistress and submit to her authority. There was a promise to this, "I will give you more descendants than you can count." Further, she was promised a son and was to name him, Ishmael, meaning "God hears."

Later, in Genesis 21, after God changed Sarai's name to Sarah and Abram's name to Abraham, the promise He made to them was fulfilled. God heard Sarah's many cries for a son and despite her taking action in her own hands, God did give them Isaac. Yet, when Isaac was born, Hagar and Ishmael were sent away. "Get rid of that slave-woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won't have it!"

The Genesis account goes on to tell me that Abraham was saddened by Sarah's reactions. He loved Ishmael for this was his first-born son. God told Abraham to do as Sarah wished for Isaac was the heir of blessing. Abraham prepared food and water and put Hagar out with Ishmael. This would've been enough to make any woman wondered what was up with God? Why would He do this? This is where faith has to play a part and knowing that He is listening.

God met Hagar after her food and water ran out. Like any mother, she cared deeply for her son and didn't want to see the young boy die in the wilderness. God spoke to her again and told her to "do not be afraid." God not only heard her, he heard the boy. "Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants."

And God was with the boy as he grew up in the wilderness. He became a skillful archer, and he settled in the wilderness of Paran. His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt. Genesis 21:20-21.

Hagar is not heard from again but I have learned much from her. Escaping is not an option even though the biggest challenges in her life were the result of other people's actions. Hagar didn't choose to be a slave, she didn't choose to be raped, she didn't choose to have a child out-of-wedlock, she didn't choose to be homeless. She didn't make the best choice in some of her actions after becoming pregnant, namely, running away without a plan. Yet, even in her impulsive action, God was still listening, God heard her, and God made her a great promise.

Ishmael, the son of a Hebrew and an Egyptian, did become a great nation. His descendants the product of an Egyptian and a mixed-race Hebrew/Egyptian. Ishmael is the father of the Arab nations, through Isaac came the twelve tribes of Israel. God does listen, God does hear.

We may not understand God's motives. We certainly don't understand all that is happening in the world. I can only keep my faith in Him and turn my voice to Him more and more. Surely, My God does listen and He does hear. As Hagar called Him, He is the God who sees me, the God who sees all His daughters. Look up my sister, He is watching us.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just My Son And I

I spent the entire day with my fourteen-year-old son.

It was a rare Saturday when I didn't have other obligations that kept me away from my family. My daughters and husband had a lunch date with his sister. The girls were then going to spend the rest of the day with my husband's cousin. It was a treat for the little girls to hang out with their older girl cousins. I ended up with a free day for just my son and I.

We went to a back-to-school rally and had a swinging contest. He tried to help me keep my balance on a moder-day teeter totter. We talked to a city council candidate. My son really made me smile in his blue jean shorts (not saggin'!) and nice collar shirt. He confidently shook hands with the adults he met as well as joked around with some of the kids he knew from middle school. We worked the crowd.

Our adventure next took us to eat. I was hungry, he wasn't. We both sat down to read a little and catch a breath from the 95-degree heat. My son and I talked and listened.

Shopping with a teenage son who has his own taste is a bit of an experience for me. Shirts I picked out didn't make the cut for him. He was spending his own money so made some wise decisions of what he really needed to start school. I had to smile at this kid, almost my height, his chocolate skin smooth as silk on his tall, thin frame. He is about to be a freshman in high school.

Boys shopping are vastly different than girls shopping. My son didn't have much patience for picking out school supplies. He was just matter-of-fact about what the teenage boys in my reading program needed - paper, pens, pencils - he skipped over the book bags and lunch boxes that captivated his little sister a few days earlier. My son was more interested in the video games his big brother promised to send him from Japan.

We decided to skip the mall. He didn't want to fight the crowds and somehow, we both knew we had a rare jewel in our hands. We decided to go eat his favorite food - Chinese. We ordered in and sat down to do something a lot of moms and teenage sons should do - just talk. We talked for hours. We laughed. We giggled. We bonded.

Our evening together ended with us coming home to watch a movie on Lifetime of all channels. My son gave me his teenage boy version of what was happening with the bullying girls depicted in this box-of-tissue usual fare. His insight was keen.

The hours we had with just the two of us was rare and special. He even commented that it was cool spending time with just "his mom" without his annoying little sisters. Even as teenagers, they still need mama-time. I realize this more and more as he gets older. It is one of the reasons I work-at-home. We may not always have a full day just the two of us, but he knows I am accessible and my presence makes a difference. He and I talked about things that irked us, doing the dishes for him, having a dirty kitchen for me. We talked about our hopes and dreams.

We just hung out and talked about stuff...on a Saturday...just my son and I.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Another Reason I Hate Wal*Mart

As if I really needed another reason to hate Wal*Mart, they handed me one.

Wal*Mart recently had staff meetings with its Managers (salaried) and Department Supervisors (hourly employees) regarding the November elections. Their message? If you vote Democratic, you will lose your jobs. No, they didn't say that directly, but the implication was all to evident with the tone. Wal*Mart has been ill-treating their employees for years. They do everything from limiting health care to making them work just under 40 hours so they won't have to provide benefits. Wal*Mart is an evil company, a clear representation of the fear-mongering and corporate hijacking of America that has been heightened over the last eight years.

I avoid shopping there. I stopped shopping there years ago when I learned of their practices. This was right around the time I knew that the majority of their products are made in China. It was also around the time that I became unemployed and realized Wal*Mart squeezed me from my corporate job with their insistence on destroying the profit margin of their suppliers.

Today in America, especially with this recession, it becomes somewhat impossible for families to not be enticed by the "everyday low prices" of this monolithic megastore. School starts in three weeks for my children and the lure of shiny new pencils and book bags will drag many parents into big blue. Not me. I do most of my household shopping at Target. They may be a big corporate giant also, but they are a little more humane in their practices.

Wal*Mart is the nation's largest employer as well as the nation's largest retailer. It is Wal*Mart and their toy war of 2003 that forced iconic FAO Schwartz to close down. That was a sad year for me because I enjoyed seeing the giant-sized teddy bear at the store in Kansas City. Wal*Mart has destroyed the mom-and-pop retailers of America. And now they want to destroy freedom.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the Republican powers-that-be want to maintain their iron-clad grip on America. It is also becoming increasingly evident that everyday Americans are standing up and saying "enough is enough" and we want change. It is amazing the groundswell of ordinary people who are organizing grassroots efforts to get-out-the-vote for the Democratic Party. People are tired. They've had enough of the fear-mongering, race-bating, religion-choking, media-brainwashing of the neocons.

This consumer, this mother, this citizen sees right through Wal*Mart. As one of their employees was quoted in the Wall Street Journal article, "they are telling me how to vote." Since when is that legal in America. I hope people wake up. I won't be doing my back-to-school shopping at Wal*Mart.

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