November 4th, 2008: Is Today the Day America Elects a Black President?

A More Perfect Union Speech transcript, video, past TSF political stuff below and a resounding answer to this question.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union …” – 221 years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars, statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least 20 more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty and justice and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggles, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience, and always at great risk – to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this presidential campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for president at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together, unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – toward a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional of candidates. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African-Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in this campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every single exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation, and that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy and, in some cases, pain. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s efforts to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change – problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television sets and YouTube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another, to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a United States Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over 30 years has led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I describe the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters. And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else: At the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival and freedom and hope – became our stories, my story. The blood that spilled was our blood, the tears our tears, until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black. In chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a meaning to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about – memories that all people might study and cherish, and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing and clapping and screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and, yes, the bitterness and biases that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing to do would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have not yet made perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care or education or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist between the African-American community and the larger American community today can be traced directly to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were and are inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education. And the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination – where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions or the police force or the fire department – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between blacks and whites, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persist in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pickup, building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continues to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late ’50s and early ’60s, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way, for those like me who would come after them.

For all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and, increasingly, young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race and racism continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or the beauty shop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour of American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity within the African-American community in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful. And to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one handed them anything. They built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pensions dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and they feel their dreams slipping away. And in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear an African-American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that, working together, we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care and better schools and better jobs – to the larger aspirations of all Americans: the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man who has been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for our own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress had been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black, Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old – is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know – what we have seen – is that America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination – and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – are real and must be addressed, not just with words, but with deeds, by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more and nothing less than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division and conflict and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the O.J. trial – or in the wake of tragedy – as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time, we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time, we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the emergency room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care, who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time, we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time, we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time, we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together and fight together and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged. And we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them and their families, and giving them the benefits that they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, 23-year-old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, S.C. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was 9 years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches – because that was the cheapest way to eat. That’s the mind of a 9-year-old.

She did this for a year until her mom got better. So she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents, too.

Now, Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and different reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the 221 years since a band of patriots signed that document right here in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.”

Here’s my vote:

Here’s some of our work during the last year of Barack’s successful presidential campaign:

America Goes Nuts Regarding Jesse Jackson’s Off Air Comments About Barack Obama

An Open Letter to the Undecided: You’re Better Than This and You Know It

The Crazy Stuff People Do So Barack Does Not Get Elected

What Impact Will Colin Powell’s Endorsement of Barack Obama Have On The Presidential Election?

John McCain, ACORN and Black Conservatism

Transcript and Video of the 49th Presidential Debate Between Barack Obama and John McCain: Domestic Policy

This is How Fascism Comes: Reflections on the Cost of Silence

What Were Your Thoughts On Last Nights Presidential Debate Between Barack Obama and John McCain?

Palin Drops the Puck By Dave Zirin & Daniel Denvir

With Sarah Palin Exposed, Is Joe Biden Poised to Attack?

John McCain Goes After Hillary Dems and Picks 1st Term Alaska Govenor, Sarah Palin

Michelle Obama Appears On Colbert Report

Sarah Palin’s Extreme Sports

What Were Your Thoughts On the Vice Presidential Debate Between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin?

Transcript of 2008 Presidential Debate Between Barack Obama and John McCain

The Courage, Resolve and Responsibility of Reggie Williams

John McCain Addresses the Republican National Convention

Sarah Palin: The Pitbull With Lipstick

“I Got News For You John McCain. We All Put Our Country First!”

A Historic Moment For All of US: Barack Obama Officially Becomes the First Black Man To Win A Party Nomination for President of the United States

Hillary Clinton Does Her Job

Michelle Obama Addresses the Democratic National Convention

5 Questions With Chicago 7th Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson

Barack Obama Selects Six Term Senator Joe Biden As Running Mate

Friday Fire: Do You Think Hillary Clinton Supporters Will Disrupt the Democratic Convention?

Is America Stupid? How Has Barack Obama Supposedly Lost His Lead to the Whistle Man John McCain?

THE NEW YORKER Too? What the Fuck!!!

NYOIL Interview Part I: Hip Hop 1968 Black Is Back!

It’s a Wrap: Barack Obama Wins the 2008 Democratic Nomination For President of the United States

The 2008 Presidential Campaign: Is The Handwritting On The Wall?

Hillary Just Get Out! There’s No Benevolence In Assassination Comment

How Will the Country View the Democratic Campain for the Presidency After Today?

