Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Maybe Rev. Joseph Lowery just forgot where he was

Yesterday I spent most of the day watching coverage of President Obama's Inauguration...and like his campaign, it was impressive to watch. There were moments when the glory of this great nation shined so brightly and I, like many Americans, could barely contain my emotions...for a variety of reasons. Yesterday the WORLD watched as America peacefully passed power to a new administration after what many are calling a "graceful" & flawless transition from the previous one. Our new President(word is he's BLACK ) was put into power without force, bloodshed, polling place death threats or a military coup. He was Elected to the highest office in the land in the greatest nation on earth. Certainly the most diverse nation politically and religiously and as our president said "where else but in America" could his story even have taken place. Close to 2 million people cheered on this moment in person.

Many of us have seen the footage of Reverend Lowery's historical journey and others like him and their contributions to yesterday's historical moment. Their sacrifices and suffering can only be imagined by most of us today but certainly are respected by me.

But what I didn't see in yesterday's crowds ...anywhere for that matter..were slave owners ,
attack dogs , fire hoses, racial signs, segregated seating.

What I did see was a Black man elected president with 66 million votes in a country that is 14 % black. The day before I witnessed incredible memorials and commentary on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.....his birthday , a federal holiday signed into law by Ronald Reagan.

What I did see was an entire nation setting an example for the entire world on how to get along in the face of "all kinds of stuff."

There are many high profile Black role models ....one certainly didn't have to wait until a Black man was sworn in as the leader of the free world.

But as an AMERICAN... I was disappointed by Reverend Lowery's closing remarks to his benediction at the inauguration of our 44th President.

here they are:

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...when yellow will be mellow...when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

Perhaps Reverend Lowery forgot where he was or that it was January 20 2009.

Maybe the line he was looking for was Lord give us all the strength to continue to work together as one nation under God black, brown yellow & white, to embrace what is right.

And if it was the ryhme and rhythm thing he was going for...he still could of done that without being self righteous.



Say Amen.

4 comments:

Katie Bee said...

Rev Lowery was echoing civil rights song called Get Back (Black, Brown, White). His benediction was about reminding everyone what has happened, how far we've come, and how far we've yet to go. We are not yet in a post-racial society, despite the media's willingness to label this presidency as such (since when has the media been right?).

If I were you, I wouldn't jump to accusations about self-righteousness, it may come off as hypocritical to your readers.

Ken Matthews said...

Katie,
Do you mean the civil rights blues song from the 1940s ?


Considering it's 2009 and Lowery was at Black president's inauguration...his complete misquote of the lyrics-if that's the song- was an out of place stretch.

I also thought he took away from the body of his benediction by choosing to close it that way.

FlaNCer said...

Ken,

I have to agree with you on this. I really feel his closing was not cool. It tarnished an other wise good benediction. I found it "Cutesy" at best. "Out of touch with reality" is more like it. Some people need to let it go- millions did that Nov. Tuesday- shouldn't that be proof enough that we can close the door and look forward instead of back through it. 14% of this nation didn't just vote for B.O, obviously over 50% did.
No- the way I see it (and hope I'm wrong but know I'm right) is that the 'Black Powerbase' (all the 'coalitions' etc) have been robbed of some ammo from the ongoing "race war" that they TOO perpetuate. And will continue to perpetuate for their own devices.
I look at it like the old Communist crones freaking out when the Cold War was sliding to an end (and some of our own Politicos). Their 'justification of existence' was coming to an end along with the battle they fought. Thus loosing their power (and FUNDING).
We as ONE Nation have always said (and understood)that we can't wait for this or that 'Hard Liner' regime to die off. Be it the ancient Mullahs or Ayatollahs, or the Commies, or Castro, or Kim Jung Il, whoever. Once the "old breed" is gone, and taking with them their fanatical ideology from the past- can we truly move on. And this is the same for the race relations in this country. Once the die-hard old guard on both sides leave us, then- and only then, will it be over. I think in about 10 to 20 years. That's when we won't have people like the good Reverend throwing it up in our face on inauguration days. They'll be history- litteraly. I know this sounds harsh, but it is reality.
I'm an American. Not a (fill in the blank)-American. That means I'm prouder of my Nationality than my "heritage" or past. For instance, I have American friends who are black. NOT 'African American' friends. To me they are my American friends. It's simple.
Personally I am sick of the beating of the long dead horse and the riding of the remaining pony of the whole thing. You're either American or your not. You can't be either and you can't be both. It's time to stop leveraging your 'status' and get on board.
We have a half-black President, making him a Halfrican-American. Is THAT what he should be called? Or should he be called President of the United States? I choose the later, and even though I didn't vote for him because of his political affiliation, I wish him well, because I have a stake in this too, and race has NOTHING to do with it.
In closing, let me say this. B.O's election to office will over time effectively wipe out affirmative action as well as the power of the NAACP and other groups. The reason being is simple (and VERY over looked). The next time an "african American" applies for a job (let's say- to be a Policeman) and is only required to score 10 to 15 points lower than the "anglo American" average on the entrance test- don't you think that the business or agency is going to think "what the hell?", when there is a black PRESIDENT?
As for Katie's "Media" comment, she shouldn't bite the hand. The Media got him elected in the first place. And it is the Media that will turn on him at the first chance to boost ratings. They will crusify the "Messiah" the minute they feel the time is right.
For the "Novelty" will wear off for all of us. Sooner than later. We proved that with 9-11.
Keep up the good work!

Ken Matthews said...

what Flancer said.