Barack Obama looked right into the camera and definitively pointed when he said the above words.
I work nights. I haven’t watched anything but the convention the entire week to ensure I got a full sense of how to describe what I saw last night.
It just so happened that as I walked into my place of employment, I ran into my boss. We were the only people in the building, so I turned on the TV in the rec room and we watched Barack’s speech together. Now this was an awkward moment because I’m sure he pegged me as the Black guy Barack supporter, and I was cool with that because it is what it is.
Politics as you all may know are a sore subject amongst men. People have been shot, stabbed, grabbed and rehabbed after a simple political conversation that began with two friends having a beer. Being the type of person I am, I live for new experiences, so I was ready for this.
The tribute I thought was above average but predictably spoke to a specific demography I felt weren’t watching these events as closely as some of us. That’s cool because the one thing he has done this entire campaign is to make sure he covers all bases. So as Barack progresses through his speech, my boss was critiquing this and pejoratively laughing at that.
Even though he was seeking a response, I remained reticent for I knew Barack would shut him up at one time or another. Up to that point, I hadn’t spoke directly to this cat. He simply saw me as “Big Guy”. So he’s going on and on about every single point Barack is laying out and I began to envision a big ass fly swatter chasing dude around the room until…splat!
The proverbial fly swatter in this case turned out to be Barack’s words…naysayers. You should have saw the look on his face. He turned beet red because he felt Barack was specifically speaking to him. I chuckled (Ron Glover called me at this very second. My bad brotha for rushing off the phone) but didn’t put his emotions on blast because I’m allergic to pink slips.
Something happened after that moment. We began to have a constructive discussion on race and politics. He was very honest with his words and I respected that. He was a little set in his ways and spoke of interracial relationships as in the context of Johnny Weismuller playing Tarzan.
Dude was off the chain and it took me a while to bring him back to the actual middle but when I did he opened up his mind and listened–at least for the moment–to what I had to say.
I gave him small primitive thoughts because I knew damn well he couldn’t handle Wesley in Bensonhurst.
He asked me a lot of questions about Barack’s Mom and also about why his Kenya born Dad stayed away even though he had this intelligent son.
I couldn’t answer the latter but in having respect for the former I tried to give him a perspective he hadn’t heard before.
Basically I told him Barack was as intelligent as they come and transcended race in almost every single aspect besides the color of his face. His experiences growing up in Hawaii, having a White mother and an Indonesian stepfather had to give young Barack an syllabus in race most couldn’t get down with the entire time they attended college.
See there’s assimilation and there’s realization.
Assimilation in my opinion is becoming the culture you seek to become a part of. Realization to me is understanding said culture and shaping your thoughts around its primitive meaning and then advancing your thought to handle that culture at every turn.
Barack has done this. He knows he can’t totally pander to the Black diaspora or he won’t get elected. He couldn’t have Sankofa, Temple3, TBR , AXG or I as a running mate because–at least me at least– I would Radio Raheem their asses until you saw grandmas and pop pops from Manhattan, Kansas doing the Flava Flav—gold fronts, lid sideways, yeah boy and everything.
Here’s the crux of the conversation. First, he was shocked I knew so much about the political landscape and was taken aback because of this Big Guy box he’d set me in and secondly Barack wowed him with his public speaking talent. He still had some reservations about how Barack is going to pay for all his rhetoric, but he saw Barack in a new light last night.
He told me he wanted to continue the discussion, asked me where I went to school and headed out door a little bit different than when he came in. I don’t know how long this sentiment is going to last, but America is beginning to understand the dynamic change Barack is speaking of is in fact advancing thought.
Honestly, the speech was Barack supporter pedestrian only because he wasn’t speaking to us. That’s not to say his speech wasn’t historic for it was one of the best political speeches of all time. To be able to fill Invesco Field with 80,000 people for a party nomination speech is amazing.
You know my thoughts on this so I won’t continue to belabor you, but yet and still, please understand the magnitude of history being made and judge yourselves accordingly regardless if you like Barack Obama or not. Years from now, we won’t remember the speech but we will remember the moment.
Tribute preceding the speech