A Well Needed Discussion On the LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen Vogue Cover With Ed Berliner

This Is Why Media Gets a Bad Name

Friday Fire: What Will Barack Obama Have To Do To Get Elected?

Barack Obama Speaks In Philly and Leaves No Doubt

5 Questions For Our Culture In These Changing Times

Friday Fire: What Does All This Barack Obama Momentum Really Mean?

Five Questions To Take Advantage of a Black Sense of Urgency

A Dream’s Shadow Cast For the Dense Shallow

President Barack Obama

34 Responses to “November 4th, 2008: Is Today the Day America Elects a Black President?”

  1. michelle says:

    I voted this morning in PA. Obama will carry PA and become the 44th president. I was very proud thinking about all of the people who fought and died to bring us to this historical moment. If you haven’t voted do so and we can make history together!!! Now I have to go knock on some doors.

    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!

  2. Holly says:

    Bahhh. Of course I’ve got goosebumps over my body and tears streaming down my cheeks again. Thanks for posting this. Bless his beautiful soul.

  3. Miranda says:

    Can’t wait to see the wee-Michelles running around the White House.

  4. Mizzo says:

    Would love if you were his COS Miranda.

  5. ronglover says:

    THIS IS OUR GAME 7! We never know if we’re going to have this chance again. 2012 is not promised to Obama.

    Let’s close the deal tonight!

  6. GAM says:

    Tonight. If things go (god willing) as planned, call your parents, great grandparents, uncles, etc….basically, any black person in your inner circle over 65.

    This has been the most moving aspect of this election for me. To see family members (a 91 yr old aunt demanding hospice care so she’ll be home to vote for the first black president) or just those on youtube videos with the look of disbelief, the look that says, “maybe it really WAS worth it afterall; maybe the American dream saved one for us before we have move on” is beyond priceless. It’s probably been the most moving experience of my life.

    To look into eyes that have seen Jim Crow, Birmingham, MLK, Medgar and Malcolm, and now see tears of joy….Well, there are no words.

    This election is for gramama, grandad, and all the others.

    Tonight (or tomorrow morning, you know those folks go to sleep at 6:30) give em a call and say congrats, but before you hang up….. say thanks.

    Nice work guys

  7. ronglover says:

    It will be bittersweet for me, I lost my great-grandmother a week ago (she was 89) this election was one of the first things that came to mind.

    My son will get to see this in his lifetime and that’s priceless.

  8. Temple3 says:

    My condolensces to Ron Glover and his family.

  9. thebrotherreport says:

    Thanks Temple.

  10. origin says:

    Congrats brotha Barack you did it.

    Them fools on fox news look sick…..LOL!!!!

  11. vleeflo says:

    Done and done!

  12. Mizzo says:

    I don’t know what to say. This is overwhelming…

  13. HarveyDent says:

    Right with you on this, Miz. I make no bones that I’m a cynic about the electoral process but I am a student of history and I know the historical significance of this moment. Congratulations President-Elect Obama because you’ve been given an awesome opportunity so get some rest because January 2009 the real work starts.

    To quote a phrase we all know here: The streets is watchin’

  14. Mizzo says:

    Damn right we are and we should keep a positive mind until otherwise noted. Like I said on my facebook status…”Michael is chill with the cynics. You’ve got 8 years to jump on a big ass bandwagon.”

    There should be no hate in this moment. I commend John McCain for the concession speech and also quelling what could have been a crazy electorate.

    The downside to this day is the way most of the south voted. Most overwhelmingly voted for McCain.

    Joe the plumber is not exclusive of our dreams, hopes and inspirations and today, people put their foot down.

    Obama kept it chill with his speech. You are right HD, the brotha needs to crash until January because there’s a lot of work to get done.

    There were no boos when Obama spoke. That wasn’t the case with the McCain camp.

    Give it up people. The world has changed inside of a moment.

    The past is ours. Now it’s time to give the future to our children.

  15. HarveyDent says:

    One thing I enjoyed about the crowd in Chicago tonight was that when McCain’s name was acknowledged the crowd gave him respect as contrasted with McCain’s supporters. The fundamental difference in the two camps but despite the pundit-ocracy saying McCain was gracious he and his campaign let loose these dogs so I’m not going to give him too much respect for doing tonight what he should have been doing all during the campaign when cries of ‘kill him’ and ‘traitor’ were uttered by his supporters.

    In spite of myself, I feel the optimism in the air. Maybe this is the moment that America follows through with its creed with everyone here mattering. Maybe.

  16. Eric Daniels says:

    I am going to say something a lot of people aren’t going to like but in this case I think it needs being said, I do not think that Obama’s election changes the average Black Person’s life that much. And since I am into more grassroots solutions to our problems I am going to side with Adolph Reed that Obama’s campaign was not a revolution but a guidemap about how a Black Politcan can get elected President or hustle within the system than those past movements that led to improvments for Afro- Americans regardless of who benefitted from them. And Obama is right about one thing, that conservatives never got the message but the Civil Rights Leadership had to pay a price for this year that culture wars of the 1970’s -1990’s were over and after seeing Palin and the Right- Wing talk machine this election year they are are still stuck in those eras and I know they are in denial and that’s why they lost.

    These people are still there and it will be a even more racially , culturally and politcally mean -spirited 4 years with the Obamas in office, so I caution eveyone after all the celebrations from today until Jan 20 that we can not deny that the Limbaughs, Palins, Buchanans,Sterns, Savages, Coulters, Hannitys, Krathammers and others don’t like our black asses along with their minority allies and the so-called average joes and sarahs have amped these groups with violent intent and this election does not change that one bit, There is still a racial war going on and a biracial President does not change that reality. I hope I am not putting a depressing damper on everyone’s enthusiam but they wanted Obama and his family dead, and tommorow they will be at their jobs making sure their side gets angry enough , these people get paid for incting racial animus but we better be ready for the next battle.

    And Obama ran an excellent campaign and deserved to win , Temple I don’t beleive for a moment America will live up to it’s creed.

  17. thebrotherreport says:

    My dad told me that one of the most historical moments he witnessed was when man walked on the moon, he said it seemed like the furthest thing from anyone’s mind, but someone had this vision and put it into motion. And when it happened you knew where you were.

    This is my “Man on the Moon Moment”, I’ll never say never but it seemed like this was something that was so far off in the distance that it was almost invisible.

    I called my son this morning and asked him what was the name of HIS new President and he said, “Barack Obama”. I’m just thankful that he and I can share this moment.

  18. michelle says:

    It’s a beautiful day!

  19. Matthew Fudge says:


  20. Matthew Fudge says:

    I was talking to a friend of mine last night. She told me that black men no longer have any excuses why they can’t achieve anything they dream. No longer can we say that “The Man” won’t let me have anything. For the first time, a black man IS the man. No more excuses, my brothers. It’s time to get off the corners. It’s time to get our education. It’s time to stay out of jail. It’s time to be the heads of our households that God has called us to be. It’s time to not settle for less, but to strive for excellence and follow our dreams wherever they lead. It’s just time.

  21. des says:

    What a moment in time. Eric D is correct, this doesn’t solve anything, in the Bible, Paul said to the church in Corinth that “a wide door of opportunity has been opened but with it come many advarsaries.” The Limbaughs, O’ Reillys, Hannitys, and Savages aern’t going away, they’ll still be waitng to strike. But we as a nation who have grown tired of politics as usual, must be prepared to work with our president to move beyond the past eight years, to provide for its citizens as well as the world, that’s how change comes. As Arrested Devlopment sang; ” Are you doing all that you can for the struggle?”

  22. ronglover says:

    Speaking of the struggle my mom and I just talked about the people that didn’t see this day. Not just family but those that were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Those that were hosed, lynched, attacked by dogs, burned, raped and God knows what else. I looked at Jesse Jackson crying last night and all I could think about was here is a man who was there when the Dream supposedly died and he has lived to see that it never left our minds and hearts.

    I think about my old man today and how proud he would be. An 11th grade dropout who went to Viet Nam. Raised three kids in North Philadelphia and sent 2 to college, was married to the same woman for 21 years.

    Sorry for ramblin on people, I’m just really choked up today.

  23. Matthew Fudge says:

    Speak on it, Ron. If this isn’t a time for reflection, I don’t know what is.

  24. Matthew Fudge says:

    I’d like to make a toast (metaphorically speaking, of course) to George W. Bush and his administration at this time. Dubya, it was your constant bumbling, your unchecked arrogance, your monumental screwups, and your general incompetence that made this moment possible. Now pack your stuff and don’t the doorknob hit you where the Good Lord split you. And take that traitor-to-her-race Condi Rice with you. She’s still gotta teach you how to read (don’t forget your Hooked on Phonics set).

    I’m Matthew Fudge, and I approve this message.

  25. Temple3 says:


    America has lived up to the true meaning of its creed — as far as political representation goes. I’m just as cynical and Harvey and you are — but I’ve deleted posts that I thought would dampen the mood. I don’t want to do that to others or to myself. I think you are 100% correct to raise the questions you raise — but it’s critical to note that Barack Obama has never once imagined his candidacy as a panacea. He is very clear about the limitations and the potential of what his work represents.

    I believe that the best way that Black people can support his presidency is to begin to initial a Third Reconstruction Era Plan. Basically, this means that Black folks should aggressively seek local, county, regional and state offices that are critical to the economic apparatus of the State. County assessor, board of elections, recorder — there are literally thousands of critical positions that need to be filled in a hurry that could make our lives exponentially easier. Now is the time to do that. Each of us can do this. It’s a small thing that requires a small bit of organization and time. Get on a school board. Become an indispensible part of the political life of your community. Own it.

    That’s what this is about. I know that people can legitimately lament the survival of racism around this nation and internationally, but we have truly been blessed by God to have the keys to our chains handed to us on a daily basis. Mobutu Sese Seko was given billions of dollars to rebuild his nation. Of course there were strings attached, but he did nothing but run his nation in the ground and put billions of dollars into Swiss bank accounts. He impoverished his home, destabilized the richest nation on the continent and has directly or indirectly contributed to the murder of millions of people. Did he create that? No – but he failed to act with his God-force to create a solution. He’s a billionaire who squandered a fortune to chase furs, booze, and blondes. Contrast that with Oprah Winfrey (hate if ya wanna, but reckanyze). She has spent her billions in a way that reflects her God-power on this earth and her orientation is toward life and healing. Her rise has been so meteoric and proper that she eliminated the GENRE she was once a part of…Talk shows of her kind have been replaced by anti-God-power broadcasts selling everything from cute judges to hoothcies turning suitcases.

    Back to Obama. I know that people say he has the capacity to run an independent campaign because he’s not beholden to Wall Street. I don’t believe that. I believe that he has a deeply compromised relationship with Goldman Sachs (I hope I’m wrong, but we’ll see). Goldman kicked off his campaign with an $800k fundraiser before his brilliant internet campaign really took hold. Henry Paulson, formerly of Goldman, is the “architect” (at least visibly) of the bailout plan which has Obama’s support. He and his wife have contributed over $450k (mostly to Republicans) playing this game since 2000. The Democrats National Finance Chair, Philip Murphy, is a Goldman alum. He’s spent over $1M over the past few years getting his influence game down pat. The plan, regardless of how it is spun, will result in private firms getting off the hook for debts through public aid. That’s welfare as I know it. Endorsing this sort of chicanery has been the price of the ticket from jump street. American presidents who fight against those who control currrency do not have the protection of the statee…they catch lead.

    I don’t believe Barack Obama will be challenging this hegemony. In fact, I believe he was the beneficiary of this hegemony to the extent that the question of the election was hanging in the balance until the “crisis” hit the fan. Historians will look back on the timing of this and be quite sure that the fix was in. McCain talks about the fundamentals of the economy being sound — and blam!! — the bottom falls out (obviously not because he said it). The big money was not behind McCain or Clinton. This election was never about business as usual — it was about business unusual. Obama’s win was assured after the markets tanked. They’ll bounce back too. After he’s been in office again, things will magically return to what they were before.

    Folks will blame home owners who defaulted on loans (even though there weren’t that many of them). Folks will blame regulators who were asleep at the wheel (even though Glass Steagall was shredded on Clinton’s watch). Folks will blame Wall Street greed (as if that’s something new). At the end of the day, there is a hidden hand that controls the supply of money in this nation — it is so hidden that the government no longer bothers to report on the supply of money in the economy. Obama co-signed the deal and that was definitely in his best interests. His benefactors authored this plan and stand to be first in line when payments are doled out to the greedy, godless and guilty.

    Does that make him a bad man? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe this is a battle he had to pass on in order to achieve the larger aim. Does this make him less of a hero? Nope. All true heroes have flaws. Is he still the man? Sure as hell is. Should you be excited? Yes. If not for yourself (wise and pragmatic self), then for others — especially our youth who need to know that they matter, that they can achieve, and that we will no longer celebrate them merely for averting teen pregnancies and graduating with a report card full of C’s from high school.

    Eric – I believe you have every right to be guarded. If nothing else, we know our history teaches caution through the easy gate. Still, it’s worth breathing deeply and even shedding a tear for the blood of our ancestors shed — not so much so that we could hold this office — but so that we could, in whatever our chosen vocation, rise to the top on our merits and serve with dignity and grace. So it is. It has been well done and I believe the ancestors are pleased.

    Give yourself a break, brother, and enjoy this — if only for a little while. You deserve it — and so do I.

  26. ronglover says:

    Well said Temple.

  27. origin says:

    Great post Temple.

    Brotha Eric I agree with what you are saying and I will post on your blog about that. So I will reframe from commenting on that on here so as to not put a negative spin on this post.

    Matthew I will take your comment further about no more excuses. As a educated middle class black person I can say we as middle class blacks have to stop making excuses. We have dropped the ball in not reaching out back in so called black communities and offering the knowledge and the wisdom (thats why I admire brothas and sistas like Temple, Kevdog, Mizzo, Eric, Lastpoet sankofa etc, reading their post is like a learning lesson. Always knowledge being passed) that we have gained. Sadly we have gotten our money and education and said F everyone else.

    But that in itself is selfish……….because as we have passed on this journey to the so called american dream their have been folks who were at the bottom who helped us out.

    Maybe it was the sista on welfare with 3 kids that gave us 20 dollars in food stamps cause we were too broke in college to buy food. Or the brotha with the criminal record who fixed our car for nothing so we could get back and forth to school. Or the sista that was a highschool drop out who worked in the cafeteria and let us eat free when our student loans didn’t go through so we could get a meal plan.

    Just like Obama said we all need to do our part and help. If a Ivy league brotha with a law degree can go to the south side of Chicago and give back so can we as so called middle class blacks. And stop with the pointing figures and saying thats them no good black folks in the hood and not us.

    I know 2 brothas I went to highschool with that I do community work with. One is a financial planner and the other is a lawyer. These brothas go into the hood and give out free money managing/investment and law advice.

    Anyway it was great to see blacks who were elite, upper class, middle class and poor agree on and support/speak up on the same cause.

    Heck when was the last time that has happened. The Rodney King incident??

  28. KevDog says:

    The true transformational aspect of President Obama will be on the cumulative psyche’s of both blacks and whites in America.

    It’ll be much harder for Joe average white boy to automatically think of himself as better, or to automatically dismiss the black dude that cuts him off as simply a nigger

    And for us, it helps to remove the incredibly damaging defeatism that are part and parcel of being black in America. For so many more the very thought that they do have opportunities to take advantage of will be galvanizing.

    I think this is the greatest thing to ever happen to this nation after the American Revolution and emancipation.

  29. Matthew Fudge says:

    I’m planning a family trip to D.C. for the inauguration ceremony on January 20th. I wasn’t born in ’63 when Dr. King spoke there, and I didn’t make it to the Million Man March for religious reasons (long story), but I have to be there to see Obama get sworn in. I won’t miss watching history being made up close.

  30. Matthew Fudge says:

    “Historians will look back on the timing of this and be quite sure that the fix was in. McCain talks about the fundamentals of the economy being sound — and blam!! — the bottom falls out (obviously not because he said it). The big money was not behind McCain or Clinton. This election was never about business as usual — it was about business unusual. Obama’s win was assured after the markets tanked. They’ll bounce back too. After he’s been in office again, things will magically return to what they were before.”

    Temple, do you believe the fix was in?

  31. Walter Ring says:

    America has gone black and it will never go back. Too bad. This nation committed suicide by voting for a nigger president. NO nation in history has ever remained a first world nation with a nigger in charge.

    The United States of America

    Born July 4, 1776
    Died by niggerfuxation suicide November 4, 2008
    Interred January 20, 2009


  32. Mizzo says:

    Do you feel better about yourself now?

  33. Johnny says:

    The election of “President Barack Obama,” the 44th president of the United States is a glorious and wonderful moment in the annals of mankind. You, of all people should be proud, not player hating and hate mongering. It is now your turn to take the back seat and leave the driving to me. You must be filling real painful by now.” Well, you know the real truth will hurt but it will set you free from your own guilt. Did you know that there is no such word as “N-I-G-G-E-R,” this word was created by some idiot or imbecile to relegate another human being to less than human status. Those who believe in this type rhetoric are actually the “REAL NIGGERS’ SUCH AS YOURSELF. Look up the word “Olmec Civilization,” you might be enlightened.